One item being raved about this past holiday season has made its way to my kitchen. I’m excited to tell you about the Instapot! What’s mainly advertised as a pressure cooker, is really a jack-of-all-trades.
The Instapot is a great tool for quick, after-work meals. Not only can you throw frozen meat into it, but the meat cooks tender, juicy, and quickly. Here are the average cook times for popular meat options.
Of all the features offered with the Instapot, my personal favorite is the pressure cooker. Meals that could take up to 12 hours, like chicken bone broth, will only take two with the Instapot. I’ve experimented with some new recipes and they came out terrific. Join me in trying these new Instapot recipes: Pork Chops with Port Wine Glazed Cherries & Risotto and Tender-Tasty Beef Brisket.
This is a simple yet flavorful and tender pork dish. The risotto was made with a cast iron pan, but it is feasible to cook in the Instapot. Estimate 25 minutes for cook time.
First, cover the brisket in a seasoning blend (Chuck’s Pork and Beef Seasoning is a recipe that I like to use). Once the brisket is covered in rub, you can leave it covered in the fridge overnight.
Chuck’s Pork and Beef Seasoning
¼ cup of each of the following:
Brisket Sauce (make in bowl)
If you’d like to try some other recipes of mine, check out our last blog article Spice Up Your Kitchen in 2018!–there are some great Mediterranean flavors to try!
About sixteen years ago, I did a Festival of Nations event and served meatballs from thirty different countries. Events like these remind me and others of the diversity of flavors available to us and the impact that a single ingredient can have on a dish. It’s one of the reasons I love what I do so much.
As we push toward the New Year, I thought it would be fun to give some thought to new flavors that have become quite popular. Globalization has made it possible for spices of the world to travel, and for us foodies to experience other countries right in our own backyards. I mean, less than a century ago, we couldn’t even purchase cashews, but now we can’t go into a grocery store without noticing them. Access to eclectic flavors is really a privilege. As we step into another year of diverse and delicious cuisine, I plan to share some recipes that I find that fit into this expansive theme.
Some flavors I’ve been particularly drawn to are those of the Middle East and Northern Africa, variations of Mediterranean, really. Two recipes I have become very familiar with are the vibrant Maghrebian Harissa and the herb-loving Za’atar. Please join my palate and me in trying these out-of-this-world condiments and spices.
Move over Sriracha! Harissa is here.
This is a vibrantly sweet, smoky, and spicy condiment that transforms into a hot, garlicky and complex chili paste. The basic recipe calls for hot peppers, garlic, salt, and lots of olive oil, but you can also add some coriander, caraway seeds, and maybe cumin and dried mint depending on your preference.
Makes 1 cup
Za’atar is a wonderful spice mixture that can improve any dish— it brings out flavors similar to salt. Like most regional seasoning mixtures, there are literally hundreds of versions, but this is mine. These flavors work really well in a number of dishes, but especially with grilled meats, fish, chicken, rice, potatoes, and all sorts of other vegetables. I also use za’atar as an oil-based dip for flatbread!
Simple Roasted Za’atar Chicken
In an effort to maintain healthy eating habits throughout the holidays, I have decided to substitute my daily breakfast for a detox smoothie. My goal with this detox is to help my body rid toxins and maintain a healthy balance of energy and digestion throughout all the upcoming holiday gatherings. I plan to start my morning detox on Thanksgiving and go straight into the New Year– I invite you all to join me!
Nancy’s Detox Smoothie
Combine all ingredients into a heavy duty blender and mix. I recommend drinking immediately while still cold and all ingredients are fresh.
With this detox regimen, I anticipate a guilt-free attitude when I indulge in all the delicious and decadent holiday lunches and dinners this season. That being said, I personally don’t believe in cutting out the savory spice of the holiday, so I’d also like to share one of my favorite recipes that’s a perfect choice after a long day of holiday shopping: my Loaded Baked Potato Soup. This is a delightful recipe if you’re looking for a warm and filling snack to relax by the fire with.
Loaded Baked Potato Soup
I hope these two recipes help you to find a balance between healthy and satisfied this holiday season!
When I think about Thanksgiving, I picture the gathering of friends with armfuls of trays and dishes, surrounding a hot oven. An entire holiday centered around savory and sweet recipes to fill our stomachs–is there much more you could wish for in a holiday? I think not!
Instead of the traditional menu of roasted turkey and gravy, bread stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, and pumpkin pie, I’m going to shake things up a bit and throw some extra thanks in the giving! Here is my 2017 Thanksgiving menu along with two of my favorite Gobble Day recipes.
New 2017 Menu:
Steamed then Sautéed Haricot Verts with Cipollini Onions and Gruyere Cheese
We all love a little green bean casserole with our Thanksgiving dinner so I’ve come up with version 2.0! My new recipe: steamed then sautéed haricot verts, garnished with a creamy homemade mushroom sauce with gruyere cheese and topped with caramelized cipollini onions. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!
Makes four servings
Sweet Potato Pots de Crème
Pots de Crème is a French dessert traditionally made with chocolate that dates back to the 17th century. I figured, since sweet potato casserole is a timeless and traditional favorite served with Thanksgiving dinner, why not transform it into a spiced creamy dessert. After a little testing, here is my recipe, it’s even topped off with a delicious marshmallow merengue!
Step 1: Sweet Potato Custard
Makes six individual ramekins
Step 2: Homemade Marshmallow Spread
If you choose not to take the time to make your own marshmallow spread, you can use Fluff found in your local grocery store, BUT it’s worth making from scratch (to increase the “yum” factor).
Remove the pots de crème from the refrigerator, top with the marshmallow spread then brown using a torch or pacing under a broiler. Yum!
If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have one kitchen utensil, what would it be? For me, it would be my cast iron skillet – no question.
My cast iron skillet was the first pan I bought when I got married in 1971, because I knew that it would be with me no matter what happens! After more than 45 years of use, I am convinced that you would have to go out of your way to ruin cast iron. As long as you don’t use soap to clean it and dry it immediately after cleaning, a cast iron pan will be with you forever.
After cleaning, I dry my pan on a stove-top burner, re-season it with a little canola oil, and let it cool before I store it away.
It is no secret that cast iron pans make the juiciest crispy skinned chicken and the best sear on a rib eye steak! But aside from cuts of meat, they are also perfect for making a delightful, puffy pancake called a Dutch Baby. This is a great treat that rises just like Yorkshire pudding. Puffy and showy, it’s visually enticing as well as delicious with a custardy flavor.
Cast Iron Pan Recipe – Dutch Baby Pancake
Note that ingredients must be at room temperature since they are going into a VERY hot pan.
Preheat oven to 425°.
For the batter, whisk eggs, cream, flour, vanilla, salt, and ½ tsp. cinnamon in a medium bowl until smooth – set aside.
Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a 10” cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add apple slices and sprinkle with brown sugar and ½ tsp. cinnamon. Cook, tossing often, until apple is coated and softened, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Wipe out skillet and heat in oven until very hot, about 20 minutes. Carefully add remaining 2 Tbsp. of butter to the hot skillet, tilting to coat bottom and sides. Add cooked apple to center of skillet; pour batter over. Bake until pancake is puffed and golden brown around the edges and the center is set but still custardy, between 12 and 15 minutes.
Serve drizzled with apple cider syrup (below) and/or sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.
Apple Cider Syrup
Bring cider, butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon to a boil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Reduce heat and boil gently, whisking occasionally, until thick and syrupy, about 30 to 45 minutes.