Thursday, January 19, 2017

Instant Pot: French Onion Pot Roast

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My boys are definitely meat eaters and this dinner definitely did not disappoint. I love that the instant pot effortlessly cooks our usual slow cooker favorites in a fraction of time. A family favorite, this French Onion Pot Roast was not only quick but comforting too. A seasoned beef roast is cooked with onions, mushrooms and french onion soup mix. The resulting juices leave a savory gravy to serve alongside. Comfort food at it's finest!


This recipe cooks up in no time while tasting like it cooked all day. Pressure cooking meats really is magical and I am amazed how I've gone without a pressure coooker until now. The key in this recipe is cutting up the beef roast in smaller pieces so it cooks up quickly without being dry or tough. I broke up my roast in 4 pieces which worked well with the timing. If your roast is a little bigger, add a minute or two in the pressure cooking time and the natural release time. If your roast is smaller, deduct a minute or two just the same. I've found pressure cooking takes more intuition depending on the weight, size, and shape of what's being pressurized... so as they say, there is a learning curve. A delicious learning curve at that!

Instant Pot: French Onion Pot Roast
recipe adapted from AllRecipes

2 tablespoons oil 
1 medium onion, sliced
1 pound sliced button mushrooms
4 pounds chuck roast cut into 4 pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (1 ounce) package dry onion soup mix
3 cups chicken or beef broth
2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
fresh chopped parsley for garnish


In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP and add oil, onions and mushrooms; cooking until softened.


Meanwhile, season your chuck roast pieces with pepper and garlic powder. 

Add chuck roast pieces, onion soup mix and chicken or beef broth to the pot.

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 20 minutes. While naturally releasing pressure (also known as NRP 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 20 minutes (which is 20 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 QRP 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).

Carefully transfer chuck roast pieces to a serving platter and tent with foil to keep warm.

Press SAUTE on the IP and stir in cream of mushroom soup until incorporated through for a gravy. 

To serve, pour gravy over pot roast, garnish with parsley and enjoy with your favorite side dishes!


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Instant Pot: Caldo de Res (Mexican Beef Soup)

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In the winter, I feel like I need to get my fill of soup before the weather warms up again. Granted, it's the middle of January and we're experiencing a slight heat wave with temps in the low 40s! That said, this Caldo de Res is a great pot for bitter cold days or semi cool days like this one. The soup eats like a meal with a hearty bowl full of beef, corn, potatoes. baby carrots and a healthy dose of fresh cilantro and lime juice. The broth itself is nourishing, especially after pressure cooking the beef to retain all that flavor...


My son is one who loves rice and insisted putting rice in his soup bowl. I must admit, I liked it too as it reminded me of a Filipino dish I ate growing up. But this Mexican Beef Soup is wonderful as it is. The trick to this soup is that it's done in 2 phases. The beef is cooked up first to soften and impart its flavor in the broth. The second part is pressure cooking the vegetables for a mere 5 minutes. Depending on how big or small your vegetables are cut, you may have to play around with the timing. If anything, you can also allow the vegetables to just cook on the SAUTE mode and skip the second round of pressure cooking all together!


Instant Pot: Caldo de Res (Mexican Beef Soup)
original Joelen recipe

Soup:
2 pounds beef shank, with bone
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 onion, chopped
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
3 cups beef broth
2 cups water
2 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 potato, quartered
2 ears corn, husked and cut into thirds (frozen works well too)
1 medium head cabbage, cored & cut into wedges
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup freshly minced cilantro

Garnishes (optional);
1/4 cup sliced pickled jalapenos
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 limes, cut into wedges


In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP.


Press SAUTE and add the oil and onion; cooking until softened.

Season the beef with salt and pepper and add to the pot. Cook until thoroughly browned.

Add the tomatoes, broth and water to cover the beef. 

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 3 (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 NRP 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 minutes (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 QRP 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 potato, corn, carrots, cabbage and half of the cilantro. 


Once again, 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.

When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 5 minutes, turn the setting on top of your IP to VENTING to quickly release pressure 

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

Ladle soup into large bowls, including meat vegetables and bones. Garnish with jalapenos, minced onion, and additional cilantro. Squeeze lime juice over all and serve.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Instant Pot: Creamy Chicken Marsala Pasta

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There's something about the winter that draws me into comfort cooking. This just hit the spot and warmed us up from the cold. I made a popular recipe on my site and adjusted it so I could make it in our Instant Pot. The result was fantastic! My Creamy Chicken Marsala Pasta was made in just one pot in a fraction of the time. This perfectly al dente pasta dish has a creamy marsala and mushroom sauce with seasoned chicken scattered throughout. Heavenly, I tell you...


My son was reluctant to try this because it wasn't covered in a red sauce. But after he took a bite, he couldn't get enough. My husband enjoyed this just the same. This made plenty, enough for leftovers! The only thing about making pasta in the Instant Pot is that it can get messy. Cooking pasta somehow causes the steam to be a bit frothy, so when doing a quick release of the pressure after it's cooked, it's a good idea to have a kitchen towel over the setting knob on top so you don't have a big kitchen mess on your hands. If you do a natural release, the pasta may get mushy so it's best to do a quick release when it's done.

Creamy Chicken Marsala Pasta
recipe adapted from America's Test Kitchen 

Equipment:
IP

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces sliced mushrooms (white or cremini)
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts; cut into bite sized pieces
salt and pepper to your tastes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pound of dry penne pasta (I used whole wheat penne)
4 cups of chicken broth
3/4 cup Marsala cooking wine
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream or half & half
1 cup Parmesan cheese + more for serving
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste
chopped fresh parsley for garnish


In your Instant Pot:


Plug in the IP and add the oil.


Press SAUTE and add the onions, garlic and mushrooms. Cook, until softened. 

Meanwhile, season cut up chicken breast with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

When onion and mushroom mixture have softened, add chicken to the pot and saute until slightly browned.

When the chicken has slightly browned, add the dry penne pasta and chicken broth. Stir.

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.The IP will then beep after pressure cooking for 4 minutes.

When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 4 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).

Stir in 3 tablespoons of butter and Marsala wine. 


Then stir in 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese and heavy cream (or half & half if using).

The residual heat from the pasta will warm up the cream and melt the cheese as it slowly thickens. If it is too thin for your preferences, you can press SAUTE to speed it up.

To serve, season with salt and pepper to your tastes, top with more additional Parmesan cheese if desired and a garnish of chopped parsley.



Monday, January 16, 2017

Instant Pot: Double Berry Oatmeal

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Happy Monday! It's that time again to get motivated for the week ahead! Over the weekend I decided to plan out my breakfasts a bit differently. Last week, it was all about homemade Greek style yogurt. This week, it's all about oatmeal. Forget about those instant oatmeal packets. This Double Berry Oatmeal will have you wanting to start your day healthy with every hearty, fruity, creamy bite...


My husband was confused how oatmeal could be regarded as something special. It wasn't until I told him oatmeal didn't have to be boring, mushy and bland. Oatmeal would be as customized as the homemade Greek style yogurts he was enjoying all week. To prove my point, I made this Double Berry Oatmeal. Made with steel cut oats, dried berries, and water, it only took a few minutes to cook in the Instant Pot. Afterwards, the boys devoured it when they topped it with more fruit and a touch of cream. Between yogurt and oatmeal, I'd say my boys have seen the healthy light of breakfasts!

I used the dried tart cherries and dried blueberries from Bob's Red Mill. You can even use dried cranberries and other fruit if you'd like. For an added spin, add some chia seed and/or flax seed to give your oatmeal a boost! Bob's Red Mill has all the dried berries, chis seed and flax seed available, along with a variety of different oats

Instant Pot: Double Berry Oatmeal
original Joelen recipe


Equipment:
IP
wooden spoon
measuring cup

Ingredients:
1 cup steel cut oats
1/4 cup dried tart cherries
1/4 cup dried blueberries
3 cups water
fresh blueberries (optional)
half & half (optional)

In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP and oatmeal, dried cherries, dried blueberries and water.

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, allow your IP to naturally release pressure for 7 minutes. While naturally releasing pressure (also known as NRP 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 7 minutes (which is 7 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 QRP 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 oatmeal. You'll notice it may look like there is more liquid for the oatmeal to absorb, but the oatmeal will absorb it as it continues to cool.

To serve, enjoy as is or top with more fresh blueberries or even a touch of half & half!



Friday, January 13, 2017

Instant Pot: Best Ever Beef Dip Sandwiches

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TGIF! That means we made it through another week and I owe some credit to my Instant Pot. It's been a weeknight meal game changer for sure. Long work days means I'm reluctant to spend too much time in the kitchen when I get home. Thankfully, my Instant Pot has made it quick, easy and truly effortless. This time, my boys inhaled these Best Ever Beef Dip Sandwiches. Tender chuck roast is pressure cooked in a savory bath of beef broth, water and soy sauce along with some seasonings to produce one heck of a sandwich...



What I like about this dish is how easy it is to put together on the spot or in advance and how pressuring cooking really makes the beef so succulent. I've included directions for freezer meal instructions and how to cook from both defrosted and frozen states - both of which the Instamt Pot can handle with no problems. The best thing is the longer you cook, the better it gets. Leftovers are especially awesome over a heaping mound of buttery mashed potatoes!

Best Ever Beef Dip Sandwiches
adapted recipe from AllRecipes

Equipment:
IP

Ingredients:
4 pounds beef chuck roast
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
3 bay leaves
1 cup soy sauce
3 cups beef broth
3 cups water


In your Instant Pot:


Plug in the IP and add chuck roast, garclic, rosemary, bay leaves, soy sauce, beef broth, and water.

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

Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 30 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 30 (the number of minutes you initially set) and will begin to countdown to 0 minutes.

When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 30 minutes, allow your IP to naturally release pressure for 20 minutes. While naturally releasing pressure (also known as NRP 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 20 (which is 20 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 QRP 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).

Shred the roast using forks or tongs.

To serve, place in hamburger buns or split french bread and top with your preferred cheese if desired. Feel free to dip your sandwich in the au jus left in the IP too! 

* To make ahead/freezer meal - Place all the ingredients except the broth, water and soy sauce into a gallon sized freezer storage bag; seal and freeze. When ready to prepare, 

- To cook from frozenplace contents into your IP and add broth, water and soy sauce. Cook for 45 minutes under pressure and naturally release pressure for 20 minutes before quickly releasing pressure.
- To cook after defrosting completely. place contents into your IP and add broth, water and soy sauce. Cook in IP as directed above.



Thursday, January 12, 2017

Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos

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It's Taco Thursday at our house and to celebrate, it's tacos for dinner! This recipe has always been a favorite among my boys and on my blog. It seemed about time for me to provide an Instant Pot version and it did not disappoint. These Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos are full of fresh flavor, incorporating cilantro, lime, cheese, garlic and a few other ingredients. You'll be surprised how easy and quick it is, especially with an Instant Pot...


I'm all about quick and easy meals because of our crazy work and activity schedule. This is no exception because it's really two steps - cooking the chicken in the Instant Pot and making the cilantro lime pesto. You can do both in advance and combine just before dinner. You can also combine both the chicken and pesto in advance to allow the chicken to absorb all the flavors. I've also included the make ahead/freezer instructions below too.

Back to the recipe, the pesto is really the star of this dish. While the chicken is cooking in your Instant Pot, you can prepare the pesto by combining everything in a blender or food processor. Before you know it, it's just a matter of tossing the two together. Aside from tacos, we enjoy this in burritos, tostadas and even on tortilla chips for heartier nachos!

Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos
original Joelen recipe

Equipment:
IP
tongs
blender or food processor (to make pesto)

Ingredients:
2-3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup cilantro lime pesto (recipe follows)
flour or corn tortillas
preferred taco garnishes (salsa, sour cream, cheese, etc)


In your Instant Pot:

Season your chicken breasts on both sides with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Plug in the IP and add your seasoned chicken and chicken broth to the IP pot.

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

Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 7 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 7 (the number of minutes you initially set) and will begin to countdown to 0 minutes.

When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 7 minutes, allow your IP to naturally release pressure for 10 minutes. While naturally releasing pressure (also known as NRP 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 QRP 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 chicken breasts from IP and transfer onto a cutting board. Chop or shred chicken breasts and place in a large bowl.

Add 1/2 cup of cilantro lime pesto (recipe below) to chicken and toss to coat.

Use chicken for filling tacos, burritos and/or tostadas or top nachos!

Top with your preferred garnishes.


Cilantro Lime Pesto
recipe adapted from Food Network

1 cup fresh cilantro leaves (do not include stems)
2 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sliced, toasted almonds
3 tablespoons chopped, fresh garlic
Juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup shredded asiago (Parmesan or Romano can be substituted too)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup chicken broth

Using a blender or food processor, mix together the cilantro, olive oil, almonds, garlic, lime juice, asiago, salt and chicken broth on low speed for 2 minutes. 


* To make ahead/freezer meal - Cook chicken as directed as above and cool. Place chicken in freezer bag. Prepare cilantro lime pesto as directed below. Place a 1/2 cup of pesto in a small storage bag then place inside the freezer bag with the chicken. Freeze. When ready to prepare, defrost and heat chicken. Toss chicken with defrosted pesto. If desired, heat chicken and pesto together before filling tacos.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Instant Pot: Smothered Pork Chops with Mushroom Gravy

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Since the beginning of the year, work has been full of long days. I usually start around 6am and get home around 5pm. By that point, I want nothing to do in the kitchen but dinner has to get on the table somehow. I've planned some prepared meals for the week, but even if I didn't, my kitchen is fully stocked with enough ingredients to have a week night "Iron Chef" challenge with myself. It was one of those nights and I ended up throwing whatever I had in the IP... and before I knew it, dinner was ready. These Smothered Pork Chops with Mushroom Gravy came together in the same amount of time it took me to change into more comfortable clothes, help my son with homework and have a cup of tea! The dish itself was perfectly comforting with tender pork chops drenched in a rich mushroom gravy with a hint of bacon goodness.


Putting together this dish is easy in 3 steps. Saute, Pressure and Stir. Saute is exactly that; sauteing bacon, onion, garlic and mushrooms until softened, Pressure is adding seasoned pork chops into your Instant Pot and allowing it to come to pressure so it can do it's magic. And lastly, Stir is finishing up the dish with cream of mushroom soup (I used fat free but any kind will do). The soup gives the dish a richness combined with beef broth and natural juices from the pork to create a gravy.

Smothered Pork Chops with Mushroom Gravy
original Joelen recipe

Equipment:
IP
wooden spoon

Ingredients:
3 slices bacon, diced (optional)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
4 center cut bone-in pork chops; 1 inch thick
salt & pepper to taste
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup beef or bone broth
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 can (10.5oz) low sodium or fat free cream of mushroom soup
Fresh parsley, chopped for garnish

In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP and hit SAUTE.

Add the bacon (if using), mushrooms, extra virgin olive oil, onion and garlic. Cook until bacon starts to brown and the mushrooms and onions are translucent.

Season your pork chops on both sides with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Once bacon starts to brown and onion is translucent, add the pork chops, broth and thyme.

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

Press CANCEL to stop the saute setting.

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 NRP 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 QRP 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 condensed cream of mushroom soup and stir in to thicken.

Serve with your choice of sides and garnish with fresh parlsey.


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