Category: cooking (page 1 of 4)

Turkey Under Pressure

My husband loves turkey, and I indulge him because I love him and turkey, too. Turkey is an inexpensive protein. It’s not exclusively a holiday meal, either. We have turkey year around.

But we live in sunny Florida. Nobody wants a hot kitchen after using an oven for several hours, especially in summer. I researched alternatives (No to the indoor turkey fryer, and no to the electric roaster).  I’ve successfully pressure cooked and slow cooked a turkey breast with good results, yet never a full turkey (and I love the dark meat). 

After watching one too many Sunday morning infomercials for the 10-quart Power Pressure Cooker XL, in which Eric Theiss exuberantly shows off a whole turkey cooked in 40 minutes, I ordered one for a birthday gift for myself. I was skeptical because I want stainless steel pots, not nonstick-coated aluminum. The PPCXL has only the nonstick-coated aluminum inner pot. As far as I know, there is no stainless steel replacement pot that will fit it.  I resigned myself to the nonstick pot, though, and tested the cooker as a turkey roaster.

Oh my goodness! I am so pleased with the results, and so is my family. Now turkey dinners aren’t limited to cool weather months. There are a few tricks to my pressure cooked turkey, though. First, it must be no larger than 12 pounds. Mine weighed in a tad over 11. Second, use a bit of butter. I thoroughly greased the bottom of the nonstick inner pot with butter. I also put a little butter between the skin and the breast meat on either side of the wishbone. If you like crispy skin (we don’t eat skin), you’ll need to brown it under the broiler for 5-10 minutes before carving.  Finally, I let pressure drop completely before opening the cooker and removing the turkey. From prepping the turkey to serving it took a total of 2 hours, still much quicker than oven roasting.

As for the nonstick coated pot I detest, it fared well and cleaned up easily in hot soapy water. I baby it with nylon or silicone tools and gentle scrubbing, though. Except for the nonstick coated pot, I’m impressed with the performance of the 10-quart PPCXL. I own an older model PPCXL that’s noisier and a bit more difficult to use, so Tristar has made improvements I like. If you’re in the market for a large multi-cooker, consider the 10 quart Power Pressure Cooker XL. (Check out the video on YouTube for the infomercial) If you want something smaller, stick with Instant Pot or other brands that offer the stainless steel inner pot.

RECIPE

TURKEY UNDER PRESSURE

Serves 8-10

Equipment needed: 10 quart or larger pressure cooker. chef’s knife, measuring cup

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 whole turkey, 9-11 pounds, thawed
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 rib celery, halved
  • 1 clove garlic. chopped
  • 1 carrot, halved
  • 1 pepper, any kind, chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • seasonings (salt, pepper, poultry seasonings)

Directions:

  1.  Divide butter and use 1 Tbsp. to coat bottom of the pressure cooker’s pot.
  2. Pour 2 cups water into the pot.
  3. Place the turkey inside the pot, breast side up. Stuff the cavity with the onion, garlic, celery, pepper, and carrot.
  4. Gently separate the skin from the breast meat and insert 1½ tsp. butter on either side of the wishbone.
  5. Generously sprinkle turkey with salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning.
  6. Seal pressure cooker and bring to pressure. On the PPCXL, select Chicken/Meat and adjust time to 45 minutes.
  7. When the turkey has cooked for 45 minutes under pressure, remove from heat (or hit Cancel button) and allow pressure to drop completely on its own (approximately 15 minutes).
  8. Carefully remove the turkey from the pot using lifters or two sets of tongs. Place on a carving board and cover loosely with foil.
  9. Strain the cooking liquid and reserve for making gravy, soup, and/or dressing.
  10. Allow turkey to rest another 10-15 minutes before carving. Serve and enjoy!

Stuff cavity of turkey with aromatics.

Set time for 40 – 45 minutes (we like fall-off-the-bone turkey)

Success! But for prettier presentation and crispy skin, place turkey under a broiler for 5 – 10 minutes.

Mix It Up – With A KitchenAid

I blog often about my cooking tools, like the Instant Pot, air fryer, pressure cooker, Vitamix, and Cuisinart Food Processor. Another tool I love is my KitchenAid stand mixer. It’s 30 years old and still going strong. I updated it with a new five quart glass bowl and a newer paddle with scraper. Through the years I’ve bought attachments for it, like the pasta extruder and the meat grinder. Mostly, though, I use it as a mixer. 

I’m not much of a baker, but there’s much more you can do than mix batter with a KitchenAid. I use low speed to whip potatoes, high speed to make whipped cream (SO much better than from a can!), and medium speed to shred cooked chicken for burritos or chicken salad. Use the dough hook to knead pizza dough. These are just a few applications. And especially if you’re a baker, the KitchenAid stand mixer is a must-have.

For more information about the KitchenAid mixer (Still assembled in the USA. Yay!), read this review
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Pressure Cooked Brown Rice

Happy New Year!

Do you know the difference between brown rice and white? White rice is refined. It’s had the brown coating removed. So brown rice is actually rice. White rice is refined rice, like whole wheat flour and refined flour. Because I try to keep my carbs complex, I prefer brown rice to white. It also has more taste. But it takes a lot longer to cook than regular rice.

There are a number of recipes available for cooking brown rice. There are a number of recipes available for cooking brown rice in the pressure cooker. I’ve tried most of them. But it annoys me that my new Instant Pot comes with a rice setting that works only for white (refined) rice.  The Power Pressure Cooker XL and a few other models have settings for brown rice, but many don’t. Here’s my work around:

Take 1 cup brown rice and rinse. Cover with 1 1/4 cups water and soak for one hour. Set a timer. Do other stuff. Check Facebook. Whatever. After an hour, add salt or other flavorings, seal the Instant Pot (or other brand multi-cooker you use), and select Rice. (Soaking brown rice also shortens cooking time in a stovetop pressure cooker, too. ) At the end of the cooking time, hit cancel and allow pressure to drop on its own 10 minutes. Release any remaining pressure. Carefully open the pot and fluff rice with a fork. You have 4 servings of perfectly cooked brown rice. 

This has worked every time for me. If it’s too much trouble to soak ahead of time, just cook the rice for 22 minutes followed by the 10 minute pressure release. But I really like using the special rice cooking setting because it’s convenient.

Add more whole grains to your diet as you begin the new year. You’ll be healthier for it! 

Cuisinart: For the Grater Good

I’ll admit I’m a kitchen geek. I love my Vitamix, my Kitchen Craft and Americraft Cookware, my Instant Pots, and my KitchenAid stand mixer. I didn’t need a Cuisinart. I just wanted one.

So this year I asked Santa for the 14 cup model, rated the best by America’s Test Kitchen for 2017. Christmas came early for me this year. Yippee!

What makes me want a food processor? I’ve had two, neither of which did what my Kitchen Cutter does (and without electricity!). Not abandoning my Kitchen Cutter, either. But there are food processors and then there is the Cuisinart. My new Cuisinart slices tomatoes! I kid you not. It grates cheese, cuts butter into brown sugar or flour, and  blends creamy sauces.

Here is my lightened version of Scalloped Potatoes using my Cuisinart and a stainless steel cake pan. You can make it without a Cuisinart or cake pan, of course, but my way is fun and easy.

RECIPE

Lightened Scalloped Potatoes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 Russet potatoes, peeled
  • 2 yellow onions, peeled and halved
  • 4 ounces mozzarella cheese
  • 8 ounces Neufchatel cheese
  • 1 cup fat-free chicken broth
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Using the slicing blade to the food processor, slice potatoes and onions. Set aside.
  3. Switch to the grating blade. Grate mozzarella cheese. Set aside.
  4. Switch to the mixing blade. Combine Neufchatel cheese with the chicken broth. Process until creamy smooth.
  5. In a square or round baking pan, layer half the potatoes and onions. Add salt and pepper. Sprinkle with half the mozzarella cheese.
  6. Repeat with a second layer. Then pour the Neufchatel cheese sauce over all.
  7. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.
  8. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes or until potatoes turn slightly golden.
  9. Remove pan from oven and allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.


Merry Christmas to me!

Cincinnati Chili

As we begin fall, the season of tailgate parties and cooler weather, we dig out our favorite chili recipes.  Although most of the time, we make a Tex-Mex style chili, I make this recipe for a change of pace.

Skyline Chili restaurant has been a favorite of our family–especially my nephew (Happy birthday, Joe!), but there are no Skyline Chili restaurants where we live. I needed to develop a Skyline knock off. It took work, but I did it. Wait till you taste my version of their famous, Cincinnati-style chili. I shaved off about an hour of cooking time by using a pressure cooker.  Make this one a day ahead to do it right!

RECIPE

Cincinnati-style Chili

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:

2 large onions chopped
2  pounds extra-lean ground beef or lean ground turkey (Or 1 of each)
6 cloves
garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon red (cayenne) pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa or 1/2 ounce grated unsweetened chocolate

2 (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 cups water
2 (16-ounce) packages uncooked dried spaghetti pasta (I use whole grain thin spaghetti for added fiber)


Toppings: 1 can red beans, rinsed
1 sweet onion, diced
1 pound cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:

In a large (4 qt) pot (I use the pot to my pressure cooker), add water and meat. Boil meat for 30 minutes, stirring often to separate the meat. Add remaining ingredients (except pasta and toppings) and bring to a boil. Put on the lid and seal, bring to pressure, then cook under pressure for 45 minutes¹. Remove from heat and allow pressure to drop on its own.  When cooled, transfer chili to a glass or plastic container. Refrigerate overnight.

The next day, skim off any congealed fat from the top of the chili and remove bay leaf. To serve, return to large pot and warm over low heat. Meanwhile, cook the pasta, dice onions, shred cheese (if necessary) and warm the beans. To serve three way, ladle ½ to ¾ cup of the chili over a ½ cup spaghetti then top with 2 oz. shredded cheese. Four way: add either 2 Tablespoons of beans or 2 Tablespoons diced sweet onion. Five way: add both beans and onion.

¹If you aren’t using a pressure cooker, you need to cook uncovered for 1 hour then covered an additional hour.

This is labor-intensive but worth it. For a shortcut version, try my Hasty Tasty Cincinnati Chili.

RECIPE

Hasty Tasty Cincinnati Chili

This is a quick version that’s almost as good as the long-cooking method. Serve it plain, five-way, or your choice. For this version, I use the pressure cooker.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 2 cups water or broth
  • 1 cup frozen diced onion
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. garam masala¹
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 15-oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups cooked whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1 can small red beans, rinsed and drained (Optional  for topping)
  • 1 cup diced onion (Optional for topping)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (Optional for topping)

Directions:

  1. Cook ground turkey in the water or broth over medium heat in the pot of your pressure cooker (or if using an electric model, use the sauté mode).
  2. When the turkey is cooked, add onion and garlic. Stir.
  3. Add the spices, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, and tomato sauce. Stir.
  4. Bring to pressure and cook 10 minutes.
  5. Allow pressure to drop on its own. Carefully open cooker.
  6. Serve over cooked whole wheat spaghetti (or zoodles, if you’re watching your carbs) and add optional toppings if desired. Top five-way chili with cheese, onions, and beans, Four-way with two of the three, etc.

Yield: Serves four – five

Store leftover sauce (in an airtight container) in the freezer for up to four months.

¹garam masala is a spice blend of cumin, cardaman, cinnamon, coriander, cloves, nutmeg, and pepper.

 

Loafing With a Bread Machine

This one is quick and reasonably healthy. I suggest using RapidRise® yeast.

RECIPE

BREAD MACHINE CINNAMON BREAD
(Makes 1½ pound loaf)

 

Ingredients:
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour or white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups bread flour
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 stick butter, cut into small cubes
2 tsp. (or package) yeast
2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Directions:
Add all ingredients except the cinnamon into the bread machine pan. Select the quick cycle and light crust, if your machine has the crust setting option. Start machine. When you hear the signal to add ingredients, add the cinnamon.

Two hours later you’ll have hot cinnamon bread for breakfast. Tomorrow you can slice the leftover bread for French toast or cube it for making a bread pudding dessert.

Product Review of the Instant Pot Duo 3 quart Mini

Instant Pot’s newest, the Mini

When I first purchased an Instant Pot last year, I had no idea how popular the brand was. I selected it because of its stainless steel inner pot. Most electric multi-cookers have coated aluminum pots, and inevitably that “nonstick’ coating flakes off and into my food. Ugh! Soon the enthusiasts  (AKA Instant Potheads) sucked me into their cult. There are hundreds of online groups and blogs devoted to this wonder appliance. Sales of Instant Pot skyrocketed. Soon supply fell behind demand and waiting lists developed. Wow. What had I gotten into?

I’m already a pressure cooker veteran (I now own six! Don’t judge me. :-P) and won’t give up my reliable stovetop models, but I quickly saw why the Instant Pot was and is popular. Its safety features and ease of operation boost the confidence of even the non-cooks in its cult following. I suspect Instant Pots are making a dent in the fast food industry’s profits because Potheads stay home now and cook for their families. And brag about it!

If you have a 6 quart Instant Pot, the most popular size, there are a few things you need to know about the 3 quart Mini. First, obviously, is size. The Mini has a smaller footprint and capacity. You can’t cook a large chicken, turkey breast, or ham in it. But you can cook poultry parts or a small ham. It’s perfect for making side dishes, like beans, vegetables, or grains. If you want boiled eggs, the Mini does the job and is ideal for cooking only a few.

Second, the wattage. The Mini uses less power than its big sister, yet I saw no significant cooking time difference with the exception of brown rice. Brown rice needed 28 minutes followed by at least 10 minutes natural pressure release. My 6 quart Instant Pot does the job in 22 minutes followed by natural pressure release. My stovetop pressure cooker takes 15 (and at least 10 minutes natural pressure release), so there is a difference. Just remember brown rice takes at least 50 minutes the conventional way. I also needed additional time for cooking dried beans. My anasazi beans take 30 minutes (plus natural drop in pressure) from dry to done but were too firm after 30 minutes in the Mini. However, most foods cook exactly the same as in the larger Instant Pot.

Finally, accessories that fit your 6-quart will not fit the Mini. The Mini comes with its own trivet, though, as well as the rice cup, spoon, and ladle. And it has a good cookbook and instruction manual. I expect Instant Pot to introduce a new line of baskets, glass lids, and racks for the smaller size Mini, though.

Bottom line: If you don’t own an Instant Pot and are undecided, buy the Mini. If you fall in love with the Instant Pot, you can always add a larger Instant Pot later and keep the Mini for side dishes. If you live alone or cook mainly for a couple, this Mini limits you to smaller pots of food but should work for you. If you have an RV, this Mini is the perfect size to travel with.

Or if you’re like me and crazy about cooking, buy both the Mini and the 6-quart. And the 8-quart, too. You, too, can join the Instant Potheads subculture!

Hasty Tasty Farro

I’ve tried quinoa and steel cut oats. They’re okay but my new grain passion is farro. It’s akin to brown rice yet twice as nutritious. I like the nutty flavor and chewy texture.  It also cooks more quickly than brown rice.  Stovetop it cooks in about twenty-five minutes, but I cook mine in my pressure cooker. Pearled* farro cooks in five minutes with a natural pressure release.  I cook up a double batch of plain farro and refrigerate it for later use in salads, heated for a breakfast cereal, or added to a recipe designed for rice, risotto, or orzo. I don’t flavor mine when I cook it, although you could. Give farro a try in any dish you’d typically use rice or risotto.

RECIPE

Hasty Tasty Farro

Makes 4 half-cup servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Organic Farro (I use Italian Pearled)
  • 2 cups filtered water (you can go a little shy of 2 cups in a pressure cooker because there’s no evaporation)
  • 1/4 tsp. Kosher salt

Instructions:

  • Add all ingredients to the pressure cooker pot. Seal lid and bring to pressure. 
  • Cook under pressure 5 minutes. Remove from heat (hit cancel) and allow pressure to drop on its own.
  • Carefully open pressure cooker and stir. 
  • Serve warm or cold, flavored as desired. 

*Pearling removed the outer husks.

Hasty Tasty Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken noodle soup is the quintessential comfort food, especially when you’re under the weather. But why pay for sodium-laden canned soup when you can make your own? For this batch of soup, I used the Instant Pot. The recipe is good for any pressure cooker. If you modify it for the slow cooker, don’t use frozen ingredients.

RECIPE

Hasty Tasty Chicken Noodle Soup

Makes 4 one-cup servings

I make my own chicken stock and store it in the freezer. I also keep a supply of frozen skinless, boneless chicken breasts and thighs. Using a few pantry and crisper items, I can pull out a jar of stock and a thigh and have delicious chicken noodle soup ready in an hour.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp. cooking oil
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • ½ cup diced carrot
  • ½ cup diced celery
  • ¼ cup diced bell pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt (I use Kosher or pink Himalayan)
  • ½ teaspoon pepper (I use Mrs. Dash garlic and herb)
  • 1 frozen boneless skinless chicken thigh
  • 1 pint chicken broth or stock (mine is frozen, but thawed will work)
  • 1 pint water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 serving pot-sized linguine (or your choice)

Directions:

  • Preheat the pot (on the Instant Pot use the sauté button). Add oil when the pot is hot.
  • Sauté onions, celery, carrots, and pepper for two minutes. Stir frequently.
  • Add salt and pepper. Turn off heat.
  • Add the water. Using a wooden spoon, deglaze the pot of fond left on the bottom.
  • Add the chicken, chicken stock, and bay leaf.
  • Seal lid and bring to pressure, either by using the manual setting for 30 minutes or the soup setting, which on my Instant Pot defaults to 30 minutes.
  • When time is up, turn off cooker and allow pressure to drop on its own (approximately 15 minutes).
  • Carefully open cooker. Using a long handled utensil, break apart the chicken and stir soup.
  • Add the linguine, cover pot, and allow residual heat to cook the pasta through (approximately ten minutes)
  • Remove bay leaf and serve. (If you have fresh herbs, add them before serving)

Easy Ratatouille

Ratatouille, or a veggie stew of Provence, is versatile and delicious. Originally French, it gets its flavors from Herbes de Provence, a distinctive blend of dried herbs that typically include savory, lavender, marjoram, fennel or tarragon, oregano, thyme, and rosemary .

I’m still playing around with pressure cooker recipes, and this dish is ideal for HASTY TASTY MEALS UNDER PRESSURE (my work-in-progress). It’s also great for meat-free Mondays (or whatever day you want to go vegetarian). When I make ratatouille early in the week, I divide it into batches for weeknight meals. I add chicken and noodles for a chicken veggie stew, or broth and cannellini beans for a quick pasta fazool. I serve it as a stew over rice or puree it as a sauce and serve over pasta with fresh-grated Parmesan cheese. 

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Note: For my readers who live in higher elevations, keep in mind my elevation here in Florida is about 100 feet. You will need to add cooking time if you live above 2000 feet.

RECIPE

Easy Ratatouille

Yield: 8 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small eggplant, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced in ½” pieces
  • 1 cup crimini or white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 28-oz. can tomato puree
  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 6-oz can tomato paste 
  • 1 Tbsp. dried Herbes de Provence
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • (optional) fresh basil

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat. *
  2. Add onions, peppers, and celery. Saute 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and Herbes de Provence. Stir until fragrant.
  4. Add eggplant, carrots, and zucchini. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add all other ingredients except optional fresh basil. Close cooker lid and bring to pressure.
  6. When pressure is reached, lower heat but maintain pressure. Cook for five minutes.
  7. Remove from heat. Allow pressure to drop on its own. (May take up to 25 minutes)
  8. Carefully open cooker and ladle contents over bowls of rice or pasta, if desired. Garnish with a fresh sprig of basil.

Ratatouille stores well up to three days in the refrigerator. It freezes well and keeps for 4-6 months in the freezer. 

*Electric pressure cookers cook for 8 minutes.

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