Instant Pot Pot Roast

[Mostly written in January 2019, posted way late :/] I finally got an Instant Pot! Well, we got it – my husband and me, from my husband’s parents for Christmas. I’ve been considering it for at least two years… I see so many people rave about it. But I wasn’t sure what it would add over my existing kitchen implements. Now that I have an infant, though, and less time to cook, I thought it was finally time to get one and cut down on cooking time.

I’m still learning how to use it. The first two things I did were steamed broccoli and steamed artichokes. The artichokes were a little over steamed and the broccoli was way over steamed. And I’m not sure it cuts out time for steaming. Maybe for the artichokes it did. Then I made butternut squash soup. This went better. I’m not totally sure it was less work/time than making it in a Dutch oven, but it was pretty easy and quick.

And then today, I made a pot roast with potatoes, carrots, and onions. I had a 2.5 lb bottom round roast from Butcher Box. I looked up a recipe to make it in the Instant Pot and found this one from La Creme de la Crumb, which also called for carrots and potatoes – two things I had on my counter and needed a plan for. Check.

I used chicken stock, because that’s what I had on hand, and only 3 cups because that’s what I had and I forgot to add an extra cup of water until after I’d closed the lid and the pressure was building. My roast was smaller than in the recipe, so I hoped it would be ok. It was. I also did the pressure cooking step for 55 minutes instead of 60-80, again since my roast was smaller. I actually think this was a bad decision and that the meat would have benefited from a little more cooking time. It was a litttttttle tough to shred. But I didn’t need to shred it a ton, just into chunks.

It was so nice to do all the steps in one pot! And I made gravy! I’ve never made gravy. Clean up was super easy. I didn’t have to watch or stir or check or anything (except a bit during the gravy-making stage). It still took a while, but would’ve taken way longer on the stove or in the oven. I’m hooked.

I ate it for dinner over some kale to get some greens in. I meant to give Gabriel some of the meat to suck on when I fed him solids for dinner, but I forgot.

We had leftovers for several meals. I’m not sure pot roast ever has been or will be a favorite meal of mine, but I would definitely consider doing it in the Instant Pot again!

Salad Jars

In summer 2014, I started making jars in salads. I think I first got the idea from PopSugar, which reposts the same thing every month, it seems. It has changed my life, and my lunch. I generally make them for the week on Sundays. Sometimes, if I’ve traveled over the weekend or was just too busy, I’ll make them Monday evenings for the rest of the week. I use quart size Mason jars. I usually make four, since I telework one day each week. And then I’m good to go. It’s amazing.


The general process is this:

  1. Dressing at the bottom. I’ll keep it simple with oil and vinegar or citrus, or get a little more fancy. I make enough for all four jars and then pour it among them.
  2. Beans (if using) next. For four jars, I’ll usually use one can of beans, which comes out to almost a 1/2 cup of beans per jar. If I’m not going to have other protein, or I just generally feel like I’ll need more calories, I might double that.
  3. Hard vegetables next – bell peppers, carrots, and/or celery.
  4. Softer vegetables next – mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumber, roasted sweet potato. If you were going to add something like rice or quinoa, I’d do it here.
  5. Lettuce/spinach/other greens near the top. Make sure it’s dry. This is not the most difficult part of making salad jars, but it can take the longest. If I have to wash the greens, I’ll do that first, salad-spin them, and them lay them out on paper towels for 1-2 hour until really dry. Otherwise they’ll get wilty and slimy in the jars by the end of the week. Also, I don’t use kale in salad jars. It seems like kale would be a good choice since it’s hearty and holds up better, but, in my experience, kale gets really smelly when cooped up in jars for several days, so that when I open it to eat it, my officemates come round asking what disposal got backed up.

I do all that and cap the jars and put them in the fridge.

6. Protein/fat – The night before or the morning of the day I plan to eat them, I’ll add protein or fat to the top, such as grilled chicken, tofu, or avocado.

I keep a large plastic bowl at work. When I’m ready to eat the salad, I’ll dump it all into my bowl and chow down.

I’ve made all sorts of salads, but my go-to when I’m not feeling creative includes:

  • Dressing of olive oil, lime juice, cumin, salt, and pepper
  • Black beans
  • Red bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, and any other vegetables I want to get rid of or use. In the late summer, this included roasted zucchini.
  • Spinach
  • Grilled chicken and/or avocado



I’m happy to say I’ve inspired others. My sister sent me these pictures a few weeks ago of her taco salad and quinoa asian salad.