Friday, December 29, 2017

Magic Pot "Rice-a-Roni"

I am quite pleased with myself! I created some sort of Rice-a-Roni/Hamburger Helper dish in six minutes in my magic pot. Quick, easy, yummy!

IP Beefy “Rice-a-Roni”

2 tablespoons butter
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
4 oz. spaghetti, broken into pieces
1 cup long grain rice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon beef soup base
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon ground celery
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 3/4 cups water

Add the butter to the IP, then sauté the ground beef, onion, garlic, spaghetti, and rice until the onion has softened, the beef is no longer pink, and the pasta starts to brown. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir, and then cook on manual for six minutes. Let release naturally.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Cheesecake Tip

I wanted to make a cheesecake in my magic pot for my Christmas dessert, but I had such trouble with a very lumpy batter (even with the ingredients at room temp). I beat it in the stand mixer, whisked it by hand, whisked it again in the stand mixer, and nearly threw it across the room in frustration, as it just would not smooth out! Finally, in desperation, I took my handheld immersion blender to the batter...and it worked like a charm. And despite my fears that I had whipped a lot of air into the cheesecake, it turned out PERFECTLY dense, creamy, and silky—the best one I’ve ever made! Just thought I’d share that tip. Next to the Instant Pot, it's my favorite kitchen gadget. Stick blender FTW!

IP Gluten-Free, Low(er) Carb Cheesecake

1 1/4 cups almond meal (or your favorite nut, very finely chopped--I used pecan meal this time)
4 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons sugar or stevia (or half of each)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
good pinch of salt

Mix all of the above together and press into the bottom of an 8-inch spring form pan that has been sprayed or greased then lined with a circle of parchment. Place the pan with the formed crust in the freezer while you make the cheesecake batter.

2 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
1/4 teaspoon salt
zest of a lemon
3/4 cup to 1 cup sugar or stevia (or half of each)
2 whole eggs plus one egg yolk

In a stand mixer, blend the softened cream cheese, cream, vanilla paste, salt, and lemon zest until very, very smooth. Add the sugar/sweetener, and blend again until smooth. Add one egg at a time, blending well after each addition. Pour the filling into the chilled crust.

Cover the pan with two layers of paper towel then secure with one layer of foil over the top. Form a sling out of an addition piece of foil, folding it over twice. Put the trivet in the Instant Pot and pour in two cups of hot water. Lower the cheesecake into the pot very carefully using the foil sling. Fold the edges of the sling over so that they do not interfere with the lid closing. Set to manual/high pressure for 40 minutes, let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes then quick release.

Using the foil sling, lift the cheesecake from the pot. Remove the foil and paper towels from the top. If there is condensation on top of the cheesecake, blot it gently with a paper towel.

Mix together about a cup of sour cream, 1/2 teaspoon or so of vanilla, and a teaspoon or two of sugar or sweetener (to taste). Pour the sour cream topping over the hot cheesecake, then refrigerate for six hours or overnight before serving.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Do-It-Yourself Grain Bowls

I was strolling through the Walmarts recently when I came upon some pre-fab frozen grain bowls that looked pretty good. But then I thought, I have grains and a magic pot...and leftover Chinese food containers. I can make my own d*mn grain bowls that are tastier and cheaper! TA-DAH! The ones I saw in the store were barley, kale, and turkey sausage. I used what I had on hand and made farro, Prince Edward Island blend veggies, and smoked turkey sausage. YUM! No fast food drive-throughs for me during finals week!


I put a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in the IP and sauteed half of a large onion (chopped) with four cloves of minced garlic (you can just use two if you're wimpy like that). When tender, I added a cup of pearled farro and two cups of vegetable stock. I cooked it on manual for ten minutes, and let it release naturally.

Meanwhile, I browned a pound of smoked sausage in a large skillet on the stove over medium heat, and then removed it from the pan and sliced it up. To the same skillet, I added another couple of tablespoons of olive oil, the rest of the onion, a couple/few more cloves of minced garlic, and a pinch of hot pepper flakes. When tender, I deglazed the pan with half a cup of white wine, then I threw in a bag of PEI blend veggies, poured in two cups of vegetable stock, covered the pan, lowered the heat to a simmer, and let it cook until the carrots were tender. I added black pepper and seasoned salt to taste.

To build the bowls, I used three leftover Chinese food containers, and put the cooked farro in the bottom, topped that with the veggies, and then the sausage. And I poured the remaining liquid equally over the three finished bowls. Easy-peasy!