Instant Pot Pot Roast

This one was a big time winner! But then, every recipe I’ve found on Damn Delicious is a winner.

It tasted like it’d been cooking all day, but it only took about an hour total.  It was PHENOMENAL. I will make this all the time, seriously. It turns a weekend meal that takes a long time and makes it a weeknight meal.

The meat was tender and fell apart. The veggies were the perfect texture, and the gravy that it makes was spot on.

https://damndelicious.net/2018/04/12/instant-pot-pot-roast/

I made a few changes:

  • I used brisket because we had one in the freezer that needed to be used
  • I was not able to add wine to mine because I accidentally bought a cork bottle instead of screw too and I misplaced my wine opener. I used extra beef stock.
  • I added a ton of thyme and no rosemary because I didn’t have any
  • I only set my IP for 40 minutes based on other things I read about cooking brisket in the IP. If I had used the chuck roast, I would have done what the recipe says.
  • I didn’t shred it. I just cut it up as usual. It sort of falls apart itself anyway.

Easy Peasy Pumpkin Pancakes

This whole not being able to cook and bake thing is really starting to get to me. TBH, it’s making me a little bit sad. I love this time of year and the foods are so great, but I can’t do anything.  I decided to easy my blues by making Pumpkin Pancakes for breakfast.  It is super easy, because it starts with a base of pancake mix.  These turned out so fluffy and packed with flavor. It was just what the doctor ordered to get my Fall baking fix in!

Start with one of those “Just add water” pancake mixes.  Use however much of the dry mix the package directions say to use, I used 2 cups.  Then add ¼ to ½ can of pumpkin puree (you can eye ball this), 1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice (or a mix of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger to equal 1 tablespoon), 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and finally milk of your choice. I used almond milk. Add a little at a time to get the right pancake consistency.  You can’t really use the package directions for this because of the addition of the pumpkin puree.  You’ll have to start with a little and add stir until it is right.

Melt some butter on a griddle and cook your pancakes as usual.

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

I love shredded meats like chicken and beef. I love them even more when they are slathered in BBQ sauce. This is probably one of the easiest BBQ Chicken Sandwiches and it made SO MUCH FOOD so it’s good for a crowd, or you can easily portion it out and freeze it. 

Recipe from SugarSpunRun.com

3.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast

2 cups BBQ sauce (I use Sweet Baby Ray’s) 

1/4 cup light or dark brown sugar packed 

2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar 

1 Tablespoon olive oil 

1 teaspoon garlic powder 

½ teaspoon onion powder 

½ teaspoon smoked paprika 

¼-½ teaspoon crushed red pepper 

1. Combine BBQ sauce, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, and crushed red pepper in the basin of a slow cooker

2. Place chicken breast in sauce and use a spoon to cover with sauce.

3. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or high 3-4 hours. Chicken is done when it is easily shredded with a pair of forks.

4. Shred chicken and stir well to coat with BBQ sauce. 

I served mine as sandwiches, but you can use this for so many things like pastas, quesadillas, rice bowls, pizza, etc…

No Kitchen Dinner: Microwave Pasta

So, they make microwavable pastas and they are really good. Bird’s Eye has these veggie pastas that are really good. Perfect to keep on hand for a quick healthy meal.

I did discover though, that you can make any pasta in the microwave.  The texture wasn’t my favorite, but maybe I tried to make too much? I don’t know, but it worked and it’s worth having a new trick in your cooking arsenal.

Put your pasta in a microwave-safe bowl and cover it with water. Make sure the water is higher than the pasta by about an inch. Cover with a plate and put a plate underneath in case of spillage. Add 3-4 minutes to the suggested cooking time and microwave. Check for desired doneness.  I would suggest cooking by the serving. I did the whole package and it took forever. I think there was just too much pasta.

Then add whatever sauce you want. I love this Autumn Harvest sauce from Trader Joe’s.

No Kitchen Dinner: Rotisserie Chicken with Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts

Grocery stores have such great options for when you can’t cook! This one almost made me feel like I wasn’t drowning in clutter around my house and things were back to normal.

Chicken: Grocery story rotisserie chickens are my jam, whether I have a kitchen or not. They are so insanely versatile, I buy them all the time. My favorite is when Pavilions has their $5 Friday specials, otherwise, the ones at Costco are my go-to because they are much bigger than the other ones. 

Sweet Potatoes: Trader Joe’s to the rescue again! Seriously, if you don’t have a TJs near you, you should move to where there is one and live happily ever after. I found these in the frozen section. They are little gems of mashed sweet potatoes that you cook in the microwave. You just take out however many discs you need (12 discs is 2 servings) and heat ‘em up for a few minutes.  I then add a little ghee and a touch of maple syrup. Perfection. I’ll buy these to keep on hand anyway!

Brussels Sprouts: I’ve been using my Instant Pot a lot as a substitute for my skillet, which has been met with mixed reviews. The saute function on the IP isn’t really meant for long-term cooking; more so for browning or thickening up a sauce at the end. I’ve made it work, but it isn’t ideal because you can’t control the heat. I made my usual brussels sprouts by sauteing bacon in a little bit of olive oil and adding chopped leeks and a little minced garlic. Add the brussels sprouts and cook until softened and browned to your liking.

Cajun-style Shrimp, Sausage, and Potatoes

I am often day dreaming about recipes. I know, it may seem weird, but I truly do think of a couple ingredients and just imagine what I can do with them. I start out pretty general and then play around with ingredients in my head until I think I may be on to something. It doesn’t always work out, but often it does and when that happens, I am quite pleased with myself.

This dish came out of a craving I was having for shrimp. Who doesn’t like shrimp, right? I also LOVE Louisiana-style cuisine. Unfortunately, it isn’t usally the healthiest, so I either avoid it, just give in and go for gold, or, like in this case, rely on simple seasoning to give a healthy dish some Cajun flair.

This meal came together in a flash and the hubby went back for seconds. That makes it a total winner in my book.  The potato/sausage mixture makes a lot, so you can have leftovers, which are super delish the next day with sunny-side up egg on top.

You can adjust the seasonings based on your preference/tolerance for spice.

Cajun-style Shrimp, Sausage, and Potatoes

 

Olive oil

½ yellow onion, diced

4-5 mini sweet peppers, diced (mix of red, yellow, and orange). You can also just use 1 red bell pepper, diced.

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, diced

1 pound smoked turkey sausage (i.e. Hilshire Farms)

Cajun seasoning (I used Tony Chachere brand)

Shrimp, factor in about 5 medium-sized shrimp per person

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add about a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Saute the sausage until it starts to brown. Remove from the skillet. Add a little more olive oil if you need it and saute the onions, peppers, and potatoes until the potatoes are almost softened. Add the garlic at this point so you don’t burn it. Add the sausage back in and sprinkle some Cajun seasoning. However much you want. Let this cook until the sausage and potatoes are browned and cooked through.

Meanwhile, in a separate skillet over medium heat, add a little more olive oil. Sprinkle more seasoning on some peeled and deveined shrimp and cook until done, just a few minutes on each side is usually all you need.  I cook the shrimp separately because you will have leftovers of the potatoes and the shrimp doesn’t reheat well. You can always make more shrimp if you want later.

Once it’s all done, just serve up the potato/sausage mixture and top with about 5 shrimp per person.

Minestrone Soup

I’ve been a bit in a slump lately. At least when it comes to blogging recipes. I’ve been making food I’ve already done on here or making other people’s recipe or even just making stuff that I ultimately deem “not blog-worthy.” (That parmesan French toast was pretty delish, though!)

I blame it on end-of-the-year laziness. I seriously get so lazy after Thanksgiving. I think I only worked out 2 times in the entire month of December. I barely do any housecleaning and the laundry starts when we are all on our last pairs of underwear. Well, it’s January now and a new year has started. I have a list of things I want to start doing. Work has been absolutely CRAZYPANTS but it should calm down in the next few days and my head will stop spinning and perhaps I can actually start accomplishing things.

First up, this soup. It’s been raining like crazy here in SoCal the past couple days. Now, I happen to enjoy the rain. I don’t like going out in it, but I do love being warm and cozy and listening to it pitter patter outside my window. I always like to think Fall weather is soup weather, but in SoCal that is not at all the case. It’s usually pretty warm until mid-December to January when it starts to get a little chilly.

Minestrone soup is a thick Italian soup made of a flavored broth and veggies with optional beans and pasta added in. There is no set recipe for minestrone since you can use whatever veggies are in season. This soup dates back to the Roman Empire, but the basic premise remains today.

This soup really hit the spot and was so easy to make. It hit my trifecta of easy, healthy, and delicious!  If I weren’t in the beginning of a Biggest Loser Challenge, I would have served this with a side of bread as well.

30-Minute Minestrone Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ yellow onion, diced

4 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon dried basil

1 tablespoon dried oregano

Salt and pepper

1 16 oz bag frozen veggie medley (green beans, corn, peas, carrots. You can really use whatever veggies you want.)

Parmesan rind (optional)

1 28-oz can low-sodium crushed tomatoes

6 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 15oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

12 oz box of shell pasta (or other small pasta of your choice) *I used Banza chickpea pasta and it was DELISH! You can’t even tell the difference and it punches up the protein of an otherwise-vegetarian dish.

Add olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another minute or so.

Add the frozen veggies, basil, oregano, some salt and some pepper. I had a leftover rind from some parmesan, so I added this as well. You don’t have to.  Stir and cook for a few minutes until veggies start to soften.

Add the crushed tomatoes and chicken stock and bring to a boil for about 10 minutes.

Add the beans and pasta and cook about 10 minutes (or per package directions for the pasta). Remove the parm rind if you used one and taste the soup for seasoning. I ended up adding more salt, pepper, and basil, but make it how you like it.