That Goes Where?

I’ve never poisoned anyone with my cooking (that I am aware of), but I just found out that I have been storing some food items in places they aren’t supposed to be stored.

  • Apples:   They stay crisper in the refrigerator and last longer without spoiling.  Hmmm, ok.  Good thing to know, but I usually don’t buy more than a few apples at a time and keep them on the counter.  My house is always cool and I like them visible, making me more likely to eat one than grab a cookie or chips…I’m going to call this one a toss up.
  • Brown Sugar:  WOO HOO!  I’m storing this one right.  It belongs in the cupboard in a well sealed bag or container, not in the refrigerator.  I also saw a tip that it will stay softer/fresher longer if you put a couple of big marshmallows in the same container.
  • Coffee:  Beans will keep in an airtight container, open bag or can at room temperature for a week.  My Mom always kept her cans of coffee in the refrigerator.  Apparently that was wrong as moisture can kill the flavor making the coffee taste weak.  I keep my beans in the freezer, which is recommended for long term storage.  Yes!!!  Another staple I’m not screwing up!
  • Spices:  I am guilty of keeping spices much longer than I should, but at least I am storing them right. They belong in a cupboard away from heat ( so not one above the refrigerator or oven), light, and moisture to keep the oils from breaking down.  Exceptions are sesame seeds and poppy seeds, which need the moisture of the refrigerator to maintain their freshness. Toasted or plain sesame oil should be stored in the refrigerator as well.
  • Hot Sauce:  No need to keep them in the refrigerator.  They will stay good (and potent) for up to 3 years in the cupboard at room temperature.  Cool, I get to free up some refrigerator space.
  • Maple Syrup:  The expensive pure stuff needs to go in the refrigerator, the Aunt Jemima  (and other artificial Maple flavored syrups) is the cupboard.  Guess I have a new resident for those recently vacated refrigerator shelves!
  • Nuts:  Oops, I’ve been storing these wrong.  Almonds, walnuts and pecans are only good (once jar or bag is opened) at room temperature for two weeks.  To maintain the freshness of the oils within them, store in refrigerator up to 9 months and freezer up to 2 years.
  • Onions, Shallots, Garlic:  Don’t do as my mom did and store them in the refrigerator.  These need to be stored in a mesh bag or basket in a dry place with plenty of room for air to circulate.
  • Tomatoes:  Yep, I’ve been doing these a disservice too!  Tomatoes do not belong in the refrigerator, they’ll get mushy.  Put them on the cool counter.

Who knew?  Certainly not this girl!

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Gluten Free Zucnana Bread

banzucminisI love a moist piece of banana bread slathered with soft cream cheese.  The only problem I have is, with the number of bananas I buy each week, using the overripe ones for plain banana bread every week or two is getting boring.

My grandma was one of those 1970’s women who broke out of her 1950’s homemaker role and became a more modern woman.  She was different from my friends’ grandmas to say the least:  She played tennis, loved fitness, drove a flashy sports car, loved vacationing and baking herself to a golden tan in the sunshine, had a job outside the home, and pretty much spoiled my brother, sister and I rotten.  My modern grandma made her own yogurt, dried her own fruit, and tried her hardest to get us to eat more vegetables. I’m pretty sure she is why I am so fearless and experimental in the kitchen – I’d eat anything new or different that she fed me.

My Grandma Skip used to make a wonderful, sweet, moist zucchini bread every summer.  It was one of my favorites, even if it did have walnuts in it!  I wonder how bananas would taste with zucchini.  And, as if that wasn’t enough of a challenge, I wonder if I can make it gluten free so I can share it with my friends who have issues with gluten.  Looks like another experiment!!  Off to the kitchen!

Gluten Free Zucnana Bread

  • Shred 2 medium zucchini in your food processor, Vitamix or using a hand grater.
  • Let sit in a colander in the sink so any moisture released can drain off.
  • Grease your 9×5 inch standard or 5.75 x 3 inch mini loaf pans with baking spray (I use coconut oil spray).
  • Preheat oven to 325° F

In medium mixing bowl combine:

  • 1 & 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour
  • 1 & 1/8 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Cup Oats (I use Bob’s Red Mill Extra Thick Rolled Oats)

In same bowl add:

  • 1/4 Cup Agave Syrup
  • 1/3 Cup Pure Maple Syrup
  • 2 Eggs (Room temperature is ideal)
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut Oil (Room temperature/melted)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 3 Medium Bananas Mashed (not overripe, but with browning skins)

Using a large wooden spoon, stir in each addition until well combined.  Batter will be thick.

  • Stir shredded zucchini in by hand (using a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon)
  • Pour into greased loaf pan (s)
  • Bake on center rack in oven for 55 – 65 minutes (9×5 inch pan), or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Like most ovens, my temperature is sometimes a few degrees off, so I start checking for doneness at about 55 minutes.

When finished baking remove pan (s) to a wire rack to cool about 30 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely on the wire racks.  When cooled, wrap loaf (s) in foil then put into a zip bag and store in the refrigerator.  These loaves freeze well – wrap first in waxed paper (seal all edges), then foil and finally a securely zipped freezer bag.  Enjoy within 3 months.

I serve with whipped cream cheese, although you can make a simple glaze to drizzle over while the loaf (s) while still warm.

  • 1/4 Cup Cream Cheese
  • 2-3 Tsp Milk
  • 1/4 – 1/2 Cup Confectioner’s (Powdered) Sugar.  Add more or less milk as needed

TIP 1:  I normally use 1 Cup of Sugar in my Banana Bread.  When substituting Agave Syrup or Pure Maple Syrup (or a combination of both) for granulated sugar, make sure that you decrease the water (juice or other liquid component) by 3 TBLS (per 1 C equivalent/ sugar), add 1/8 tsp of baking soda (per 1/2 C equivalent sugar), and reduce your baking temperature by 25° F.  I have already made those adjustments above.  There is a really handy chart for sugar substitutions here.

Tip 2:  When using mini loaf pans instead of a standard 9 x 5 loaf pan, reduce the baking time by 25% (so in this case the baking time would be 43 – 53 Minutes – I start checking loaves for doneness at about 45 minutes).

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Simple Salmon Croquettes

salmoncroquettesI have a standby recipe I use for salmon patties that stand up to being cooked on the grill, but I got really behind this Easter and couldn’t find that recipe when it came time to prep.  Never one to be timid in the kitchen, and knowing that my husband would tell me if they sucked, I gathered my ingredients and started throwing them into my Vitamix.

Sriracha Cream Sauce

  • 2/3 Cup Sour Cream
  • 2 TBLS Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 2-3 TBLS Fresh Dill Chopped
  • 2-4 TBLS Sriracha Hot Sauce (depending on how spicy you like it)

Combine and refrigerate until you are ready to serve dinner

Simple Salmon Croquettes

Combine these ingredients in your Vitamix (or food processor/blender) in the following order:

  • 1 Medium Zucchini (or Yellow Squash) cut into chunks
  • 2 Shallots (peeled & halved)
  • Juice of 1 Medium Lemon
  • 3 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Parmesan/Romano/Asiago Blend Cheese
  • 2 tsp Ground Pepper
  • 4-5 Stems Fresh Dill (remove leaves from stems)

When the ingredients are well combined, add:

  • 2 Pounds Fresh Salmon Fillet (skin removed)
  • 2 Cups Panko Crumbs

Heat 2 TBLS olive oil in a large skillet (I used cast iron, but it doesn’t really matter).

When pan is well heated, scoop golf ball sized (or so) amounts of the mixture into your hands and flatten into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick patties.  The thinner they are the faster they will cook.  I use about 1/2 inch as my guide.  Fill the pan with patties and fry over medium heat for 3-5 minutes per side.  Because the ingredients are minced, they cook fairly quickly.   Once each side is browned, remove patties to a paper towel lined plate and continue in batches until all of the mixture is cooked.

Serve immediately on a mound of  yesterday’s Simple Sweet Potatoes and beside a crisp green salad for a light, yet hearty, mid week meal.

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Simple Sweet Potatoes

whippedsweetpotatoesUsually when I make my mashed or whipped sweet potatoes, I go through the whole peel, chop, boil routine that takes a lot of time and effort.

Yesterday I got my Easter dinner stated a few hours later than I usually do and the pressure (no pun intended) was nowhere near what it would have been because I knew I had my time saving secret weapon in the bullpen!  Another reason to LOVE my new T-Fal electric pressure cooker!

Steaming, instead of dry pressure cooking on the rack, while I prepared our main dish saved me more than an hour in prep time.  That alone was worth it, but the resulting creaminess of the potatoes allowed me to remove some of the higher fat ingredients I normally would have used to whip them in to submission using my stand mixer.

Super Fast & Easy Whipped Sweet Potatoes

  • 2 Large Sweet Potatoes (or Yams)
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1/4 Cup (1/2 Stick) Butter
  • 3 TBLS Brown Sugar (Light or Dark)
  1. Pour water into bottom of pressure cooker pan and place open steamer basket inside
  2. Wash your sweet potatoes and prick the skin a couple of times with a fork
  3. Place sweet potatoes into the steamer basket and close/lock the pressure cooker
  4. Set pressure cooker to high and, once it reaches temperature, cook for 30 minutes
  5. When timer sounds unplug the pressure cooker and set it aside to come back to normal pressure naturally while preparing the rest of your dinner.
  6. When you are 10 minutes from serving your dinner, open the pressure cooker and remove the potatoes to a medium sized bowl.
  7. The potatoes should be so soft that you can easily slide the peels off without need of any tool/utensils.
  8. Place the butter and peeled potatoes back in the bowl and, using a fork (you won’t need anything more – trust me!) whip the two together until the butter melts.
  9. Stir in the brown sugar and cover until you are ready to serve.
  10. If you want to kick them up a bit, add a pinch of nutmeg and/or cinnamon.

These are so creamy that they could easily be cooled and serve to a baby just starting table foods, but can be hearty enough to accompany turkey, ham, beef, pork or the salmon patties I rested on top.

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This Sauce Has Balls

saucehasballsMy husband, although his Mother was 100% Italian, doesn’t care for much sauce on his pasta.  I, on the other hand, love a thick meaty sauce, no matter what style noodle (even gluten free) we are eating.

I’m in the mood for spaghetti which means sauce that’s nice and meaty, with extra spicy balls for good measure.  Just the way I like it.  😉

Hearty Pasta Sauce with Balls

  • 1 lb  Fresh Ground Pork Sausage
  • 1 lb  Fresh Ground Sirloin (90/10 or 85/15)
  • 1 1/2 TBLS Salt-Free Garlic & Herb Blend Seasoning (Mrs Dash or McCormick Perfect Pinch)
  • 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 TBLS Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Romano Cheese
  • 1 TBLS Olive Oil
  1. In stand mixer, combine the pork and beef.
  2. Add the spices and cheese and mix until well combined.
  3. Pre-heat 1 TBLS Olive Oil in the pressure cooker pan. Set the machine to the Brown.
  4. Remove 1/2 of the meat mixture from the bowl and place in pressure cooker pan set to Brown.  Cook with the lid open, stirring to break the meat up, for 5-7 minutes then remove and drain off the fat.
  5. Replace pan on pressure cooker base and set to the Brown setting.
  6. Add the following to the pan, in order:
  • 1 TBLS Olive Oil
  • 3 Stalks Celery, finely diced
  • 1/2 Medium Onion, chopped
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  1. When pressure cooker returns to temperature, cook for 6-8 minutes until vegetables are soft and onions are translucent.
  2. While vegetables are cooking, add 1 egg to the reserved half of the uncooked meat.  Form inch to inch and a half balls and set aside.
  3. Add 1 Can (6 oz) Tomato Paste to the vegetables, stirring until combined.
  4. Add 2 Cans (14.5 each) Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes (with the juice) and stir well.
  5. Return the cooked meat to the pan.
  6. Add 1 Cup Good Red Wine (If you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it!)
  7. Stir and add the meatballs to the pan.
  8. Close the pressure cooker, set to high and cook the sauce for the full 10 minute cycle.
  9. Let the pressure return naturally then serve over cooked pasta with garlic bread.

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Creamy Poblano Chicken Soup

chickenpoblanosoupAfter another Southern California winter week with temperatures over 80 degrees, I was looking for any excuse to make soup.  Today the Santa Ana Winds blew in and dropped the temperature to a “Brisk” 69 degrees so I rushed to get the pressure cooker and Vitamix working so I could enjoy my favorite cool night meal:

Creamy Poblano Chicken Soup

  • 2 Roasted Poblano Peppers
  • 1 Roasted Sweet Potato (or Yam)
  • 1 Roasted Small Yellow Onion
  • 1 TBLS Olive Oil
  • 32 oz Chicken Stock (I use Emeril’s)
  • 4-5 Cloves Garlic Finely Chopped
  • 8 oz Cream Cheese (Room Temperature)
  • 1 lb diced chicken breast
  • 2 Cups Shredded Colby & Monterey Jack Cheese
  • Freshly Ground Sea Salt & Pepper to taste
  1. Roast the sweet potato in the pressure cooker for 15 minutes on high.  Remove and set aside.
  2. Using the Brown function on the pressure cooker, roast the Poblano peppers, the quartered onion and the garlic in the olive oil for 10 minutes after the cooker comes up to temperature.  Remove from pan when done.
  3. Add the chicken to the pressure cooker pan and again set it to the Brown function.  Cook the chicken for about 10 minutes, or until just cooked through.
  4. Remove the seeds and stems from the peppers.
  5. Add peppers, onion, sweet potato, garlic, 1 Cup of the broth, and cream cheese to the Vitamix container.  Process on low to medium speed until well combined and smooth.
  6. Add the chicken to the Vitamix container and process on the low setting until chicken shreds and is no longer in chunks.
  7. Pour contents of Vitamix container back into the pressure cooker pan.  Add remaining 3 cups of stock, the shredded cheese.  Stir until well combined.  Taste and adjust the seasoning if desired.
  8. Close the lid of the pressure cooker and select the Stew/Soup function.  After the machine reaches cooking temperature, cook for 10 minutes.
  9. When cooking is complete, release pressure, stir and serve soup while hot.

Serve with buttered toasted sourdough croutons, a dollop of sour cream and sliced avocado if desired.

**Vegetarian Option:  Don’t add the chicken if you would like to serve this as a side or keep it meat-free.

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Meatless Monday Treat

It was a rough weekend.

First we had a two day basketball tournament that started early both days, meaning no sleeping in for me, and then we had a party we needed to go to Saturday night that turned into the proverbial shit show:

lamborghini_aventador_lp_720_yellow-800x600While standing around watching the rest of the party goers drinking themselves into oblivion and admiring the host’s new bright yellow half million dollar Lamborghini Aventador, the host, who’s a very tall, very large man, lost his tenuous hold on his balance and began sliding down the rear fender with only me (I’m not a big girl) between him and the hard concrete floor & wall.  I did my best to break his fall without breaking myself but he ended up landing on me in a very awkward position and, in the fiasco of the fall, I threw my red wine all over the back end of his gorgeous car.  In my defense, I kept him from hitting his head on the floor or the wall so there was that…LOL

Suffice it to say that I was in some pain and thus, in no mood to make dinner Sunday night.  I was very glad to remember that we had a leftover pizza in the refrigerator to reheat.  Tonight, due to the second day of pain being even worse, from my neck all the way down my right side, I wasn’t anxious to roll out a gourmet dinner either.  Thank God my husband is pretty easy to feed.

shishito1I can usually dress up a grilled cheese sandwich in a way to satisfy him and tonight was no different.  Real butter, a loaf of sourdough, some bacon that was already cooked & chilling in the meat drawer combined with some pepper jack cheese and we had a winner.  I didn’t want to just let him eat the Cheetos he favors with it, and he didn’t want any of the leftover coleslaw from the other night, so I threw together another quick side he loves:

Blistered Shishito Peppers

  1. Heat 1 TBLS olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add 1 pkg of fresh Shishito peppers to the hot oil and cook, tossing them every minute or so, for 5 minutes or until the skins are blackened and blistered.
  3. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

shishito2Trader Joe’s sells Shishito peppers pre-bagged, you can get them at your local Asian grocery store (they are beloved in Japan), or your grocery store may have them in your produce section.

Shishito peppers are generally mild, but it seems like one in every batch will light you up! 😉

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Quick Corned Beef & Cabbage


Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  This is the day every year where I pull out the Crock Pot, load it with corned beef, red potatoes, chunks of carrot, onion, garlic & spices and let it spend 10 hours cooking dinner for me.  But, because I made a huge trip to the grocery store and forgot some key ingredients, it looks like the slow cooker is being swapped for the new pressure cooker.  I hope I don’t screw dinner up…

cb9I’ve searched the internet for help with timing, liquid and how to keep from overcooking the vegetables and into the deep I’m diving again.  Because I have added tips for keeping warm after preparing early, serving suggestions and a bonus leftover recipe, please read the recipe through before beginning your preparations.

Quick Corned Beef & Cabbage

  • 1 – 2 to 3 pound Corned Beef Brisket (vacuum sealed in brine with spice packet)
  • 10 to 15 Small Red Potatoes (unpeeled and whole)
  • 1 – Yellow Onion (cut into quarters)
  • 5 Large Carrots (peeled and cut into large chunks)
  • 6-8  Whole Cloves Garlic (peeled)
  • 2 TBLS Olive Oil
  • 4 Cups Beef Broth
  • 1 & 1/2 – 11.2 oz bottles Guinness Draught (Dark Beer)
  • 1 Head Green Cabbage (cut into quarters)
  • 2 TBLS Cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 Cup Cold Water
  1. Set the pressure cooker to brown setting and place the garlic cloves, onions, 1 TBLS olive oil and corned beef (fat side down) into the cooking pan.  With lid open, once cooking temperature is reached, let the fat render for 10 minutes. If your fat layer is thick you can run another 10 minute brown cycle if you like.  I did, but only to brown all sides of the brisket.
  2. With about 2 minutes left in the brown cycle, add the carrots,
  3. When browning is done, add the spice pack, 1 bottle of the beer and broth to the pan.  Close and lock the top and set to cook on high for 50 minutes.  My brisket was just under 3 1/2 lbs so I upped my cooking time to 55 minutes and it was incredibly tender when I transferred it to the frying pan.
  4. If your brisket has a thick fat layer, when timer sounds set a heavy frying pan (I use a cast-iron pan) with 1 TBLS olive oil in it on the stove over medium high heat.  Quick-release the pressure then unlock and open the lid of the pressure cooker.
  5. Remove the corned beef and transfer to preheated frying pan with fat side down. Lower heat to low and allow the fat to slowly burn off. If just browning, make sure you turn your brisket to keep it from charring.
  6. Add the potatoes to the pressure cooker set to cook for 15 minutes.
  7. When timer sounds, release the pressure, open the pressure cooker just long enough to add the cabbage then immediately close and lock the lid.
  8. Bring the cooker back up to pressure and then immediately release the pressure so that you can open the cooker to remove the onions, carrots and cooked cabbage (leave the garlic). Put in a bowl and cover to keep warm.
  9. Turn the pressure cooker to the brown setting.
  10. Remove the corned beef from the frying pan to a cutting board, cover with foil for 5 minutes to allow juices to settle and then slice/shred as desired. Cover meat to keep it warm while preparing gravy. **See Tip below if you aren’t ready to slice and serve, or have prepared the brisket more than a couple of hours before you plan to serve it.
  11. Deglaze the pan with about 1/2 of a bottle of Guinness.  Pour the broth, spices and garlic from the pressure cooker into the drippings from the frying pan.  Bring juices to a boil, scraping up any brown bits and smashing the garlic, then add the cornstarch mixture.
  12. Whisking constantly, cook 2-3 minutes until broth/drippings thicken into the consistency of gravy.
  13. Put gravy into a small saucepan with a lid to keep it warm or make reheating later easier.




Serve slices of the corned beef on top of the cooked cabbage with potatoes, carrots and onions piled alongside.  Cover with gravy if desired.

Another way my family likes it is shredded with two forks so they can pile it on rye bread with spicy mustard, Swiss cheese, onions and cabbage with the gravy soaked potatoes and carrots on the side.  A buttered piece of rye bread is great for sopping up the leftover gravy!

Because my son won’t be home for St. Patty’s this year (Boo Jason!) I will slice up half of the brisket and shred the other half while it’s hot to get the most use of the leftovers.

TIP:  If you are preparing this ahead of time and want to keep it warm for an hour or two before dinner (without drying it out):

  • Reserve about a cup of the juices from the pressure cooker
  • Set your Crock Pot (Slow Cooker) to “Keep Warm”
  • Layer in this order: Potatoes, Carrots, Onions, Cooked WHOLE Brisket, Cooked Cabbage, then pour in the reserved juices.
  • Cover and keep warm as long as you need to.
  • Remove brisket from slow cooker to cutting board, cover for 5 minutes to allow the juices to settle, then slice as directed above.
  • Bring the gravy back to a boil. add the juices from the slow cooker, and whisk until well combined.  If gravy is too thin add another TBSP of cornstarch to a small amount of cold water and whisk in until gravy is as thick as you’d like.

If there is any leftovers that don’t become sandwiches, the corned beef makes a flavorful hash.  Combine the shredded/chopped corned beef in a cast iron skillet with melted butter, some chopped bell pepper, any leftover onion and potatoes and cooked to crispy brown perfection.  Add a couple of fried eggs and some sourdough toast and it’s a great Sunday brunch!

Instead of taking roughly 12 hours from start to finish using the slow cooker, this year’s St. Patty’s Day feast was ready in about an hour and a half!  The pressure cooker shaved 10 1/2 hours off of the cook time and, instead of not being hungry once the cooking was done (because I didn’t have to be tortured by smelling it cook all day), I was able to enjoy this annual favorite with everyone else at dinner!

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Bloody Angry Baby Back Ribs

ribssweetpotatoEnticing name, don’t you think?  I’m not English and spouting a profanity, nor am I intending to butcher and cook ribs while they’re still bloody, I’m too big a wuss for that! 😉

What I did do though, is combine the flavors of the blood oranges ripening on my tree with BBQ sauce & hard cider and put it all into the pressure cooker to see what would happen!

What happened was a tender, tasty rib that absorbed the sweetness of the orange slices, the ginger-apple crispness of the cider before finishing with the smoky-spicy BBQ sauce!  I don’t usually enjoy pork ribs, but these I ate with gusto.  So much so that I only grudgingly encouraged my husband to eat the last slab on the serving plate.  I wanted the ribs to be the star of the show, so I served them beside baked sweet potatoes.

About an hour and 30 minutes before you’re ready to eat dinner:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash and prick the skins of 2 medium sweet potatoes with a fork and place them on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 50 minutes then remove from the oven, place them in a bowl and tent with foil to keep them warm while you’re finishing the ribs.

Bloody Angry Baby Back Ribs

  • 2 Medium Ripe Blood Oranges
  • 1 – 12 oz Bottle Angry Orchard Apple Ginger Hard Cider
  • 2 Lbs Pork Loin Back Ribs
  • BBQ Sauce (whatever brand you prefer)
  1. Slice the oranges and place into the bottom of the pressure cooker pan.
  2. Cut your ribs apart into 3-4 pieces and stand them around the perimeter of the pan.
  3. Pour the bottle of Hard Cider into the middle of the ribs, over the top of the oranges.
  4. Immediately close and lock the lid and set the pressure cooker to Medium for 15 minutes and hit the start button.
  5. When the timer goes off, release the pressure and open the top.
  6. Remove the ribs from the pressure cooker pan and place them (bone side down) on a baking sheet lined with foil.
  7. Brush your favorite BBQ sauce on them as lightly or generously as you desire.
  8. Place the baking sheet back into the 400 degree oven you used for your sweet potatoes and cook the ribs another 15 – 20 minutes to bake the sauce in.

Serve with the baked sweet potatoes (with plenty of butter and brown sugar) and, if you’ve prepared some (or bought it) ahead of time, some crisp cold coleslaw.  If you don’t have a recipe for coleslaw, you might want to give my recipe from September 2015 a try: Lisa’s Kicked Up Memphis Coleslaw. Enjoy!

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Hawaiian BBQ Chicken & Pineapple Risotto

pressurecookerIn case you’ve missed my posts from the last two days, I’m in love with my new T-Fal 6 quart electric pressure cooker!

Most nights my husband makes a brief stop at home after work before heading to the gym, then back home to spend some quality time on his stationary bike while I’m holding down the fort and figuring out/preparing (or ordering) what we’ll be eating for dinner.  That didn’t leave me a lot of time (if any) to get my early evening workout in and I felt more like a short order cook than a valued member of my household.  Realizing how much time & effort the pressure cooker saves me has changed my attitude and freed me up to get back to my post-work workouts too!

hawaiianbbqTonight’s dinner did take some extra time because it involved cooking two separate dishes in the slow cooker, but the short time needed for the risotto to cook allowed me to prep the main dish for it’s turn in the pot!  Next time I will prepare the rice/grain/potato side earlier in the day and reheat so dinner can still be prepped in one step.

Pineapple Risotto

  1. Preheat the pressure cooker to the brown setting.
  2. Pour contents of 20 ounce can of crushed pineapple (in juice not syrup) in to a 4 cup measuring cup.  Add water to equal 4 cups + an additional cup and set aside.
  3. Add 1 TBLS Olive Oil to the pressure cooker then 2 cups Arborio Rice and lightly toast it.  The rice will turn from solid white to translucent as it absorbs the oil, then back to white. When a couple of grains look golden your rice is toasted!
  4. Add about 2 TBLS of sweet wine (like Moscato) and stir the rice until the wine has fully evaporated.
  5. Pour the contents of the measuring cup and the additional water to the pressure cooker, mix, close and lock the lid.  Set to cook on high for 6 minutes.

When timer sounds, release the pressure and open the cooker.   Remove the inner pot from the cooker immediately to keep the rice from over-cooking.  The rice may still be slightly liquid.  Stir, and the rice will absorb the extra liquid in about 30 seconds. If the rice is still very wet, put the open pressure cooker back in the base unit set to brown, and finish cooking it this way.  It’s ok if it’s a little sticky for this recipe.

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken

  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped into 2″ chunks
  • 2 Cups Fresh Pineapple Chunks (or 1 – 20 oz can chunks in juice)
  • 1/2 Cup Water (if using fresh or frozen pineapple chunks)
  • 1 Cup Light Coconut Milk (in the can)
  • 1 Cup Spicy-Sweet BBQ Sauce (I use Guy Fieri Kansas City Smoky & Sweet)
  • Dried Crushed Red Peppers to taste
  • Diced Scallion (about 1/4 Cup) green and white parts
  • Shredded Coconut (if desired)
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the coconut milk, BBQ sauce and crushed red peppers.  If you are using canned pineapples, drain 1/2 of the juice into the BBQ sauce mixture.
  2. Add the chicken pieces to the measuring and stir to coat.
  3. Layer the pineapple on the bottom of the pressure cooker pan.  If using fresh or frozen pineapple chunks add 1/2 cup water.
  4. Pile the chicken on top of the pineapple but do not mix together.
  5. Pour the remaining sauce over the top of everything and close/lock the lid.
  6. Cook on medium for 9 minutes then push button to release steam/pressure and unlock lid.
  7. Remove the chicken & pineapple from the pressure cooker with tongs and turn unit to the brown setting.
  8. Add 1 1/2 TBLS Cornstarch to 1/4 cup or so cold water then pour into sauce and whisk for about 1 minute to thicken.
  9. Pour thickened sauce over the removed chicken and pineapple.

Pile a good amount of the pineapple risotto on the plate and cover it with some of the chicken, pineapple and sauce.  Sprinkle a bit of coconut and green onions on top and enjoy!

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