Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Mardi Gras Pancakes!

Happy Mardi Gras! It's Fat Tuesday and to celebrate, we're serving up a colorful breakfast! These Mardi Gras pancakes are nothing but delicious fun with colorful fruit flavored rice cereal mixed into our favorite Krusteaz pancake mix. To top them off, a sweet crème anglaise ties it all in with some additional fruit flavored rice cereal for extra crunch and color. For the full recipe, be sure to grab it at Krusteaz here!...

Prep Time: 3 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6-7 4 inch pancakes
Pancakes:
Creme Anglaise:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup white sugar


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Instant Pot: January Recipe Round Up!

This month was quite a start to the new year! We are still going strong with our Instant Pot meals and this month was full of deliciousness. If you missed any of the recipes we enjoyed and shared this month, you can get the full run down below with links to dishes we made. Have fun with your Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker and dig into these recipes!

Instant Pot: Fennel Potato Leek Soup

Need more soup recipes for the winter chill? Here's one for Fennel Potato Leek Soup! Leek, fennel, onion, garlic, & potato get pureed for a smooth & savory soup to warm you!


Instant Pot: Chicken Pad Thai

Why get take out when you can make it at home faster, healthier & better?!
This Chicken Pad Thai will be the best fake out take out from your IP!


Instant Pot: Hearty Lamb Shanks

Mary isn't the only the who had some lamb.... These are tender, fall of the bone lamb shanks that were pressure cooked in white wine with a melange of carrots, celery and tomato.


Instant Pot: Lasagna Bolognese with Spinach

Layering up for the cold weather? How about layering up dinner in this Lasagna Bolognese with Spinach! Ricotta, bolognese sauce and spinach will definitely take the chill off..


Instant Pot: Saag Paneer

Instant Pot Saag Paneer.... Creamy, aromatic and with a beautiful color, this dish has a deep flavor similar to the ones I've had a Indian restaurants!



Instant Pot: Creamless Creamy Tomato Soup

Looking for meatless meals? Here's what we had on our Meatless Mondays -

Creamless Creamy Tomato Soup, perfect with grilled cheese sandwiches!



Instant Pot: Lemon Curd

Instant Pot Lemon Curd pairs beautifully with scones...or just about anything!
Great as a pantry staple or gift giving too.


Instant Pot: Indian Cashew Chicken

Instant Pot Indian Cashew Chicken has a savory marinade of spices, aromatics

and cashews packed into every bite for a comforting Indian meal!



Instant Pot: Beef & Bacon Stew

Instant Pot Beef & Bacon Stew...a large pot of pressure cooked beef and smoky bacon, a melange of colorful vegetables and a fluffy mound of Parmesan garlic mashed potatoes hits the spot for a comforting dinner....


Instant Pot: Smoky Shrimp & Chicken Cajun Gumbo

Who's excited about Mardi Gras? This Smoky Shrimp
& Chicken Cajun Gumbo put us in the mood to celebrate early!


Instant Pot: Beer & Paprika Beef Stew Bread Bowls

Make dinner fun with bread bowls! We filled ours with this Beer & Paprika
Beef Stew that was perfect for our cold and wet weather.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Instant Pot: Beer & Paprika Beef Stew Bread Bowls

The weather these days have been from freezing temps to borderline springtime highs! Nonetheless, having good ol' comfort food has been a bonus. These Beer & Paprika Beef Stew Bread Bowls especially made it easier to stay in, snuggle and get cozy with my boys. Pressure cooked beef simmers in a savory bath of beef stock, beer, and paprika while carrots, potatoes and peas joins the party in a crusty popover bread bowl just before serving...

We loved this dish but feel free to use your favorite beer. It really lends itself to give the stew a nice complex flavor. The addition of paprika also works nicely with the flavor and adds some color too. I cooked the carrots and potatoes separately so they would retain their shape and color since the beef cooks for several hours in a slow cooker. It's a nice way of getting an aesthetically pleasing bowl of stew.

Beer & Paprika Beef Stew Bread Bowls
recipe adapted from Pioneer Woman


3 tablespoons olive oil


tablespoon butter

2 pounds beef stew meat

large onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup celery, diced

1 (12oz) can or bottle beer of your preference

4 cups beef stock 

tablespoon worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon paprika

Salt & pepper to taste

1-1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 large carrot, peeled and sliced

4 whole potatoes, quartered

1/2 cup frozen peas

Minced parsley for garnish

Bread bowls or popover bowls for serving

In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP with insert set in place.

Press SAUTE and
add oil and butter. When hot, add beef and brown. Transfer beef to bowl and set aside.
To the now empty pot, add diced onions, garlic and celery; cook until softened.

Add beef stock, beef, Worcestershire, tomato paste, paprika, salt, pepper, and sugar. 

Add browned beef, carrots and potatoes.

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. 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 10:00 (which is 10 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).

Add frozen peas and stir; cooking until warmed through.


Serve in bread bowls or with crusty French bread. Sprinkle with minced parsley, if desired. We loved serving them in East Riding Farm Popover Bread Bowls for something light, buttery and perfect to pair with the stew! Definitely check them out, as they also have different sizes such as bite sized and regular sized popovers. They're convenient as a frozen item you can use as needed and warming them up in the oven is quick and simple too.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Instant Pot: Smoky Shrimp & Chicken Cajun Gumbo

Mardi Gras is less than a month away but that doesn't stop us from celebrating early! My husband and I recently when to a local restaurant known for Cajun fare. It inspired me to make this Smoky Shrimp & Chicken Cajun Gumbo. A rich shrimp stock makes for a wonderful base to build a classic Cajun gumbo full of flavor with chicken, Andouille sausage and the 'trinity' of onions, bell peppers and celery...

You can't truly enjoy Mardi Gras season in my house without indulging in classic Cajun fare. This time, I opted to make this smoky Cajun Gumbo since it's a favorite of mine. We especially love how it's not quite a stew, yet too thick for a soup and its absolutely perfect and comforting over a steaming bowl of rice. If you wanted to cut back on the heat or spice of the dish, reduce or omit the cayenne pepper since that's where the kick comes from. I added Andouille sausage to the original recipe because I love that touch of heat it provides even by omitting the cayenne pepper all together. 


Smoky Shrimp & Chicken Cajun Gumbo
recipe from Cooking Light
  • Stock:
  • 1 pound unpeeled medium shrimp
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • garlic cloves, crushed 
  • large celery stalks, chopped
  • bay leaves 
  • medium carrots, coarsely chopped 
  • large onion, coarsely chopped
  • In your Instant Pot, prepare the shrimp stock:
Plug in the IP with insert set in place.


  1. To prepare the stock, peel and devein shrimp, reserving shells. Cut each shrimp in half lengthwise; cover shrimp, and refrigerate.
  1. Place reserved shrimp shells, 8 cups water and remaining stock ingredients into the IP.
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 display reflects L0:05 (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.

Open up your IP when the pin has dropped (allow a few minutes for this to happen). The IP will automatically default to WARM mode.

Strain mixture through a sieve into a bowl; discard solids. Set aside 3 cups stock; keep warm. Reserve the remaining shrimp stock for another use.
  • Gumbo:
  • 6 tablespoons canola oil, divided 
  • 2.25 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1/2 cup) 
  • skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 links Andouille sausage, sliced
  • 2 cups finely chopped white onion
  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning 
  • garlic cloves, minced 
  • medium celery stalks, chopped 
  • medium tomatoes, finely chopped 
  • large green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 cups shrimp stock (see above)
  • bay leaves
  • 1 cup frozen cut okra
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 cups hot cooked rice

  • In your Instant Pot, prepare the gumbo:

  • Plug in the IP with insert set in place.

  • Press SAUTE and add 1 tablespoon oil. When hot, add chicken and brown on all sides. Transfer chicken to a large bowl and set aside.

    In the now empty IP pot, add sausage, onion, Creole seasoning, garlic, celery, tomatoes and bell pepper; sauté for 3 minutes. Transfer sausage and vegetable mixture to the large bowl with chicken and set aside.

    In the now empty IP pot, add remaining oil. When hot, whisk in flour. Continue whisking until the roux has cooked to the color of a deep roasted, melted peanut butter or chestnut colored, 8 to 10 minutes. Be careful not to burn the roux. 
    Pour in the shrimp stock, add chicken/sausage/vegetable mixture and bay leaves. Stir to combine.

    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 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 L0:05 (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.
    Open up your IP when the pin has dropped (allow a few minutes for this to happen). The IP will automatically default to WARM mode.

  • Add shrimp, okra, Worcestershire, Tabasco, black pepper and paprika; stir allowing shrimp and okra to cook through. Discard bay leaves. Serve over rice.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Instant Pot: Beef & Bacon Stew

Nothing beats a comforting dish this time of year. A favorite fall and winter dish is a beef stew and I knew this Hearty Beef & Bacon Stew was perfect for the cool weather we've been having and something I knew my family would enjoy. A large pot of pressure cooked beef and smoky bacon, a melange of colorful vegetables and mound of fluffy Parmesan garlic mashed potatoes hit the spot for dinner...

For this stew, I omitted the traditional chunks of potatoes thrown in and instead, served the stew over mashed potatoes for a heartier meal. We enjoyed this recipe quite a bit and it's especially delicious over mashed potatoes, steamed rice or noodles. The leftovers are great as well since it absorbs the flavors even more. 

Hearty Beef & Bacon Stew
recipe adapted from Williams Sonoma

4 oz. thick-cut bacon, chopped
3 Tbs. {gluten free} flour
1 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
3 lb. boneless beef chuck, trimmed of excess fat and cut into chunks
3/4 lb. fresh white button mushrooms, quartered
1/2 lb. baby carrots
1/2 lb. frozen pearl onions
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dry red wine {Merlot}
1 cup beef broth
2 Tbs. tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1 Tbs. minced fresh thyme



In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP with insert set in place.

In a sealable plastic bag, combine the flour, the 1 tsp. salt and the 1/2 tsp. pepper. Add the beef chunks and shake to coat evenly with the flour mixture. 

Press SAUTE and add 
the bacon, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 3-5 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain, leaving the drippings in the pan.

Add half of the flour coated beef to the now empty IP and cook in bacon drippings, turning once, until well browned. Transfer the beef to a bowl. Repeat with the remaining beef chunks. Once all beef has been browned, return all beef into the IP.

Add the wine, broth and tomato paste to the IP. Mix well and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up the browned bits on the pan bottom.

Add the mushrooms, carrots, onions, garlic and bay leaves to the IP; stir to incorporate. 

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. 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 10:00 (which is 10 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).

Remove bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper and serve. Serves 6.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Instant Pot: Indian Cashew Chicken

Last weekend we met up with friends who we don't see very often and took our kiddies to the Milwaukee Public Museum. I forgot how much I enjoy trips to the museum so I can immerse myself in learning about new things. I especially enjoyed learning about various cultures. The Milwaukee Public Museum has a great exhibit dedicated to American Indians and we enjoyed the colorful display of costumes and seeing how they have really contributed so much to society over the decades and generations. After our visit to the musem, we had lunch at a local [Southeast Asian] Indian restaurant. It's been awhile since I had Indian cuisine and so it was a perfect choice on a cold day. Our great weekend with friends inspired me to make Indian food at home. As a result, we enjoyed this Indian Cashew Chicken recently. A savory marinade of spices, aromatics and cashews packed flavor into every bite of chicken for a comforting Indian meal...

If there's one cuisine that slightly intimidates me, it's Indian cuisine. There is definitely an art and science about the combination of spices to create complex flavors. Friends who do cook Indian food often just make it seem so effortless! If you're like me and enjoy Indian food but are intimidated at the thought of making it at home, don't worry. This recipe is easy, as long as you have all the ingredients on hand. Probably the only spice that folks might have to look harder for are the green cardamom pods. If you don't have access to the pods, you can substitute it with 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom.

Indian Cashew Chicken
recipe from Cooking Light
Marinade
  • 2/3 cup cashews, toasted
  • 2/3 cup Greek-style yogurt 
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • garlic cloves, chopped 
  • skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces (about 14 ounces) 
  • (8-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces 

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 3/4 cups finely chopped onion 
  • green cardamom pods, lightly crushed or 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • (2-inch) cinnamon stick
  • 2 cups chicken broth 
  • 1 cup tomato puree 
  • 1 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons half-and-half
  • Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
Combine first 9 ingredients in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. 

Place chicken thighs and breasts in a large bowl and pour processed nut mixture over chicken, tossing to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. 

In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP with insert set in place.

Press SAUTE and add oil. When hot, add onions, cardamom, and cinnamon stick to pan; cook 10 minutes or until onions are golden, stirring often.


Add chicken and marinade to IP.

Stir in broth, tomato puree, paprika, and salt, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. 

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

Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 7 minute 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 display reflects L00:07 (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 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).

  1. Stir in half-and-half; stirring occasionally. Discard cinnamon stick and garnish with fresh cilantro, if desired. Serve over rice.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Instant Pot: Lemon Curd

Over the holidays, I made some edible gifts and lemon curd was on the list. It's great to have on hand, especially when the spring tea parties are on the horizon. Paired with scones  or slathered on bread, crackers or simply eaten straight with a spoon, it's versatile and will satisfy a sweet tooth quickly! You can make a big batch in the Instant Pot and jar up to pass out to friends... or simply keep them all to yourself to enjoy!

Lemon Curd
recipe from Cooks Illustrated, The New Best Recipe
1/3 cup juice from 2 lemons
2 large eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
1 tablespoon heavy cream
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt


In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP with insert set in place

Add 1 cup water.


Place trivet into the IP with a foil sling on each trivet handle. This allows for easily lifting the bowl from the IP when finished cooking.

In an IP safe, glass bowl (I used a round Pyrex bowl), whisk together the lemon juice, eggs, yolk and sugar. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and transfer bowl onto trivet inside the IP.

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

Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 1 minute 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 1 (the number of minute you initially set) and will begin to countdown to 0 minutes.


When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 1 minute, allow your IP to naturally release pressure for 7-8 minutes. While naturally releasing pressure, 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 for this and allow for several minutes to do so.

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

Carefully remove the bowl from the IP.  If you run a spatula across the bottom of the bowl and a clear trail can be made (which will quickly disappear), the curd is ready for the next step. If a clear trail isn't happening, repeat pressure cooking for 1 minute with a quick release afterwards.

Immediately stir in the cold butter until incorporated.

Next , stir in the cream, vanilla and salt, then pour the curd through a fine-mesh strainer into a non reactive bowl or jars for gift giving. Cover the surface of the curd directly with plastic wrap; refrigerate until needed.