Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Quinoa – Instant Pot Recipe

I’m continuing with my breakfast theme using quinoa. This time with Apple Cinnamon Quinoa. I served this with soft boiled eggs for Christmas Eve breakfast this year. They all cooked nicely together in the Instant Pot at the same time. The quinoa nestled nicely on the bottom, and the eggs happily sitting on their trivet above.

* Note: I have an 8 quart Instant Pot. Adjust the recipe as necessary for smaller sizes.

Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Quinoa:

2 cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed

3-4 apples, peeled and chopped (I like Gala)

3 tbls butter

1 tbls Cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup agave nectar (or honey, brown sugar, or maple syrup)

3 cups water

Place all these ingredients in your Instant Pot. Cook at high pressure for 1 minute with natural pressure release. This is yummy served warm with a bit of cream on top.

If you want to cook eggs at the same time, place a trivet which will hold eggs in the pot so that it sits above the other ingredients. Stack your eggs on the trivet. Seal the lid. For soft boiled eggs cook for 1 minute at high pressure with natural pressure release. For hard boiled, cook at high pressure for 4 minutes with natural pressure release.

Enjoy your yummy breakfast!

Pumpkin Spice Quinoa Breakfast Porridge – Instant Pot Make Ahead Meal

I got an Instant Pot about a month ago and have been watching out for recipes that we can try given all our food restrictions. I was overjoyed to find this Pumpkin Quinoa Porridge recipe from Allergy Awesomeness. With a few tweaks I made it doable for all our allergies and even better, I can set it on delay start in the Instant Pot the night before and it’s ready first thing in the morning for the early risers, which means I get to lounge in bed longer with the baby. Win, win for me.

Make Ahead Pumpkin Quinoa Porridge:

2 cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed

1 can pumpkin (regular 15 oz size)

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice or Allspice

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

3 1/2 cups water

2 tsp Vanilla

3 tbls butter

Once all the ingredients are assembled in the pot, put the lid on in sealing position, and set it to cool at high pressure for 1 minute with natural pressure release.

If you want to make it in advance, use the Delay Start to set the number off hours that you want the pot to sit before it starts the cooking program. I like to assemble everything the night before and then use the Delay Start so that it is ready for my early risers when they get up. I love that I don’t even have to be out of bed yet and breakfast is ready for them. It’s great served warm with a bit of cream and some sliced almonds and chocolate chips sprinkled on top. You can also enjoy it leftover as a cold cereal. Eat up everyone! And stayed tuned. I have several more breakfast quinoa recipes coming up – Apple Cinnamon, Chocolate Raspberry, and Chocolate Custard to be exact.

Merry Muffins – Beet Chocolate Chip Muffins

Merry Muffins – Beet Chocolate Chip Muffins

I wanted to make something festive for Christmas. So, I took my normal banana chocolate chip muffins that I make every week for snacks and dressed them up a bit. This is basically a healthy version of red velvet cake using beets to add some fun color, nice texture and extra vitamins. The result: I had something special for Christmas week for the kids to eat for snack time. Here’s what I did if you want to give it a try.

Merry Muffins: 

  1. Steam 4 medium beets. I used my new Instant Pot. Cook however you prefer until tender. I cooked mine with the skins on and then they peeled right off when I took them out of the Instant Pot. In the Instant Pot, I cooked them on low pressure for 15 minutes with natural pressure release. Total time from locking on the lid to finish was about 40 minutes total.

     

  2. Reserve the cooking liquid from the beets to add a little extra color. You can easily reduce to concentrate the color by setting the Instant Pot to sauté after you have removed the beets while you assemble your other ingredients.
  3. Peel the cooked beets and purée in the food processor.
  4. Prepare your dry ingredients. Adjust the flours to suit your tastes and dietary needs.
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour (I like King Arthur or Trader Joe’s)
    • 1 cup whole grain spelt (or whole wheat flour)
    • 3/4 cup millet
    • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 2 tbls baking powder
    • 5 tbls cocoa powder
    • 2 1/2 cups chocolate chips
  5. Next, add some sweetness. Choose your sweetener. Below is what I used. Substitute what you like.
    • 3/4 cups honey
    • 1/2 cup maple syrup
    • 1/4 agave
  6. Get your liquids ready.
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 2 1/2 cups of milk (minus the volume of liquid from your reserved beet juice)
    • 6 egg yolks (we avoid egg whites, use 3 whole eggs if you like)
    • beet puree
    • 1/2 cup light olive oil (or other tasteless oil)
    • 3 very ripe mashed bananas
  7. Mix the dry ingredients. Add the sweetener to the wet ingredients, and the combine the wet and the dry together, stirring until just combined.img_9520
  8. Spoon into muffin cups. I like reusable silicone muffin cups.img_9521
  9. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.
  10. This recipe made about 2 dozen regular size muffins, and about 3 dozen baby muffins. These are best enjoyed fresh. For best texture, freeze if you are not planning on using them within two days.img_9522

 

Easy Roasted Chicken and Veggies


I made this colorful concoction for our Easter dinner this year. It was delicious and so easy to prep ahead when you have guests.

I started the night before by washing and chopping all my veggies, and setting some minced garlic to marinate overnight in olive oil. 

In the morning I tossed about 8-10 red potatoes and a handful of carrots in a big bowl with my garlic and olive oil mixture from the night before. Then I sprinkled them with salt and pepper and put them on my baking stone. I coated the chicken thighs (boneless, skinless, about 2.5 pounds) in the same oil and garlic mixture and placed them around and on top of the potatoes and carrots. Then I threw in some chopped onion pieces and celery stalks for flavor and good measure. 


Next, I coated all my veggies. I had pre-chopped red onions, yellow squash, red peppers, broccoli and asaparagus. For this tray I chose veggies that were colorful for spring and ones that would roast quickly. (The potatoes and carrots went on the tray with the chicken because they would need a longer cooking time.) I coated them in an olive oil, garlic mix with rosemary and oregano added, and sprinkles of salt and pepper. These all got spread on a second tray.

Before roasting


I baked the chicken first. 45 minutes at 400 degrees. When it was done, I took it out to sit and put the second tray with the veggies in the hot oven (still at 400 degrees) for 20 minutes. Everything was perfectly roasted. It was an easy, delicious and flavorful meal.

Roasted to perfection. 400 for 20 minutes.


We had carrot cake for dessert, but that will have to be another recipe. 🙂

Black Bean, Sweet Potato, Turkey Chili


I’ve always used my Mom’s chili recipe. It’s Tex-Mex all the way. My allergy kid is off tomatoes right now however, so that recipe is out. Recently, I’ve been experimenting with alternatives and honestly, we haven’t like any of them….until this one.
It’s a keeper. A Facebook friend posted this recipe for a black bean, sweet potato vegetarian chili. It sounded appealing because it used many of the same spices that I typically use in chili, so I tweaked it a bit and made it my own. 

The first change was to add meat. Sorry to my vegetarian friends. I added ground turkey, omitted the tomatoes and changed a few other ingredients based on what I had on hand and what sounded good.

Black Bean, Sweet Potato, Turkey Chili:

1.5 lbs ground turkey

1 yellow onion, diced

6 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced 

1 tbl chili powder

3 tbls cumin

1 Jalepeno, seeded and diced

Salt and pepper

Brown the turkey meat adding the chopped items and then the spices.

Next add…

1 can each black and pinto beans (or 8 oz. dried and soaked beans)

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 cup chopped red pepper

2 cups chopped red Swiss chard

3 cups vegetable broth

If needed, add enough water to cover all the ingredients. Simmer until heated through or until the beans are tender if using dried.

This would also make a great crock pot meal if you cooked the meat ahead and tossed all the rest in the crock pot the day of.

I like this recipe because it tastes similar to my standard chili and has a good enough base with the sauce, peppers and sweet potatoes that none of us missed the tomatoes. Eat well everyone!

Freezer Biscuits

I like to keep these homemade freezer biscuits on hand when I need some quick rolls to go with dinner. Mix them up, freeze for later , and cook them up in 20 minutes when you need them.

6 cups of flour 

2 tbls baking powder

2 tsp salt

1 tbls sugar 

4 cups heavy cream

Mix. Roll out to 3/4 inch thick. Cut out. Freeze on a covered cookie sheet. Once frozen, store in a gallon freezer bag. When you’re ready to bake, cook on 400 for 20 minutes. They’re delicious and fluffy.

Make Ahead Chicken Pot Pie

We had dinner guests planned for a Sunday afternoon a couple of months ago and I needed a make ahead meal. Chicken pot pie wouldn’t normally fall into that category but I’m pleased that I came up with a version that my whole family loved! I even liked it and I’ve never been a huge chicken pot pie fan.

This would be a great meal for holiday gatherings or when you are planning to have house guests as you can do all the prep in advance.

Here’s how I implemented my make ahead plan:

(Note: This made three 9-inch pies. So these proportions will feed a crowd. I even had some filling leftover that served as leftovers on top of egg noodles.)

Two Days Ahead: I cooked up a bunch of chicken leg quarters in my crockpot overnight so that I would have plenty of good meat and broth.

The Day before: I deboned my chicken and strained my broth. Then I assembled my veggies – garlic, onions, celery, carrots, potatoes, corn and peas. I prepared the filling by sautéing the onions and celery in olive oil with salt and pepper. Then I added 4-5 minced cloves of garlic along with the carrots and potatoes. After those had sautéed for a few minutes I sprinkled on about 2-3 tbls of flour and stirred until the vegetable mix was coated and all the flour was absorbed. Then I poured my chicken broth over the mix and added 3 cups of heavy cream. I let it simmer for a few minutes until the sauce began to thicken. Then I turned off the heat and let it cool. The veggies don’t need to be cooked all the way through at this point as it will finish cooking the day of. Once cooled I poured it all in my big crockpot and stirred in my shredded chicken meat. Then it went in the fridge overnight.

Next I prepared the crust. I used a recipe for freezer biscuits that I modified to use as a pie crust topping instead. Mix 6 cups of flour, 2 tbls baking soda, 1 tsp salt, 1 tbls sugar and stir in 4 cups of heavy cream. Let the dough rest for about 10 minutes after you’ve mixed it together. Then divide it in thirds and pat it out into three rough 10-inch circles about 1/2 inch thick. Be sure that the circles are big enough to go over the edges of your pie plate. Lay the dough out on cookie sheets and cover with wax paper or greased plastic wrap and freeze overnight.

The Day of: Pull the crock pot out of the fridge and set it to cook on high for about four hours. The veggies will finish cooking and then you’ll only need about 20 more minutes in the oven to cook the dough.

About a half our before you want to eat, fill your pie pans about 2/3 full with your hot, steamy filling from your crockpot. Add your frozen dough topper and cook each pie separately on 400 for 20 minutes. It’s not a bad idea to put a jelly roll pan under your pie plate just in case you accidentally overfill the pie plate and the sauce spills over like mine did. Your chicken out pie should cook up beautiful and tasty.

Now eat up and enjoy your guests! Your work is done.

Bagel French Toast

I was looking to make something special for breakfast the last snow day. I raided the freezer and pulled out a package of cranberry bagels. What could I make ahead with those? Hmmm. Baked French Toast it is.

Butter a casserole dish and line it with bagels. I broke mine open and scattered them about.

Mix up some French Toast batter. For a whole package of bagels you’ll need about 3 cups of milk, 6-8 eggs, 1 tsp of vanilla, 2 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp nutmeg. Mix it up. Pour it over the bagels. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Add some cream or milk in the morning if most of the liquid is absorbed and bake at 350 for about 35 minutes or until the mixture is set. Drizzle with syrup and enjoy.


(The other casserole pictured here is French Toast for my allergy kid who can’t have the regular stuff.)

Banana Blueberry Muffins

Saturday has become my baking day. I’ve been making the standard muffin recipe in my King Arthur Flour cookbook but I decided to change it up this week and the results were delicious.

Only two words are needed to sdescribe these muffins – Banana Blueberry! Mmmm.

This recipe makes about 12 muffins.

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbl baking powder

2 cups blueberries

Mix dry ingredients.

In a separate bowl mix the following:

2 eggs

3/4 cups milk

1/4 cup oil

2 frozen bananas, thawed and mashed

Stir all the wet ingredients until well mixed. Add the wet to the dry stirring for about 20-30 seconds. The less you stir the less dense your muffins will be. 

Pour into muffin cups. I like to use reusable silicone cups which I spray with a little bit of olive oil. Bake at 400 for 20-22 minutes. 

I also made this same recipe with chocolate chips instead of blueberries and it was equally delicious. 

Winter Shepherd’s Pie

This is an alternate take on Shepherd’s Pie. I used a mix of chicken, chard and cauliflower with sweet potatoes on the top.

I wasn’t sure how it would turn out but it was quite good and flavorful. It’s a good way to use up meat from a leftover roasted chicken.

If you want to give it a try, here’s what I did….

Start by boiling 4 medium sweet potatoes in their skin (I like to cook mine ahead in the crock pot ). Next sauté a small chopped onion in light olive oil. When the onions are slightly translucent add six cloves of minced garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 1-2 minutes more. Add finely chopped chard and cook until wilted. Then add chopped cauliflower. Add 3 cups pre-cooked shredded chicken. Sprinkle with 2 tbls of flour and stir until the flour has been absorbed by the oil. Then add 2 cups of chicken broth. Cook about 4-5 minutes or until thickened. Transfer the meat mixture to a casserole dish. Remove the skins of your cooked sweet potatoes and mash a fork adding 1/2 tsp of salt and 1 1/2-2 cups heavy cream. Spoon on top of your meat mixture and heat at 350 until heated through.

Eat up! Even my one year old loved it.

My favorite homemade bread

My favorite homemade bread couldn’t be easier. Get out your mixing bowls. It only takes a few minutes.

3/4 tbl. Active dry yeast

3/4 tbl. Sea salt

1.5 cups warm water

3 cups all purpose, whole wheat or spelt flour, plus a little extra for kneading later

Measure out the salt and yeast. Pour in the warm water and stir to dissolve. Measure out your flour and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough is combined.

Cover with a dish towel and let rise for 1-1.5 hours. Empty dough onto a floured surface and knead until the dough forms a smooth ball. This dough does best as a free form peasant loaf. Transfer the ball to a baking stone or cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. If time allows cover with a tea towel and let rise for another hour. When it’s baking time, preheat the oven to 400. Slit the top of the loaf several times with a serrated knife before putting in the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.

Let the loaf cool some before serving. If you try to slice before it has cooled it will not hold it’s shape and will squish down as you cut into it. 

Dinner is done! Hearty beef stew and homemade bread. 


Dinner is done. And the best thing is that it’s only 10:00 in the morning. 

Homemade bread is thawing on the counter just waiting to be devoured this evening. The beef stew is simmering in the crock pot full of chunks of beef, red potatoes, carrots, onions, broccoli, celery, 8 cloves of garlic, and my home made beef stock and vegetable broth

I can’t wait to eat tonight. The meat, veggies and broth are going to make for a delicious and flavorful dinner full of good nutrition, vitamins and minerals. Mmmmm. 

What’s for dinner at your house tonight?

Homemade veggie stock

Homemade bone broth