Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Instant Pot: Potato Salad

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A classic picnic and/or BBQ side dish is potato salad and what would summer be without it on the table?!  Here's a great Potato Salad I prepared that we enjoyed for lunch...

There are so many variations for potato salad - warm, cold, mayo based, vinegar based, etc. I personally like potato salads that are mayo based for that creamy texture, especially when there are hard boiled eggs tossed in. It's like a two-for-one deal with an egg and potato salad combo! I came across this recipe for potato salad from Tyler Florence. What's great about it is that not only does it use potato and egg, the 'dressing' is very flavorful with a bit of tang. From the original recipe, I added an extra egg and substituted pickle relish instead of dill pickles called for. It was certainly a delicious accompaniment to the beer braised bratwursts and caramelized onions we had for lunch!


Potato Salad
recipe adapted from Tyler Florence

1 cup water
2 pounds small Yukon gold potatoes, cubed
4 large eggs, hard boiled and peeled
Kosher salt
1/2 bunch sliced scallions, white and green parts
2 tablespoons drained capers
2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup pickle relish
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 bunch dill, chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling


In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP with insert set in place.


Place steamer basket in IP with 1 cup of water and fill with cubed potatoes. Place eggs on top of potatoes



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, 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. 

When the display reflects L4:00 (which is 4 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).


Meanwhile, stir together the mayonnaise, mustard, pickles and their juice, onion, remaining scallions and capers, parsley, dill, and lemon juice in a bowl large enough to hold the potatoes. 

Remove eggs and peel, then toughly chop and add them into the bowl.

Remove and drain the potatoes and add them to the bowl and toss to coat with the dressing. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Drizzle with a little olive oil before serving.


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Instant Pot: Spicy Pork & Rice

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In our house, nothing is more comforting than rice. Even little Joel can't say no to a rice dish! There are plenty of ways to enjoy rice as a side dish but this time around, I've made it into the main dish with this Spicy Pork & Rice. Pork is pressure cooked with chicken broth, tomato sauce, chipotles and rice. It's comforting, filling and feeds a party all in one pot!...

If you're familiar with the Latin dish, Arroz con Pollo, consider this as the pork version. For this dish, pork is browned and then pressure cooked with rice and an aromatic mixture of broth and tomato sauce.

Spicy 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

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


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

Press SAUTE and add oil. When oil is 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.

Add onion to rendered fat and oil left in pot and continue to saute until softened.

Stir in garlic, chipotle, thyme and oregano and continue to saute until fragrant.

Stir in broth, tomato sauce and rice, scraping any browned bits from the bottom. 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 12 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 L10:00 (which is 4 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).

Uncover and check a grain of rice: It should be nearly cooked through.

- If the rice is just about ready, stir in cilantro and lime juice; season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes longer to complete the cooking.

- If the rice seems far from done, continue pressure cooking for 5 minutes or so, retest or turn off. Stir in cilantro and lime juice; season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes longer to complete the cooking.

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


Monday, July 24, 2017

Instant Pot: Chicken Adobo Fried Rice

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If you ask my son Joel what he wants for dinner, there's a good chance he'll respond with, 'chicken and rice!' With that said, I usually oblige with some kinds of chicken and rice dish. This happens to be one of our favorites since it something I tend to make often. As a nod to the Philippine national dish of chicken adobo, this Chicken Adobo Fried Rice captures key ingredients in the cuisine. Onions, garlic, soy sauce/tamari and vinegar flavor up chicken and is sautéed with rice for a comforting dish that really hits home...

Since becoming gluten free, one of my biggest concerns about this lifestyle change was soy sauce. Soy sauce is the one condiment I cannot live without and is very much a part of my culture. Thankfully when I learned about tamari, a gluten free alternative to soy sauce, I felt so relieved. I'm a big fan of tamari and if you have yet to try it, I would highly recommend the San-J brand. They offer a great line of gluten free products including tamari as well as cooking sauces, salad dressings and even rice crackers. 

Chicken Adobo Fried Rice
original Joelen recipe

1 rotisserie chicken,
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, minced
1/4 cup soy sauce or GF San-J tamari
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
2-3 cups cold, cooked rice
1/4 cup sliced green onions for garnish



For the rice:
Place rice in a fine mesh colander and rinse under cool water to wash off excess starches and impurities. Doing so prevents the rice from getting too clumpy when it cooks.

Transfer rice to the IP pot liner. Add 1 1/2 cups water to pot.

Press RICE and it will automatically adjust the time to 12 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 12 (the number of minutes the RICE setting defaults to) and will begin to countdown to 0 minutes.

When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 12 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. 

After naturally releasing pressure 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).


Transfer the rice to a container and allow to cool completely. Chill in the fridge for an hour or even overnight. The best fried rice is made with cold rice.

While the rice cools, in a large bowl, remove the chicken from the bone and shred the chicken. Set aside and discard bones (or save bones for later to make bone broth in the IP!)

Clean out IP insert, dry and return back to IP. 


Press SAUTE on the IP and add 1 tablespoon oil, garlic and onions, cooking until softened.

Add chicken, soy sauce/tamari, black pepper and vinegar. Allow chicken to simmer in soy sauce and vinegar mixture for 5-10 minutes in order to absorb flavor and liquid is almost reduced to 1/2 cup.

Add cold rice, crumbling it into the IP. Fold the rice into the chicken mixture to combine. If the rice sticks to the pot, add another tablespoon of oil.

Continue to sauté until rice is warmed through and mixture is thoroughly combined.

Garnish with chopped fresh green onions before serving.



Saturday, July 22, 2017

Mini Sweet Cherry Pies

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It's that time of year again! Cherries are one of our favorite fruits this time of year and to celebrate, it's all about cherry pie! My friends at Northwest Cherry Growers in Washington State and I partnered up this year to share how awesome cherries are!


There's so much you can do with cherries aside from eating them fresh. One thing I love to do is to can or preserve the cherries to use as a topping or filling in sweet dessert recipes. For additional information and ideas to inspire you, be sure to check out the Sweet Preservation section of nwcherries.com. There are even downloadable jar labels, preservation party ides and so much more!


For my super large batch of sweet cherries I got from the Northwest Cherry Growers, I pitted them and immediately frozen half of my stash so I can prepare them to make a sweet cherry filling. The other half I used to make these Mini Sweet Cherry Pies. The filling can easily be canned to use for fall pie baking or even gift giving during the holidays! But if you're like me and can't wait to get a taste of these summer jewels, these mini sweet cherry pies are the way to go...



Mini Sweet Cherry Pies
recipe adapted from Food Network

Piecrust dough, homemade or store bought
4- 6 inch mini pie crust pans or tins

For the filling:
1 cup cherry juice
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/4 cup fresh sweet cherries, pitted
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 pint vanilla ice cream (for serving, optional)

Roll out the pie dough to 1/8th-inch thick and chill on parchment lined sheet pans.

Cut out 8 inch disks of dough. Prepare the pie pans or tins by lining each with one dish of dough. Chill the prepared pie pans and remaining 4 disks of dough chilled until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and prepare the filling.

In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, combine cherry juice, cornstarch, sugar, ginger, and lemon juice and whisk to dissolve the cornstarch then bring it to a simmer, whisking until thickened.

When thickened, turn off the heat, stir in the cherries.

Transfer and diving the cherry filling evenly among the 4 prepared pie pans.

Carefully place the remaining rolled-out disks on top and ease them into the dishes so it doesn't hang over the edge.

Brush each disk with a little heavy cream and then sprinkle lightly with 2 tablespoons of sugar.

Any excess dough can be used to create artful decor to place on top of the pie.  Otherwise you can cut a vent in the top of each pie.

Place the pies on a sheet pan, to catch any juices that boil over.

Bake the pies in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbling at the vents or edges.

Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.

Serve at room temperature with vanilla ice cream if desired!

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.


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