Posted in Cooking, Dinner, Foodie, Instant Pot, Multi-Cooker, Pasta, Recipes, Sauces, Winter

Multi-Cooker Monday – Pasta

Last night, I made this Beef and Mushroom Ragu . We didn’t have any Spaghetti squash, so I just served it over pasta (yeah, I didn’t take any photos of the sauce over the pasta, sorry….). YUM! It was SO GOOD! Thanks again Julie for sharing this recipe link with me! It’s another great thing about knitting friends…..It’s not just knitting they know…..they know good food too!

If you’re a pasta lover like me, I’ve found some more pasta recipes that you might want to try in your Multi-cooker….

Now, that’s a YUMMY looking list of Pasta Recipes! Let me know if you try any. I LOVE to hear feedback on food!

Happy Cooking!

Lori

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Posted in Chicken, Cooking, Dinner, Foodie, Instant Pot, Multi-Cooker, Multi-Pot, Recipes, Winter

Multi-Cooker Monday – Lemon Chicken

Over the weekend, I did a little “meal prepping” by cooking a few chicken breasts. These will be great for lunches for me for a few days this week (as Mr. Muddling doesn’t care for chicken). I’ll chop these up and add them to salads or mix them with some cooked veggies and rice for a chicken rice bowl. Earlier in the week, I had seen someone on TV (not sure what I was watching Food Network?  A different cooking show? the local news’ cooking segment?)cook Lemon Chicken by roasting it on a sheet pan. That sounded SO GOOD. But. I was a little afraid that roasting the chicken breasts I had in the freezer might get a little dried out.

Since I now own an Instant Pot, and since I know I can cook frozen chicken breasts without thawing (and they come out perfect….) I decided to try Lemon Chicken in the Instant Pot. Here’s my “Recipe”….

I started by adding a little olive oil to the bottom of the pot (mostly because I was going to brown the chicken breasts a little before pressure cooking them….that was BEFORE I remembered I had FROZEN chicken breasts…..). I added 1 cup of water to the bottom of the Instant Pot. Put 4 chicken breasts (Remember, mine were frozen, but you could also use fresh, you’d just want to adjust your cooking time) into the bottom. Seasoned with salt and pepper. Squeezed the juice of one lemon over the top of the lemon breasts. Cut a second lemon into slices and layered over the chicken breasts.

I found a cooking time for chicken breasts for 8-10 minutes. Then, because my chicken breasts were frozen, I added 50% more cooking time. I set the “Manual” setting for 15 minutes. Put the lid on, making sure the lever was set to “sealing”. Then went about doing other things (maybe it was cleaning or maybe it was knitting….although, odds are, it was knitting…). After it was done cooking, I did a little taste test to make sure it was good. It was SO GOOD! Now, I wonder why you couldn’t put rice beneath the chicken breasts and make Lemon Chicken and Rice….h-m-m-m-m-m….something to try….

Happy Cooking!

Lori

Posted in Beans, Cooking, Instant Pot, Multi-Pot, Recipes, Soups, Winter

Multi-Cooker Monday – Navy Beans and Ham

First off, I want to wish everyone a safe and Happy New Year!

Now, on to today’s “recipe”. I say that because it’s really more of a cooking “method” than it is a “recipe”. My family has been making Navy beans and Ham for as long as I can remember. At Christmas we cooked a spiral -sliced ham and when the ham was gone, I decided I would put the ham bone to use making the soup base for some yummy Navy Bean and Ham soup! If you own a Multi-Cooker (this might have been one of the best purchases I’ve made….EVER!), it’s really simple to do!

I started by cooking the Beans. Now that I think about it, I’m not really sure if they’re really called “Navy” beans in the grocery store (my beans were no longer in their packaging….) or maybe that’s just what my family called them…..Anyway, they are a small, white bean. When I cooked the beans (about 3 cups of washed beans with enough water to cover the beans…about 4 cups maybe), I also added a 1/2 tsp ginger, and 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper to the water (the ginger is supposed to take the “gas” out of beans and the cayenne was just to add a little “zing” to the beans! ). I set the “manual” setting to 35 minutes, made sure I had the vent lever on “sealing” (if you’ve been around the blog any length of time, you’ll find I forget to do that more often than should happen….). When the beans were done, I drained them and set them aside.

Now, on to cooking the broth. Again, super easy! I placed the ham bone (with still quite a bit of ham attached) in the Multi-Cooker. Filled the pot about halfway full of water (now that I think about it, it would have been nice to saute some onions, carrots and celery to add to the broth, but as I didn’t have any at the time and there was NO WAY I was going to town….well, you can draw your own conclusions…..). Set the “manual” setting on 60 minutes. Made sure the vent was on “sealing” (it’s a REAL thing with me for sure!) and let the Multi-cooker do it’s thing. After the broth was cooked (and while the cooker is now on the “keep warm” setting), I scraped as much ham off the bone as I could. Removed the bone and as much floating ham fat as I could. Added the beans in with the broth and let everything warm up. Then, I ladled myself up a big bowl, added a couple Tablespoonfuls of ketchup over the soup (don’t judge me, I’ve been doing it since I was a kid, there’s just something about the tomato and acid flavor of the ketchup that is just SO GOOD with the beans!) and sat down to enjoy. I’ll be freezing portions of the soup to eat later this winter (Mr. Muddling won’t touch Navy beans and Ham, sometimes he doesn’t know what’s good!  😉  ).

Happy Cooking!

Lori

Posted in Candy, Christmas, Cooking, Foodie, Holidays, Instant Pot, Recipes, Winter

Multi-Cooker Monday – Christmas Candy

Just 8 days until Christmas, but don’t panic! There’s still time to knock out some gifts from your kitchen (check out this post  and  this post for other ideas too…)! I found the Instant Pot that I purchased, is really helpful when making Christmas Candy! Here’s a couple of ways I found to use it…..

To use as a double-boiler, put 4 cups of water into the Multi-cooker (mine is an Instant Pot, but there are lots of other brands too), Place a glass or stainless steel bowl into the opening, set the dial to “Saute” . Adjust to medium. Once your almond bark or chips are melted, set to “Keep Warm” setting and it keeps the candy at the perfect consistency for dipping.

Once your pretzels (cookies, dried fruit, nuts, or whatever else you want to dip….) are coated, remove to a parchment covered sheet pan. Sprinkle with crushed candies (like peppermint….), coarse sugar, finely chopped nuts or sprinkles if desired.

You can also pour your melted almond bark (or chips…..) over popcorn (with mix-ins like pretzels, dried fruit nuts, etc….). Check out this Popcorn Crunch Bark recipe to get some ideas! YUM!

Of course, you can also make Bark with your melted candy. Here’s a few recipes to try….

Another way I found to use the Multi-Cooker, is by using the “Slow-Cooker” feature. This Crock-Pot Fudge is very easy to make (okay, I actually made my fudge in my old Slow-Cooker, that way I could make fudge at the same time as I was dipping the pretzels…..multitasking at it’s finest!). I made one batch out of these Sea Salt Caramels (and no….no-one paid me to say this, it’s just what I decided to do. Although, if someone wants to pay me, I’d be open to negotiations…. 😉  )

When I poured the fudge into the prepared pan, I sprinkled with some course Sea Salt (it just seemed like the thing to do….you can’t go wrong with Sea Salt and Caramel! ).

It tastes AMAZING!!!

The final way to use your Multi-Cooker for candy making is by using the “Saute” setting to melt/cook your ingredients. I found this Instant Pot Rice Krispy Treats recipe and she uses the Multi-Cooker to melt the butter/marshmallow mixture.

Make sure your “Saute” setting is adjusted to the normal setting.

Stir until marshmallows are melted.

I mixed in red & green M&Ms (since I had some on hand…..) with the Rice Krispies. Christmas Candy doesn’t have to be complicated! 😉

Need some other recipe ideas that the “Saute” setting could be used on (just a note – not all of the following recipes have instructions for using a Multi-Cooker, you’ll just be using your Multi-cooker and it’s “Saute: setting in place of the stovetop)..….

Oh! I almost forgot! Your Multi-Cooker’s “Saute” setting is also a great way to clean up the whole sticky mess too! When you’re ready for clean-up, fill the pot 3/4 full of water and a little dish soap. Set on “Saute” and as the water gets hot, stir to dissolve all of the stickiness…..

Let the water cool and finish the cleaning! YAY! ANOTHER reason to LOVE your Multi-Cooker!

What Candy are you making first?

Happy Candy making!

Lori

Posted in Baking, Cooking, Foodie, Holidays, Recipes, Tutorials

Foodie Friday – Gifts from your Kitchen

For neighbors and co-workers, I usually gift plates of homemade cookies and candy. I Love to cook and bake around this time of year, so it seems like a good idea to share the goodness. Here’s the thing though, I haven’t got my act together to get the baking done yet this year! That’s right, with just 11 days until Christmas, there’s been NO baking yet! YIKES! I better get busy! I’ve got a back-up plan though….Mixes! That’s right, let the recipient do the cooking or baking. The concept is simple too. Pack the dry ingredients of your favorite recipe (breads, cakes, drink mixes, cookies, soups, seasonings….) into either a Mason jar or zippered sealing bag. Add a recipe card with the remaining ingredients and directions for mixing and baking/cooking. Add some festive touches to the jar or packaging (I sewed up a simple bag from some cute Christmas fabric to put the zippered sealing bag into) and BOOM! Your gift is done!

You can find LOTS of recipes for mixes on Pinterest. If you’re really short on time, you could also pick up some store-bought mixes and dump them into a jar/bag….maybe even adding some dried fruit or candies to the mix….it’s a thought….

Here’s the Beer Bread Recipe I plan on mixing up for gifts…

Beer Bread

Ingredients:

  • 2-1/2 cups Self-rising flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning

(you could substitute other seasonings for the garlic powder and Italian seasoning if you wanted….Pumpkin pie spice anyone?)

Directions:

  1. Mix ingredients together and put in a 1 quart Mason jar or zippered sealing bag.

Additional Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. bottle of beer or club soda (I plan on including a bottle of a Holiday-type of beer)
  • 1/4 cup melted butter

Mixing/Baking Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Lightly grease a 9×5 loaf pan (not sure your recipient has a loaf pan, you could possible include this as part of the gift….)
  3. Place Beer Bread mix into a large mixing bowl.
  4. Pour the 12 oz. of beer over dry ingredients (if your recipient would rather drink the beer, they could substitute the club soda for the beer).
  5. Mix until just moistened.
  6. Transfer to your prepared pan. Pour melted butter over the bread mix.
  7. Bake 45 to 55 minutes in the preheated oven or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
  8. Enjoy!

There you have it…still plenty of time for gifts from your kitchen!   😉

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