I have been experimenting alot with my Instant Pot lately. For those not familiar with this kitchen device, an Instant Pot is a pressure cooker with super human powers, it can do so many things and makes dinner so easy. I dedicated an entire post to it awhile back titled Meet My New BFF, which shows how much I love it.
I have discovered that when I cook chicken in my Instant Pot my kids will actually eat it. Let me clarfify that, my kids will eat chicken that is not in NUGGET FORM!!! This was amazing to me. They will actually eat it because it comes out so tender and it is so moist and delicious they can’t even deny the yumminess!!
So now I throw everything in this. When I get home late from work or after the kids gymnastics class and realize that I forgot to defrost something for dinner- AGHHHHH… wait that’s what I used to do. Now I can throw frozen meat in the instant pot with whatever else I have laying around and it will be done in 20-30 minutes while I do everything else. For me the fact that I can throw in frozen meat and it will still cook it is the saving grace. I still love to cook other things in my slow cooker or oven or grill, and i don’t do Instant Pot every night but it definitely is one of my meals every week now.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour
Yield: 4-6 servings
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 ounces chorizo or to make it more kid friendly you can substitute kielbasa, sliced into 1/4 inch disks
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 (4-ounce) cans diced green chilies
8 ounces dried black beans
12 stems cilantro, leaves roughly chopped
boneless chicken breasts and thighs ( about 2 lbs)
1 quart homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sour cream, for serving
Lime wedges, for serving
Heat oil in your Instant Pot on saute setting until shimmering. Add chorizo and cook until starting to crisp around edges, about 2 minutes. Add onions and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes longer. Add cumin and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chilies, dried black beans, cilantro stems, chicken, and broth. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir to combine.
Seal pressure cooker and press Stew function and bring to high pressure. Cook for 40 minutes. Do a quick release and open. Using tongs, transfer chicken pieces to a bowl. Return beans to high heat and continue cooking, stirring, until reduced to a thick, stew-like consistency, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, shred chicken.
Stir chicken into beans, season to taste with salt and pepper, stir in half of chopped cilantro, and serve, passing sour cream, lime wedges, and remaining cilantro at the table.
Hint: if stew is not as thick as you would like and you are short on time you can add cornstarch to thicken. Using some of the stew liquid with 1:1 ratio of cornstarch to liquid in small bowl. Start with 1 tbsp. Add back to stew and mix in and wait a few minutes to thicken. Repeat til your desired thickness.
Honestly, if my kids will eat something then it has to be good because they are the pickiest eaters EVER!! A few posts ago I wrote about my Instant Pot. So here is a dish I made that the whole family will absolutely love and that you can easily add into your weekly dinner routine. You can vary the spice level by adding more red pepper flakes and smoked paprika at the current amounts it has great flavor but not too much of a kick so safe for the kids.
What I also do with this recipe is make double the portion of the sauce and freeze the chicken thighs and the sauce in a ziplock bag and stick it in the freezer. I pull it out and just have to put it in my Instant Pot and you are good to go.
Oh and of course it is Gluten Free, Dairy Free. Serve with your favorite sides and veggies. I serve it with brown rice and veggies. This sauce is yummy on top of the rice!
Easy Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Thighs
1 tbsp olive oil
2 lbs boneless chicken thighs ( fresh or forzen)
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup honey
1/4 c soy sauce
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 c brown sugar
chicken stock concentrate
1/4 c water
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
a pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tsp fresh crushed or minced garlic
Set the Instant Pot to saute and add olive oil. Let it heat until oil shimmers then add chicken thighs to pot. Brown on each side for 3 minutes. Don’t overcrowd make sure each thigh contacts the bottom, depending on size of your chicken thighs you may need to do this step in two batches.
While chicken is browning chop onion and garlic and set aside.
Mix together all remaining ingredients. add garlic to sauce and mix.
Scatter the onions over the chicken in the Instant Pot and cover with sauce.
Set the Instant Pot to manual mode- high pressure. Adjust time to 25 minutes, make your sure Instant Pot is in sealing mode.
Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and lightly spray with nonstick spray or coat with olive oil, set Broiler to high.
When chicken is done, switch steam release handle to venting. Once pressure is released, take lid off. Carefully move chicken with tongs to sheet pan ( the chicken will be very tender and falling apart). Place under broiler for 3 minutes per side.
While chicken is browning, switch pot back to saute mode to reduce and thicken sauce. Pour the thickened sauce over the chicken and serve with your favorite sides.
I don’t know how I lived without her in my life for so long. She has made my life so much easier, she is now one of my new best friends. I would like to introduce everyone to my Instant Pot. This new addition to my kitchen is a huge time saver at the end of a busy day. And it gets rid of multiple different kitchen devices if you want to declutter your life a bit. It is a rice cooker, pressure cooker, slow cooker and so much more all in one. You can even make your own yogurt if that is something you typically like to do.
It cuts my dinner cooking time in more than half. I can put in frozen meat, some spices and veggies and have a healthy meal cooked up in 30 minutes while I am doing homework with my kids. I have joined many different Facebook groups that have helped me to obtain a recipe collection for my Instant Pot. There are tons of recipes on Pinterest and many cookbooks dedicated to this also. For those living Gluten Free and Paleo I recommend this because for the poultry and meat settings alone it keeps the meats moist.
Picture Courtesy Of Tempe Chen Sahara
If any of you have the old pressure cooker that always scared the heck out of me when it was used you can finally retire it. And they even have one that is Bluetooth capable that links to your phone! So Cool!! I will admit I am still a rookie myself with my Instant Pot but it is so easy to use and Amazon just had a sale on them where they were 50% off. Just keep an eye out for bargains on these.
I am a member of a Pediatrician Mommy group on Facebook. We all work long hours and are exhausted after work. And on this group we are always looking for ways to cut down the dinner prep time but not compromise the health of the meals we offer to our families. This groups feeds are now overflowing with everyone praising their InstantPots and the meals that have been made.
Healthy living and cooking are something we all have to make the time and effort to commit to. When I find something that can make this easier for me I like to share it with all of you. If you have an Instant Pot already share your experiences with it, if you decide to take the plunge and get one let me know what you think.
Not sure if you guys can tell but I LOVE breakfast foods, so when I find a yummy recipe I am always trying to convert it over to gluten free. This french toast is a no brainer, it’s made with coconut milk, so its DAIRY FREE also!!
The only issue was finding a delicious, flaky, sweet golden brown brioche bread to use. So instead of me reinventing the wheel I used a wonderful recipe for brioche bread that I found on Carol Kicinski’s site Simply Gluten Free. I highly recommend her recipe for Gluten Free Brioche.
Enjoy and let me know your thoughts!
Gluten Free & Dairy Free Coconut French Toast
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yields 4-5 servings
5 lg. eggs
1 (14 oz.) can unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice ( McCormick is gluten free)
2 tsp. canola oil
8 thick slices of your favorite Gluten-Free brioche or challah bread
3 tbsp. sweetened shredded coconut
Mixed berries, for serving (whatever is in season- blueberries, raspberries or blackberries will do)
Confectioners’ sugar, for serving ( be sure gluten free- Dominos and C&H brands state they are gluten free)
Maple Syrup, for serving
Whisk eggs, coconut milk, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and a pinch of salt together.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 teaspoon vegetable oil on medium.
Soak 4 slices of your bread in the egg mixture, letting excess drip off; add to skillet.
Sprinkle each slice with sweetened shredded coconut; press to adhere. Cook 4 minutes or until bottom of bread is deep golden brown. Gently turn slices over; cook 2 minutes or until coconut flakes are deep golden brown.
Transfer to parchment-lined cookie sheet and keep warm in 300 degrees F oven. Repeat with 4 more slices bread, adding another 1 teaspoon oil if necessary.
Serve with mixed berries, confectioners’ sugar, and maple syrup, if desired.
This weekend was beautiful. We are finally done with the 90 degree weather and it’s starting to feel like Fall! So of course that put me in the mood to start decorating. I pulled out all my Halloween and Fall decor. The girls had a blast putting the clings on the windows and helping me put out the decorations on the table. I tend to keep my decorating on the kid friendly side still. Big, bright colors and happy looking figures. Can’t wait til the girls get older and we can go a bit more scary but for now they love it.
Once Autumn comes around I also start thinking of all the great things I can make with pumpkin. I have tried many different sauces to go with my favorite fall dishes. Many of them include a brown butter sage sauce. This however is definitely not great for cholesterol with the large amounts of butter they typically call for. This recipe I love uses pumpkin puree and coconut oil. It is delicious over your pasta of choice, whether it’s spaghetti or your favorite seasonal ravioli. And this recipe is Dairy & Gluten free!!
Creamy Pumpkin & Sage Pasta
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 3-4 servings
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 – 15 oz can of pumpkin puree or 1 3/4 cup fresh pumpkin puree
1 cup almond milk
1.5 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped finely
1.5 tsp sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound of your favorite gluten free pasta
Melt the coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat.
Saute onions until they begin to turn translucent, approximately 6-8 minutes.
Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Remove from heat and place onion and garlic mixture in a high speed blender. Add the pumpkin puree, almond milk, sage, pepper and salt. Blend until smooth.
Prepare the pasta according to the package directions, drain and return pasta to pot.
Add the pumpkin sauce and stir well over medium heat until hot.
As promised here is the Potato Pizza Crust for the previous recipe that was a hit – Gluten Free Bacon and Egg Breakfast Pizza. This crust is super easy, especially if you use the Simply Potatoes shredded potatoes. They do all the hard work for you by pre shredding it!!
Potato Pizza Crust
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 1 crust
1 package of shredded potatoes for hash browns (Simply Potatoes is Gluten Free)
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Mix all dry ingredients together.
Grease bottom and sides of a large skillet.
Press potatoes mixture evenly on bottom of pan and up to about 1 inch high on the sides of pan.Spray potatoes with cooking spray.
Bake at 400 degrees F until browned or for about 20 minutes.
It’s been a busy week with getting the girls ready for school. They are in 2 different schools this year and surprisingly my older one is more upset about it than my baby. She said she is going to miss seeing her in the hallways at school. By the way they are only in Pre-K and Second Grade. But I love that they are so close and that my older one feels protective over her. We went back to school last week and then had our last summer weekend to enjoy. So this weekend we wanted it to be the perfect summer weekend. We had a pool day. The girls had a blast jumping in the pool over and over again.
After the pool they basked in the sun to dry off in the company of the family dog. It looks like they were conspiring something, not sure what but definitely deep in conversation.
The next day we were invited to a Labor Day BBQ but not until the late afternoon. My BIG MISTAKE, which I am sure every mom has done is that I actually told my children about these plans. They were bothering me about it from the second they woke up!! They couldn’t wait to get there to play with their friends. But we had to wait until after lunch. This is when I realized my kids were a captive audience so I decided to try out a new recipe for breakfast for the family.
The girls are “Pizza Lovers” so who wouldn’t love Pizza for breakfast. My girls consider pizza its own food group so just calling this pizza to them makes it enticing. This recipe is Gluten Free. To make it Dairy Free substitute milk for Almond Milk and omit the cheese at the end. This recipe is easy to make, not time consuming and delicious.
Bacon and Egg Breakfast Pizza
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, grated or finely minced
8 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup milk (may use almond milk if desired)
6 oz gluten free bacon, cooked and crumbled (select a gluten free brand such as Jones or Applegate Farms)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup shredded cheese, mozzarella and cheddar (shred your own to ensure no wheat ingredients are added to prevent caking; omit completely if desire a Dairy Free recipe)
Potato Pizza Crust (recipe to follow)
Cook the onions in a lightly oiled skillet over medium heat till translucent.Add garlic and decrease to low heat for 30-45 seconds.Remove from skillet and set aside.
Combine the eggs and milk and beat.Add to the skillet.Cook until eggs are just set, stirring occasionally.Add the crumbled bacon and add in the onion and garlic back to the eggs.Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spoon the mixture onto the previously prepare Pizza Crust and sprinkle with cheese.Bake at 400 degrees F until the cheese is melted for approximately 5 minutes.Serve immediately.
In the hot summer weather I began experimenting with ice cream recipes. My girls love ice cream and always wanted to go to the local town ice cream shoppe. There were a few issues with that. I didn’t want them constantly eating all that ice cream, I didn’t want to keep spending money on it and my own will power can only last for so long!! Then finally I found a few recipes on pinterest and modified them removing the heavy cream they called for and not adding the sugar. This recipe doesn’t make me feel guilty making it for them. And they love eating it!
Chocolate Banana Ice Cream
Prep Time: Overnight
Cooking Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
4 ripe bananas- frozen
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons Nutella (this is gluten free not dairy free) or other chocolate hazelnut spread
Freeze bananas overnight.
Add all ingredients to blender or food processor, blend until creamy.(Hint: You may need to use a spatula to bring ingredients down towards blades.Do this while processor is OFF.)
Serve and enjoy immediately.This is not meant to be prepared ahead or frozen.
This recipe is great to be used as a meal for dinner or sometimes I use it as an appetizer for everyone to enjoy with toothpicks. It is super easy and you just toss everything in the crockpot and your prep is done. The sweetness added with the pineapples are always a hit with the kids. There are also many options for Gluten Free Frozen meatballs if you want to cut down on your prep time. Farmrich has frozen turkey and original meatballs that are gluten free, however if you want to ensure this is also dairy free I recommend prepping the meatballs yourself.
Gluten Free, Dairy Free Crockpot Sweet and Sour Meatballs
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 6 hours
Yield: 4-5 servings
28 ounce package of frozen meatballs (gluten free, dairy free) or make your favorite meatballs into cocktail size balls
15 ounce can of pineapple tidbits, drained and reserve juice
1 red pepper, diced
1/2 cup ketchup (I prefer Simply Heinz due to no added High Fructose Corn Syrup)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbsps cornstarch
1 tbsp Gluten Free grape jam
2 tablespoons Gluten Free Soy Sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
Place meatballs in crockpot.
Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl, mix and pour over meatballs
Cover and cook on low setting for 6-8 hours.
Serve with brown rice or your favorite Gluten Free pasta.
Breakfast is always a rushed endeavor on weekdays but when I have time on the weekends I love making something that is yummy and doesn’t make me feel bad giving to my kids. This recipe is a favorite. It is loaded with strawberries and bananas. You use your favorite bread (this recipe is with gluten free bread) and the almond milk makes it dairy free also.
Strawberry – Banana French Toast Casserole
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 2-3 servings
(Adapted from Jeanette Chen’s Jeanette’s Healthy Living.)
4 slices of your favorite gluten free bread, crusts trimmed, cut into cubes
1 banana, mashed
6 strawberries, diced
1/2 cup almond milk
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp nutmeg
maple syrup for serving
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.Lightly grease a small baking dish or individual ramekins with cooking spray.Place cubed bread into baking dish or ramekins.
Mix mashed bananas, strawberries, milk, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla together in a medium bowl.
Pour mixture over bread cubes and toss gently until bread is evenly coated.
Bake for 20-25 minutesor until cooked through.Top should be golden brown and crisp.