Sunday, October 1, 2017

Creamy Zucchini Soup in the Instant Pot

My garden was kind of a bust this year, except for a few things.  One of my successful things was zucchini (of course).  This year I accidentally planted two varieties of zucchini--the regular kind, and yellow zucchini (I thought I was planting yellow crookneck squash.  I'm not sure how I messed it up).  I had quite a few zucchini's that had piled up, and because it is chilly outside and soup sounds so delicious, I was really wanting to make soup.  I found this recipe for zucchini soup and tweaked it a bit, including cooking it in my Instant Pot, and it came out delicious!  I'm sure this could also be made on your stovetop without any problems.  This is a great way to use up lots of extra zucchini--the recipe calls for 8, but I think you could just use whatever you had available and it would still come out great.  I used about 2 1/2 of my huge zucchini's that I had left growing for too long.  The one thing I would do differently next time is remove the seeds, especially on those huge vegetables.  I will definitely make this one again!

Creamy Zucchini Soup in the Instant Pot
adapted from:

2 Tbsp. butter
1 onion, chopped
4 potatoes, peeled and diced
8 zucchinis, peeled and chopped
1 sprig of fresh rosemary (rinsed, dried and rubbed between your fingers before adding)
4-5 leaves of fresh basil
1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
4 c. chicken or beef broth
1 c. milk
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
salt to taste

In your Instant Pot, using the saute setting, melt the butter and saute the onion until it is translucent.  Add the potatoes, zucchinis, rosemary, basil, pepper, broth, milk and soy sauce.  Lock your lid into place, and set it at high pressure, for 10 minutes.  When it is done, do a quick pressure release.  Remove the lid, and using a hand blender, blend the soup until it is thick and creamy, with a few chunks.  Add salt, if needed.  

Sunday, July 30, 2017

BBQ Pulled Pork, in the Instant Pot

This is a very similar recipe to the BBQ Pork Ribs, but I make it often enough, that I thought I would record it for my future self-1 month from now, when I'm trying to remember what I did for this recipe.  Once again, I love my Instant Pot in moments like I had tonight.  I had people coming over for dinner at 5:00, and I wasn't going to the store, because it is Sunday.  I had to find something I could make with what I already had, and I found a pork roast in the freezer.  I defrosted it for a couple of minutes in the microwave, long enough to be able to cut it in 4 pieces.  Then, I cooked it in my Instant Pot for 35 minutes, and it was perfectly shred-able when it was done.  Start to finish it took an hour!  And, it tasted wonderful!

BBQ Pulled Pork in the Instant Pot
by: Carolyn (after looking at many different food websites)

1  2-3 pound pork roast, frozen or thawed
1 c. beef broth
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
onion powder
garlic powder
1 Tbsp. oil
Your favorite BBQ sauce

Set your Instant Pot to Saute, add the oil, and let it get hot.  Sprinkle the kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, onion powder and garlic powder generously on to your roast and rub it in.  Cut the roast into fourths and when the Instant Pot is hot, brown each side of the roast pieces (I just did all four pieces at the same time, in the bottom of the IP).  Pour the beef broth over the top of the roast.  Lock your lid into place, and set your Instant Pot on high pressure, for 35 minutes if the roast is frozen, 20-25 minutes if it is thawed.  When it is done, do a quick release, drain most of the liquid, and shred your pork.  Pour your favorite BBQ sauce over the top and stir.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Moist, Flavorful Pot Roast in the Instant Pot

In 16 years of marriage, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I have made pot roast.  It is just not my favorite.  I grew up in a home where we ate roast and potatoes almost every Sunday, but my own children really only know roast from when we are at Grandma's house on a Sunday.  However, that all may change with the Instant Pot that Dustin gave me for Christmas.  I seriously love this kitchen tool!  I have made beef pot roast three times in the last couple of months, which is like a super record for me.  And each time, the roast has come out so moist, so tender, so flavorful.  It is delicious!  My children may end up with memories of pot roast, after all!

Moist, Flavorful Pot Roast (in the Instant Pot)
adapted from:

Pot Roast, cut 2 inches thick
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
1 Tbsp. oil
1 onion, sliced (or, I used dehydrated onions, re-hydrated)
2 tsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 c. chicken broth
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. oyster sauce
fresh rosemary-rub in between fingers before adding
ground sage

Heat up your Instant Pot, using the Saute button.  Add the oil and heat until very hot.  Season the pot roast with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper on both sides.  Place the meat in the Instant Pot, and brown it for 5 minutes on each side.  Remove it from the Pot and set it aside.  Add the onions and cook them until they are soft.  Add the garlic and cook it for 30 seconds.  Pour the balsamic vinegar into the Instant Pot, and deglaze the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon.  Stir in the chicken broth, soy sauce, oyster sauce, rosemary and sage.  You may add a little more salt and pepper, to taste.  Place the meat back into the Pot, close the lid, and set the Instant Pot to high pressure, for 45 minutes.  When it is done, do a natural pressure release for 25 minutes (although, I didn't have time to do that today, and it still turned out perfect).  I have made this with potatoes and carrots in the pressure cooker, and I have made it without any added vegetables.  If you add veggies, they end up so flavorful, and it becomes a one pot meal!

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.