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Have you ever planned something for dinner, but then wanted something completely different? So then what you had planned does not sound good to you at all? That’s kind of what happened with this meal.

It was Saturday, and the plan for the day was to drive up to Salt Lake to scout out some photo locations. So that morning before we left, I prepped dinner and threw it in the slow cooker. Of course I would choose that morning to not really eat any breakfast, and I left the house hungry. As we were driving around, we kept passing restaurants that we don’t have down where I live, and I’m immediately hungry. My husband asks if I want to stop somewhere, but it’s raining outside, we have the dog with us, and my daughter is asleep in the back seat. It was easier to just pass everything by. Several hours pass, and soon, we are on our way back home. We get home, and suddenly, I get a big time craving for a hot dog from Costco. Yeah, weird craving – I know!! (And no – I’m not pregnant!) Dinner is almost ready, since I started the slow cooker that morning, but all I keep thinking to myself is how it does not sound good at all to me right now. But I can’t very well go out and get dinner when I have dinner almost ready at home. So I stop complaining, and soon, dinner is served.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that when something doesn’t sound very good, it usually just doesn’t taste very good. But this was so much better than I was expecting!! At the end of the meal, my plate was empty, and I was wondering why this didn’t sound good to start with!! I didn’t have any cilantro (the darn grocery store was out when I went shopping) and I think that would have really made a great addition, but the recipe was still good without it. The only change I would have made would have been to add the peppers halfway through instead of at the beginning, because they were pretty soft, and I like them with a little bit more of a bite. But it was delicious – and it’s so much healthier than a Costco hot dog!


Cuban Braised Beef and Peppers
Prep time
Total time
A take on the Cuban dish ropa viejo, this beef is slow cooked with tomatoes, peppers and onions and served over rice.
Serves: 4 servings
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 red bell peppers, sliced ½-inch thick
  • 1 onion, cut into 8 wedges
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 1 /2 pounds flank steak, cut crosswise into thirds
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
  1. In a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, oregano, cumin, 1½ teaspoons salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Nestle the steak among the vegetables. Cook, covered, until the meat is tender and pulls apart easily, on high for 4 to 5 hours or on low for 7 to 8 hours.
  2. Twenty-five minutes before serving, cook the rice according to the package directions.
  3. Using two forks, shred the beef and mix it into the cooking liquid. Serve with the rice and top with the avocado and cilantro.
  4. ------------------
  5. From Real Simple December 2009

Others who have made this recipe:

Girl About Town
Dreamy Dish

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24 Responses to Cuban Braised Beef and Peppers

  1. Valerie says:

    I always make the menu myself, but sometimes when I start to make the meal, I don't think it sounds as good as the few days before when I planned it–just like you. I'm glad you ended up liking it. It sounds like it would be good with the cilantro. It's too easy not to give it a try.

  2. kat says:

    I find when I get too hungry nothing sounds good even though all want to do is eat

  3. kat says:

    I find when I get too hungry nothing sounds good even though all want to do is eat

  4. kat says:

    I find when I get too hungry nothing sounds good even though all want to do is eat

  5. kat says:

    I find when I get too hungry nothing sounds good even though all want to do is eat

  6. kat says:

    I find when I get too hungry nothing sounds good even though all want to do is eat

  7. Joanne says:

    I totally have had that experience. Especially with slow cooker dishes for some reason. I think it's because you have to set them up so early in the day that you'll never know what you'll be craving 8-10 hours later. At least this tasted good in the end! It certainly looks delicious.

  8. Abby says:

    I know exactly what you mean! When I stray from my menu plan I end up messing it ALL up because I use ingredients meant for something else!

    But no matter when a dish turns out fabulous. This looks so good. Simple but perfect.

  9. Chef Aimee says:

    Looks so delicious – the beef and the avocado are so inviting as flavors together! I am not a fan of cilantro so am kind of glad to hear this worked so well despite the fact that the market was out of it!

  10. bridezillabakes says:

    Haha! We are notoriously unfaithful to our planned recipes…. something always happens to prevent the follow through! I'm glad that sticking with the plan worked out for you guys this time — the recipe looks great 🙂

  11. Maria says:

    I am glad you enjoyed the meal!

  12. teresa says:

    don't you love that! a lot of times the opposite happens to me and it's such a disappointment. this look absolutely delicious!

  13. grace says:

    great, now i want a hot dog. 🙂

  14. The Double Dipped Life says:

    This looks MUCH better than a Costco Hot dog!

  15. Sophie says:

    Such a fresh light meal, I'd love some with avocado!

    I've actually been craving hot dogs for awhile now too! I temporarily forgot about it until now :D. Haha!

  16. Danielle says:

    I'm making this as I type. My kitchen smells delicious and it was so easy to throw together. Can't wait to take a bite!

  17. junecutie says:

    This sounds so good! Whenever I don’t want to eat what I’ve already prepared for dinner, I tell myself that overnite in the fridge will marry the flavors; and it will taste much better tomorrow. Then, I eat what I’m craving when I’m craving it. I know, I know. I treat myself very well! By the way, I really love your blog and recipes. Could you add a “printer friendly” button to make things easier? Thank you.

    • Deborah says:

      @junecutie, thanks so much! My newer recipes have a printer friendly option, and I’m working on working back through the archives to update the format. I need to do this one next!

  18. Kathy Todd says:

    What the hell is cutting cross wise into thirds? Yeah, I’m crabby this morning!

  19. CZECKCOQUI says:

    so…. cross wise means on the broader side, right? i’m confused…

    • Deborah says:

      @CZECKCOQUI, you want it in 3 pieces to fit in the slow cooker easier. For me, it was to cut it into 3 pieces, not so that I had 3 long pieces, but 3 short pieces. You can just cut it however you need to to make it fit your slow cooker the easiest.

  20. czeckcoqui says:

    thanks!! i understand perfectly now that you explain this way

  21. jackie says:

    Making this with chicken instead of beef- think it will turn out pretty good

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