Today we’re out of milk. The skim milk is gone, the unsweetened almond milk is gone, the evaporated milk is gone … we’ve even used the shelf-stable cartons of milk we typically stock for hurricane preparedness. No cold cereal todayfor breakfast.
Oatmeal to the rescue! Grocery stores frequently have oatmeal on sale as a BOGO (buy-one-get-one free), so we had two boxes of Quaker Old Fashion Oatmeal in the pantry. With a pressure cooker, perfect oatmeal is easy. Here’s how I cook it.
Oatmeal for two
Ingredients: 2/3 cups oats, 2 cups water, 1/4 tsp. Salt (or to taste), 1 1/2 tsp butter, and 1 cup water for the pressure cooker.
Directions: Pour 1 cup water into the pressure cooker pot. Add trivet. In a separate bowl or pot (any vessel that fits inside the cooker for pot-in-pot cooking), combine all other ingredients. Seal pressure cooker, set for 10 minutes, cook, and allow pressure to drop on its own. Do not vent manually. Carefully open the pressure cooker, remove the inner pot or bowl using potholders or mittens, and stir oatmeal vigorously. Serve immediately.
My husband eats his oatmeal with a Tablespoon of honey stirred in. I like to add cinnamon and stevia. There are endless possibilities to flavor oatmeal.
If you want larger servings (Ours are approximately 100 calories per serving , not including toppings), simply increase the amounts of oatmeal and water while maintaining the 1/3 cup oats/1 cup liquid ratio.
We will enjoy oatmeal again soon. It’s a hearty and satisfying breakfast.
I craved Asian cuisine today, so I made Kung Pao Chicken and brown rice in the Instant Pot. I didn’t have hot peppers, hoisin sauce, or chili purée. Without the typical red chili peppers, my dish was milder than take-out. As for the condiments, I found recipes online and made my own.
We were pleased with the results. I focused on ingredients I had (fresh ginger root and fresh cilantro) and followed a Betty Crocker (Cookbook) recipe for low fat Kung Pao Chicken. I used frozen chicken thighs and modified it for the Instant Pot or any brand multi cooker.
RECIPE—Instant Pot Kung Pao Chicken for Two
2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 1 Tbsp cold water
1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts
1 tsp sesame oil
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. Grated ginger root
1/2 cup chicken broth (from cooking the chicken)
1/2 tsp. sugar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp Chile purée
2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
Pressure cook chicken thighs in 1/2 cup water ten minutes. Allow pressure to drop on its own.
Mix a slurry of all other ingredients except broth, onions, celery, and peanuts. Set aside.
Remove chicken from pot and cut into 1” cubes. Reserve broth.
Usingsauté mode, sauté onions, peanuts, and celery in 1/2 cup of reserved broth for five minutes.
Add chicken and stir.
Add the slurry and turn off Instant Pot. Stir until sauce thickens.
We have thirty more days ahead of operation #StayHome to stop the spread of Coronavirus. So for the month of April, I’ve challenged myself to creating as many meals as I can from my freezer and pantry, without a visit to the supermarket.
It’s particularly challenging because I prefer fresh foods over canned or frozen. I haven’t a garden, thanks to the deer who thought we planted vegetables just for them. But we fall into the vulnerable demographic and I’m determined to make this work.
I won’t post every meal, but asoften as possible I will share the interesting (?) menus and dishes I develop. So who’s with me? It’ll be fun.
We love all meat yet try to limit our consumption of red meats. So I developed a recipe for beef stew that uses only half a pound of meat. By adding a pound of mushrooms, I boost theumami taste. I sneak in more vegetables, too.
This is a pressure cooker recipe that’s easily adapted to slow cooking. By using the pressure cooker, we get that cooked all day flavor in about half an hour.
Beef and Mushroom Stew
Makes 4 one-cup servings
1/2 pound beef (chuck or round works) cut into 1” chunks
1 pound mushrooms, sliced and cleaned
1 cup broth + 1 Tbsp (reserved for slurry)
2 tsp. Oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
2 small red or gold potatoes, sliced or cubed
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced or sliced
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tbsp cornstarch
Freshly ground pepper
Preheat cooker pot.
Generously salt and pepper the beef.
Brown the beefon all sides, then remove from pot and set aside.
Sautéonions, garlic, and mushrooms 1 minute.
Add cup of broth, deglaze bottom of pot, and return the beef to the cooker.
Seal and cook under high pressure for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare slurry by combining Worcestershire sauce, reserved broth, and cornstarch.
Remove pot from heat (or hit Cancel if using electric) and allow pressure to drop on its own.
Carefully open pot and add potatoes and carrots. Reseal.
Bring to pressure and cook 1 minute under pressure.
Remove from heat, allow pressure to drop 5 minutes on its own, then release remaining pressure.
Carefully open the cooker and checkvegetables for doneness.
Stir slurry again right before adding it to the pot. Return to heat (or use sautémode on electric models) just until sauce thickens.
Remove from heat immediately and check for seasonings. Add salt and pepper if needed and serve.
Adding fresh chopped parsleybefore serving adds flavor. Unfortunately, I was out of parsley when I cooked this stew today. Next time …
My grocer had pork tenderloins on sale this week buy-one-get-one-free (BOGO). Pork tenderloin, not to be confused with pork loin, is a lean and tender cut ideal for a Hasty Tasty Meal. It’s easily over cooked, which is why it’s crucial to distinguish tenderloin from loin. Yet it’s also difficult to pass up a BOGO, so I decided it was time to master pork tenderloin.
Baking or roasting pork tenderloin using a meat thermometer (internal temperature of 145°￼) is a foolproof cooking technique, yet I wanted to use my pressure cooker. Why? We’re campers and don’t travel with an oven or even a microwave oven. But I do have a 3 quart Instant Pot Duo Mini in my travel trailer. Even when “roughing it,” I like to prepare good meals.
I experimented with steaming the tenderloin on a trivet over the liquid as well as braising in the cooking liquid. I tried chicken broth, water, and apple juice for the cooking liquid. All techniques produced edible meat, but here’s my favorite and most successful recipe.
Hasty Tasty Pork Tenderloin Roast
1 pork tenderloin, approximately 1.5 pound
2 tsp. Canola oil or your choice vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 fennel bulb, sliced
1 apple (gala or Granny Smith works well), sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1.5 cups water
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat multi cooker on sauté mode.
When heated, add oil and brown all sides of the tenderloin.
Remove tenderloin to a plate. Add fennel, apple, and onion to the pot and sauté approximately 5 minutes. Salt and pepper. Turn off heat.
While vegetables sauté, use a sharp paring knife and make slits evenly throughout the meat to insert the garlic pieces.
Pour water slowly into the pot. Using a wooden spoon, deglaze the pot of any cooked-on bits.
Return tenderloin to the cooker and place atop the fennel, apple, and onion slices.
Seal cooker and set pressure cooking time for zero minutes (or lowest time setting available).
After cooking time completes, hit cancel. Do not allow cooker to “keep warm.” Allow pressure to drop on its own one minute and then vent.
Open cooker, remove meat to a plate, and pour cooking liquid into a heavy duty blender (I use a Vitamix) to purée.* Return liquid to pot, and hit sauté.
While liquid reduces, allow tenderloin to rest. Tent with foil to keep warm. After the cooking liquid boils down to desired thickness, turn off cooker and add butter. Salt and pepper sauce to taste. Slice the tenderloin and serve drizzled with the sauce.
Browned tenderloins cook quickly.
Whisk in butter right before serving.
Serve with sauce and side dishes of your choice.
*For a chunkier sauce, mash the cooked apple, fennel, and onion mixture with a potato masher.
We often eat beans. We like them, they’re good for us, and they are inexpensive. Today’s pintos (made in my Instant Pot) are made zesty with the addition of hot Hatch Chilies.
We discovered Hatch Chilies in Texas one summer. Although next to impossible to find fresh in my area, Hatch Chilies in cans are usually found in my pantry.
Here’s my recipe:
Zesty Pinto Beans
1 cup Dried Pinto Beans
1 cup Chopped Onion
1/2 cup Diced Sweet Pepper
1/2 cup Hatch Chilies (we like hot, but choose your heat level)
1 clove garlic, minced
Water or Broth
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Soak beans overnight or do a 1-hour Quick Soak in a Pressure Cooker.*
Rinse beans and set aside. Wipe the pressure cooker dry and preheat (Sauté Mode).
When pot is hot, add 1 Tbsp. oil. Allow oil to heat.
Sauté chopped onions for 2 minutes before adding peppers.
Sauté peppers 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat (or hit Cancel).
Stir in garlic.
Add presoaked beans. Add liquid just to cover beans. Set cooker for 30 minutes.
Seal and bring to pressure.After cooking, allow pressure to drop on its own.
Open cooker, stir, and serve.
*For the 1-hour Quick Presoak, place beans in a pressure cooker. Add water to completely cover the beans. Add 1 Tbsp salt. Pressure cook for one minute, cancel, and then allow beans to soak undisturbed for one hour. Rinse and drain before cooking.
We love Mexican flavors and Southwest cuisine, and I love pressure cooking, so here is my version of a spicy taco bowl. It’s faster than messing with taco shells and making filling, so it’s a hasty and tasty meal for taco night. Enjoy.
Chicken Taco Bowl
Makes 5 – 6 servings
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs (frozen or thawed)
1 cup dried black beans (not soaked)
1 cup brown long grain rice
12 ounces salsa or 1 regular size can Rotel® diced tomatoes with green chilies
2½ cups chicken broth or water
1 ounce chili or taco seasoning mix
8 ounce block Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
(optional) fresh cilantro sprigs
In the pot of a pressure cooker, place chicken, beans, and rice. Pour salsa and broth over them. Add 1 ounce chili seasoning mix.
Seal and bring to pressure. Cook 18 minutes (stovetop) or 23 minutes (electric).
Remove from heat (or hit “cancel”) and allow pressure to drop on its own. Natural depressurization takes approximately 15 minutes.
Carefully open cooker and stir. Chicken should easily shred, or you may remove it, shred it separately, and stir it into the rice and beans mixture. Top with cheese and cover. Do not return to heat.
After a minute or two, the residual heat will melt the cheese and the taco bowl is ready to serve with optional garnish.
Variation: add 1 cup frozen corn kernels before adding the cheese.