Instantly Delicious – Instantly Delicious

Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start to summer. And when most people think summer, they think grilling outside. I’d much rather grill and be outside any day of the week, but sometimes cookouts can get rained out, or you run out of propane or charcoal (not that this has happened to me), or the grill is loaded with other food, and you need to do some of the cooking indoors.  TheInstant Pot® can come to the rescue in these situations. So as your plan your summer cookouts, think about how you can use the Instant Pot® to make your cookouts even better.  Here are some favorite recipes to share at your next cookout.

 

There are a few foods that conjure up childhood memories for me – tomato soup is one of them. I remember having a bowl of warm, creamy, tomato soup any time of year. My favorite way to enjoy it was to dip in saltines. A close second was the grilled cheese accompaniment. Even my husband, who was raised in a different country remembers his dad making him tomato soup. My kids have *gasp* never had the condensed soup of my childhood, but they all like this version that I prepare in theInstant Pot®, especially when I make grilled cheese on the side.

 

I recently attempted an upside down cake in theInstant Pot®. Unfortunately, it was too wet, and while it tasted good, the end result was too messy to share.  This led me to today’s recipe. I wanted a dessert that would be a nice addition to a Mother’s Day brunch. This blueberry coffee cake is perfect.  Not too sweet, a hint of cinnamon, and loaded with juicy blueberries. This cake will not exactly be light and fluffy like an oven baked coffee cake, but it is fun (and delicious) experimenting with cakes in the Instant Pot®.

 

It’s time to celebrate Cinco de Mayo! I love that my birthday falls a couple of days before, because it’s easy to enjoy tacos and margaritas for a couple of days. Last year, I shared a recipe forChicken Tacos in an Instant Pot for Cinco de Mayo. This year, I am sharing a slightly different recipe that I like EVEN more.  I made these into filling for tostadas, but this would work easily for burritos, bowls, or tacos.

 

With the exception of Macaroni and Cheese, Chicken and Dumplings ​is the perfect comfort food. Today was one of those days. It was cold and dreary and after spending the day stuck inside with my toddler who A) cut up multiple sheets of paper into tiny bits of confetti, and B) used marker to cover her entire face and hands, all before 11 am, I needed some major comfort. Since alcohol before noon is typically frowned upon, Chicken and Dumplings in the Instant Pot​® to the rescue. We had a yummy and comforting lunch, and I was able to get through the rest of the day relatively unscathed.

 

We have had the most glorious spring.  After an unseasonably mild winter, spring came early.  It’s been warm and sunny and we have been grilling out more often than not.  Today it’s a seasonably appropriate dreary April day.  My newly planted grass seed could certainly use the drink, and my husband could use a break from grill duty.  I decided that I had a taste for my Easy Lentil Soup, but I was out of green lentils. However, I did have a bag of red lentils, so I created a new lentil soup recipe.  This red lentil soup is just as easy to make as my other recipe. If you have never used red lentils before, they do not hold their shape like other lentils.  They become creamy and delicious as they cook down. One of my favorite lentil soups uses sumac to add brightness and a little bit of sour flavor. I never have sumac, so I used fresh lemon juice after cooking the soup in the Instant Pot®. If you do have sumac, feel free to stir in a teaspoon before cooking the soup.

 

Today is the first day of spring break. Since we are not in a rush to head off to school, I had a bit more time to work on a cooking technique that I recently heard about.  It is called the “pot-in-pot” method and it is used for cooking grains in the Instant Pot® pressure cooker.  Instead of placing the grain (oats, rice, quinoa, etc.) directly in water in the Instant Pot®, you mix the grains with water in a bowl, place the bowl on a trivet, and then cook them that way.  Most often this method is used to cook a grain WHILE you cook something else below it in the pressure cooker.  I love this method, because it makes cleanup a breeze. If you like steel cut oats, give this method a try.

 

We love spicy food at our house. My boys love to outdo each other when eating hot sauce. Even my baby can handle some significant spice.  My mother-in-law contends that her consumption of spicy foods while pregnant caused my husband to be hairy and to love spicy food himself.  While this is probably not true, when it comes to my husband, the hotter the better. We go through a steady amount of Sriracha, Tabasco, Franks, and Nando’s Peri Peri Sauce.  Another favorite condiment is Sambal Oelek, an Indonesian-style chili paste. I recently bought a jar and immediately thought about using it in a marinade for chicken. With the addition of more ginger, garlic, honey, and some other Asian flavors, this marinade was spicy, sweet, and complex. I served the finished chicken over rice, topped with a sweet and spicy chili paste.

 

When I was little, my yiayia used to make what she called, Greek Fish.  Sadly, I do not have her recipe. I do remember that she cooked whitefish in a tomato-based sauce, and it was delicious.  Over the years, I have tried to recreate her recipe and  I feel like the recipe I am going to share is the closest I have come.  I rarely use theInstant Pot® for fish because it is an expensive ingredient and I would hate to waste it on a bad recipe. Now that I have had success with fish in the Instant Pot®, I plan to branch out and try more ideas.

 

Last year, I posted my favorite method for makingCorned Beef in the Instant Pot®.  Since St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, I wanted to revisit the recipe. I still love my original method, because it removes a lot of the salt. This recipe yields a more traditionally salty corned beef but has fewer steps and is still tender and delicious.  My plan is to make colcannon in myInstant Pot® to serve along with it.  Hopefully I can share a recipe for that soon.