Happy New Year! As the calendar turns to a new year, I always take some time to reflect on what is working and what could be improved upon. One thing is having easy and healthy breakfasts available for my family. My boys are teenagers and are pretty lazy when it comes to breakfast – so am I. My older son gets up really early for high school and I can hear him rustling through the snack cabinet for a handful of pretzels for breakfast most mornings. I don’t exactly hop out of bed to cook him anything either. We can do better. That is why I prepared these jars of Apple Pie Steel-Cut Oatmeal in my favorite glassware – Bonne Maman jelly jars. I literally use them for everything. While it is the best jelly in the world, I am most in love with the jars. Drinking glasses, candle holders, spice organization, and now – healthy breakfast containers!
This Instant Pot® Vegetable Chowder is loaded with summery vegetables – zucchini, squash, and corn, just begging for a glass of sauvignon blanc and a crusty loaf of bread. It isn’t summer, though, and I am all out of wine. What I do have a crisper full of vegetables that I bought intending to grill, and a weekend full of cold, rainy, weather, with no grilling in sight. What is a girl to do? Make soup, of course! I adapted another one of my recipes that calls for bacon. While I love bacon, I try to make my soups mostly vegetarian-friendly, because it is a meal that my kids will all eat. To replace some of the bacon-y goodness, I added in smoked paprika. This kept the soup meat-free, but added a hint of smokiness that would have come from the bacon. I also call for either water or vegetable stock. Feel free to use chicken stock, if it is what you have.
Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish made with boiled potatoes and cabbage. I believe that kale is the most authentic cruciferous vegetable – please correct me if I am wrong. I prefer cabbage, so that is what I use. People use a variety of sturdy green vegetables. Use your favorite. For St. Patrick’s Day, I usually serve corned beef with boiled carrots and potatoes, and then braise cabbage separately in butter. I wanted a change this year, so I made colcannon, which is a family favorite. I made it ahead of time in myInstant Pot® and then froze it. I will thaw and reheat on St. Patrick’s Day.
I love to make crustless quiches – they are great for breakfast or brunches (and afternoon snacks or a light lunch or dinner). Making them in the Instant Pot® is easy, and if you are hosting a brunch, it frees up your oven for another dish. Quiches are extremely versatile, a great way to use up food in the fridge, and they are easy and delicious. The great thing about this recipe is that is it both vegetarian and gluten-free. If you are hosting a brunch with anyone following a special diet, this is a perfect addition to the table.
Split Pea Soup is a humble soup, and definitely a hard sell in my family. Thick, green, obviously full of vegetables, everyone seems to turn their nose up at it. I love it, though, and usually, make it a couple of times a year to satisfy my craving. I really think you should, too! If I happen to have a leftover ham bone, I make it with that, but if not, I don’t let that hold me back. This recipe is vegan and gluten-free and equally yummy. Split pea soup is also easy on your wallet if you need to stretch your food budget. I love using the Instant Pot® for this recipe because the soup cooks really fast.
As I have mentioned before, I make a lot of rice. My go-to method is basic Instant Pot White Rice, but some readers have mentioned that they don’t like to clean the rice that sticks on the bottom of the pot. I understand completely, so I wanted to share the “pot-in-pot” method, which is just as easy and there is absolutely no mess to clean up after cooking.
I have another recipe for Italian Sausage Sandwiches on the blog and I believe it is the ONLY recipe that uses the “slow cooker”function on theInstant Pot® on my entire site. That recipe is a family favorite that uses pizza sauce and mushroom gravy as the sauce. I was going to make it this week for dinner, but I couldn’t find mushroom gravy. Since it isn’t the healthiest anyway, I decided to update the recipe using the “pressure cooker” function, for a quick, easy, and delicious weeknight meal. While I love our old standby, this recipe is faster and uses easy to find ingredients.
Happy November! I love November. It is one of my favorite months. I love how quiet nature becomes in preparation for winter. I love brisk walks cuddled under sweaters, hats, and mittens. More than anything, I love the food. My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. I roast root vegetables to go along side our hearty dinners. I make pies and crisps with apples. But pears? I tend to forget about them. Sure, I buy them and slice them up for snacks, but aside from that, not much more happens. They are under-appreciated in my house and more deserving of center stage. Today, my boys are off from school, so instead of a quick bowl of cereal, I decided to make something a bit more satisfying. I had several perfectly ripe pears and I knew combined with fall spices, maple syrup, and steel-cut oatmeal in theInstant Pot®, they would be delicious. Pears were certainly the star of this show.
This Creamy Squash Soup made in the Instant Pot® is the perfect autumn soup. It is slightly more interesting than a butternut squash soup, because of the addition of cauliflower, potato, and sweet potato. The ginger and allspice also add a hint of warmth. I love creamy vegetable soups this time of year, and this soup fits the bill. Plus it uses a lot of produce, so it is great if you have veggies that are a little past their prime. This soup is easily made vegan by omitting the honey and cream. Substitute what you enjoy most.
In my family, fall means football. Football means family. Family means food. Most Sundays, if we aren’t attending a Bears home game, we are at my parents, gathered around the TV, surrounded by never ending snacks and food. Staples include chips, salsa, and nacho cheese. We also have popcorn which my dad makes in the whirley-pop and my mom makes some sort of comfort food (we are Bears fans – we need it) and a delicious dessert. Last weekend, I decided to make my own wings in the Instant Pot® for NFL Sunday. They were awesome and a perfect addition to the non-stop feast. Plus, they are slightly less fattening, because they are not deep-fried in oil.