Sunday, December 9, 2018

Beef Barley Soup

It's definitely soup season now.  The temperatures have been dropping down towards 0 degrees at night and flu is starting to make the rounds.  I've been using my Instant Pot every weekend and I made this soup in under an hour yesterday.  It's so good.  Today I'm going to freeze some so I can have easy weeknight meals in the coming weeks.  

Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup

1# Beef stew meat
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
5 cups water
1 - 16 oz can stewed tomatoes, crush before adding
2 cups carrots, I used frozen
2 tbsp celery flakes
1/2 cup pearled barley
1 tbsp beef Better Than Boullion
1 tbsp parsley
Salt & pepper to taste (also season the beef while cooking)

Heat the olive oil on the saute mode.  Brown the seasoned beef (in batches).  As the final batch is browning, add in the onions and garlic to cook.  Cancel the saute.  Add in the rest of the ingredients.  Hit the meat/stew button and you are set.  I used this button over the soup/broth so the meat was extra tender.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Winter Squash & Apple Soup

There's nothing more comforting on a cold and rainy day than a hot bowl of soup.  I took my winter squash soup and added a few things ~ like an apple and some chili powder.

Winter Squash & Apple Soup

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups chicken stock

1 1 /2 cups squash, cooked
1 apple, peeled & diced
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/2 cup cream

Heat the olive oil in the bottom of a large sauce pan or dutch oven.  When heated, add in the onions and cook until they are translucent.  Add in the minced garlic and cook for another minute.  Add in the chicken stock, squash and apple.  Cook over medium heat until the apples are tender.  Using an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth.  Heat soup until it comes to a simmer stage.  Add in cream.  

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Instant Pot Chicken Wild Rice Soup

It doesn't matter that it's supposed to be 92 degrees today, the rest of the week calls for much, much cooler temperatures and rain.  I made this soup for then.  Plus as an easy weeknight dinner.  Just heat and eat.  This is my favorite soup and 15 minutes of cook time and 10 minutes for the release.  It's the quickest way to cook wild rice.  I keep celery flakes on hand instead of buying celery and wasting most of it.

Instant Pot Chicken Wild Rice Soup

2 boneless chicken breasts
2 tbsp butter
2 carrots, sliced
2 tbsp celery flakes
1/2 cup onion, minced
1 Bay Leaf
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp thyme
32 oz low sodium chicken stock
1 cup wild rice/brown rice mixed
3/4 cup cream
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Saute the carrots and onions for a few minutes with the butter in the instant pot.  Add in the garlic and celery flakes and cook for just one minute.  Add in the chicken, stock, cream, rice thyme, salt & pepper.  Seal the pot and cook for 15 minutes.  Let the steam release naturally.  While waiting, mix together 1/4 cup flour and 3/4 cup cream.  When the pressure pin drops, open the instant pot and take out the chicken breasts to shred.  Return to the instant pot and then stir in the flour/cream mixture.   Allow it to sit for a couple minutes to thicken.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Crock Pot Apple Crisp

Fall is in the air and it's apple season.  I decided to make apple crisp in my crock pot so I could enjoy the aroma of apples and cinnamon for 4 hours verses 30 minutes in the oven.  

Crock Pot Apple Crisp 

5 apples, I had Gala on hand
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

Mix together and spread out evenly on the bottom of the crock pot.


1 cup regular oats
3/4 cups flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, cut into small pieces.

Mix the topping together with your fingers until the butter and mixture forms small clumps.  Spread out evenly over the apples.  Cook on medium for 4 hours until the apples soften.  Serve warm or cold.  I topped mine with ice cream and caramel sauce.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Instant Pot Apple Butter Pork Chops

I've fallen in love with my Instant Pot.  I bought it last year during Black Friday sales and tried to unpack it one time and the directions were overwhelming.  After listening to co-workers rave about their Instant Pots, I hit up YouTube and found it's much easier to watch a video for a couple minutes than to try to decipher the factory instructions.  These are the 4th meal I've made using the Instant Pot.  Super easy and it took less than a half hour for fork tender pork chops.  I happened to have 2 jars of apple butter and will be using my Instant Pot to make more this Fall.

Instant Pot Apple Butter Pork Chops

4 boneless pork chops
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
1/3 cup Dr Pepper
1 cup apple butter

Heat the olive oil and brown the seasoned pork chops on the saute setting.  Add in the Dr Pepper and brush the tops of the pork chops with the apple butter.  Close the Instant Pot and using the manual setting cook for 20 minutes.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes after it has finished.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Cherry Coke Meatballs

It was the typical dilemma ~ I have a pound of ground beef and what am I going to make with it.  It ended up being a toss up making ground beef stroganoff, Swedish meatballs or trying something new meatballs in a Cherry Coke sauce.  Since I had the Coke in my refrigerator for a couple months, I decided to go with that.

Meatballs -

1# ground beef
1/2# ground pork

1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup milk
1 large egg
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Roll into balls (or use a scoop) and bake on a non-stick aluminum foil lined pan for 25 minutes at 350°.  

In a dutch oven or crock pot, combine the following -

1 1/2 cups of Cherry Coke
1 cup chili sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Add meatballs and cook over medium heat until the sauce cooks down.  Serve over rice.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Dark Chocolate Buttermilk Brownies

Cakelike brownies made with buttermilk in the brownie batter and the icing.  I only had the option of a half gallon of buttermilk at the grocery store so there will be lots of recipes made with it this week.  So far I've made these and buttermilk baked chicken.  I made the brownies in a large saucepan - there's no need to dirty up extra dishes if not needed.

Dark Chocolate Buttermilk Brownies

Place in a large saucepan and heat until the butter has melted

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup water

Stir in ~

1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
2 tbsp. dark cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp vanilla

Stir until smooth.  Pour into an 8 x 8 greased pan (I used non-stick aluminum foil and lined it).  Bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees.  Allow to cool before icing.

Icing ~

2 tbsp. melted butter
3 tbsp. buttermilk
2 tbsp. dark cocoa powder
1/4 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Ice the brownies and cut into serving sizes.