Instant Bone Broth

I’m so thankful for these little homemade chicken bullion cubes. My son has been sick the last two days. He won’t eat much when he’s ill, but he’s always up for chicken soup. I can feed him homemade bone broth in an instant any time I need to by just reconstituting with boiling water. This is one of the most rewarding things I make. And if dehydrated it’s shelf life is a good long time if refrigerated. You can specific instructions on how to make them by taking a peek in the Pantry.

Quick and Easy Allergy-Friendly Chocolate Frosting

We have lots of birthdays in the fall. So, I’ve been working to develop a frosting that works for our allergies as well as those of our friends so that we can all enjoy the same dessert. I think I’ve landed on a keeper.

It has very simple ingredients, and comes out smooth and creamy. And unless you are allergic to chocolate, it should work for almost any allergy except for corn, because it does require powdered sugar. I’d prefer to substitute another sweetener, but haven’t come up with an option that adds sweet and bulk at the same time.

Ingredients: Cocoa powder, oil (I use light olive oil), water, pinch of salt, 1/8 tsp vanilla, powdered sugar.

Now, you’ll note that I didn’t give measurements on lots of the ingredients because it all depends on the yield you need. So, here are some ratios, and sequences to follow. This is a good recipe for just eyeing it, and when it looks right, stop.

  • To determine your approximate measurements, decide about how much icing you want to end up with. If you want a yield of 2 cups of icing/frosting, then start with 1/2 cup of cocoa powder and estimate that you will add about 1 cup of sugar.
  • Note: I do not recommend using dark chocolate cocoa powder. It’s too strong and requires too much sugar to balance out the bitterness.
  • Start by mixing the cocoa powder and oil. This is essential to mix these first.
  • Use half the amount of oil as you use cocoa powder.
  • Use twice the amount of sweetener as you do cocoa powder.
  • Add water in very small amounts (as small as 1/2 tsp at a time), alternating with adding the powdered sugar, until you get the consistency you want.
  • If you need to add more bulk, but your icing is sweet enough, add a little cornstarch.
  • Add the salt and vanilla at the end. Just a bit of both. Not much.
  • Mix by hand with a wire whisk for best results.

This icing is rich, and chocolatey, and delicious.

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

This was dinner tonight. Give it a try.

Start with enough sweet potatoes for the size of your family. I did one per person and had leftovers as they were large and not everyone ate a whole one.

Wash the sweet potatoes and prick all around with a fork.

Bake at 400 for 1-1.5 hours depending on the size of your potatoes.

While they bake, assemble your filling.

Filling: ground turkey, chopped onion, garlic, celery, cabbage, red bell pepper, salt, pepper, seasoned salt, sage, oregano, olive oil, flour, and water.

Brown the turkey meat. When cooked through, add a little olive oil to your pan and sauté the onion, celery, garlic, cabbage and red bell pepper. Now add the salt and pepper to taste, a sprinkle of seasoned salt, and the oregano and fresh sage. I used about 1 tbls. of fresh sage but you could use about 1 tsp of ground as well.

Next, a couple of tablespoons of flour into your meat mix and stir until the flour has absorbed. Then add about 2-3 cups of water. The addition of the flour and water will create a sauce which will keep the ground turkey from becoming too dry. Turn off the heat once the sauce has thickened.

When you’re sweet potatoes are soft when squeezed, remove them from the oven and place on a cookie sheet and slice open. Butter and lightly smash the insides. Then top with the meat mix. I sprinkled buttered homemade crumbled bread on the top. Return to the oven on 400 for about 15 minutes until the bread topping is toasty. Sprinkle with feta cheese crumbles to serve.

Chocolate Raspberry Breakfast Quinoa – Make Ahead Instant Pot Meal

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I’ve been making good use of quinoa for breakfast in the Instant Pot lately. This is the latest and the easiest so far.

It is true that “necessity is the mother of invention.” The only reason that I came up with this recipe is because I was going to make the Pumpkin Spice Breakfast Quinoa, but I was out of pumpkin so I had to come up with another flavor.

This ended up being ridiculously simple.

Chocolate Raspberry Breakfast Quinoa: 

2 cups quinoa, rinsed
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbls butter (or coconut oil if you can use that)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup raspberry jam (or really any favorite jam flavor)
3 1/2 cups water

Cook in the Instant Pot on high pressure for 1 minute with natural pressure release. You can also use the Delay Start feature and set this up the night before to come on and be warm and ready when you wake up in the morning.

Serve warm sprinkled with sliced almonds, chocolate chunks and a dash of cream.

Mexican Brown Rice and Lentils

img_9966So, we got home from a trip over New Year’s and I had 30 minutes to come up with something for dinner based on what was in the pantry and freezer. I quickly consulted my new cookbooks to see if I could get any ideas. I had just gotten the Instant Pot Bible before Christmas when I got my new Instant Pot. And over the holidays I found One Pot Wonders on clearance while browsing at Barnes & Noble. (Note: These are non-affiliate links by the way.)

After flipping through both these books, I found one recipe in each that I had about half of the ingredients for. So, I combined the two, threw it all in the Instant Pot and everyone loved it! I wasn’t sure how the lentils were going to go over as we don’t eat them very often, and you know how kids can be when they are presented with a food that they don’t recognize. But, no one even noticed. The only complaint I got was that the 3-year old didn’t want to eat the corn. But, she never eats that anyway. So, it was a bit hit. Everyone asked for seconds, and thanks to my 8-quart Instant Pot we had enough leftover for the next night (which I re-warmed in the IP as well for 2 hours on the normal slow cook setting).

If you want to give it a go, grab that bag of brown rice and lentils. It’s really an easy recipe.

Mexican Brown Rice & Lentils: 

(Note: I used my 8-quart Instant Pot for this recipe. It made enough to feed eight, or 4-6  with a modest amount of leftovers.)

3 cups brown rice
1 cup lentils
3/4 cup yellow onion, diced
6-8 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp season salt (I like Tony’s)
dash of Cayenne pepper
1 tbls cumin
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup salsa
6 cups water/vegetable broth (I used half water, half broth)
1 lb. cooked chicken (I used chicken that I had in the freezer, but you could use frozen uncooked chicken strips as well.)
2 tbls light olive oil (or other mild tasting oil)
1 can whole kernel corn, or 1 cup frozen corn
lime juice (optional)
cilantro (optional)

Saute the onion and garlic in a little olive oil in the Instant Pot. Add the salt, pepper and spices. Cook the onions and garlic until they are aromatic, but be careful not to let them burn. That Saute setting can get hot. Then add the lentils and rice to Instant Pot stirring to coat all the grains with the oil and seasonings. Add the diced tomatoes and water/broth. Set the chicken in the center of the grains. Close the lid and set to sealing position. Cook on high pressure for 30 minutes with natural pressure release. Total cook time to come to pressure, cook and release naturally was just a little over one hour.

When the food has cooked, remove the lid and add the corn and squeeze a little lime juice in and stir. Serve sprinkled with fresh or dried cilantro and chopped red onions. Enjoy!

 

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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

 

Roasted Beets, Sweet Potato, and Apples – Yum!

So I’ve been needing a new healthy snack in my life and this is what I came up with spur of the moment tonight. I’m going to experiment with variations on the seasonings, but this first batch turned out so nicely that I thought I would share.

This makes about 3-4 servings but could easily be doubled or tripled. And this would make a great side dish too. The colors are perfect for fall.

Roasted Beets, Sweet Potatoes, and Apples:

1 Sweet Potato, peeled and chopped

4 Small beets, peeled and chopped

2 Small apples, chopped

3 tbls Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp oregano

2 tbls brown sugar

Mix it all together in a bowl until the apples and veggies are coated with the oil and seasonings. Roast on 400 degrees for 35 minutes.

Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

I came up with this recipe after my birthday this year, since chocolate chip cookies are the best dessert EVER! And the only thing that could make them better is cooking them in a cast iron skillet. (If you know me, then you recognize two of my favorite things here – chocolate chip cookies, and anything cast iron.)

Cast Iron Skillet Cookie:

1 stick butter and 1/4 cup tasteless oil (I use light olive oil), melted

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup honey

1 egg

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp Vanilla

Whip the sugar, honey, and butter several minutes until light and creamy (this step is important, don’t skimp on the mixing). Then mix in the egg, salt, and vanilla.

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp Baking soda

1 cup chocolate chips

Stir together.

Mist your skillet(s) with cooking oil. You can either use one 10″ skillet, or three mini cast iron skillets. Fill with cookie batter. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Best served warm with vanilla ice cream.

Apple Cinnamon Baked French Toast

This is a mix up or recipes. It’s kind of a combination of apple cobbler, cinnamon rolls and French toast rolled all into one.

Our family has a tradition of breakfast for dinner on Sunday nights. I use this as an opportunity to experiment a little with breakfast options we’ve never tried before, or to make up and test new recipes. This was the later.

Here’s how I did it.

First mix up a basic baking powder biscuit dough with some cinnamon and sugar added.

Baking Powder Biscuit Dough:

2 cups all purpose flour (or your flour of choice)

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbls baking powder

2 tbls sugar

1 tbls cinnamon

Cut in 1/2 stick of butter with pastry blender.

Add 1 cup of milk. Stir until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl and pour out on to a floured surface. Knead just until smooth and let rest.

Apple filling:

4 Gala apples (or your favorite baking apple, or whatever is in your fridge), chopped into 1″ pieces

Melt 2 tbls butter in a large skillet. Stir in 3 tbls brown sugar, and 1/2 tsp salt, and cook over medium heat until bubbly. Stir in apples and cook about 3 minutes.

French Toast Mix:

2/3 cup milk

2 eggs

1 tsp Vanilla

Whisk together in a 2-cup measuring cup.

Put it all together:

Butter a large cast iron skillet or a big casserole dish.

Roll your biscuit dough into 2″ balls and space evenly around your skillet or casserole. Next, pour the French toast mix over the biscuit dough. Spoon your cooked apples over the top of everything. Bake for 25 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

Serve with your favorite pancake topping – maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, whipped cream…. the options are endless.

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. 🙂