Monday, October 23, 2017

Instant Pot: Chicken Enchilada Casser-olé

With the busy fall season, comes laziness. Well, at least that's what it does to me. Having a lazy day in the kitchen is perfectly acceptable, especially when a great meal comes out of it! Such is the case when I just didn't feel like making a traditional Chicken Enchilada meal. I wasn't in the mood to stand there filling and rolling up enchiladas and besides, I wanted to try something a bit different. That's when the idea of preparing it as a casserole came about. This Chicken Enchilada Casser-olé is so easy to make. The layers of seasoned chicken, strips of corn tortillas, and a creamy sauce with tomatoes, corn and black beans make this Chicken Enchilada Casserole a hearty and comforting spin on traditional enchiladas...

So, the odd ingredient in this dish is cream of chicken soup. When I read the ingredient list I questioned making the recipe at all. I'm not really into cream soups but I figured it was worth trying out.  I happened to make a condensed cream of chicken soup (with super intense chicken flavor) from scratch using my weekly batch of chicken stock but you're welcome to go the easy route and use a can of condensed cream of chicken soup from the store. Essentially, the chicken is seasoned with a wonderful mix of seasonings and then shredded so it can be used in the recipe. The easy route? Use an already cooked rotisserie chicken.  For the casserole sauce, feel free to add whatever ingredients you'd like to make it a heartier dish. I added black beans, corn and tomatoes, which were adaptations I made to the original recipe. So as you can see, you can adjust and substitute ingredients in this dish to your tastes and truly make it your own.

Chicken Enchilada Casser-olé
recipe adapted from AllRecipes

Chicken:
1 rotisserie chicken, deboned and shredded
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Casserole Sauce:
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
1 (16 ounce) jar chunky salsa
1 1/2 cup cream of chicken soup (I used homemade, but you can use store bought)
1/4 cup diced onion
3/4 cup canned black beans, drained
1 cup canned sweet corn, drained
2 plum tomatoes, seeded, chopped
6 (12 inch) corn tortillas, cut into strips
4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
2 stalks green onion, thinly sliced for garnish


In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP with insert set in place.

Add 1 cup of water into the IP with the IP trivet set in place.


Combine the spices in a small bowl and add the shredded rotisserie chicken. Set aside until ready to layer the casserole.

In a large bowl, mix sour cream, salsa, cream of chicken soup, onion, black beans, corn and tomatoes.                 


Layer the bottom of a deep casserole dish or baking dish that fits within your IP with 1/3 tortilla strips. Top with 1/3 cooked chicken, 1/3 bean and corn mixture and 1/3 cheddar cheese. Repeat layering with remaining ingredients.

Transfer casserole into the IP and set on 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.

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


Remove casserole from IP and garnish with green onions; serve hot.

Alternatively, preheat broiler and remove casserole from IP. Broil casserole for a few minutes until cheese is browned to your preference before garnishing with green onions and serving.




Friday, October 20, 2017

Instant Pot: Ultimate French Onion Soup


It was a late night at work and by the time I got home, I was too tired to really make anything for dinner. I'm sure I'm not alone having nights like this. And for nights like this, I'm so thankful to have some dinner waiting for me, even if it means putting in a little time beforehand to make it happen. The temperatures have dropped the past few days here in Chicago, making it a perfect night to settle in with a warm, comforting bowl of soup... and that's exactly what I had. French Onion Soup.

What I love the most about french onion soup is the richness of flavors it has with few ingredients. The soup starts out by sauteing onions until caramelized with a few herbs. Red wine is then added to deglaze the pan and pull up the little bits of goodness that have gathered at the bottom of the pot. The wine eventually reduces and the onions are sprinkled with flour, which will help thicken the soup. Lastly, beef broth is added to provide that meatiness that gives french onion soup that distinct flavor. Of course, we can't forget the infamous topping of a toasted crostini smothered with melted gruyere cheese!


Ultimate French Onion Soup
recipe adapted from Tyler Florence

1/2 cup unsalted butter

4 onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 fresh thyme sprigs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup red wine, about 1/2 bottle
3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 quarts beef broth
1 baguette, sliced
1/2 pound grated Gruyere cheese



In your Instant Pot:


Plug in the IP with insert set in place

Press MANUAL and melt the stick of butter. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and salt and pepper and cook until the onions are very soft and start to caramelize, about 10 minutes.

Add the wine, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the wine has evaporated and the onions are dry, about 5 minutes. 

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Dust the onions with the flour and give them a stir. Turn the heat down to medium low so the flour doesn't burn, and cook for 10 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste.

Now add the beef broth, bring the soup back to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.


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.

Meanwhile, preheat the broiler. Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle the slices with the Gruyere and broil until bubbly and golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

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


Ladle the soup in bowls and float several of the Gruyere croutons on top. Serve hot.


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Instant Pot: Make Ahead Meatloaf


Meat and potatoes. How many folks do you know who enjoy a comforting 'meat and potato' dish? I'm more of a 'meat and rice' kind of gal but either way, it's comforting. When I think of meat and potatoes, meatloaf and mashed potatoes come to mind. It's been awhile since I've made meatloaf and after making this recipe for Make Ahead Meatloaf, I foresee many more meatloaves coming out of my oven. This isn't your momma's meatloaf. In fact, it's so flavorful and juicy, I was surprised to learn what the secret ingredient was in this dish! Can you guess what it might be?!...

The secret ingredient is bratwurst. Fresh bratwurst is removed from its casings and is combined with ground beef, processed {gluten free} crackers, sautéed onions and garlic, along with a mess of other flavor boosting ingredients. The bratwurst really adds a lot of moisture and flavor to this meatloaf. It makes sense to use bratwurst in this recipe in lieu of ground pork and/or veal. And did I mention how easy this is to make ahead, hence the name?! This makes several mini loaf pans for the freezer so be sure to plan on stocking up!

Make Ahead Meatloaf
recipe adapted from Cook's Country (Feb/Mar 2011)


2 teaspoons oil
1 onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
28 saltine crackers OR gluten free crackers
1 pound ground beef 80/20
3/4 pound bratwurst, uncooked, casings removed
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 eggs + 1 egg yolk
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Glaze
1/2 cup ketchup
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon cider vinegar





In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP with insert set in place.

Press SAUTE and add 1 tablespoon oil.  Add onion and cook until browned.  Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds.  Transfer mixture to a large bowl.


Process saltines or gluten free crackers in food processor and transfer to bowl with onion mixture.

Add beef and bratwurst to the bowl along with the remaining ingredients and gingerly knead until combined.  Press mixture into 8 disposable 3” loaf pans.

Add 1 cup of water into the IP with the IP trivet set in place.

Place 2 mini loaf pans onto the trivet and stack the remaining 2 loaf pans on top, cross wise.


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.

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


Meanwhile, combine glaze ingredients in a small bowl and preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Remove meatloaves from IP and transfer to a baking sheet. Apply the glaze to the tops of the meatloaves and bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes for glaze to bake in.

Remove from oven and cut the meatloaves into slices and carefully remove from the pan and serve.


Monday, October 16, 2017

Instant Pot: Triple Citrus Chicken Piccata

Happy Monday! We've gotten hit with cool and dreary fall weather over the weekend and it's inspired me to bring a bit of sunshine to the table. It's been quite some time since I made chicken piccata and we needed to use up some citrus fruits I had on hand. Chicken is seasoned and sauteéd to a golden brown, pressure cooked and served with a bright, buttery citrus sauce kissed with garlic and white wine...



A traditional chicken piccata has lemons as the main flavor of the dish... but in this version, I combine lemon, orange and lime juices to add a touch of sweetness with more citrus notes. Since I'm using a variety of citrus, I omitted capers from the dish, since I ddn't find it necessary. This makes for a nice twist on the classic chicken piccata version and we especially enjoyed it with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli...

Triple Citrus Chicken Piccata
recipe adapted from Cooking Light


(6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 1/2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth, divided
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 tablespoon lime juice
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley



In your Instant Pot:

Place 1 teaspoon flour in a small bowl, and place flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle both sides of chicken evenly with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Dredge chicken in flour in shallow dish and shake off excess.

Plug in the IP with insert set in place.

Press SAUTE and add 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter; melt.


Add seasoned chicken to the IP and sauté 4 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Transfer chicken to a plate and keep warm.

In the now empty IP, add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. When hot and add shallots and garlic; sauté until softened.


Add wine and broth, scraping bits from the bottom of the pan

Transfer chicken back to the IP.

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, 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 1/4 cup of liquid (broth & wine mixture) from the IP and add to it 1 teaspoon cornstarch; stir until smooth.

Press SAUTE and stir the cornstarch mixture back into the IP; cook 1 minute or until slightly sauce is thickened, stirring frequently. 

Press OFF and stir in remaining tablespoons butter and citrus juices.

Place 1 chicken breast half on each of 4 plates; top each serving with about 2 tablespoons sauce.

Garnish with fresh parsley.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Halloween Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes


It's Halloween season and I'm loving the spooky feel of decorated houses, pumpkins everywhere and the cloudy, cool days. We all know how breakfast is an important part of the day. so why not put a seasonal twist to breakfast? These Halloween Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes are just the thing to kick off the day. To make them even more special, black syrup tops them off!





Halloween Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes
by What’s Cookin Chicago

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
Servings: 16, 4-inch pancakes

1 package Krusteaz Pumpkin Spice Supreme Muffin Mix
1½ cups water
1 egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Halloween Syrup:
Maple syrup of your choice
Black food coloring


In medium bowl, blend together muffin mix, water, egg and oil until moistened. Gently stir chocolate chips into batter. 

Pour 1/4 cup batter per pancake onto lightly greased 375°F griddle (medium heat). Cook pancakes 2 minutes per side, turning only once.

For the syrup, combine syrup and a few drops of black food coloring until colored black as desired.

Serve pancakes in short stacks and serve with black syrup!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Instant Pot: Comforting Sheperd's Pie


This time of year, families have transitioned from the carefree summer days to the structured school days. Why does it seem like school is starting earlier than ever before? It seems like it's the time of change with kids going back to school, the shorter days and even how the fall season is just ready to make it's appearance.





Since the weather has been cooling down a bit (finally!), I couldn't resist making something comforting and perfect for the fall months to come. My husband is an Irishman himself and it helped that had a hankering for Sheperd's Pie. This Comforting Sheperd's Pie is full of delicious, comforting ingredients that simmer in a rich, flavorful sauce before getting topped with creamy herbed mashed potatoes and baking up in casserole form. It's comforting and makes me long for the cool, crisp fall days to come soon...



Comforting Sheperd's Pie


For the potatoes:
2 lbs  Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cups water
4 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups grated white cheddar cheese
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/3 cup chives, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

For the meat mixture:
1 1/2 lbs ground beef {80/20}
1 large onion, diced
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter
tablespoons flour
1 cup Guinness stout
1 cup red wine
1 cup beef broth
tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons dried basil
teaspoons dried oregano
teaspoons dried sage
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
salt and pepper to taste



In your Instant Pot:
Plug in the IP with insert set in place.

Add the potatoes and cover with water. 

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 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, 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 inner insert and drain the water from the potatoes.


Return the inner insert to the Instant Pot with the drained potatoes. Using a masher, mash the potatoes and stir in butter and milk, mashing until smooth. Add more milk if needed.  Stir in cheese, parsley and chives; season with salt and pepper. Transfer mashed potatoes to a bowl and set aside. No need to clean out the insert - begin making the shepard's pie meat mixture.


In the now empty IP, press SAUTE and add the ground beef, cooking until browned.


Add onions, carrots and garlic, and sauté until softened.

Sprinkle flour over meat and veggies, stirring to coat. Continue to cook for 1 minute.

Add Guinness, red wine, and beef broth to deglaze the pot. Scrape up the bottom of pot to incorporate the fond for additional flavor.  

Add Worcestershire sauce, spices and peas; stir to combine.


Transfer the mashed potato mixture to the IP, placed over the meat mixture. Smooth out the top.

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

Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 8 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 8 (the number of minutes you initially set) and will begin to countdown to 0 minutes.




When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 8 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).


Serve and garnish with chopped fresh parsley if desired.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Instant Pot: Creamy Tomato Basil Soup


It's the simple things in life we need to enjoy every moment we can. Whether it's a child's laughter, a sunny day or even that cup of coffee made just as you like it, embrace the simple things that offer you a chance to smile. This is true even in the kitchen. Ordinary ingredients, simply prepared, can be extraordinary. Take for example tomato soup. If you grew up like I did, tomato soup came out of that iconic red and white labeled can. Although making tomato soup yourself may take a bit more time and effort, the end result is far more delicious and rewarding. This Creamy Tomato Basil Soup takes canned tomatoes and blends them up with fresh basil before incorporating heavy cream and butter for a rich and silky soup. This is one soup that's simple and indulgent that I'm sure will make you smile...




So let's talk tomatoes. Canned tomatoes. They are not all created equal. My preference for this recipe is using canned San Marzano tomatoes. These tomatoes are highly prized because of their true tomato flavor and sweetness. Finding them fresh isn't easy so I tend to use canned San Marzano tomatoes. They are readily available at local grocery stores and are perfect for this soup.



I tried making the recipe with fresh roma tomatoes but the flavor wasn't always consistent. The disadvantage of using fresh roma tomatoes is that they don't always have the same flavor, depending on the season. But by using canned San Marzano tomatoes, you can be sure the flavor is consistent every time. 


This isn't a soup where you want to start counting calories since heavy cream and butter is involved. Using low calorie or low fat substitutes won't give you the same result either. So if you want to make the soup, indulge a bit! Besides, everything in moderation, right? You can, however, make this with half & half and less butter if you prefer. Just know it will not be a luscious as it should be if doing so.


Creamy Tomato Basil Soup
recipe adapted from AllRecipes


2 (28 oz) cans of San Marzano tomatoes, undrained
14 leaves fresh basil
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream or half & half
1/2 cup butter, softened
salt and pepper to taste
freshly grated Peccorino Romano cheese (for serving)


In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP with insert set in place

Place  undrained tomatoes and chicken broth or stock in IP.

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

Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 10 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 10 (the number of minutes you initially set) and will begin to countdown to 0 minutes.


When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 10 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).



In the OFF setting, use a stick or immersion blender and puree the tomato mixture along with the basil leaves.


Stir in the heavy cream or half & half, along with the butter. Season with salt and pepper to your preferences.To serve, garnish with chopped fresh basil leaves and a sprinkling of cheese.