Short Rib Mushroom Risotto

stuffedWe have a lot of family celebrations that come in a very short time, which means a lot of heavy big dinners either out at restaurants or at one family gathering or another.  By the time we hit our wedding anniversary in late February (which is the same day as my sister-in-law’s birthday) and, a week later, my husband’s birthday, we are about food-ed out!

Despite that, I make a big to-do and tonight, am making a new recipe I’ve been playing with for a dish I had made for me at my post-Christmas birthday at one of my favorite restaurants, The Winery in Tustin, CA.   I’m good enough in the kitchen to be dangerous so I’ve gathered the ingredients and am giving it a go tonight! If it sucks I can always order pizza, right? #ThisGirlLovesToEat

First a tip:  Start this recipe either the day before, early on the the day, or at least 2 hours before you want to eat.  You’ll want to prepare the short ribs first so that you’ll have the broth left from cooking them to use for the risotto.  Trust me on this. It makes a huge difference.

Short Rib Mushroom Risotto

Making the Ribs

  • 8-10 Strips Thick Cut Bacon – cut (with kitchen shears) into 1/2 – 1″ chunks
  • 3 to 4 Lbs Bone-in Short Ribs
  • 1 – 8oz Pkg Sliced Baby Bella Mushrooms
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 TBLS Minced Garlic
  • 1 Cup Mushroom Broth (Sprouts carries this) or Low Sodium Beef Broth
  • 1 TBLS Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Ground Cloves
  • 1 TBLS Dried Herbes De Provence (McCormick)
  1. Set the Pressure Cooker to the brown setting with the lid open.
  2. Cut the bacon and cook it in the pressure cooker (with the lid open) until it just starts to get crisp. Remove and set aside.
  3. Put short ribs into the pressure cooker in the bacon grease, brown on all sides, in batches if needed, until all are browned.
  4. When all ribs are browned, put all back into the pressure cooker fattiest (if any) or bone side down.
  5. Put garlic, brown sugar, and broth into the spaces between the ribs.
  6. Sprinkle ribs with black pepper and lightly with ground cloves and Herbes De Provence.
  7. Add bacon and mushrooms on top of the ribs in the pressure cooker.
  8. Secure lid and set to pressure cook on high for 40 minutes.
  9. Let pressure release naturally for 10 minutes then do quick release.
  10. Remove ribs from the pressure cooker to a covered pot, and as you are moving them remove the bones – they should pull right out.
  11. When all ribs are deboned, use 2 forks and shred the meat while it is still hot.
  12. Add about 1/2 cup of the reserved broth from the pressure cooker to the meat and cover to keep warm and moist.

Making the Risotto

  • 1 TBLS Olive Oil + 1 TBLS Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Butter (1/2 Stick)
  • 1/2 Medium Yellow Onion Chopped
  • 1 – 8oz Pkg Sliced White Mushrooms (chop them)
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 TBLS Minced Garlic
  • 1 Cup Mushroom (Sprouts carries this) or Low Sodium Beef Broth
  • 2 Cups Arborio Rice
  • 2/3 Cup White Wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 4 1/2 – 5 Cups Beef Broth (use the reserved strained drippings/broth from the short ribs and add enough stock/broth to make up the total amount)
  • 2/3 Cup shredded Parmesan Cheese
  1. Using a fat separator, pour the remaining liquid from the pressure cooker through the strainer top and allow to slightly cool.  Once cooled pour off the broth only into a 6 cup measuring cup.  Discard the fat.
  2. Add enough broth (mushroom or low sodium beef) to equal 5 cups. Then put in a pan to simmer.
  3. In heavy gauge saucepan heat olive oil + 1 TBLS butter until melted.
  4. Add rice.  Cook and stir about 3 minutes until lightly browned.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. To prepare the mushrooms, clean the mushrooms by brushing them off (do not wash if possible) and roughly chop (stems may be left on).
  6. Sauté onions, garlic and butter in heavy gauge saucepan over medium-high heat until onions are translucent about 5 minutes.  Add mushrooms and saute until mushrooms are soft (about 4 minutes)
  7. Add the browned rice to the vegetables and stir to combine.
  8. Pour in the white wine and allow the liquid to boil and be absorbed into the rice. Then pour in 1/2 cup of stock to the rice, stirring constantly. (If necessary, adjust the heat under the pot – you want a medium simmer.)  Add more stock 1/2 cup at a time – adding more just as most but not all of the liquid is absorbed before adding in more stock.)
  9. Stir the rice and stock together in this manner for approximately 25 minutes or so – until the rice is tender but not mushy. Stir about 1/2 Cup of the shredded short ribs into the risotto with the final addition of broth.
  10. Turn the heat off when there is still some liquid remaining in the rice and stir in the Parmesan cheese.
  11. Remove from heat and cover.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

TIP:  Risotto may be reheated by adding in some additional mushroom or low sodium beef stock and stirring to incorporate into the risotto.

To serve:  I toss some fresh spinach in olive oil over medium heat until wilted, lay a small bead in the center of the plate then mound some risotto atop the spinach, pile some shredded short rib on top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and add a slice of french bread with some butter for sopping up the juices.

My husband said it was better than The Winery!  Sorry Chef Yvon Goetz. 😉

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Valentine’s Day Quick Carnitas Tacos

fullsizerender-3On a whim, I decided to make carnitas tacos for Valentine’s Day dinner at home.  I didn’t have to worry about not thinking ahead because my pressure cooker would cook the meat even if it wasn’t all the way thawed in time.  Whew!

Thankfully I’d thrown a pork shoulder in the freezer when they’d been on sale at the grocery store, so I’d just have to rummage through the refrigerator and cupboard to see what I could cobble together to make a meal.

Appetizer:  Spicy Pickled Carrots & Jalapenos

  • 6 Carrotsfullsizerender-4
  • 2 Large Jalapenos
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 tsp Whole Peppercorns
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 1/2 Cups Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Cups Water

Boil the water and apple cider vinegar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  When at a full rolling boil shut off the flame and immediately add the rest of the ingredients.  Stir once and let stand for about an hour.  Serve at room temperature, or if you have time, refrigerate to bring out even more flavor.  Store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator and eat within a week.

Now on to the main course.

Pressure Cooker Carnitas

  • 1 TBLS Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp Freshly Ground Sea Salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp Ground Cloves
  • Freshly Ground Pepper
  • 3 Pounds Pork Shoulder
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion, Sliced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic Peeled
  • 4-6 Sprigs Fresh Cilantro
  • 1 Large Fresh Lemon
  • 1 Jalapeño Sliced in Half
  • 1 1/3 Cup Chicken Broth

Preparation

  1. Set the pressure cook to brown setting
  2. Pour the oil into the pressure cooker
  3. Sprinkle the salt, pepper and cloves on all sides of the pork
  4. Place the pork in the pressure cooker and brown on all sides
  5. Squeeze the juice from the lemon over the pork, add the onion, garlic, cilantro, halved jalapeño, the squeezed lemons and the chicken broth
  6. Cover the pressure cooker, lock on the lid, and bring to high pressure
  7. Cook pork at high pressure for 45 minutes
  8. Turn off and allow pressure to release naturally
  9. Transfer pork to a baking sheet
  10. Preheat the broiler to high
  11. Shred pork with two forks on baking sheet
  12. Broil until the pork starts to crisp, about 3 minutes.
  13. Serve with warm corn tortillas, sliced avocado, shredded cabbage, pepper jack or cojito cheese, hot sauce and wedges of lime

A can of refried beans, a couple of street tacos and a beer and it’s a meal!

If you use Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: things like health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a very active page on Facebook you can visit too: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Weeknight Steak Chili

steak-chili-with-red-kidney-beansThe wind is cold and it’s finally time to pull the jeans and sweaters out of the back of the closet.  It’s also time to let a pot of chili welcome the boys home after a long day.  This time it won’t have to cook all day, I have my handy dandy pressure cooker, which doubles as a enhanced slow cooker, to cut the usual cooking time in half!  If you don’t have a pressure cooker I’ve put the alternate instructions in red where they differ.

Pressure Cooker Steak Chili

  • 1 pound trimmed Chuck roast ( I buy mine Organic from Sprouts) chopped into 1/4″ chunks – it’s easiest to chop raw meat if you freeze it for 30 minutes or so
  • 1/2 of a medium onion chopped
  • 1 block XLNT chili con carne
  • 1 small can S&W low-sodium red beans drained of most of the liquid
  • 1 small can Hunt’s petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 large can store brand dark red kidney beans drained of most of the liquid (my store didn’t carry a large can of S&W)
  1. Turn your pressure cooker on to the brown setting and toss in the onions.
  2. For non-pressure cookers: heat a Stock Pot to medium-high heat with a splash of olive oil and add the onions, then follow the instructions below through #8.
  3. Allow to cook for about 2 minutes then give them a quick stir.
  4. Add chopped meat to the pressure cooker.
  5. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 8 minutes.
  6. Add the block of chili.  If thawed, stir into the meat and onion. If frozen, skip this step.
  7. Add both cans of beans and the can of tomatoes.
  8. Stir the mixture, getting chili block to the bottom if it’s frozen.
  9. Close the pressure cooker.
  10. Set to slow cooker setting (mine has one) – mine defaults to 2 hours of cooking time.  At the end of 2 hours my kidney beans needed a little bit more time, so I added an additional 30 minutes and they were perfect.
  11. If you don’t have a pressure cooker you can finish cooking 1 of 2 ways: Put everything into the crock pot and cook on low for about 4 hours (or 1 hour on high and 2 on low); or you can finish this chili on the stove top in your stock pot.  You will need to add some more liquid, in which case I would go with a beer and make sure that you are cooking it low and slow – you’ll need to simmer and stir occasionally for about 4 hours.

tjbsI grated some white cheddar cheese to sprinkle on top and grabbed a package of Trader Joe’s Cheesy Bread Sticks that toasted up perfectly in the oven in 6 minutes. No one was in the mood for a salad, but if you wanted a perfectly rounded meal a salad would do the trick!

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Pressure Cooker Braised Red Cabbage

Those of us who were raised in the 1970’s remember the infamous Brady Bunch episode where, trying to imitate Humphrey Bogart, Peter Brady repeatedly said (misspellings intended), “Pork Chops and Apple Shauce, that’s schwell.”   I’m playing with a new pork chop recipe tonight and despite the expectation of mashed potatoes and, yes, apple sauce, there is no way I’ll be serving that boring combination!

I tossed around ideas for different types of cold coleslaw, carrot slaw and even considered going the sauerkraut route, but none of those seemed hearty enough to accompany the Smoky Ancho Cherry Pork Chops I have in mind.  I grabbed some red cabbage, Granny  Smith apples, aged balsamic vinegar and started tossing things into the pressure cooker.

Pressure Cooker Braised Red Cabbage

  • 1 Medium Head Red Cabbage (chopped)
  • 2 Large Granny Smith Apples (chopped)
  • 2 TBLS Coconut Oil
  • 2 TBLS Balsamic Vinegar
  • 4 TBLS Honey
  • 2/3 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2/3 Cup Water
  • 3 tsp Allspice
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
  • 1/4 Cup Golden Raisins (Optional)
  1. With lid open, pre-heat the pressure cooker on the “Brown” setting
  2. Add the coconut oil and chopped apple and stir about 1 minute
  3. Add half the cabbage and stir to coat with the oil
  4. Sprinkle the Allspice over the contents of the pan
  5. Stir in the remaining cabbage
  6. Stir in the 2 TBLS balsamic vinegar
  7. Add the water and apple cider vinegar to combine
  8. If you are adding the raisins, do so now
  9. Close and lock the lid
  10. Set pressure cooker to 194° (Medium-High)
  11. When it comes up to temperature, cook the cabbage for 10 minutes
  12. At the end of the cycle, unplug and allow to sit for 10 minutes
  13. Release rest of pressure and remove cabbage to a serving bowl
  14. Adjust sweetness with more honey or allspice as needed

Can be eaten hot or cold.

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Chicken Under Pressure “Mamba Style”

I’m not feeling a lot of inspiration to create today, but have some chicken in the freezer, plenty of citrus on the trees, dry goods and spices in the cupboards, so dinner shouldn’t be a big ordeal.

I’m employing my handy dandy pressure cooker so I can make dinner ahead and not have to worry about it during all of the pre-final game Laker festivities honoring The Black Mamba,  Kobe Bryant that I’ll be glued to tonight, tissues close at hand.

Chicken Under Pressure “Mamba Style”

  • 6 Frozen Boneless-Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • 2 TBLS Extra Virgin Oil
  • 1 Chicken Bullion Cube
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Allspice
  • 2 tsp Dried Tarragon Leaves
  • Juice of 2 Small Ripe Lemons (About 1/4 Cup)
  • Zest of 2 Small Lemons
  • 1 Cup Water
  1. Turn the pressure cooker on to “Brown” setting
  2. Pour 1 TBLS of the Olive Oil into the bottom of pan
  3. Put frozen chicken into pan to begin defrosting
  4. Add the bullion cube then sprinkle 1/2 tsp of the garlic powder & onion powder, 1/4 tsp of the pepper and allspice, and 1 tsp of the tarragon over the top of the chicken
  5. After 3 minutes turn the chicken over
  6. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 tsp of the garlic powder & onion powder, 1/4 tsp of the pepper and allspice, and 1 tsp of the tarragon over the other side of the chicken
  7. Brown for another 3 minutes then turn chicken over one more time
  8. Grate the lemon zest into the pan (on top of the chicken)
  9. Squeeze the juice from the zested lemons into the pan
  10. Add the Water and close & lock the pressure cooker
  11. Set to medium – high setting and, when pressure cooker reaches temperature, set time to cook for 10 minutes
  12. When cooking is completed unplug the pressure cooker and allow to sit, without releasing pressure, for 10 minutes.
  13. After rest time, release the pressure and remove the chicken to a covered dish

 Lemon Artichoke Risotto

  1. Add enough water to the reserved liquid in the pressure cooker to equal 3 cups.
  2. Add 2 Cups Dry Arborio Rice
  3. Set pressure cooker to Rice setting
  4. When cooker reaches desired temperature/pressure, cook rice for 9 minutes
  5. When cycle is complete unplug and release most of the pressure but do not unlock or open machine
  6. After 10 minutes finish releasing pressure and unlock/open pressure cooker
  7. Add 1 jar quartered Artichoke Hearts in Water (drained)
  8. Grate the zest from one medium lemon into the rice
  9. Stir in 1/2 Stick Butter
  10. Stir in 1/4 to 1/2 Cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  11. If desired, add more heated chicken broth to make the rice creamier
  12. Keep covered until ready to serve with the chicken

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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.

Are you on Facebook?  You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. I may not write a blog post every day, but there are daily updates to my This Girl Loves To Eat community at: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

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.

Are you on Facebook?  You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. I may not write a blog post every day, but there are daily updates to my This Girl Loves To Eat community at: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood