Posted in Beans, Cooking, Foodie, Instant Pot, Ravellenics, Soups, Winter

Foodie Friday – Beans!

I’ve found ANOTHER reason to LOVE my Instant Pot……Beans! Dried (Red) Beans that is. They cook up quicker and better in the Instant Pot! Believe me, I’ve tried the other ways….Slow-cooker, nope! Even if you soak the beans ahead of cooking and cook for 2 days the beans will still not be cooked (if you have had luck with the Slow-cooker, how DID you do it?). Stovetop….it works….and it takes ALL DAY LONG! Plus, constant watching to make sure your beans have enough (hot) liquid so they don’t boil dry…..

Here’s what I did for beans in the Instant Pot….

  • Measured 2 cups of dried beans and rinsed the beans. Put them into the Instant Pot.
  • Measured 2 cups of water (or enough to cover the beans). Poured over the beans.
  • Put the lid on.
  • Set the dial to “sealing” (I think we’ve discussed my forgetting this step sometimes…..)
  • Chose the “Manual” setting and set the time for 30 minutes (there was some debate about the done-ness of the beans as Mr. Muddling thought they weren’t done enough and I thought they were just right. If you don’t like your beans “firm”, you might want to set the time to 35 minutes….)

While the beans were cooking, I browned one pound each of ground country sausage and hamburger. When the beans were done, I added the hamburger to the Instant pot. Added two large cans of diced tomatoes, about a Tbsp. of Kosher salt and some Chili Seasoning Mix. Changed the setting to the “Slow-Cooker” setting, adjusted to high and 2 hours and let everything simmer for a couple of hours before we ate it. The easiest Chili I’ve ever made with dried beans! You can be sure I’ll be making this again! BUT. Because it’s almost Winter, here’s some other recipes using beans I’d also like to try….

Don’t these look YUMMY?!?!

Happy Cooking!

Lori

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Posted in Cooking, Foodie, Instant Pot, Yogurt

Foodie Friday – A Yogurt Experiment

Here’s something I didn’t even consider when I bought my Instant Pot….A “Yogurt setting”. I did realize you could make yogurt with an Instant Pot, because several of the blog posts I had read mentioned that it made great yogurt. BUT. I didn’t really read any recipes until last week when I decided I should make some yogurt. (There’s some great recipes out there too….just do a Pinterest search for “Instant Pot Yogurt” and see what pops up!). Here’s the problem, every recipe I read (and no, I didn’t read EVERY recipe I found on Pinterest, because….well, with the THOUSANDS of recipes that come up, I’d still be reading…..), had you set your Instant Pot on “Yogurt” to make the yogurt. Do you see a “Yogurt setting” on my panel of buttons?

No. You do not, because there isn’t a “Yogurt setting” on my Instant Pot. Was I going to let that fact slow me down? No, I was not! I’ve made yogurt (with varying results, I might add) using a stovetop method and a slow-cooker method. I doubted a “Yogurt setting” was going to make that big of a difference. Before I tell you what I did, I want to share this Yogurt Recipe post because she has some great tips on the milk, yogurt culture and temperatures (and some YUMMY recipes to add to your yogurt!) for yogurt success. I had also seen this yogurt recipe,  and was intrigued by the method. The question was, could I make it without the “Yogurt setting”?

Here’s the method I used….

First, I put 1-1/3 cups of whole milk in 4 clean pint jars. I placed rings and lids on the jars and tightened the rings loosely (that’s what the recipe called for….I think the next time, I’ll tighten them a “little” tighter….). In the Instant Pot, I added 1-1/2 cups of water and the trivet. Then, I placed my pint jars of milk on to the trivet. I put the lid on the instant pot, made sure the dial was set on “sealing” (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten to do this….). Using the “manual setting”, I set the time for 2 minutes and went about my other chores. I’m not going to lie here, I’m always a little apprehensive until everything seems like it has vented, sealed and the actual “time” is displayed on the screen (probably has something to do with the fact I’ve forgotten to set the dial to “sealing” before….maybe…). I was a little more apprehensive this time when there was milk coming out with the steam. It seemed like it was taking MUCH longer to display the time (I don’t think it really was, it just seemed that way….). When the 2 minutes was done, I quick released the steam and removed the jars (the water was a bit milky, but otherwise, everything was fine….one reason I think I should have tightened the lids a bit tighter….). I put the jars into a pan with some cold water in it to help speed the cooling process. I also checked the temperature of the milk to make sure it had exceeded 185F (it was 195F). I turned off the Instant Pot and put the lid back on to hold the heat in while the milk cooled. When the milk had cooled to 100F, I added 1 Tbsp. of the yogurt culture to each jar of milk and stirred in. Put the lids and rings back on and placed back in the Instant pot, put the lid on and wrapped a towel around the Instant Pot.  (That’s actually a white towel, but sometimes taking photos in the evening gets me some weird-ish results 😉 )

I let the yogurt set overnight (about 12 hours) and removed the next morning.

YAY! Success! You can now move the yogurt to the refrigerator and let cool (it will thicken more as it cools, you can also strain through cheesecloth if you want a thicker yogurt).

I also froze the remaining 3 Tbsp. of yogurt “culture” and 1 Tbsp. out of 3 of the “new” jars of yogurt to use as my starter cultures for my next batches. That’s right, you know I’m going to be making more yogurt in the near future!

Happy Cooking!

Lori

Posted in Cooking, FALL!, Foodie, Holidays, Thanksgiving

Foodie Friday – Thanksgiving Leftovers

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanskgiving! If you’ve got Thanksgiving leftovers you’re not sure what to do with…..I’ve rounded up some yummy sounding recipes you might like to try. Here they are….

Happy Cooking!

Lori

 

Posted in Cooking, FALL!, Instant Pot, Recipes, Soups

Souper Sunday – Clam Chowder

In my opinion, Fall (and Sunday) is the perfect time for a hot bowl of Clam Chowder! I found an amazing, fast recipe using my new Instant Pot (I should also mention here, this is just the product I bought, there are other types and brands of multi-cookers on the market….I REALLY wanted this Quick Cooker, but my recent party was not as good as I’d hoped and while I could justify this cooker at 60% off, I just couldn’t justify it at full price….but that’s just me….).

This Saute button is the secret to this yummy Clam Chowder.

It allows you to render the fat out of your bacon and saute your onions and celery right in the same pot. I did make one little change to the recipe. It had you drain your clams and to the reserved liquid, add enough water to make 2 cups of liquid. I added an 8 oz. bottle of clam juice that I had on hand, instead of the water. I really like clammy tasting Clam Chowder! 😉

Including prep time, I probably only spent 30 minutes getting this Clam Chowder to the “Keep Warm” stage. I kept the chowder on the “keep warm” for a couple of hours until we were ready to eat (and to thicken, because Mr. Muddling likes thick soups….you know the kind you could eat with a fork thick…  😉 )

Anyway, if you like Clam Chowder, this is a recipe I highly recommend! Oh! In case you missed it earlier, here’s the recipe I used. Enjoy!

Happy Cooking!

Lori

 

Posted in Apples, Canning & Freezing, Cooking, FALL!, Instant Pot, Recipes

Foodie Friday – Instant Pot

First of all, I should let you know, I bought an Instant Pot last week. The funny thing about this is, Mr. Muddling and I had discussed whether or not we thought we needed and Instant Pot in our kitchen. Mr. Muddling was pretty convinced we did NOT need one. I was not so sure. Now, to be fair to Mr. Muddling, I DO have a “little bit” of a problem when it comes to kitchen gadgets. I want them ALL! AND. I have a VERY small kitchen space. After awhile, the gadgets wind up in the pantry area of our storage shed. Then, when we don’t have room for pantry items, decisions are made and kitchen gadgets go to the thrift store to live in someone else’s kitchens (or storage sheds?).

I kept doing research (on Pinterest….where else would you do research?) and found LOTS of ideas for using the Instant Pot. including this list of 11 Surprising things you can make in an Instant Pot and this Simple Guide on How to Use an Instant Pot. I was convinced this would be an appliance we would use A LOT (but then….aren’t I always?). Well….while Mr. Muddling was hunting, and I was left unsupervised (and in charge of the check book), I purchased a 6qt. Instant Pot! I’m pretty much in LOVE with it! The first thing I made (right after the water test they insist you do to test out the machine) was Hard Boiled Eggs . HUGE success! Mr. Muddling and I were CONVINCED we couldn’t cook an easy-peel egg. We have tried EVERY trick in the book! I’m happy to report these were not only the easiest eggs I’ve ever cooked, but they peeled like a dream!

I also found this YUMMY recipe for Instant Pot Apple Butter! I usually make my apple butter in the Slow-Cooker (which the Instant Pot has a slow-cooker feature too!), but this was SO MUCH faster! I had processed 2 completed batches of apple butter in less than 4 hours (In the slow-cooker, 1 batch would take over 24 hours just to cook down!)! YES!

I’m convinced this was a great purchase for our kitchen! I’ve pretty much used it at least once a day since I got it home! If you’re time-crunched like me, and haven’t purchased one yet….you might think about it…..seriously.

Happy cooking!

Lori

Posted in Canning & Freezing, Cooking, Gardening, Pampered Chef, Recipes

National Sneak a Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day!

That’s right! It’s National Sneak a Zucchini onto your Neighbor’s Porch Day! AND. If you can’t sneak one onto your neighbor’s porch, let me know, I can get you the address of MY porch!

I’ve been freezing Zucchini the last few days for fall and winter meals (and treats!). If you’ve never frozen zucchini before, it’s SUPER easy! Start by washing/cleaning your zucchinis. Then:

 

Slice  your zucchini. I’ll be using these thin slices for a Zucchini Lasagne this fall/winter. Maybe even these Zucchini Enchiladas. YUM! I can hardly wait! This Vegetable Peeler is ideal for getting thin, wide ribbon-type noodles. If you’ve never used Pampered Chef’s knives or cutters (basically anything with a blade), I’m going to warn you….They are SHARP! Don’t ask how I know this…..

You can also grate your zucchini. I’ve mentioned in a few posts now, but this Multi-Grater & Slicer might be one of my new favorites. (I should probably mention that I’m a Pampered Chef consultant and I don’t love it because I sell it, I sell it BECAUSE I LOVE it!) . Use the grated zucchini this fall/winter in this FABULOUS Low-carb Chocolate Cake Recipe (or just sneak it into soups and sauces).

Now, put your prepared zucchini into freezer bags (or a vacuum sealer is handy too!), press as flat as possible to get out as much air as you can. Label, date and freeze. When you’re ready to use your zucchini, thaw in the refrigerator the night before.

Then you’re all ready to make your favorite casserole (or whatever….). Enjoy!

Posted in Baking, Breakfast/Brunch, Cooking, Low-Carb, Pampered Chef, Recipes

A Birthday Breakfast

Yep! It’s my birthday. AND. I bought myself a new gadget!

This Multi-Grater & Slicer. So far, I LOVE IT! (Here’s where I should mention, I’m a Pampered Chef consultant. And. I haven’t really found a product I don’t LOVE….)

Since I don’t have to work (at work anyway) today, I decided I wanted to make these for breakfast. Hey! It’s MY birthday, I should be able to choose what I want for breakfast. right?

I didn’t have round ham slices (I guess I could have made them round….), so I just cut ham slices in quarters.

Poured in beaten eggs (about 8, I think, I wasn’t really counting….). Topped with my shredded cheese (from my new handy-dandy Multi-Grater & Slicer!).

Then baked at 350F for about 10 minutes (who was really paying attention? Then I wonder why sometimes I burn stuff…..) until the cheese was melted and firm. Oh My! They were SO GOOD!

Want to know what I’m doing later today?  Baking this Low-Carb Chocolate Cake! I’ll let you know how it comes out, but it sounds AMAZING!!!!