Easy Pressure Cooker Brown Rice

This is a perfectly simple and fast way to cook your brown rice.  The pressure cooker (my Instapot) infuses so much flavor in a short time, it shocks me!

For the first time making it, I halved it with no issues.

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups long brown rice
  • 4 chicken bouillon cubes (or, if using bouillon from jar, use 4 tsp.)
  • 3 dashes Mrs. Dash seasoning mix, original**
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • pepper

**Instead of Mrs. Dash, which has ingredients I can not have, I used a mixture of dried oregano, basil, garlic, and onion (all dried) and it turned out fabulously!

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Spray pressure cooker with cooking oil / spray.
  2. Add all ingredients to cooker.
  3. Set pressure cooker to “sealing”, not venting.
  4. I set it on manual for 15 minutes.  Once the correct pressure is achieved, it will countdown from 15 minutes.
  5. I slowly and carefully released the steam vent with a long spoon with a hook at the end.
  6. It wasn’t done, so I put it on “keep warm” and about 5 minutes later, it was perfect!
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Jacques Pépin Criques – Potato Pancakes via the Food Processor!

  

This was a superb Jacques Pepin recipe!  I saw him demonstrate this recipe on More Fast Food My Way on TV.  It’s really simple thanks to the food processor and was fun to make.  I highly suggest using a fish turner like he uses.  Make sure you place the finished pancakes on a raised rack so they do not sit directly on a plate or paper towels and get soggy!  Enjoy!

This makes about 12 potato pancakes!

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups potatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup diced white or yellow onion
  • 2 cloves crushes garlic
  • 2 T. potato starch
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • few pinches of salt
  • scallion/chives/or green onion
  • Vegetable oil

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Begin by peeling your potatoes, rinse any dirt off with water.  Place them in a bowl with water to cover.
  2. Once all your potatoes are peeled and in water, take one out to chop it and put the chopped potatoes directly in your food processor.  Do NOT rinse the chopped potatoes at this point; you will rinse all the starch away.
  3. Once all the potatoes are chopped and into your food processor, add the 2 eggs, chopped onion, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, potato starch, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Puree until you get an applesauce texture.
  5. Pour batter into a fresh bowl, add chopped green onions.
  6. Heat your oil in your skillet.
  7. Pour about 1/4 cup of the batter into the hot oil, you should be able to get 4 potato pancakes into a 12″ skillet.  It will take about 3 batches.  Flip pancake to cook the other side when you sneak a peek and the bottom is browned. Add more oil as needed and adjust temperature as needed for proper browning, not burning.  
  8. When you remove the cooked pancake, place it on a raised cooling rack.  You do not want to put it directly on paper towels or a plate, it will get soggy!
  9. Serve with sour cream, ketchup, or eat plain.  YUM!

 

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Vegan Cornmeal Raspberry Muffins

 

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This is a tasty raspberry muffin recipe that adds the flavor of cornmeal to the mix!  It’s yummy and has that cornmeal crunch!  I used a mixture of fresh raspberries and frozen, but you could do all fresh or all frozen too!  It’s okay to mash the fresh raspberries a little if you want a more unified flavor.  I sprinkled the tops with Turbinado sugar.  A+!

**Vanilla almond milk works well in this recipe!  

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 And 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 Cup Cornmeal
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 3 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • Orange Zest From One Orange
  • 1 Cup fresh raspberries (Can Use Frozen too, but no not thaw them!)
  • 1 And 1/4 Cups Almond Milk
  • 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup vegetable oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • Turbinado sugar, or brown sugar to coat the tops before baking
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat oven to 400F for 15 minutes. Grease or line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. Mix together the almond milk and vinegar; set aside for a couple of minutes until it curdles.
  3. In a large bowl combine together the dry ingredients including the orange zest. Take 2 tablespoons of this mixture and
  4. combine it with the berries, in a separate bowl. This will avoid the berries from sinking to the bottom of the muffins.
  5. In another bowl whisk together the curdled milk mixture, oil and vanilla extract.
  6. Gently fold in the wet ingredients into the dry mixture. Stir in the berries. Do not over mix the batter.
  7. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins, about 2/3rds full. I got only 11 muffins for the above measurement.
  8. Sprinkle some Turbinado or brown sugar on top of the muffins.
  9. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean.
  10. Transfer to a wire rack and let it cool for at least 5 minutes before removing from the pan.
TASTE:
  1. These muffins had a very nice texture from the cornmeal. The quantity of sugar mentioned in the original recipe is 1/2, which is what I used and felt that it could use some more sugar. That’s why I have increased the quantity to 3/4th cup in the recipe.
NOTES:
  1. If using frozen berries, do not thaw it.
  2. Instead of sprinkling granulated sugar on top of the muffins, using turbinado sugar would give it a much nicer look.

 

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Cookbook Organization -Post-it Notes & Tabs Trick!

So, if you have many awesome cookbooks like me (i.e. too many, but you use them all, so there!), you need to keep things organized.  There’s nothing worse than having the perfect soup recipe for an occasion and not knowing which cookbook it’s in!  And then having to waste your time Googling for 30 minutes…

And yes, to make this work you need to invest in tabs.  For the best prices check Amazon. I know, I buy a plethora of  tabs because I love them and they don’t re-stick that well.
So, I started doing this organizational hack for cookbooks and realized it may help others.

1) “MUST KEEP THIS AND MAKE AGAIN” TABS:  The large top tabs are made of 3×3″ post-it notes cut in half.  I make sure to put them on the right side page of the cookbook so you can see the labeled tabs from the front.

2) “RECIPE TO TRY IMMEDIATELY” TABS:  The tab sticking out at the top right of the cookbook, diagonally, is only for recipes I plan to make very soon.  For instance, I will go to the grocery store, come back, and lose my recipe unless I do this!  It saves time!  You could even Sharpie label this tab with the recipe name, if you had multiple “recipes to try immediately” tabs.

3) “NEED TO TRY LATER” TABS:  The tabs sticking out on the right side are tabs labeling recipes I want to make in the future.

So, if a side tab becomes a “must make again” recipe (because I made the recipe and it is a knockout!), then I take the time to make a labeled TOP tab with the name of the recipe for easy access.

Hopefully this helps someone in internet land who loves to cook…

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“Huck Finn Clone” Chicken Cesar Pita

I’m obsessed with a Huck Finn Donut’s dish called “Chicken Ceasar Pita”.  I’ve spent too much money buying it in the restaurant over and over again.  One of my friends loves it too.  I don’t need the fries or the fruit cup, so it’s not the best deal in the restaurant to order this dish AND it’s kind of simple, so why not make it at home?  It came out shockingly close to the restaurant meal!

I can’t have Caesar dressing as it has lemon in it, so I just used Ken’s Italian with Romano dressing.

The following ingredients are for 2 servings.  
INGREDIENTS:

  • About 1 large boneless skinless chicken breast,  (Make sure it’s filleted so it cooks evenly and quickly)
  • (Pepper, coarse salt, onion powder, garlic powder)
  • Vegetable oil
  • 2 Kronos pitas (not pita pockets)
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Chopped tomato
  • Caesar salad dressing, or Italian dressing
  • 2-3 thick slices of Swiss cheese

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Begin by heating pan with vegetable oil, on medium heat.
  2. Fillet your boneless skinless chicken breast if necessary.  Pat dry.
  3. Season the chicken on both sides with pepper, coarse salt, onion powder, and garlic powder.
  4. Once the oil in pan is heated, add chicken breasts, flip after chicken is browned on one side, and cook thoroughly until at least 165* F.
  5. Remove to a clean plate and let chicken rest 5-10 minutes.
  6. While the chicken is resting, add your 2 pitas to the pan that has residual oil and heat.  Remove pitas to clean plates ready to serve.
  7. Chop chicken into bite-sized pieces.  Add back to pan and cover with desired amount of Swiss cheese slices.  Let cheese melt 2-3 minutes onto chicken.
  8. Add cheese-covered chicken to top of warmed pitas.
  9. Place chopped tomato and shredded lettuce on top of chicken pita.
  10. Drizzle Caesar or Italian dressing to top of veggie-covered chicken pita.
  11. Serve warm.

 

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Delicious Popcorn Balls

We made these popcorn balls coincidentally around Valentine’s Day and it was serendipitous.  They come together fast and are more forgiving than Rice Krispie treats that harden faster than you can stir!  The marshmallow mixture stays pliable for a while.

We made the popcorn in our air popper and had to make two batches.

We used unflavored peanuts – just plain works well here.  No one wants garlic/onion flavored popcorn balls.  If you do, I don’t know you anymore!

You can add toasted slivered almonds as well.

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • Cooking spray
  • 14 heaping cups plain popped popcorn
  • 6 TBSP. unsalted butter
  • One 10.5 oz. package mini marshmallows
  • 2 TBSP. light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped salted peanuts or toasted slivered almonds, optional but great
  • Sprinkles!  Red, blue and white for 4th of July?  Red and green for Christmas?  FUN!, optional

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Remove any un-popped kernels from the popped popcorn.  Lightly grease a large mixing bowl with cooking spray and add popcorn, set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Add marshmallows, brown sugar, vanilla, salt, and cook stirring, until marshmallows have melted and mixture is smooth, 4-5 minutes.
  4. Pour marshmallow mixture over popcorn, along with peanuts (or almonds), if desired.
  5. Mix with 2 lightly greased rubber spatulas until popcorn is evenly coated.
  6. Using clean, greased hands, form mixture into 2 1/2 inch balls.
  7. Eat immediately or wrap each ball tightly in plastic and keep up to 5-7 days.
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Old School Rice Pudding

The photos can’t possibly do this rice pudding justice, but it’s the best I’ve ever made!  I highly recommend making this at least 6-12 hours before you are serving it, preferably a day ahead of time.  When it’s fully chilled, the flavor really deepens and becomes perfectly sweet and creamy.  Just believe me!  I use homemade vanilla and I doubled the amount of vanilla I added.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3cup medium grain rice or 34 cup long grain rice
  • 1 1cups water
  • 1teaspoon salt (heaping)
  • 4 cups whole milk (I use 2%)
  • 1cup sugar
  • 1teaspoon vanilla
  • cinnamon (optional)
  • whip cream (optional)

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Bring rice, water and salt to a boil over med-high heat.
  2. Simmer covered until water has been absorbed (approximately 15 minutes).
  3. Stir in milk and sugar and cook uncovered over medium heat for 30-40 minutes, stirring frequently–especially towards the end of cooking.
  4. The pudding is done when the rice and milk have amalgamated into a thick porridge-like consistency.
  5. DO NOT OVERCOOK or the pudding will be solid instead of creamy once cooled.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  7. Pour into a bowl or cups. (I use ramekins for a nice portion).
  8. You can sprinkle cinnamon on the top if you like.
  9. COVER with plastic wrap directly on surface “IF” you don’t want a skin.
  10. CHILL approx. 6 hours or more, preferably overnight for best flavor.  Serve with whip cream if desired.
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Spinach and Ricotta-Stuffed Shells

This is really good.  It smells like an Italian restaurant.  If you need to reduce the calories or fat, just substitute part skim ricotta instead of whole fat ricotta.  It’s creamy and wonderful.  Don’t skip the broiler step as it slightly chars the shredded mozzarella topping and gives it a great flavor!  Next time, I’d chop some fresh parsley on top.  

INGREDIENTS:

  • 20 jumbo pasta shells (about half a 12-ounce box)
  • One  24-ounce jar marinara sauce
  • Two  15-ounce containers ricotta
  • 2 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (2 ounces)
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella (4 ounces)

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Set an oven rack to the highest position and heat oven to 400° F.
  2. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and run under cold water to cool.
  3. Spread the marinara sauce in the bottom of a large broiler-proof baking dish.
  4. In a bowl, combine the ricotta, spinach, Parmesan, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the shells and place them on top of the sauce.
  6. Sprinkle the shells with the mozzarella and bake until heated through, 10 to 12 minutes.
  7. Increase heat to broil. Broil the shells until cheese begins to brown, 2 to 5 minutes.
  8. Serve with the salad, if desired.

NOTE: If you want to sneak in an extra helping of green vegetables into this dish, chop up cooked green beans, broccoli, or asparagus and fold it into the ricotta mixture along with the spinach.  

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Food.com’s Honey BBQ Chicken Wings

 

I will never lose this recipe.  It makes perfect honey BBQ chicken wings.  They are to die for.  It’s a perfect sauce and just enough sweet and savory flavors.  I won’t try another chicken wing recipe!  Just make them and you’ll see for  yourself! 🙂

For anyone sensitive to spicy foods or who has an I.C. bladder like me, I omitted the cayenne and hot sauce and it turned out just perfect!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 18 chicken wings, that have tips discarded, and have been split into two parts: the drumette and the wingette.
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1teaspoon sugar
  • 1teaspoon paprika
  • 1teaspoon black pepper
  • 1teaspoon cayenne
  • cooking spray

    SAUCE INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup barbecue sauce, preferably Hickory Smoke Flavor
  • 1cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1teaspoon garlic powder

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. Season the wings with the salt, garlic, pepper, cayenne, sugar, and paprika.
  3. Spray a cookie sheet with a generous spray of cooking spray.
  4. Place the wings in a single layer on the cookie sheet, and place in the oven.
  5. Cook for 35-40 minutes, depending on the size of the wings, turning once.
  6. While they are baking, make the sauce by slowly simmering the sauce ingredients over the lowest heat.
  7. When the wings are done baking, carefully dip them in the sauce, and place them back in the oven for another 5 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling.
  8. ENJOY!

 

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Eggless Banana (Orange Or Apple) Nut Muffins

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These are tried and true banana orange nut muffins.  I’ve been making them OVER 15 YEARS so that says something!   This is a recipe from Rosemarie Emro’s cookbook “Bakin’ Without Eggs”.  This cookbook is sometimes hit or miss for me but it has produced some amazing eggless desserts (cookies and cheesecake, and waffles)!  

 

TIPS:

–Be sure to use quality plain peanuts, without added spices like onion, garlic, and flavoring.  Also, you can try a different nut like chopped cashews, etc.

–Use 100% quality orange juice, preferably not from concentrate.

–Use ripe bananas that are at the perfect mashable stage.  

–Use metal baking pans, avoid nonstick.  Yes they may cost more and are harder to find, but they will last forever and have better heat distribution.  Check Amazon.com or Williams-Sonoma.  

–Use muffin liners for the easiest cleanup ever!

 

INGREDIENTS:  (makes 12-15 muffins)

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1//4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup orange juice or apple juice
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup nuts , finely chopped (optional) <—We use plain peanuts here

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Lightly butter a 12 compartment muffin tin – Or use muffin liners like I do, for the easiest cleanup ever.
  3. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda.  Stir until dry ingredients are mixed.
  4. Stir in oil, orange juice (or apple juice), mashed bananas, and nuts (if using) until smooth. (You don’t need an electric mixer for this recipe).
  5. Spoon prepared muffin batter into muffin liners, filling half full.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until browned on top.  Check at 15 minutes with the toothpick test, if not done, add another 5 minutes, and re-check.
  7. Remove and let cool in pan on wire rack.
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