Monday, February 27, 2017

Instant Pot: Italian Pot Roast

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Sunday dinners are commonly thought of being dishes that take a long time to prepare or ones that require a great deal of effort in making. They are also known to be special dishes that entice friends and family to join around the dinner table once a week. Such a dish is pot roast. Because it requires a long braising time to get fork tender meat, Sundays are a perfect time to make this family favorite. But why limit it to Sundays? If you have a slow cooker, you can make this dish any night of the week and it will require no more time than assembling the dish! I've been loving my slow cooker lately and a recent dinner hit I made was this Italian Pot Roast. Tender beef is braised for what tastes like hours - only to be done in a fraction of time with the Instant Pot - for a succulent meal accompanied by baby carrots, mushrooms and a rich gravy spiked with wine...



Pot roast is one of those dishes I especially love during the fall and winter months. There's the comfort food aspect but even more than that, it's a dish that tastes like it required so much time involved. The truth is, if you prepare it in the Instant Pot, it's relatively an easy and quick dish to prepare, leaving the pressure cooker to do all the work and let the flavors shine through. 


There's a few things I really liked about this recipe. First, the meat was super tender and flavorful. No knife needed here to cut through the beef. Second, the gravy this made was rich with Italian flavors. The red onion, oregano, tomatoes, red pepper flakes and mushrooms gave it the Italian touch and worked beautifully. And lastly, the ease in preparing this made it all worth it. After a long day full of things to do and places to go, it was a wonderful feeling to sit down to a meal I only spent a few minutes on. Oh, and let's not forget the leftovers! These make great leftovers as well!


If you don't have an Instant Pot, get the slow cooker/crockpot recipe version here!



Italian Pot Roast
recipe recipe from  Slow Cooker Revolution

8 ounces bacon (about 8 slices), diced

2 onions, chopped medium
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (8 oz) package whole white or cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
2 (2 1/2 - 3 pound) boneless beef chuck roasts cut into 1 pound portions
salt & pepper to taste
1 pound baby carrots
1 (8 oz) package whole white or cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley


In your Instant Pot:


Plug in the IP with insert set in place; Press SAUTE.


Add the diced bacon into the IP and allow to cook until 
crisp, 5-7 minutes.


Add the onions, garlic, oregano, tomato paste, mushrooms and red pepper flakes to the IP and cook over medium high heat until vegetables are softened and lightly browned. 


Stir in the wine, scraping up any browned bits.


Stir in the tomatoes, broth and bay leaves into the IP.


Season the roast with salt and pepper and nestle into the IP. 

Secure the lid of the IP and ensure the valve is set to SEALING.

Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 45 minutes on HIGH pressure.

The display will reflect ON while the IP comes to pressure. Allow a few minutes for your IP to come to pressure.

Once at pressure, the display will reflect 45 (the number of minutes you initially set) and will begin to countdown to 0 minutes.


When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 45 minutes, allow your IP to naturally release pressure for 25 minutes. While naturally releasing pressure (also known as NPR or NR), the display will reflect numbers counting up from 1. The numbers indicate how many minutes the IP has stopped cooking since it beeped (or how many minutes it has been naturally releasing pressure).  No need to touch your IP while it naturally releases pressure. The pin at the top of your IP will drop when all pressure has been released and it's safe to open.

When the display reflects 25 (which is 25 minutes since the IP has beeped) all pressure should have naturally released. If not, turn the setting on top of your IP to VENTING. Doing so allows the IP to quickly release any remaining pressure (also known as QPR or QR). I use a wooden spoon to carefully turn the setting to avoid close contact with the potential steam. You may also want to turn your IP away from cabinets to allow the released steam to escape freely. The pin at the top of your IP will drop when all pressure has been released and it's safe to open.


Open up your IP when the pin has dropped (allow a few minutes for this to happen).

Transfer roasts to cutting board, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 20 minutes. 

Press SAUTE on the IP.


Let the braising liquid settle for 10-15 minutes as the roasts rests and then skim the fat from the braising liquid using a large spoon. Discard the bay leaves and stir in the parsley and carrots; allowing the vegetables to cook for 15-20 minutes while the roasts rests. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Slice the roast into 1/2 inch thick slices, and arrange on a serving platter or serving dish. 


Spoon some sauce over the meat and serve up the carrots with more sauce on the side. Garnish with more parsley if desired.




Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Instant Pot: Root Beer Pulled Pork Sandwiches

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My son's upcoming Cub Scouts banquet has me in preparation mode these days. I'm making a few side dishes, a dessert and also bringing a few two liters of drinks. While grocery shopping for things I need, I noticed root beer was on sale. There's something about root beer that's a little more special than the typical cola, lemon-lime or orange variety. Maybe it's the nostalgia or even the fact it's awesome poured over a mug of vanilla ice cream. But aside from it's obvious sweetness, root beer does well in savory applications too. For example, in these Root Beer Pulled Pork Sandwiches, it's sweetness lends itself well with a homemade bbq sauce and tender, slow cooked pork. You'll be surprised how versatile root beer is after having one of these sandwiches!


When I saw root beer was on sale at the store, I immediately thought of making some root beer floats since we're going through a bit of an unseasonal heat wave for February. But to satisfy savory cravings, I used some rootbeer for this recipe. It's also a recipe that's perfect for the Instant Pot! So grab some root beer, pour some over a few scoops of ice cream, add some more to your Instant Pot with some pork and enjoy a no fuss meal...




Root Beer Pulled Pork Sandwiches
recipe adapted from AllRecipes

1 (2 pound) pork butt or pork shoulder, cut into 4 pieces
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle root beer
BBQ sauce (recipe follows)
8 hamburger buns, split and lightly toasted
BBQ sauce:
1 teaspoon paprika
1/3 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons light molasses
2 tablespoons grated onion
2 tablespoons Worcestershire suace
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon liquid smoke



In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP with insert set in place.


Add the pork and rootbeer into the IP.

Secure the lid of the IP and ensure the valve is set to SEALING.

Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 60 minutes on HIGH pressure.

The display will reflect ON while the IP comes to pressure. Allow a few minutes for your IP to come to pressure.

Once at pressure, the display will reflect 60 (the number of minutes you initially set) and will begin to countdown to 0 minutes.

When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 60 minutes, allow your IP to naturally release pressure for 15 minutes. While naturally releasing pressure (also known as NPR or NR), the display will reflect numbers counting up from 1. The numbers indicate how many minutes the IP has stopped cooking since it beeped (or how many minutes it has been naturally releasing pressure).  No need to touch your IP while it naturally releases pressure.

When the display reflects 15 (which is 15 minutes since the IP has beeped), turn the setting on top of your IP to VENTING. Doing so allows the IP to quickly release pressure (also known as QPR or QR). I use a wooden spoon to carefully turn the setting to avoid close contact with the potential steam. You may also want to turn your IP away from cabinets to allow the released steam to escape freely. The pin at the top of your IP will drop when all pressure has been released and it's safe to open.


Open up your IP when the pin has dropped (allow a few minutes for this to happen).

Remove the pork from the slow cooker and transfer into a large bowl. Discard the remaining liquid in the IP and return the pork back to the now empty IP.

Whisk the BBQ sauce ingredients in a medium bowl; Add the BBQ sauce to the pork in the IP and shred as you toss to coat. Fill the hamburger buns with the pork and serve.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Warm Sticky Bun Bread Pudding Recipe

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I've been cherishing my weekends more than ever lately since my workweeks have been extremely long and tedious. And this past weekend, my husband and I went on a little brunch date in the city, compliments of my friends at Grand Luxe Cafe. They invited us to visit and enjoy a wonderful brunch and we were delighted with all the offerings.

We kicked off our brunch with their famous Beignets. These were light as air, crusted in glorious powdered sugar and if that wasn't enough for your sweet tooth, the basket of beignets were accompanied with a vanilla cream, chocolate sauce, whiskey maple sauce and cinnamon sugar.

My husband was in the mood for a hearty sandwich so he ordered the Grand Club Sandwich. This sandwich was stuffed with fresh roasted turkey, crisp applewood smoked bacon, arugula, tomato and mayonnaise on perfectly toasted bread. To balance the meal, he enjoyed the sandwich with a side salad.

If anyone knows me well, it's no surprise I ordered "The Best" Eggs Benedict with Ham & Hollandaise. I'm a sucker for eggs benedicts during brunch because I know how involved it can be to make. The Grand Luxe Cafe version did not disappoint, as seen with the perfectly poached egg and the glorious yolk!

Just when we thought we had enough, we managed to squeeze a tiny bit of room to share a special dessert - Warm Sticky Bun Bread Pudding. This amazing dessert is made with bread cubes toasted in cinnamon spices, then baked in a silky custard. To serve, a heaping portion is garnished with whipped cream, drizzled with a whisky caramel sauce and sprinkled with sugared pecans for good measure.

Did you know that National Sticky Bun Day is coming soon? This sweet day falls on Tuesday, February 21st. Enjoying this dessert was the perfect ending to our special brunch. And as a special treat, my friends at Grand Luxe Cafe provided me with their recipe for their Warm Sticky Bun Bread Pudding! I'm sharing it with you so you can celebrate on Tuesday... but if you happen to live near a Grand Luxe Cafe, I highly encourage you to visit and indulge in the plethora of offerings they have!

The recipe below calls for brioche or challah bread. I've also had great and delicious success making it with other breads. A favorite brand of bread my family enjoys is from La Brea Bakery. Originally from Los Angeles, California, the brand is readily available at many supermarkets. If you want to mute the sweetness of the bread pudding, try using any La Brea Bakery Reserve loaves.


Warm Sticky Bun Bread Pudding Recipe
recipe from Grand Luxe Cafe

1 pound Brioche or Challah, cubed (or La Brea Bakery Reserve loaves)
2 sticks (8oz) unsalted butter,melted
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt

Custard:
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
4 eggs
4 egg yolk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place bread cubs in a large mixing bowl.

Combine the butter, sugars and spices in medium mixing bowl, whisking to combine. Pour mixture over the bread cubes, tossing to fully coat.

Transfer coated bread cubes onto a 9x13 baking dish..

Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Stir bread cubes halfway through.

While bread is toasting, prepare the custard. In a large bowl, whisk together milk, heavy cream, eggs, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla.

Once the bread has toasted, remove the baking dish from the oven. Pour the custard mixture over the bread cubes and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes before resuming baking.

Reduce the heat of the oven to 300 degrees.

Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the 300 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Remove foil from baking dish and continue to bake for an addition 20-25 minutes or until light golden brown and the custard has set. You can test the custard by inserting a paring knife into the center of the pudding. If the knife comes away clean or with very little pudding clinging to it, the pudding is ready.

Allow the pudding to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.

To serve, top the pudding with toasted pecans and warm caramel sauce. Service with either vanilla ice cream or creme anglaise.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Instant Pot & Slow Cooker: Pork Chops alla Pizzaiola

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Recently, I scored a great deal on pork chops so I have a few recipes on hand to play with. One recipe was for these Pork Chops alla Pizzaiola. Browned pork chops are cooked in a simple pan sauce of tomatoes, and seasoned with Herbs de Provence with a pinch of red pepper flakes. It's fail-proof and if you're a fan of make ahead/slow cooker recipes, this one adapts well!...


If you're hesitant to cook pork chops in the Instant Pot or Slow Cooker because they tend to come out dry and flavorless, this will change your mind. For this recipe, the pork chops are nicely browned to develop some flavor right off the bat. Then they simmer in a tomato sauce seasoned with Herbs de Provence, keeping them moist and juicy. You can find Herbs de Provence at most supermarkets in the spice aisle. But if it's not available, you can make your own blend with this recipe. I've also included directions for making this dish ahead and adapted for your slow cooker. If you prefer to try this on the stovetop, get the stovetop recipe version here!

Pork Chops alla Pizzaiola
recipe from Giada DeLaurentiis

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 (1-inch thick) bone-in pork loin center-cut chops (about 12 ounces each)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, in juice
1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or more to taste
Garnish: 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves


In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP with insert set in place.


Add oil into IP and press SAUTE. 

Season the pork chops with salt and pepper. Add the pork chops to the IP; cook until they are brown and an instant-read meat thermometer inserted horizontally into the pork registers 160 degrees F, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the pork chops to a plate and tent with foil to keep them warm.

Add the onion to the now empty IP and saute until softened, about 4 minutes. 

Add the tomatoes with their juices, herbes de Provence, and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes. 

Return the pork chops to the IP with any accumulated juices from the plate. 

Secure the lid of the IP and ensure the valve is set to SEALING.

Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 5 minutes on HIGH pressure.

The display will reflect ON while the IP comes to pressure. Allow a few minutes for your IP to come to pressure.

Once at pressure, the display will reflect 5 (the number of minutes you initially set) and will begin to countdown to 0 minutes.

When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 5 minutes, allow your IP to naturally release pressure for 10 minutes. While naturally releasing pressure (also known as NPR or NR), the display will reflect numbers counting up from 1. The numbers indicate how many minutes the IP has stopped cooking since it beeped (or how many minutes it has been naturally releasing pressure).  No need to touch your IP while it naturally releases pressure.

When the display reflects 10 (which is 10 minutes since the IP has beeped), turn the setting on top of your IP to VENTING. Doing so allows the IP to quickly release pressure (also known as QPR or QR). I use a wooden spoon to carefully turn the setting to avoid close contact with the potential steam. You may also want to turn your IP away from cabinets to allow the released steam to escape freely. The pin at the top of your IP will drop when all pressure has been released and it's safe to open.


Open up your IP when the pin has dropped (allow a few minutes for this to happen).

Place 1 pork chop on each plate. Spoon the sauce over the pork chops. Sprinkle with the parsley for garnish.


In your Slow Cooker


Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle the pork chops with salt and pepper. Add the pork chops to the skillet and cook until they are brown and an instant-read meat thermometer inserted horizontally into the pork registers 160 degrees F, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the pork chops to a slow cooker / crockpot.

Cook on high for 4-6 hours or low for 6-8 hours.

To serve. place 1 pork chop on each plate. Spoon the sauce over the pork chops. Sprinkle with the parsley for garnish.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Instant Pot Huli Huli Chicken

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If there is anywhere in the world I would love to live the rest of my life, it would be Hawaii. It's been years since I've last been and I know someday I will be back... for good. Someday. Until then, I can only dream about the days I eat common dishes found in Hawaii. One such dish is this Huli Huli Chicken. This recipe involves braising chicken in a sweet sauce in the Instant Pot. You could even take it a step further and broil or grill the chicken after pressure cooking, but we loved it as is. The best part of this chicken dish is definitely the sauce. It's sweet, salty with a subtle tartness....

The sauce includes crushed pineapple, brown sugar, ketchup, lime juice, soy sauce, garlic and ginger. It may seem like an odd combination but trust me... over time, this concoction will create something pretty delicious. For fellow gluten free foodies, I used tamari in place of soy sauce. You can also use liquid aminos as well. I adapted this recipe by using crushed pineapple and adding some color with the addition of colorful bell peppers. Rather than broiling the chicken to finish after braising, I served it as is with its juices over steamed rice. It was very similar to a sweeter version of the popular Filipino Adobo. This is another dish you can prep for a make ahead slow cooker meal. Get the slow cooker version here!


Instant Pot Huli Huli Chicken
recipe adapted from Slow Cooker Revolution

2/3 cups crushed pineapple, undrained

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup soy sauce (or gluten free tamari or liquid aminos)
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons minced or grated ginger
4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces
1 1/2 cup chopped mixed bell peppers
In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP with insert set in place.

Press SAUTE and add crushed pineapple, brown sugar, ketchup, lime juice, soy sauce, garlic and ginger. Cook for 5 minutes or until thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Season chicken with salt and pepper; add to IP and coat evenly with sauce.

Secure the lid of the IP and ensure the valve is set to SEALING.

Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 25 minutes on HIGH pressure.

The display will reflect ON while the IP comes to pressure. Allow a few minutes for your IP to come to pressure.

Once at pressure, the display will reflect 25 (the number of minutes you initially set) and will begin to countdown to 0 minutes.

When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 25 minutes, allow your IP to naturally release pressure for 10 minutes. While naturally releasing pressure (also known as NPR or NR), the display will reflect numbers counting up from 1. The numbers indicate how many minutes the IP has stopped cooking since it beeped (or how many minutes it has been naturally releasing pressure).  No need to touch your IP while it naturally releases pressure.

While chicken is naturally releasing pressure, heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add oil and when hot, add bell peppers. Sauté peppers until slightly softened; remove from heat and set aside.

When the display reflects 10 (which is 10 minutes since the IP has beeped), turn the setting on top of your IP to VENTING. Doing so allows the IP to quickly release pressure (also known as QPR or QR). I use a wooden spoon to carefully turn the setting to avoid close contact with the potential steam. You may also want to turn your IP away from cabinets to allow the released steam to escape freely. The pin at the top of your IP will drop when all pressure has been released and it's safe to open.


Open up your IP when the pin has dropped (allow a few minutes for this to happen).

Add bell pepper and stir to combine.

Transfer to a serving dish and enjoy with rice.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Instant Pot & Slow Cooker: Spicy Mexican Pork & Rice

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Rice is the fiber of my being... and if ever given a choice between rice or something else, I will choose rice. It's no wonder I lean towards to a lot of Asian and Latin cuisines because of the many ways rice is incorporated in so many of their dishes. This Spicy Mexican Pork & Rice recipes is one of my favorites because of the way rice cooks with the pork and seasonings. I especially like this more the next day when flavors have been given a chance to meld...



Several years ago, I made this dish on the stove top. It worked wonderfully but as you may have guessed, it took quite a bit of time - nearly 2 1/2 hours! Granted, it was well worth the wait, but these days when my schedule is tight, I just don't have that same time to spend. Get the Stove Top recipe version here!

I found that I could adjust this recipe for a slow cooker, where I could prepare it, set it and forget it for several hours. The slow cooker version is great and I loved how it came out. So I plan on using the slow cooker for those days I have everything ready and can have it cook all day...then my husband can finish the dish in the oven in time for dinner. I've included the slow cooker recipe below!

And I also tested the recipe with some adjustments for the Instant Pot. This also came out wonderfully where the major draw is cutting the cook time to less than an hour with minimal prep. Another bonus was being able to cook the entire dish in one pot. Score! I've also included the Instant Pot recipe below too.

So, regardless of how you prefer to make this amazing, comforting and flavorful dish, I've got you covered for the stove top, slow cooker and Instant Pot! 


Spicy Mexican Pork & Rice
recipe from Cooks Illustrated

2-pound boneless pork butt roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
salt and ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium onions, minced
3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press
1 tablespoon minced chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves or 1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
Juice of 1 fresh lime

Garnish or for serving:
fresh chopped cilantro
lime slices or wedges
shredded cheese
sour cream
fresh chopped avocado



In your Slow Cooker / Crock Pot:

Pat pork dry with paper towels and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. 

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large Dutch oven or pan over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add half of pork and brown on all sides, 7 to 10 minutes; transfer to slow cooker. Repeat with remaining tablespoon oil and remaining pork; transfer to slow cooker.

In the same Dutch oven or pan, In the now empty Dutch oven or pan, add onion to rendered fat and oil left in pot and sauté until softened. 

Stir in garlic, chipotle, thyme and oregano and cook until fragrant.

Stir in broth and tomato sauce, scraping any browned bits.

Pour sauce over pork in slow cooker. 

Cover and cook on high for 6-8 hours or low for 8-10 hours. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Carefully remove the crockpot insert from the crockpot and thoroughly stir in rice. Cover with foil and bake in the preheated oven until all rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed, 20 to 30 minutes, gently stirring rice from bottom of pot to top every 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and stir in cilantro and lime juice; season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

To serve, garnish with more cilantro, a sprinkling of cheese, lime and some freshly chopped avocado.

** All Crock-Pot® slow cooker removable crockery inserts (without lid) may be used safely in the oven set up to 400°F.



In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP with insert set in place.


Pat pork dry with paper towels and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Press SAUTE and add half the oil. When hot, add half of pork and brown on all sides, 7 to 10 minutes; transfer to large bowl. Repeat with remaining tablespoon oil and remaining pork; transfer to bowl.


In the now empty pot, add onion to rendered fat and oil left in pot and sauté until softened. Stir in garlic, chipotle, thyme and oregano and cook until fragrant.

Stir in broth and tomato sauce, scraping any browned bits. Add browned pork with accumulated juice and bring to simmer. 


Secure the lid of the IP and ensure the valve is set to SEALING.

Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 35 minutes on HIGH pressure.

The display will reflect ON while the IP comes to pressure. Allow a few minutes for your IP to come to pressure.

Once at pressure, the display will reflect 35 (the number of minutes you initially set) and will begin to countdown to 0 minutes.

When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 35 minutes, carefully turn the setting on top of your IP to VENTING. Doing so allows the IP to quickly release pressure (also known as QPR or QR). I use a wooden spoon to carefully turn the setting to avoid close contact with the potential steam. You may also want to turn your IP away from cabinets to allow the released steam to escape freely. The pin at the top of your IP will drop when all pressure has been released and it's safe to open.


Open up your IP when the pin has dropped (allow a few minutes for this to happen).

Add the rice to the pot and thoroughly stir in. 


Secure the lid of the IP once again and ensure the valve is set to SEALING.

Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 6 minutes on HIGH pressure.

The display will reflect ON while the IP comes to pressure. Allow a few minutes for your IP to come to pressure.

Once at pressure, the display will reflect 6 (the number of minutes you initially set) and will begin to countdown to 0 minutes.

When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 6 minutes, allow your IP to naturally release pressure for 10 minutes. While naturally releasing pressure (also known as NPR or NR), the display will reflect numbers counting up from 1. The numbers indicate how many minutes the IP has stopped cooking since it beeped (or how many minutes it has been naturally releasing pressure).  No need to touch your IP while it naturally releases pressure.

When the display reflects 10 (which is 10 minutes since the IP has beeped), turn the setting on top of your IP to VENTING. Doing so allows the IP to quickly release pressure (also known as QPR or QR). I use a wooden spoon to carefully turn the setting to avoid close contact with the potential steam. You may also want to turn your IP away from cabinets to allow the released steam to escape freely. The pin at the top of your IP will drop when all pressure has been released and it's safe to open.

Open up your IP when the pin has dropped (allow a few minutes for this to happen).

Stir in cilantro and lime juice; season with salt and pepper to taste. 

To serve, garnish with more cilantro, a sprinkling of cheese, lime and some freshly chopped avocado.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Instant Pot: Spaghetti Bolognese

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Spaghetti was my jam back in the day. In fact, I had a childhood photo stuffing my face with spaghetti on the kitchen table that I still cherish. So even at a young age, spaghetti was a favorite dish. These days, I tend to cook gluten free pasta for myself and regular pasta for my boys. My husband is pretty amazing because he loves to help out in the kitchen during our spaghetti dinners. However, it's quite a production with all the pots and pans and baking sheets used to make our beloved spaghetti. One pot for pasta (which takes forever to get boiling). One pot for sauce. If you ask me, it's one pot too many! Enter the Instant Pot. I now love spaghetti nights even more because everything can be made in it!


I usually like to prepare for our spaghetti dinners with a big pot of bolognese sauce. This is my favorite sauce because its loaded with ground chuck, finely diced carrots, celery, onions and garlic and a myriad of seasonings. Everything gets cooked in the Instant Pot and the result is enough sauce for several pasta dinners. 

But even after the pasta sauce is made, we love how we can toss in dried spaghetti, a few cups of sauce, a few cups of water, seal the lid and minutes later, dinner is ready. Below is the recipe for my go-to bolognese sauce to make in the Instant Pot and how to make One Pot Spaghetti Bolognese immediately following. 

If you would rather use a Slow Cooker,  you can get the Slow Cooker recipe version here!

Instant Pot Spaghetti Bolognese
recipe adapted from Real Simple

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
    3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef chuck
  • 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
    1 teaspoon dried basil
    1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds meatballs (frozen or fresh, homemade or store bought)
  • 3/4 pound spaghetti or GF spaghetti
  • grated Parmesan, for serving

In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP with insert set in place.

Press SAUTE and add oil. When hot, add onions, garlic, carrots, and celery cooking until softened. 

Add ground beef and cook until browned.


Add the tomato paste, wine, oregano, thyme, bay leaf, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and sugar. 

Add meatballs and stir to combine.

Secure the lid of the IP and ensure the valve is set to SEALING.

Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 20 minutes on HIGH pressure.

The display will reflect ON while the IP comes to pressure. Allow a few minutes for your IP to come to pressure.

Once at pressure, the display will reflect 20 (the number of minutes you initially set) and will begin to countdown to 0 minutes.

When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 20 minutes, allow your IP to naturally release pressure for 10 minutes. While naturally releasing pressure (also known as NPR or NR), the display will reflect numbers counting up from 1. The numbers indicate how many minutes the IP has stopped cooking since it beeped (or how many minutes it has been naturally releasing pressure).  No need to touch your IP while it naturally releases pressure.

When the display reflects 10 (which is 10 minutes since the IP has beeped), turn the setting on top of your IP to VENTING. Doing so allows the IP to quickly release pressure (also known as QPR or QR). I use a wooden spoon to carefully turn the setting to avoid close contact with the potential steam. You may also want to turn your IP away from cabinets to allow the released steam to escape freely. The pin at the top of your IP will drop when all pressure has been released and it's safe to open.


Open up your IP when the pin has dropped (allow a few minutes for this to happen).

Prepare the spaghetti according to package directions just prior to serving. 

Serve bolognese sauce over spaghetti as is or with meatballs. Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. 

* This makes a nice amount to use and jar up for future meals. Alternatively, you can cook this prepared sauce (or any other jarred sauce) and spaghetti noodles together for a true one pot meal.

One Pot Spaghetti Bolognese

1 pound dried spaghetti
3 1/2 cups bolognese sauce above (or your favorite pasta sauce)
3 cups water


In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP with insert set in place.

Add dry pasta, pasta sauce and water. Stir to combine. Ensure pasta is covered entirely with liquid. If not, add enough water to cover.

Secure the lid of the IP and ensure the valve is set to SEALING.

Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 6 minutes on HIGH pressure.

The display will reflect ON while the IP comes to pressure. Allow a few minutes for your IP to come to pressure.

Once at pressure, the display will reflect 6 (the number of minutes you initially set) and will begin to countdown to 0 minutes.

When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 6 minutes, place a kitchen towel on top of the setting knob and carefully turn the setting on top of your IP to VENTING. Doing so allows the IP to quickly release pressure (also known as QRP or QR). Note - it may get messy, which is why I use a kitchen towel over the setting to reduce spray from the IP. I also use a wooden spoon to carefully turn the setting to avoid close contact with the potential steam. You may also want to turn your IP away from cabinets to allow the released steam to escape freely. The pin at the top of your IP will drop when all pressure has been released and it's safe to open.

Open up your IP when the pin has dropped (allow a few minutes for this to happen).


Serve and garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. 
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