Cookie Dough Dip

1 (8oz) package cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
2 TBS. brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup toffee bits

Cream together cream cheese and butter. Add all other ingredients and mix until well combined.
Serve with apple wedges.


7 Layer Dip

1 (15 oz.) can refried beans
1 (4oz.) can diced green chilies
1 pt. sour cream
2-3 tsp. taco seasoning
3-4 avocados
3/4 cup salsa
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
3-4 tomatoes, diced
2-3 green onions, sliced
1 large can black olives, sliced

Beat beans  with mixer until smooth and add taco seasoning, and green chilies.  Spread over a platter.  Spread sour cream over beans.  Mash avocados with lemon juice, garlic powder and salsa.  Spread over sour cream.  Sprinkle with cheese, tomatoes, onions and olives.  Serve with tortilla chips.  


Instant Pot Steel Cut Oatmeal

There are 100 different ways to do everything in the IP, so when I find the way that works for me I like to write it down so I don't forget.  This is how I like Instant Pot steel cut oats.  The best part is that I can set the delay start the night before and we wake up to hot oatmeal!

1 c. steel cut oats
3 c. water
2 TB butter or coconut oil
pinch of salt
tiny splash of vanilla
You can also add spices like cinnamon, etc.

Place all ingredients in the pot, stir, and cook on (manual) high pressure for 4 minutes.  Then let it naturally release pressure until the "pin" drops.  Open the pot, stir, and serve (with butter and brown sugar!).  When I first open the pot it seems "watery" a lot of times, but if you stir it up the water just stirs right in and you are left with creamy steel cut oats.

Also, a tiny bit of Amber/Emily's Caramel Syrup drizzled over the top is really yummy.  Don't ask me how I know.  LOL


Instant Pot Refried Beans

  • recipe slightly adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 jalapeño, cored, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds dry pinto beans, rinsed
  • 8 cups water
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar

  1. In the insert of an electric pressure cooker (or in a stovetop pressure cooker), heat the oil (using the Sauté function on the InstantPot) and add the jalapeños, onion, and garlic, and sauté for 1-2 minutes, stirring often.
  2. Add the rinsed and drained beans, water, broth, salt and vinegar.
  3. Secure the lid on the pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for 30 minutes (stovetop) and 35 minutes (electric).
  4. Let the pressure naturally release. Reserve two cups of the liquid in a separate bowl.
  5. Drain the rest of the liquid off the beans. Using an immersion blender, potato masher (or spooning the beans into a blender), process/mash to the desired consistency, adding reserved cooking water, if needed for a smoother/softer consistency.
  6. Refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for several months.
I froze the leftovers in 2 cup increments in quart-sized freezer bags and they thaw and reheat great.  

Instant Pot Mexican Style Shredded Beef


  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 Pounds beef chuck roast
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 Cloves fresh garlic (minced)
  • 10 Ounce can diced tomatoes & green chilies
  • 1/2 Large onion (sliced)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Juice of one lime (about 2 Tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 3/4 Tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder


Salt and pepper both sides of the chuck roast.  I had to cut mine into two pieces. 
Select the Saute button on your Instant Pot, and add the oil.
Brown the chuck roast on both sides, about 4 minutes per side.

Remove the roast to a plate and deglaze the pot with the tomatoes and water.  Then place the roast back into the pot.
Add the garlic and onion slices. 
Place the lid on the Instant Pot, select the high pressure setting, and set the timer for 75 minutes
The Instant Pot will beep when it is finished. Allow the built up pressure to release naturally, then remove the lid.
Shred the beef with two forks, I place mine on a large dinner plate.
Remove the tomatoes and onions from the pot and return the shredded beef.  I strain them but keep some of the juice to moisten the meat with.  Add it back into the beef when you put it back into the pot.  
Add the lime juice, cumin, chili powder, and cilantro, stir to combine.
Place the lid back on top of the pot until ready to serve.

Beef can be used to make tacos, salad, burritos, chimichangas, etc. 

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

  • 1 box (16 ounce) of elbow macaroni
  • 4 cups of water
  • 3 Tb of butter
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream (can sub 1 can of evaporated milk(12 ounce), half and half, or even whole milk)
  • 2 cups of shredded medium or sharp cheddar cheese
Place the macaroni, water, salt and butter into the Instant Pot.  Set Instant Pot on 4 minutes high pressure and do a quick release of the pressure as soon as it's done.  Take lid off and immediately add whipping cream and stir. Then slowly add cheese and stir until it melts.  You can add a little hot sauce and dry mustard for flavor if desired.


Sweet Bacon Chili...

  • 1 lb lean ground beef 
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
  • 4-5 slices bacon, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
  • 1 can mild chili beans (15 oz)
  • 1 can tomato sauce (8 oz)
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes, *chopped (15 oz)
  • 2/3 C ketchup 
  • 1/4 C brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce 
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  1. Cook bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. 
  2. Remove from pan and set aside to drain on a paper towel lined plate. 
  3. Drain bacon grease from pan leaving about 1 Tbsp. 
  4. Add onion and jalapeño and cook for 2-3 minutes. 
  5. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. 
  6. Add ground beef and cook until browned. Drain excess grease from pan. 
  7. Add all remaining ingredients including bacon. 
  8. Stir all together then let simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour. 
  9. Add more cayenne and salt to taste if needed. Just a pinch at a time.


Best Apple Crisp

Recipe taken from: Tastes Better From Scratch

  • For Crumb Topping:
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • dash of salt
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, diced into small chunks
  • For the Apple filling:
  • 3-4 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced thin
  • 3 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • dash of salt
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a medium size bowl combine the crumb topping ingredients with a fork or pastry blender until it resembles small crumbs. Refrigerate while you prepare the apple filling.
  3. For the Apple Filling: In a small bowl, combine melted butter and flour until well blended. Add lemon juice, milk and vanilla and stir well. Stir in brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Pour butter mixture over apples and toss to coat. Pour apple mixture into an 8x8-inch baking dish and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle crumb topping evenly over the apples. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and top is set. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.


Baked Southwest Egg Rolls

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced green onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons diced jalapeno peppers (you can take the seeds out for less spice!)
  • 1 chicken breast, cooked and diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • egg roll wrappers
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large skillet, saute green onion and bell pepper in olive oil, just until soft (this will take 3-5 minutes).
  3. Add the corn, black beans, spinach and peppers and cook until heated through.
  4. Add the chicken, cumin, chili powder, salt, and cayenne pepper.
  5. Stir until well blended and tender.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese.
  7. Fill egg rolls.
  8. Start with a corner facing you, and add about 1/4 cup of filling to the center of the wrapper.
  9. Fold the corner facing you over the filling, tuck in the sides, and finish rolling.
  10. Place the rolls on a greased baking sheet.
  11. When finished, spray the rolls with cooking spray.
  12. Bake for about 20 minutes until they are golden brown, flipping them halfway through.
  13. We served them with different dipping sauces - chipotle sauce, salsa, ranch, and sour cream.

Just like Cafe Rio Chicken...

  • 2 pounds chicken breasts
  • ½ cup zesty italian dressing
  • ¾ tablespoon minced garlic
  • ½ tablespoon chili powder
  • ½ tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 1 oz package dry ranch dressing mix
  • ½ cup water

Place chicken in crock pot with a little chicken broth until it is tender and you can shred it..  
Then take chicken out and dump liquid out of crock pot.  Shred chicken and place back in crock pot.  In a separate bowl, combine above ingredients and whisk together.  Then pour over your shredded chicken in your crockpot.  Cook for about 2 more hours.  Enjoy in a tortilla or on a salad with your favorite toppings. 

**Shelly's Instant Pot notes:  I add frozen chicken breasts and all other ingredients to my IP and cook on Manual, high pressure for 12-13 minutes.  Let the pressure naturally release, then open the pot and shred the chicken.  Put it back into the pot and turn on Saute' just for a minute until it comes to a boil.  


Flat Enchiladas

Brown 6 TBS. shortening and 5 rounded TBS. flour
Add 3-4 coups water.  Bring to a boil.
Add 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce.  Bring to a boil again

1 tsp. salt
2 TBS. sugar
2 TBS. chili powder
2 TBS. vinegar
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2-1 tsp. cumin

Layer friend corn tortillas (just slightly fry the tortillas to make them soft) with sauce and cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Top with a fried egg.


Buttermilk Banana Bread

  • This is my favorite banana bread.  It comes out white, not brown-flecked.  Recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.   

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (I use about 3 average sized bananas)
  • 4 tablespoons buttermilk (here is a guide for making your own buttermilk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda

  1. Grease and flour 1 large loaf pan (9 1/4 X 5 1/4-inch) or whatever combination of pans you'd like (several commenters have said this recipe works great made into muffins or smaller loaf pans).
  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs, bananas, buttermilk and vanilla until the batter is well mixed. Add in the flour, baking powder, salt and soda. Mix until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

NOTE:  I made this into muffins and then dipped them in melted butter and then cinnamon and sugar while they were still hot.  YUMMY!


Meyer Lemon Curd

3 to 4 medium Meyer Lemons (about 1 lb.)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

Finely grate enough zest from lemons to measure 2 teaspoons and squeeze enough juice to measure 1/2 cup. Whisk together zest, juice, sugar, and eggs in a metal bowl and add butter. Set bowl over a saucepan of simmer water and cook, whisking. Once mixture gets warm, add the butter in 4 additions, whisking well after each until incorporated. Continue whisking until thickened and smooth and an instant read thermometer registers 160 degrees F. This can take anywhere from 6 to 15 minutes (depending on how well your bowl is conducting heat). Force curd through a fine sieve set into another bowl. Serve warm or cover surface of curd with plastic wrap and cool completely.

*Of course you can make this recipe with regular lemons as well. In that case increase the sugar to 3/4 cup. This curd will keep well covered in the refrigerator for about 1 week.

Lemon Berry Tart

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed but still cold
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. heavy cream
1/3 cup lemon curd (recipe here or buy it in the store)
1 pint raspberries
1/4 cup good seedless raspberry jam, warmed
Powdered sugar for dusting

For the tart: Preheat oven to 425° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat. Unfold the thawed out puff pastry on a lightly flour dusted area and gently roll into a 10x11 inch rectangle. Carefully transfer to your baking sheet.

Brush edges with a little bit of water and fold over all 4 sides to create a lip. Using a fork, poke holes all over the center of your tart. Gently brush the entire tart with an egg wash and sprinkle about 2 tsp. of sugar over the center. Bake until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully with the back of a spoon press the center back down if it has puffed. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

For the filling: In a bowl combine softened cream cheese and powdered sugar. Mix with a hand-mixer or by hand until smooth and the sugar is well incorporated. Add the heavy cream and mix for about 1 minute. Fold in the lemon curd. 

To assemble the tart: Carefully spread your lemon cheesecake mixture over the center of your cooled tart crust. Arrange berries decoratively over the curd and drizzle with the warmed jam. Dust the tart with powdered sugar.

Notes: This tart is best made and eaten on the same day. You can prepare the tart along with the cheesecake filling ahead of time. Refrigerate the filling and assemble the tart right before eating.


Lime Cilantro Pork Tacos

1 lb. pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into thin strips
¼ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly grounded black pepper
2 tsp. olive oil (or veg oil)
1 ½ cups thinly sliced onions
½ cup green pepper, chopped
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
½ cup fat free, less sodium chicken broth
½ cup chopped plum tomato
3 TBS. chopped cilantro
2 ½ TBS. fresh lime juice
8 (6 inch) flour tortillas

Heat in large skillet over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper.  Add oil to pan.  Add pork, and sauté 4 minutes or until browned.  Remove pork from pan, place in bowl.  Add onion and jalapeno to pan, sauté 5 minutes or until tender.  Add broth; reduce heat, and simmer 1 minute, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.  Stir in tomato, and simmer 2 minutes.

Return pork and accumulated juices to pan.  Stir in cilantro and lime juice; cook 1 minute or until pork is done.

Heat tortillas according to package directions.  Spoon ½ cup pork mixture into each tortilla; roll up.

Browning the pork improves its color, and the browned bits enrich the sauce’s flavor, increase the amount of jalapeno pepper if you enjoy spicy foods.  Serve with lime wedges.
Total Time: 30 minutes
Quick Tip: To make the pork tenderloin easier to cut into thin strips, partially freeze it first.