Spinach-Artichoke Rotini

This is practically a non-recipe as it is so dead easy to make. I wanted to use up some frozen veg I had and also make a decent vegetarian meal that was not a curry – we had chicken tikka last night. This is what I concocted:

1 bag of frozen, creamed spinach (Birdseye makes one)

1 can of quartered artichoke hearts, diced

Italian spices (I used one from Costco called Rustic Tuscan Spices…has garlic in it as well)

1 – 12 oz box of high fiber rotini pasta, cooked and drained

1-2 tbl butter

3/4 cup of 2% milk

1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1/4 shredded mozzarella cheese

______

On medium-low heat, gently cook diced artichokes and frozen, creamed spinach in a saute pan. As the creamy chunks start to melt, slowly add the milk a drizzle at a time, mixing between drizzles. Add the spices and stir well, still gently heating.

Boil or pressure cook pasta and drain. Return the pasta to the boiling or pressure cooker pan and add butter, mixing until it all melts in.

Allow veg mix to cook through, upping the temp slightly. Add cheese and stir to mix and melt.

Toss pasta with veg mix and serve.

You might want to season with some salt & pepper as well, I let everyone season their own as I do the low sodium thing.

SpinArti

Carrots & Greens Under Pressure

Did you know there are really no decent synonyms for pressure used in the cooking sense? I know! It’s practically scandalous. There might be a few, but none that I found in my quick 3 minute perusal of thesaurus.com, so this is the title you are stuck with. Live with it’s overused triteness!

I find myself with a plethora of greens, collard and kale to be exact, and an overabundance of carrots. I always seem to have an overabundance of carrots as my local Door to Door Organics loves to send them to me. The full-sized ones usually find their way into stews, soups or juice eventually. The baby ones are more of a hassle. I hate messing with cutting them and so almost always use them whole. They roast up well. At any rate, I found myself with 2 bags of them plus the greens and decided it was high time I tried this recipe. Naturally, I could not follow that to the letter and this is what I devised:

1 tbl extra virgin olive oil

3 slices of Ozark Sandwich Bacon, diced (this is something made by a local farm, if you cannot find anything like it, just use spiral sliced ham or canadian bacon)

1/2 of a medium sized red onion, sliced

1 small bunch of Lacinato kale, large stems removed, diced

1 small bunch of collard greens, large stems removed, diced

3-4 cloves of garlic, roughly minced

1 bag of baby carrots (I think the typical size is a pound)

1/2 cup water (the other recipe calls for chicken broth, but since I added the salty meat to mine, I opted for a no sodium cooking liquid)

drizzle of sherry or white wine

1-2 tbl of balsamic vinegar

1-2 squirts of sriracha

1-2 healthy drops of agave syrup

1 tbl butter (whenever I use butter, please know it is ALWAYS the unsalted variety, and I did this long before I had to watch my sodium. I have a firmly held anti-salted butter conviction.)

______

Prepare all the veg and meat (remembering to snap photos of everything this time.)

yeah, you don’t get a photo of the carrots as I just ripped open the bag and dumped. no prep.

Stop to charge your stupid iPhone.

Add olive oil to the pressure cooker pan and set to sauté. Sauté onion until it starts to get a little color, about 2-3 minutes. Add garlic & bacon and sauté for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until you render most of the fat on the bacon. Deglaze pan with a little drizzle of white wine or sherry.

that second shot is honestly the least steamy one I could manage.

Turn off the instant pot and add greens, carrots & water. (What I did was put half my greens on top of the sautéd stuff, dumped the carrot in, then added the other half of the greens).

Cover, make sure your spew nozzle is closed, press Manual and set the timer for 8 minutes.

Mix the balsamic with the sriracha & agave and set aside. Go read a book, watch TV, play a game or peruse old Graham Norton videos on youtube.

Once the cooker beeps, vent the pressure then open the lid. Toss the veg with the spicy balsamic & butter. You can add more seasoning here if you wish (coughcoughSALTcough) I did not, but then I am on a low sodium diet. Devour at will.

Greens 011

The original recipe I riffed off of for this has it as a side dish, but for me – with the inclusion of the meat – it’s a main. Another thing…the original recipe didn’t have much pre-cooking of the onions, but I am a HUGE fan of caramelization. Get some color on that shit, yo! There be flavor in that browning.

Quick & Easy Thai Curried Pumpkin Soup

It’s cold out, it’s also Saturday and I am feeling lazy, but also cheap. Cheap and lazy is never a good combo unless one is talking a semi-healthy soup. This is what I created.

1-2 tbl coconut oil

2 tbl thai red curry paste

1/4 of a truly enormous vidalia onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

2 – 15 oz cans of pumpkin (NOT pie filling)

1 can of fire roasted, diced tomatoes

2 cans of vegetable broth

1/2 cup of soy or almond milk

drizzle of sherry or water

Allow coconut oil to melt in pressure cooker pan (set cooker to saute, the default of medium is fine). Once the oil is hot, add diced onion and saute until it starts to color.

PumpkinThai 001worst photo, ever. I swear the onions were starting to maillard!

Add minced garlic and saute another minute more before adding curry paste.

PumpkinThai 002this was right before I added the sherry and mixed it around

Allow the spices to become fragrant (about 1-2 minutes) then deglaze pan with a drizzle of either sherry or water. Let the mixture simmer a bit, for maybe 2-3 minutes then add the broth, tomatoes and pumpkin, whisking until smooth.

Cover, making sure that the vent release is closed. Set pressure cooker on Manual and the timer for 6 minutes. Once it beeps, vent, open and stir in the milk sub. Season with sea salt at your discretion.

PumpkinThai 003  so orange!

Serve. I served this with some small, soft baguettes that I toasted. Delicious.

Acorn-Potato-Corn Chowder

It’s cold and miserable out. Below freezing and it’s been sleeting & snowing all day. I had previously decided I did not want to cook tonight and had informed the men folk that they needed to scrounge for dinner. Then I got a wild hair up my ass to make soup…again. This is what I did:

1 tbl extra virgin olive oil

pulp from one small acorn squash that has been pressure cooked and mashed

4 cups of low sodium chicken stock

2 cans of cream style corn

1 cup of 2% milk

1 – 4 oz package of applewood smoked bacon instant mashed potatoes

herb seasonings of your choice (I used some archer farms everyday seasoning)

1/2 of a large red onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/8 cup of brandy for deglazing

1-2 tbl butter

the merest drizzle of agave syrup

salt & pepper to taste

Turn the baby dragon (aka Instant Pot pressure cooker) to saute and add the olive oil. When it starts to get hot, add onion and stir well to coat with oil. Allow to saute for about 2 minutes then add the garlic. WHen things start to get a little color and the onion bits are beginning to stick, add the brandy to deglaze. Scrape in the squash pulp and mix well. Add stock, corn and seasonings.

Close the lid, shift the vent nozzle closed and set the baby dragon on Manual and the time for 5 minutes. When you hear the the tell-tale beep, shut off the pot and vent. Once Dragolet has vented his spleen, open and stir well. Add the cup of milk, potatoes, butter and agave and whisk until blended, adding salt & pepper at your discretion.

AcornChowder 001

I did not add any additional salt to this as I figured the corn, stock and potaotes had more than enough, however, I did add a shake of white pepper.

Sorry for the lack of photos, but I wasn’t sure I was going to blog this until I was done and it turned out so very nice.

 

Chicken Soyrizo Kalesplosion

I had high hopes of making this today, but the thought of deboning and skinning the two pounds of chicken thighs I had on hand seemed too daunting to me. So here is my version of this soup.

The Stock

1 tbl extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup of dry white wine

2 lbs of chicken thighs, (skin and bones attached)

2 medium carrots, unpeeled and cut in rough chunks

2 celery stalks, leaves included, cut in rough chunks

1 small red onion, cut in rough chunks

2 largish cloves of garlic, peeled and cut in quarters

3 small bay leaves

a decent sprinkling of dried thyme

5 cups of water

Add the olive oil to your pressure cooker pot and click the Saute button. The medium setting is the default and what you want. As soon as it is hot, add the chicken thighs and sear on both sides.

ChorizoCHick 001mmmmm. nothing says delicious like a plate of partially cooked chicken!

Remove chicken to a plate and deglaze pan with the white wine. Add celery, carrot, onion and garlic, mix well.

ChorizoCHick 002steamy veg!

Add chicken back in on the top of the veg, pour water over the whole mess and float the bay leaves and thyme on the top. put the lid on (making sure the vent nozzle is closed…I have to remind myself each time) and set your pressure cooker to manual and 20 minutes cooking time. The default pressure setting is high, so that is just perfect.

ChorizoCHick 003

ChorizoCHick 004

Go play some Star Wars the Old Republic.

DarthWaffles

When the pot beeps, turn it off, vent it and open the lid. Remove all the chicken with tongs and place on a waiting plate (NOT the same one as before because EWWWW…germs). Scoop out most of the veg with a slotted spoon then simply strain the stock into a separate bowl.

Allow the chicken to cool in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the ingredients for the soup.

The Soup

1 tbl extra virgin olive oil

1 package of Upton Chorizo Seitan (I have never used this. I usually buy Frieda’s Soyrizo, but I decided to try something different.)

1 bunch of Lacinato Kale, large ribs cut out and chopped

1 large russet potato, peeled and cubed

chicken thigh meat with all bones, skin and yoings removed, shredded

the stock you made previously

1 can of fire roasted, diced tomatoes

chili ancho powder

sea salt

Tajin Clasico Low Sodium seasoning

the juice of one lemon

drizzle of agave syrup

ChorizoCHick 005this recipe had a lot of prep time, but it was split into stages and so did not feel like a chore

Don’t even bother cleaning the pot after dumping the stock to strain, just make sure all the large chunks of veg matter and chicken funk are gone, add the olive oil and set to saute again. Once it is hot, add the seitan chorizo, season with some chili ancho and Tajin and mix well.

ChorizoCHick 006Looks deceptively like sausage, no?

Allow this to saute for about 5 minutes before adding the cubed potatoes, again stirring well to make sure the taters are coated with spices.

ChorizoCHick 007starting to resemble a complete dish…

Use the liquid off of the canned tomatoes to sort of deglaze the pan a bit before adding in the chicken and tomatoes, a little more chili ancho and some salt. Stir well and add the kale & stock. Lid the pot, make sure the nozzle is closed, set on manual for 7 minutes.

ChorizoCHick 009at this point I had remembered that I had neglected to snap more photos of each step of the process but decided fuck it…I have enough photos here

Once the baby dragon whines to be burped, allow it to vent, remove the lid add the lemon juice and a drizzle of agave syrup. Stir well and serve.

ChorizoCHick 010nom away at your leisure!

Roast Beast…Under Pressure

Yeah, I don’t know if I will ever get tired of my pressure cooker, so expect a lot more recipes on here, heh.

I have a bottom round beef roast, about 2 pounds that I needed to cook. I had plans to make this, but said plans went awry when my lazy nature took over. So this is my take on a quickly cooked pot roast to be used for later meals, sandwiches or what have you.

1 – 2 lb bottom round beef roast

2 celery ribs, diced

1 medium carrot, peeled & diced

1 medium shallot, minced

1 small bunch of green onions, sliced

1/4 cup water

1/8 cup wine of your choice (a good table red would be perfect, I only had Savignon Blanc and so used that)

1 can of fire roasted, diced tomatoes

meat rub of your choice (I used a coffee and garlic rub from Trader Joe’s)

2 tbl extra virgin olive oil

healthy drizzle of worcestershire sauce

4 bay leaves

Rinse and pet dry roast, rub on all sides with the meat rub of your choice. Turn Instant Pot on to saute (medium is fine), add olive oil and sear meat on all sides.

RoastBeast 001

(yeah, yeah…I snapped my pic before I finished searing)

Remove meat and add celery, carrot, green onion and shallot, stirring to mix well and make sure all bits are coated with oil.

RoastBeast 002

Saute until soft…about 5 min or so. Deglaze with 1/8 cup of wine, stirring well to get all the little caramelized bits up.

Add roast back on top of the veg mix, drizzle well with worcestershire sauce, dump can of tomatoes over the top, pour 1/4 cup water around the sides and nestle your 4 bays leaves in.

RoastBeast 004

(I apologize for the potato quality of this photo, I was standing on my tippy toes to try to get the whole shot and I was wavery.)

Hit the Manual button and add 10 minutes to the 30 that automatically shows up. The default setting for the Instant Pot is high pressure so you have no need to fiddle with that. Make sure your quick steam release is closed, and leave it. When the beeper goes off, shut off the pot, and open the quick release. Once the baby dragon has vented it’s spleen, open the pot and you have roast. Simple as.

Edit: When I opened the belly of the beast, I poked the roast and decided to give it another 12 minutes of cooking time. We shall see how it fares when I crack the dragon again.

Second Edit: The beef is done. I have removed it and the 4 bay leaves from the pot, added a can of beef broth, a 1/4 cup of water and a 12 oz box of Fiber Gourmet rotini pasta. Am cooking for another 3 min while I slice & cube the beef. Will add the beef and some frozen mixed veg back to the finished pasta, saute a bit and VOILA…Beef & Noodles.

Squashed Taco Mac

The theme this week seems to be Taco. Not that this is a problem in my house, EVER. I am completely enamored with my Instant Pot pressure cooker. SO much so that I spent last evening processing the proliferation of winter squash I had on hand. 1 acorn, 1 spaghetti, 1 butternut and one delicata were dealt with most soundly. I bagged the mashed remains and froze for future use. I did save back the smidge of delicata that I had garnered however, and decided to use it to make a riff on this.

TacoMac

1 1/2 c delicata or butternut squash puree

8 oz  box of Fiber Gourmet elbow macaroni

2-3 c water

1/2 tsp ancho chili powder

1/2 tsp Tajin low sodium seasoning

1/2 c 2% milk

1 1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

2 oz shredded sharp cheddar

2 oz shredded taco blend cheese

3 kraft 2% american singles (yeah, it’s a weird cheese combo but the recipe called for 6 oz of cheese so I used what I had)

leftover taco meat (I had about 1-1/3 cups)

1 can of drained pinto beans

Add dried pasta to the Instant pot and add enough water to cover, about 2-3 cups.

Cook pasta on manual high 1 minute less than half of the cooking time. For instance, if box directions say boil for 10 minutes-set  for 4 minutes. After cooking, do a quick release (watch for a water fountain, the baby dragon likes to spit).

Open lid and scoop off most of the water, leaving maybe 1/2- 3/4 cup in pot with pasta.

Add the garlic powder, tajin, ancho chili powder and onion powder to the milk. Stir and then add the mixture to the pot. Add cheese and stir until mostly melted. Add the squash puree and stir.

Put the pot on sauté (the middle setting is fine) and stir mixture for 3-5 minutes until hot and mixture is smooth.

Add Taco meat and pinto beans, stir well and serve.

ShroomMac

(As I am mostly vegetarian, or trying to be and can only eat beans sparingly, I took out my portion prior to this step and  added about 1/2 cup of sauteed mushrooms to mine. But the guys devoured the meat & beaned version)