Everything Old is New Again

Remember the days when your slow cooker was all of the rage? Now it’s the Instant Pot, or electric pressure cooker. I’ve gotten many requests for pressure cooker recipes. Well, guess what? You may have plenty of those recipes and don’t even know it! Here’s why… Most slow cooker recipes can be easily converted to the quicker pressure cooker just by following these guide lines:

1. If desired, brown your meats on the saute setting before you proceed with the rest of the recipe.
2. Saute most crunchy veggies just a bit before adding liquids.
3. The timing is the tricky part. You may have to experiment a bit. For bite sized ingredients and pastas try 6 minutes under pressure to start with and go from there. For larger cuts of meat or chicken, start at 20 minutes, or 8 minutes per pound.
4. Most pastas need a quick release to prevent over-cooking.
5. Excess moisture can be stirred off using an uncovered pot on the low saute or soup setting.
6. To thicken sauces use a cornstarch or flour slurry – a Tbsp or two dissolved in cold water and stirred into very hot or boiling contents.

Here’s a recipe I converted from my slow cooker collection for you to try; Saucy Pasta with Sausage, Peppers, and Tomatoes.  It’s a one pot meal with all the flavors of Italian sausage and peppers, but in pasta, rather than on a bun.  If you have any fresh basil, sprinkle a little on top of each serving.

Are you a baked bean lover?  Try these Pressure Cooker Baked Beans. They cook up in less than an hour, and you can make them as saucy or thick as you like. Remember though, baked beans will thicken up a bit as they start to cool.

An excellent feature of the electric pressure cookers is their ability to tenderize tough cuts of meat very quickly.  My standard recipe for Beef Stroganoff calls for New York strip steak, quickly seared and set aside while the rest of the dish is prepared. Don’t take me wrong, this is an excellent recipe, but that’s not a cheap cut of meat, and if you over-cook it you’ll be sorry. My new recipe, Beef Stroganoff for the Instant Pot, calls for stew meat (usually chuck roast), which traditionally calls for a long, slow braise to become tender. Not in the pressure cooker!  As a bonus, the noodles are cooked right in the same pot instead of serving up on the side.

Every time I get a new toy I tend to go crazy playing with it. No, I haven’t cooked everything in my new electric pressure cookers! Case in point, Cajun Chicken Pasta. This one’s a keeper! Although the ingredient list appears long, the ingredients are fairly common, except maybe the optional chorizo sausage, and they all contribute to an amazing layering of flavors. This is not another boring chicken dinner.

In case any of you have noticed that I haven’t posted much lately, I have an excuse: We’ve been at our favorite place on earth. I did take my computer to the beach house, but it never made it out of the bag! Can you blame me?

Be thankful for what life gives you.

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