Saturday, July 19, 2014

Slow Cooker Salisbury Steak and Pressure Cooker Mashed Potatoes Recipe

I'm trying something new so I'd love feed back on whether or not this format works.
I put the recipe with photos in this video.
My husband's birthday was Friday and his requested meal was Salisbury Steak,
mashed potatoes, string beans, rolls and cherry pie.
I spent the day on and off in the kitchen, but managed to get it all done.
Needless to say he was thoroughly pleased!

This isn't our most frugal meal because it does use a lot of "purchased" ingredients instead of from scratch.  I cut the costs some by using mostly Aldi products.
However, I have in the past used homemade onion soup mix, made white sauce with mushrooms, etc. to make this as much from scratch as I could....but this version is by far my families favorite.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mexican Rice (Vegetarian Pressure Cooker Recipe)

Those of you who know me via this blog know that I love to keep food storage on hand -- both long term and short term.  One of the items I keep on hand is rice, which I consider to be one of the most versatile staples.  In fact, I can't imagine a kitchen without rice -- ironic because my paternal grandmamma didn't eat rice at all!
One of my favorite authors for practical food storage recipes is Peggy Layton and one of my favorite books is Cookin' with Beans and Rice.

This book is a collection of various recipes and as usual even though I rarely follow a recipe exactly I love to read it for inspiration.
Today daughter had a doctor's appointment -- nothing wrong, just a follow up -- and I spent
my waiting room time reading over  this book yet again.
BUT this time I was reading it with new eyes -- looking for recipes I could convert
to pressure cooker recipes.
I found a recipe for Mexican Rice that caught my attention and I decided I would make it at some point.
Fast forward to tonight and we are having an impromptu movie night.
Son, daughter in law and grandson were here at supper time and I needed something
for those of us who didn't want pizza.  Fortunately daughter in law is a varied eater
and she likes to have a mix of vegetarian dishes -- so I decided to go ahead and make the
Mexican Rice tonight.
Of course, as always, I changed things up and this recipe is written as I made it.
Mexican Rice
1 - 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes (don't drain)
1 1/2 cups of white rice
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1/2 to 1 cup of chopped portabella
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 heaping tsp. of chili powder
1/8 tsp. of black pepper
3 cups of water
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. of salt
chopped parsley or cilantro for garnish
(In the future I will probably add another teaspoon of garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of cumin.)

If using the Instant Pot -- sauté the onion, mushroom, and bell pepper in the olive oil.
Cook until tender. 
For stove top -- either do in your pressure cooker or in a separate pan. 
Stir in all the other ingredients EXCEPT for the tomatoes.
Pour the tomatoes on top, but DO NOT stir.
In the Instant Pot simply use the rice feature and cook for the 12 minutes.
Let the pressure drop for 8 minutes naturally and then do quick release.
In stove top, you'll need a low pressure and cook for the same times.
(Before stirring.)
Open and stir to mix the tomatoes in.

Garnish with cilantro or parsley and serve.
In the future I will make a few changes, but overall I was quite pleased with this dish.
Everyone loved it.
I will add cumin and increase the garlic next time.
I'll also try this at some point with two variations.
For one variation I will add a cup of cooked, drained beans and omit the mushrooms.
For the second variation, I will make a non vegetarian dish by adding either beef, chicken or pork.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Library and Weekend Snippets

I know the prices are a bit outdated since this book was published some time ago,
but I was excited to find it in the library. 
Not only did I enjoy reading her tips and gleaning ideas I can try to incorporate,
but I really liked some of the simple recipes in the book.
(I came home with another book and a book on CD.
I love books on CD for when I am knitting or crocheting.)
I've realized after reading this book I'm a 24 hour planner for meals.
My usual meal planning for tomorrow night's supper
takes place as I am finishing tonight's supper.
This works pretty well for us because I try to keep things stocked up.
However, I recently inventoried the freezer and pantry again.
It seems like a good time to work on using up what we have for a few weeks.
With that in mind I've made up a tentative menu for evening meals.
(Breakfasts, lunches and snacks will vary depending on leftovers
and our schedule.)
We will see how it goes.
Now for snippets of the weekend:
Birthday celebrations complete with ice cream, brownies and soda

A Saturday morning treat made by daughter in law

My latest project.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Warms my Heart

Nothing makes me happier than having my family around.
Nothing warms my heart like seeing them all read.
(Even though it doesn't show, my son is in the plaid shorts and yes
he was reading, too.)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Pork and Pinto Bean Chili

On Sunday I moved pork from the freezer to the refrigerator with plans for cooking it for Sunday night's supper.  Late afternoon daughter in law called to invite us over for a roast chicken dinner and we, of course, said yes.  The peach salsa (recipe here) became part of a snack with chips instead of the intended sauce for the pork and the pork which I had originally intended to grill became the base for Pork and Pinto Bean Chili.

The original recipe is a Martha Stewart recipe found here.  I did a lot of tweaking, using what we had on hand, and changing it to a pressure cooker recipe. 

Pork and Pinto Bean Chili
2 cups of dried pinto beans, soaked overnight
1 small can of diced chilies (4 oz. can)
2 lbs. of pork cut into one inch cubes (fat removed)
1/2 tsp. onion powder
2  tsps. minced garlic
1 1/2 tsps. ground cumin
1 1/2 tsps. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
4 cups of chicken broth
tiny touch of oil
1.  Soak beans overnight. (I put mine in a bowl in the fridge at bed time
and cook them the next evening, but you can always do a quick soak.)
2. Cube the pork and sauté in a bit of oil.
(I do this right in the pressure cooker.)
Your goal is to lightly brown it, but not cook it all the way through.
  Drain beans while the pork is cooking.
3. Combine all the ingredients in the pressure cooker.
4. Bring up to pressure and cook on high for 12 minutes.
Let the pressure drop naturally.
We decided to have ours over brown rice, but this would be
great with chips.  Add any "chili" condiments you like.
My family just opted to add shredded cheese.

This was a mild chili, which is what we wanted.
If you prefer more kick, as always you can add any kind of peppers you like.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Peach Salsa

The county health department, the local medical center/hospital, and the local farmers of our area had a stand set up at the Farmer's Market with samples of fresh peach salsa along with a recipe.  I was skeptical because I think of peach as sweet and salsa as fiery. Needless to say I was surprised to find that it was indeed quite good. I was even more excited to find that the recipe called for ingredients I could either find at home in my food storage or there in the market.

Fresh Peach Salsa (Yields 4 to 5 cups)
4 medium peaches, peeled and pitted
2 large tomatoes, cut into wedges (I used four smaller vine ripened tomatoes.)
1/2 sweet onion, cut into wedges (I used a whole smaller onion.)
1/4 tsp. dry cilantro (I used fresh and increased the amount to suit me.)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed (I used two teaspoons of pre  minced garlic.)
4 tsps. cider vinegar (I had used up the last so I used white vinegar.)
1 tsp. lime juice (I used lemon juice.)
11/4 tsp. pepper
I also added a dash of salt.
Set aside one peach, 1/2 of a tomato (or in my case the larger of the ones I used), and 1/4 of an onion.
(I used 1/2 of mine.)....dice ingredients and set aside.
Put the rest of the ingredients into the food processor and pulse until blended.
Put processed mixture into a bowl and stir in the diced.
Chill until ready to serve.

(The pep in this could easily be perked up.  A diced hot pepper of your choice
would do the trick.)
Serve with chips, fish, poultry, or pork.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Beefy Barley and Mushroom Soup

I was so excited when I found the soup bones at the Farmer's Market.
Daughter in law and I had just been talking about how nutritious stock made with bones was
and to find these (organic and local) for $3.50 a bag was wonderful timing.
I came home and put mine in the pressure cooker,
added some water, a whole onion quartered (skin and all), and a
few carrots.  I opted not to add any seasonings because I had plans for two different
flavored soups.
I brought these up to pressure, cooked them on high for 45 minutes,
and then let the pressure drop naturally.

When the bones had cooled enough I could handle them,
I removed what meat was on them and added it back to the stock.
(The bones and carrots were saved for the dog.)
I covered the stock and put it in the refrigerator so that the fat would solidify.

It had a pretty layer of fat that I've saved to use in a beef pot pie crust.

I ended up with 2 quarts of wonderful beefy stock --
one for Sunday's stew and one for later in the week.
This is my recipe for a great stew.
I apologize for not knowing other amounts to recommend, but this
is how I made it.
Sunday's lunch was Beefy Barley and Mushroom Stew.
1 1/2 cups of beef from the bones
1 quart of stock
2 cups of water
2 tbsp. of olive oil
1 tbsp. of Worcestershire sauce
8 ounces of baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced in thin wedges
1 cup of baby carrots
1 heaping tbsp. of minced garlic
1/2 cup of quick cooking barley 
1/4 cup of dehydrated celery
1 tsp. of salt (my broth had none)
1/8 tsp. of black pepper
1/4 tsp. of dried marjoram 
Put it all in the pressure cooker.
On my pressure cooker, I set it to manual, low pressure and then set the timer for 10 minutes.
Do a quick pressure release.
This was fabulous!
As far as yield goes -- how's this for precise?
two bowls of soup
two pints for hubby to take for lunches this week
1 pint for me to have this week
So about four pints or two quarts?