Tag Archives: pressure cooker

Pressure Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken

So this makes the third recipe in a row that requires a pressure cooker. But I feel like almost everyone has an Instant Pot at this point (or is getting one for Christmas). I actually don’t, but I do own a stove top pressure cooker.

The awesome part of pressure cookers is how quickly things come together. I love using mine to make brown rice in about 30 minutes, much faster than the hour suggested on the package.

Meat dishes are a little trickier since you can’t know if it is “done” without opening it. But the chicken pieces in this dish cook quickly so that isn’t a concern.

This dish is as good as take out. And can be made very quickly, if you are in a rush (which who isn’t this time of year?). Enjoy!

Pressure Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken (Serves 6)

Pressure Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
½ tablespoon canola oil
½ onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup low sodium soy sauce
¼ cup ketchup
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoon sesame oil
½ cup honey
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons cold water
2 green onions, chopped
4 cups cooked brown rice

1. Preheat pressure cooker. When hot, add the oil, onion, garlic, and chicken to the pot. Sauté for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens.

2. Stir in the soy sauce, ketchup, and red pepper flakes. Lock the lid in place. Once the cooker comes to pressure, cook for 3 minutes.

3. When the cook time ends, a quick pressure release. When the valve drops, carefully remove the lid. Add the sesame oil and honey to the pot and stir to combine.

4. In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch and cold water until smooth. Add to the pot. Simmer, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens. Stir in the green onions. Serve over rice

Recipe Notes: I really like to serve this with a cooked bag of stir fry vegetables as well. Really rounds out the meal.

Nutritional Information (amount per serving):

Calories: 531
Protein: 47 g
Fat: 9 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 132 mg
Carbohydrates: 66 g
Fiber: 3 g
Sodium: 945 mg

Source: Two Peas and Their Pod

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THE Potato Soup

Earlier this year, I decided to try using my pressure cooker for more than rice. I have a stove top model, but I found it isn’t too hard to adjust most Instant Pot recipes (which are EVERYWHERE online) to work in my cooker. On a whim one night, I decided to try a potato soup recipe to use up some potatoes I had left over from a different recipe.

OH MY GOODNESS. I was not prepared for my family’s lives to be changed. My oldest daughter has dubbed this “her” soup and is upset anytime I make any other type of soup. We even went to a restaurant and she ordered potato soup there. Partway through, she turned to me and said, “I still like yours better, Mom.” I don’t know how else to sell it to you. This is good. You should make it. But beware that it may become a frequent find at your dinner table.

THE Potato Soup (serves 6-8)

THE Potato Soup

½ tablespoon canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
¼ teaspoon black pepper
4 ounces lowfat cream cheese
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups skim milk
1 large can shredded chicken
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. Heat the oil in the pressure cooker. Add onions and garlic, cooking for 2 minutes. Add potatoes, 1 cup broth and pepper.

2. Secure lid. Cook on high pressure for 4 minutes. Quick release pressure.

3. While cooking, combine cream cheese, flour, milk, and 2 cups broth in blender until smooth.

4. Once pressure is released, remove lid. Add cream cheese mixture. Cook over medium heat until soup simmers and thickens a little. Stir frequently.

5. Add chicken and corn until heated through. Stir in cheese just until melted. Remove from heat and serve.

Nutritional Information (amount per serving):

Calories: 383
Protein: 20 gm
Fat: 15 gm
Saturated Fat: 7 gm
Cholesterol: 44 mg
Carbohydrates: 45 gm
Fiber: 4 gm
Sodium: 385 mg

Recipe notes: You could use any variety of potato you liked. I did make this one with unpeeled red potatoes. While the adults in our house liked it, the kids found the variation unacceptable. I’ve also added chopped carrots with the onions and garlic for an extra vegetable punch. You can skip the chicken or use some leftover shredded chicken if you have it around. I just like using the canned chicken from Costco. Then pretty much everything except the potatoes is something I always have around.

Source: lightly adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

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Lentil Chili

It’s fall and starting to feel like winter. That means fall festivals, football, and the beginning of holiday/family gatherings. I have lived in a lot of places around the country. No matter where I go, this time of year is ALWAYS the time for chili cook-offs. I admit I’m not usually craving a big bowl of chili. I prefer chili as part of a meal – on a baked potato, on Fritos, as part of a taco salad, etc.

This chili is different though. The flavors in this are spot on, and it is quick and easy to make (especially if you have a pressure cooker). It seems a little strange to have chili with lentils instead of beans. But everyone will love it. Even my little kids ate it!

Lentil Chili (Serves 8)

1 pound 93/7 ground turkey
½ large yellow onion, chopped
1 cup chopped carrot
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 (14.5 ounce) cans no salt added diced tomatoes
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 ½ cups brown lentils
1 ½ tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Pressure Cooker
1. In pressure cooker, sauté the ground turkey with onions, carrots, bell pepper, and garlic until meat is brown and vegetables soft.
2. Add the tomatoes, broth, lentils, chili powder, brown sugar, cumin, and pepper. Close pressure cooker. Bring to high pressure and cook for 10 minutes. Let pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then manually release to open. Serve with ¼ cup shredded cheese per serving.

Stove top
1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, saute the ground turkey (if using) with onions, carrots, bell pepper, and garlic until meat is brown and vegetables soft.
2. Add the tomatoes, broth, lentils, chili powder, brown sugar, cumin, and pepper. Bring to a boil Reduce heat, and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Serve with ¼ cup shredded cheese per serving.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 378
Protein: 29 gm
Fat: 16 gm
Saturated Fat: 7 gm
Cholesterol: 70 mg
Carbohydrates: 33 gm
Fiber: 6 gm
Sodium: 322 mg

Source: adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

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What’s Saving My (Health) Life Right Now

It’s already February! And today marks the halfway point of winter. Woo hoo! We can do this.

How are your resolutions going? I heard someone say recently they love February because we can all get over our resolutions and talk about sweets again. I hope you aren’t in the camp because your resolutions are truly LIFESTYLE changes that you want to keep always.

Anne Bogel, on modernmrsdarcy.com, starts a discussion every year on this date about things “saving our lives”. It is easy, especially in dreary winter months, to focus on all the things going wrong. I had a day like that yesterday. To combat the negativity, it is important to focus instead on the things going right and making our days/weeks/lives better. I love this idea. I actually started my list a couple weeks ago when I was having a rough time. It made a huge difference in my attitude.

Baby Grins that Save My LIfe

This baby girl and her sweet grins are definitely saving my life. Today, I’m sharing 6 things that are saving my life in the aspects of nutrition/health/cooking.

1) Amazon Prime music playlists. I recently made my own playlist on Prime (something I didn’t know I could do). It is all my favorite workout songs. Now, I get excited to exercise and get pumped up during my video when a new song I like comes on.

2) Costco produce. I usually don’t buy many fruits and vegetables at Costco. My family isn’t very big, so I feel like we waste it. But it has helped me make better food choices lately. It’s magic. I can eat more vegetables at lunch when I have lots of salad ingredients or carrots around.

3) Smoothies. Part of how I’ve been using up all that produce is smoothies. I drink a smoothie for breakfast pretty much every morning lately. It helps me rehydrate after my workout. I can drink it while I feed my baby or tidy up the house a bit, so I can multi-task more. My current go to mix: frozen berries, milk or water to thin, banana, greek yogurt or an instant breakfast packet, spinach, baby cucumber. Yum!

4) Treat days. One of my resolutions this year was to only eat treats on two days a week. I’m not going to lie. This is not particularly easy sometimes. But I REALLY enjoy my treats on days I’m allowed them. And I find I’m eating a little less random stuff. When it is a treat day, I know EXACTLY what I want to eat. I’m not just scavenging random candy or fruit snacks I don’t even like from the cupboard.

5) Healthy snacks. To get through my non-treat days, I do allow myself to snack. Yogurt, popcorn, and trail mix (nuts, dried berries, and yogurt chips) are my go-to’s that help me satisfy my cravings without going crazy.

6) Pressure cooker. I am not cool and have an Instant Pot. I’d love one, but my stove-top pressure cooker works well enough I can’t justify that big of a purchase. But it makes food SO fast, which is helpful as our evenings seem to be busy lately. Rice, beans, soup, and chicken are some of my favs right now. I’ll be sharing recipes soon.

What’s saving your life right now, nutrition or otherwise? Share in the comments!

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Beans and Cornbread

Quick apologies for my absence. I recently moved. Just a few miles, but into a house. A grown-up house. It is amazing and stressful and overwhelming and fun. Not only did that take a bunch of time, but I was cooking out of a microwave and electric skillet for several days. Sadly, this photo was an improvement on the unpacking of my kitchen at one point. But now I’m all unpacked and ready to go!

IMG_3876

Last week, I had a guest post on The Kitchen Professor on Cornbread in a Cast-Iron Skillet. It is one of my favorite uses for cast iron skillets. Check it out!

And, if you are looking for something to go with that cornbread, I have a recipe featuring another specialized pot quickly becoming one of my favorites. The pressure cooker. Several food blogs I follow have posted about pressure cookers in recent months. Last summer, as I was packing my kitchen, my friend commented on how nice my pressure cooker was. I told her it was because I had never tried it. Now that I’m all unpacked, I’ve been testing it out. It’s pretty great. Brown rice only takes 20 minutes to cook! With the recent demise of my rice cooker, this has been a life saver.

But my real favorite is beans. While the beans in my crockpot are great and easy, pressure cooker beans are so quick. I have generally soaked mine, but you don’t need to do so. Beans are a nutritious, filling, and affordable meal. Beans, cornbread, and a side of greens. Very Southern and very delicious! Enjoy!

Pressure Cooker Beans

This isn’t an exact recipe. Just some ideas and resources I have found helpful.

1 pound of dry beans
Aromatics: large chunks of onion or dried minced onion, celery, garlic cloves or powder, bay leaf
Salt: either up to 1 teaspoon salt or you could add a few slices of bacon (yum)
6-8 cups water

1. Optional: soak beans in 6-8 cups of water for 8 hours or overnight. Drain water.

2. Combine beans, aromatics, salt, and water in pressure cooker. Make sure you don’t fill your pressure cooker more than about ½ full.

3. Cook according to your cooker’s guidelines. Here is useful information about cooking times and adjusting for altitude, etc.

4. VERY IMPORTANT!! Let the pressure release naturally, which will take 10-15 minutes. You can put the cooker under cool water to fast release the pressure. However, you will have weird beans. The beans in my picture were cooled that way. Some were slightly underdone. Lots of cracked beans. Have patience and let it release naturally. Totally worth the extra time.

What do you like to cook in a pressure cooker? What do you wish you knew how to cook in a pressure cooker? Let me know in the comments and I’ll experiment for you!

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