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.