Sunday, March 5, 2017

Tender and Moist BBQ Pork Ribs in the Instant Pot (from frozen meat!)

I've mentioned before how much I'm enjoying my Instant Pot that Dustin gave me for Christmas.  The more I use it, the more I am amazed with it!  The other night I knew that I had some frozen pork ribs, but the only thing I really felt like doing with them was BBQ.  And the only way I knew to do that was to slow cook them all day.  But all these thoughts happened at 4:00 in the afternoon.  I started looking for recipes using the Instant Pot and dealing with frozen meat.  I had cooked some chicken from frozen in my Instant Pot and it hadn't worked as well as I had hoped, so I was looking specifically for tips to be successful with frozen meat.  I came upon a website,, and there were great tips for cooking frozen meat, as well as cook times.  I decided to give it another try, and I'm so glad I did!  After 20 minutes in the Instant Pot (plus pressurizing time), My ribs came out tender, moist and so delicious!  I was totally amazed!  Total prep, cook and de-pressurizing time was less than an hour--less time than my sweet potatoes took to bake in the oven.  I am loving this new kitchen gadget.  If you don't have an Instant Pot, but do have all day, I'm sure this would also be delicious in your slow cooker.

BBQ Pork Ribs (in the Instant Pot)
by: Carolyn

2 Tbsp. oil
1 onion, sliced
1 tsp. minced garlic
6-8 frozen pork ribs (if yours aren't frozen, adjust cook time accordingly)
1 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 c. barbecue sauce

In saute mode, heat the oil in your Instant Pot.  Saute the onions until they are translucent.  Add the minced garlic and stir for 30 seconds.  Brown the frozen pork ribs in the Pot (as best as you can, with them being frozen and probably stuck together).  Add the salt, pepper and barbecue sauce and then pour enough water in to cover the ribs.  Set the Instant Pot to the Meat setting, high pressure, and 20 minutes cook time.  You can let it naturally depressurize, or do a quick depressurize, if you need to.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Slow Cooker Creamy Tortellini Soup

I had a New Year's Resolution this year to try one new recipe a week.  I used to cook new foods regularly, but my busy life kind of took over and I didn't take the time to find new things to make for my family.  I actually love to cook, but had found that I was bored with my old stand by recipes, and starting to dread dinner time every night.  My husband encouraged me to set a goal to try a new recipe once a week, and I have pretty much stuck to it.  It has made all the difference in how I feel about mealtime preparation for my family!  I love trying new recipes!  I saw this recipe on facebook and tried it out right away and my family loved it.  I used the frozen cheese tortellini from Costco and it tasted perfect with the soup.  

Slow Cooker Creamy Tortellini Soup
slightly adapted from:

1/2 pound ground Italian sausage, browned
1 onion, chopped (I used my dehydrated chopped onion)
2 large carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped (I omitted because I was out of celery)
2 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
2 tsp. beef or chicken bouillon powder
1/2 tsp. salt
4 c. beef or chicken broth
1/4 c. cornstarch mixed and dissolved in 1/4 c. water
3 cans evaporated milk
1 12 ounce package of frozen tortellini
2 1/2 c. fresh baby spinach
1 c. milk

Place the browned sausage, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, Italian seasoning, bouillon powder, salt and broth in a slow cooker.  Cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 7 hours.  Stir in the cornstarch mixture and the evaporated milk.  Add the tortellini and stir it together.  Cook it on high for 45 more minutes, or until the tortellini is cooked through and the soup has thickened.  Gently stir in the spinach and cook for another 5-10 minutes.  Pour in the milk, a little at a time, until the soup has your desired consistency.  Add more salt to taste.  I actually forgot to add the milk at the end, and our flavor and consistency were just right.  The recipe says that extra milk may be needed when reheating leftovers because the soup absorbs a lot of liquid as it cools.  We didn't have the problem because we had nothing leftover!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Creamy Potato Soup in the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

My hubby gave me an Instant Pot pressure cooker for Christmas.  I stared at the box for 2 weeks before I even opened it because I didn't know what to do with it.  All I really needed to do was look online because when I did, I found tons of recipes to make using my pressure cooker.  And then I started finding friends who swear that it is the only way they cook now.  This recipe came from one of those friends.  The soup was incredibly flavorful, which is one of the things that people say about cooking with a pressure cooker.  I would be curious to try it in a slow cooker, or on the stove to see if it had as good of a flavor.  My entire family ate it and liked it!  Winner!

Creamy Potato Soup
adapted from:

1 onion, diced
2 slices bacon
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp. oil
1 c. chicken broth
2 1/2 pounds of potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 inch cubes (I guessed on the amount)
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
a dash of red pepper flakes
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
2 c. chicken broth
1 1/2 c. heavy cream (or use evaporated milk)
salt and pepper to taste

I am going to give the instructions just as my friend gave them to me.  If you make this using a slow cooker or on the stove, I'm sure you can figure it out.
1.  Press Saute on Instant Pot.  Add onion, bacon, garlic and oil.  Stir while sauteing for 3-4 minutes.  Do not walk away or this will burn.
2.  Add 1 c. of chicken broth, potatoes, carrots, celery, parsley, red pepper flakes, and Italian Seasoning.  Stir.  Place the lid on the pot, press Steam button and set minutes to 10.  (It takes about 10 minutes to come to pressure and then cooks for 10 minutes)
3.  When it beeps, do a quick pressure release.  Remove the bacon and discard (I didn't discard it. We just cut it into bite-sized pieces, then put it back in at the end).  Add 2 cups of chicken broth and the heavy cream.  Insert a handheld blender and run it on short bursts until it has a creamy consistency that you like, but make sure to leave chunks of potatoes.  Don't puree it all.  Add salt and pepper to taste, stirring gently to incorporate.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Chili Lime Taquitos

I found this recipe on my friend, Michele's, food blog the other day.  I gave it a try, and my family loved it!  In fact, we made it again a few days later because they liked it so much.  And it is so quick and easy if you prepare the chicken in advance, shred it and freeze it in one cup amounts, like I did.  Doing it that way, it probably only took 5-10 minutes to prepare.  Love an easy meal!

Chili Lime Taquitos

2 c. cooked, shredded chicken
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 1/2 Tbsp. lime juice (or the juice of one lime)
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
1 c. shredded monterey jack cheese
6-8 tortillas

In a skillet, stir together the shredded chicken, chili powder and lime juice.  Add the cilantro and cheese and stir it all together.  Remove it from the heat, and put 3-4 tablespoons of the mixture on one end of a tortilla.  Roll it tightly, starting from that end, and then place it seam side down on a baking sheet.  Repeat with all of the tortillas and chicken mixture.  Leave a little space between each taquito on the baking sheet, so that they will cook all around.  Using a pastry brush, lightly brush a little oil over the top and sides of each taquito.  Bake at 425 degrees, for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Serve with sour cream, salsa and guacamole.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Peanut Butter Pie

This was Avery's choice for pie this year.  It sounded so rich and sweet that I thought it would be too rich, and too sweet.  But, I was wrong!  It was just enough.  So delicious!  It was the favorite pie of all that we made.

Peanut Butter Pie
adapted from:

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
8 oz. container of Cool Whip
24 crushed Nutter Butter cookies
4 Tbsp. melted butter
chocolate fudge ice cream topping

In a small bowl, stir together the Nutter Butter crumbs and melted butter and press into the bottom and sides of a pie plate.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until it begins to look golden brown.  Set it aside and let it cool down.  In a large bowl, combine the softened cream cheese and powdered sugar and beat it with an electric mixer until it is smooth and creamy.  Add the peanut butter and vanilla and do the same.  Stir in the cool whip until it is well combined (also, smooth and creamy) and spread the whole mixture over the cooled Nutter Butter crust.  Squirt a little of the chocolate fudge ice cream topping over the top of the pie and refrigerate until you are ready to eat it.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Creamy Ranch Chicken Bake

The other day I needed something new that I could prepare and bake while I worked on other things.  I thought that something creamy and ranchy and chicken-y sounded good, so I googled those three words and found all sorts of recipes titled "Creamy Ranch Chicken".  I guess there are many other people that also thought that sounded good.  I looked at a couple of the recipes, and they were all about the same as what was going on in my head, except for being cooked in a crockpot instead of baked.  So, my guess is that in the future, if I want to make this same recipe in the crockpot, it would work out just fine.

Creamy Ranch Chicken Bake
by: Carolyn

1/2 c. sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 ranch packet
bacon bits
salt and pepper
chicken breasts

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  Spray a 9X13 dish with cooking spray.  In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, cream of chicken soup, ranch packet and bacon bits.  Lightly sprinkle salt and pepper on your chicken breasts and place them in the pan (the ranch and bacon make this a salty recipe already, so you could omit this if you wanted).  Spread the creamy mixture over the top of your chicken.  Cover it with tinfoil and bake it for 20 minutes.  Remove the tinfoil and bake it another 5 minutes, or until it is no longer pink in the center.  I served it with baked potatoes and steamed carrots.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Easy Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Now that we are in the full swing of Fall, I am really loving things like soup, for dinner.  I have made this recipe a couple of times now, and we loved it both times.  I use the egg noodles from Costco, and cook it in my slow cooker, so that makes it especially easy.  One of the times I made it I got ambitious and also made my easy rolls to go with it.  It was a super delicious, cozy Fall meal!

Easy Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
by: Carolyn

2 tsp. minced garlic
1 onion, sliced
4 c. chicken broth
4 c. water
1 c. chopped celery
1 c. chopped carrots
3 potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 chicken breast
3-4 handfuls of uncooked, wide egg noodles (or as many as you want-just be aware that they will swell as they soak up the water, and if it doesn't seem like you have enough in there, you probably really do)

In your slow cooker, combine all of the ingredients, except the egg noodles.  Cook it on high for 4-6 hours, or on low for 8 hours.  Remove the chicken breast, shred it, and put it back in the crock pot.  Add the egg noodles, recover the crock pot, and cook for 15-20 minutes more, or until the noodles are tender.