Friday, July 21, 2017

Instant Pot: Tortellini Alfredo

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Lately my days have been busy as I'm back to work after a long recovery from a major foot injury. However I have managed to get some cooking time squeezed in. For example, this Tortellini Alfredo was a dish I whipped up in less than 20 minutes... so cooking is still possible despite a busy schedule. So if I'm able to get a meal on the table with minimal time, I'm sure others can too!

This recipe is really all about the alfredo sauce. Forget the prepared jars of sauce at the store... it's just as easy to make a good alfredo sauce from scratch. You can pair it with any pasta and/or vegetable of your choice because in my book, alfredo sauce makes things taste better. In this case, I tossed the alfredo sauce with cheese tortellini, peas and some bacon.

Tortellini Alfredo
recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated

3 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
9 ounces fresh tortellini (homemade or storebought)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated (about 3/4 cup)
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup frozen peas, slightly thawed
1/4 cup chopped cooked bacon


In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP with insert set in place.


Add water, salt and tortellini pasta to the IP.

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

Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 3 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 3 (the number of minutes you initially set) and will begin to countdown to 0 minutes.

When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 3 minutes, urn 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).

Press SAUTE and add heavy cream, butter, Parmigiano-Reggiano, pepper and nutmeg; bring to a boil to thicken the sauce. Add the peas and bacon; cooking until warmed through, serve immediately.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Instant Pot: Shrimp Jambalaya

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We are most definitely a rice loving family so any dish made with rice is always welcomed to the table. When my husband suggested a dish using shrimp for dinner, I happily decided to make this Shrimp Jambalaya. It's chock full of sausage, shrimp and vegetables and it's a wonderful one pot meal, especially for the fall. The trick to this dish is the rice though. It has to be cooked just right otherwise you'll end up with a gummy mess...

What I like about this recipe is that everything is cooked in one pot, making clean up a breeze. However, when rice is involved, it could get a little tricky. There are some rice dishes have a tendency to get gummy when overcooked or gritty when undercooked. And when it comes to jambalaya, when I've made it in the past on the stovetop, there's that potential for the bottom to get all burnt and crusty. For this recipe, the dish is pressure cooked and it ensures the rice won't scorch on the bottom. Also, if you can't find andouille sausage, you can substitute it with a beef sausage and add extra cajun seasoning to taste for that extra kick of flavor.

Shrimp Jambalaya
recipe from Cook's Illustrated The Best Ever Recipes

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
8 ounces andouille sausage, halved lengthwise & cut crosswise into 1/4 inch half moons
1 onion, minced (about 1 cup)
1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped fine
2 stalks celery, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning or to your tastes
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained with 1/4 cup juice reserved
2 (8 ounce) bottles clam juice
1 bay leaf
1 pound shell on shrimp (31 to 40 per pound)
2 scallions, sliced thin


In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP with insert set in place.


Press SAUTE and add oil. When hot, add sausage, onions, garlic, bell pepper and celery; cooking until softened.

Add the rice, tomato paste, salt, Cajun seasoning and thyme and cook until the rice is coated with fat. Stir in the tomatoes, reserved tomato juice, clam juice, bay leaf and shrimp, 

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 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. 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 L: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 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).

Remove the bay leaf and fold in the scallions while fluffing up the rice.  Serve immediately.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Instant Pot: Teriyaki Pork & Broccoli Stir Fry

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Stir fries are a time saving dinner. Everything pretty much comes together quickly in a stir fry, assuming all the ingredients (protein, vegetables, aromatics, etc) are prepped in advance. In this Teriyaki Pork & Broccoli Stir Fry, I had everything on hand so dinner was on the table in no time. Seriously, these days, dinner can't get on the table soon enough so this meal was much appreciated! Pork tenderloin and frozen broccoli florets are tossed in a quick teriyaki sauce made with garlic, onions, ginger, soy sauce (or in our case, GF tamari), chicken broth and brown sugar, which was thickened with cornstarch. It hit the spot and I don't think there were even any leftovers between The Baron, Joel and myself! That's a good sign that this recipe is a keeper...

When it comes to stir fries, the most time consuming part of these recipes is the prep work on the protein, vegetables and aromatics. If you can prep these things before hand and have them ready to throw into the Instant Pot, you can easily have this meal done in less than 15 minutes. In fact, the rice will probably take longer to cook so start on that first. I served our stir fry with a garlic & vegetable fried rice, using up leftover rice from the night before.


Teriyaki Pork & Broccoli Stir Fry
recipe adapted from Taste of Home


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound pork tenderloin, thinly sliced
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 cups frozen broccoli florets
2/3 cups soy sauce (or GF tamari)
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated


In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP with insert set in place.


Press SAUTE and add oil; when shimmering add the onion and garlic. Cook until softened.


Add the pork and 1 cup of broth to the IP.

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, 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).


Press SAUTE and add frozen broccoli.



Combine the cornstarch, soy sauce/tamari, brown sugar and ginger in a small bowl. Stir mixture into the IP and bring to a boil. Allow the sauce to thicken, about 2 minutes. 

Serve with steamed rice.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Instant Pot: Alfredo Chicken, Spinach & Artichoke Lasagna

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Article first published as Alfredo Chicken, Spinach & Artichoke Lasagna on Blogcritics.

It's that time of year where I'm all about comfort food and one of my favorites is a serving of lasagna. There are so many variations on lasagna and the most recent one I made is this Alfredo Chicken, Spinach & Artichoke Lasagna. A spinach artichoke mixture is mixed with creamy alfredo sauce and layered with shredded chicken, mozzarella cheese and noodles. Seriously, what's not to love about that combination?!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Instant Pot: Blue Cheese & Caramelized Onion Meatloaf

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When it comes to flavor and ingredient combinations, I like to bring together things that are already familiar and incorporate them into a dish that's unexpected. It's a fun way to put a twist on classic foods. Tonight, I gave a classic meatloaf a fun new twist with this Blue Cheese & Caramelized Onion Meatloaf. Blue cheese and caramelized onions are a delicious duo on many things like pizza, pasta and even on steak... so why not incorporate these same ingredients in a meatloaf? Each bite has a taste of tangy blue cheese and sweet caramelized onions all mixed in. You just may look at meatloaf in a whole different light...

You can prepare this in a few ways aside from the usual meatloaf pan. Kids will love this cooked in a muffin pan. Or you can even bake in mini baking loaves for individual servings. You can even ditch the idea of meatloaf and roll the meat mixture into meatballs for a delicious appetizer. However you decide, you can't go wrong! I served  this with a spinach and mushroom mashed potato which paired with the flavors wonderfully!


Blue Cheese & Caramelized Onion Meatloaf
recipe adapted from Food

cup breadcrumbs {or gluten free crackers, processed into crumbs}
1/4
 cup
 crumbled blue cheese
pound 80/20
 ground beef
egg (slightly beaten)1/2 cup caramelized onions
salt and pepper to taste


In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP with insert set in place.


Add trivet to the pot with 1 cup of water.

Lightly grease a loaf pans with cooking spray, set aside.

In a large bowl, combine 1 cup bread crumbs {or processed gf cracker crumbs} and 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese. Add ground beef, egg, onion, salt and pepper. Blend to incorporate all the ingredients evenly throughout. Try not to over handle the mixture otherwise it will get tough. Place the mixture in the greased loaf pans and form into mini loaves. Top the meatloaves with pasta sauce.

Place the loaf pans onto the trivet. 

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

Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 15 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 15 (the number of minutes you initially set) and will begin to countdown to 0 minutes.

When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 15 minutes, allow your IP to naturally release pressure for 5 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 L5:00 (which is 5 minutes since the IP has beeped), 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.

Preheat your broiler as you wait for the pin to drop and all pressure is released from the IP.

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


Remove the meatloaf pans from the IP.


Place the meatloaves in the preheated oven and broil until browned to your preference.


Remove the meatloaf from the oven and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving/slicing. Garnish with parsley if desired.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Instant Pot: Boursin Mac & Cheese

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Let's talk comfort food! A favorite of many is macaroni and cheese... is it one of yours? For the Easter dinner I hosted this year, I wanted to include a special mac and cheese dish to pair with the ham I served. No regular mac and cheese would do. That's when I came across a recipe for this Boursin Mac & Cheese. A combination of creamy Boursin garlic and herb, white cheddar and Parmesan cheeses are blended together with pasta for an amazing mac and cheese. Talk about elevating mac and cheese to a whole other level...

My guests and I really enjoyed this elegant version of macaroni and cheese. The creamy texture and richness made it extra special. It also went deliciously well with the ham I served and it's perfect just on its own. I adapted the original recipe by including garlic and onions to give it a bit more flavor. Maybe next time, I'll include some chicken to make it more of a one dish meal. Have fun with this recipe... the traditional mac & cheese has gone gourmet!


Boursin Mac & Cheese
recipe adapted from Kitchen of Friends

1 pound fusilli or elbow macaroni pasta {or gluten free pasta}
4 cups water
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, minced
2 tablespoons flour {or gluten free all purpose flour}
sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 cups half and half
8 ounces Boursin cheese with garlic and herbs
3/4 cup white cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup breadcrumbs {or gluten free breadcrumbs or processed gluten free crackers}


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 2 quart casserole dish with cooking spray or butter and set aside.

In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP with insert set in place.

Press SAUTE on the IP. Melt butter in IP; add garlic and onions, cooking until softened.

Add the dry pasta, water, and butter into the IP.

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

Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 4 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 4 (the number of minutes you initially set) and will begin to countdown to 0 minutes.


When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 4 minutes, 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). The IP will automatically default to the WARM mode.



You'll notice no draining is necessary; the water will be absorbed by the pasta. 

Add half & half, Boursin, cheddar and parmesan cheeses and stir in until melted nd combined. Season with salt and pepper to your tastes.

Transfer pasta to the greased casserole dish.


Top with breadcrumbs and bake uncovered in the preheated oven. Bake for 5-10 minutes until bubbly and breadcrumbs crispy. Serve with chopped chives if desired.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Instant Pot: Garlic Peppercorn Pork Brisket

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Please tell me I'm not the only one who gets hooked watching those food competition shows on tv. I'm not talking about the usual programming on Food Network... I'm talking about hardcore food competition as seen on the BBQ circuit. It's clear that BBQ is a religion in many parts of the country. I just watch in awe as they tend to the fire and oversee those large hunks of meat for hours on end. Well, after watching a recent BBQ competition, I had an urge to cook up some brisket. I came across a pork brisket at the market and prepared this Garlic Peppercorn Pork Brisket. It was succulent and definitely worth the time and effort...

If you've seen any of those BBQ competitions, a common theme you'll hear is 'low and slow.' That concept also applies to this recipe even if you're not a hardcore BBQ enthusiast but the good news is, the Instant Pot significantly cuts the time with pressure cooking. This pork brisket is seasoned with crushed whole peppercorns, minced garlic and salt before it's dredged in a bit of flour and garlic powder. The brisket is seared on all sides and then the pan is deglazed with wine and broth. Once all those good, flavorful bits are scraped up from the bottom of the pan, the brisket gets pressure cooked. The result is an amazing piece of pork that melts in your mouth. This can easily be made with a beef brisket instead of pork.

Garlic Peppercorn Pork Brisket
recipe adapted from Robin Miller

1 (4-pound) pork brisket, trimmed of fat
Salt
3 tablespoons mixed whole peppercorns, crushed with a meat mallet or bottom of heavy skillet
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 cloves whole garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 cups red wine
2 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon butter
fresh chopped parsley for garnish



Season brisket all over with salt, crushed peppercorns and minced garlic. In a shallow dish, with a spoon, combine flour and garlic powder. Roll brisket in flour mixture to coat.

In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP with insert set in place.


Press SAUTE on the IP and add oil. When shimmering, add the pork and brown on all sides, about 5-7 minutes.

Add garlic, rosemary, broth and wine to the pan and deglaze, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. 

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

Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 50 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 50 (the number of minutes you initially set) and will begin to countdown to 0 minutes.


When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 50 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. 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 L15:00 (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 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). 
The IP will automatically default to the WARM mode.

Remove brisket from pot and let stand for 10 minutes before slicing crosswise into thin slices.Transfer sauce from pot to a large measuring cup.

While brisket is resting, press SAUTE and add 1 tablespoon butter to the IP and saute mushrooms; cooking until softened and caramelized.

Add the reserved sauce back into the IP with the mushrooms to heat through. Use this as a sauce to serve over the pork slices.


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