Chinese Eggplant and Chicken in Spicy Garlic Sauce made in the Instant Pot

I thought this week I would share one of my Instant Pot recipes. This is an easy dish to make, doesn’t take much time at all and tastes as good as if it were from your local Chinese take-out. I usually have my rice cooker set up and going as I prepare this dish so both are finished in about the same time but you can make the rice ahead of time.

Chinese eggplant and chicken

Instant Pot Spicy Eggplant & Chicken or Pork in Garlic Sauce

Servings: 4-6

A mildly spiced chicken or pork and eggplant in a savory garlic sauce

Ingredients

3-4 Chinese eggplant (depending on size) cut down the middle and quartered then into 2 inch long pieces

1 pound ground chicken or ground pork

1 tablespoon cooking oil

4 large cloves of garlic, minced

1 green onion, chopped

1/2 inch fresh ginger peeled and finely minced

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (add more if you prefer a spicier dish)

1/4 cup chicken broth

Sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

3 tablespoons Hoisin Sauce (you can also use oyster sauce if you prefer)

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons corn starch

Cooked white or brown rice for serving

 Instructions

Mix in a bowl the sesame oil, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sugar, and corn starch well and keep aside.

Turn the Instant Pot to Sauté mode and heat oil. Add garlic. ginger, green onion, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 30 secs.

Add chicken or pork, cook for 4 minutes breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon.

Add 1/4 cup of chicken broth then stirring to making sure nothing is sticking to the bottom and add the cut-up eggplant. Close the Instant Pot lid with pressure valve to sealing.

Set on Pressure Cook High for 2 min then do a Quick Release.

Open the Instant Pot and set to Sauté mode. Add the sauce and stir everything together. Adjust salt and pepper to taste if necessary.

Bring to a gentle boil as you allow it to thicken and then turn off the Instant Pot.

Serve over white or brown rice.

Father’s Day Menu – Chinese Style Pineapple Chicken & Spare Ribs

The weather here has been disappointing on the weekends lately, on again off again showers. This Spring has brought lots of rain and our backyard garden is enjoying it even if we aren’t. My husband had made some of his great smoked ribs for the family for Mother’s day this year but he fought the elements throughout the whole day just to prepare me a fantastic meal. Rain showers are predicted again for all day tomorrow so I decided to plan a fun indoor meal for our family and one I know he will enjoy as well.

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dad’s out there!

Here is my menu:

Eggrolls for an Appetizer – Not making them from scratch this time because of time constraints.

Instant Pot Chinese Spare Ribs – the terrific recipe can be found here:

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Instant Pot Chinese Spare Ribs

 

 

 

 

Chinese Pineapple Chicken with White Rice

Chinese Style Green Beans – the recipe can be found here:

Chinese Restaurant Green Beans

Sweet baked hawiian chicken

Chinese Restaurant Style Pineapple Chicken

Ingredients:
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper to taste
1½ cup cornstarch
3 eggs, beaten
¼ cup canola oil

1 cup pineapple juice
½ cup brown sugar
⅓ cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ tablespoon cornstarch
1 red pepper chopped
1 (20 oz) can pineapple tidbits, drained

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces and season with salt and pepper.
In separate bowls, place cornstarch and slightly beaten eggs. Dip chicken into cornstarch then coat in egg mixture.
(yes, you dip the chicken first in the cornstarch. I promise this method is amazing.)

Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook chicken until browned. Place the chicken in a 9 x 13 greased baking dish.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together pineapple juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, minced garlic, and cornstarch.
Add the red pepper and pineapple tidbits. Pour over chicken and bake for 1 hour.
I stir the chicken every 15 minutes so that it coated them in the sauce.

 

 

Savory Meat & Spinach Pie

“What should I make for dinner?” This usually happens when I know I have made the rounds in recent weeks that seems to cover all the bases. One of my go to recipes when this happens is I like to take any meat I may have leftover and turn it in to a savory meat and spinach pie. This often happens after making a Virginia Ham but you really can use any favorite meat of your choice. This recipe can be easily modified to not only use ham but also ground meat, cooked chicken or sausage instead.

Riviera Egg Pie

 

Savory Meat and Spinach Pie

8 servings

Ingredients
3 tablespoons oil
1 large onion, diced (about 2 1/2 cups)
2 (9-inch) refrigerated, unbaked pie crusts (a 15-ounce package) or freshly made pie crusts
3/4 pound of your favorite ham, diced * You may want to substitute 1 lb of ground meat, cooked chicken or Italian sausage (a mix of sweet & hot sausage is great!)
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained well
1 cup grated Parmesan  ** You may want to add another of your favorite cheeses in place of the Parmesan like mozzarella or cheddar, I usually add 11/2-2 cups of shredded cheese
1 cup ricotta cheese
4 eggs, plus 1 yolk, slightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
1 egg white, lightly beaten
Directions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent and just golden, about 8 minutes. *If you are planning to use fresh ground beef or sausage this would be the time to cook that meat as well. Remove from the heat, transfer to a large bowl, draining off any excess oil and allow to cool while preparing crust.

Remove 1 of the prepared pie crusts from the refrigerator, and place in an ungreased, 9-inch pie plate. Shape the crust to fit the form of the pan with about 1/2-inch overlap around the edge.

To the onion mixture, add the ham*, spinach, cheeses**, 4 eggs plus 1 yolk, salt, and pepper, and mix well. Spread mixture into prepared crust. Cover with remaining pie crust; crimp edges and score to vent. Brush with egg white and bake until golden brown, about 40 to 45 minutes. Let stand at least 15 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature.

Serve with a Tossed Green Salad and you have a wonderful meal.

Leftover Ham – Ham and Cheese Muffins & Ham and Split Pea Soup

What to make when you have leftovers? Since making a baked bone in ham butt last Sunday I’ve managed to turn it into several meals this week and the one thing I always look forward to making is Ham and Split Pea soup. The weather is still cold and a warm bowl of creamy soup is comfort food for me and my family.

Another favorite of mine for using left over ham is to make Ham and Cheese Muffins. The muffins pull together quick and go great along side a bowl of your favorite soup. I have even served them up as part of a Sunday brunch.

Ham & Cheese Muffins

Makes 1 dozen muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted & slightly cooled
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup diced ham
• Add some herbs and spices to the dry ingredients to make it more savory
Fresh black pepper, for garnish (optional)
1. Preheat oven 400 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or silicone muffin cups and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
3. In a separate bowl, combine egg, milk, and butter. Add these wet ingredients to the dry and mix lightly (e.g., with a wooden spoon, not a mixer) until well combined. Once the batter is smooth, fold in cheese and ham.
4. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling them about 3/4 of the way. If you like, sprinkle some more shredded cheese and freshly cracked black pepper on top. Bake for about 17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. Remove muffins from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and finish cooling on a rack. See notes above on storing these.
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Split Pea and Ham Soup

1 pound ham bone
4 cups chicken stock (1 Qt.)
3 cups cold water
1 16 oz. bag split green peas

1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
2/3 cups chopped leeks or green onions
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery

1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 Bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream or Half & Half
1 cup chopped ham, cooked
Sauté the onions, carrots and celery in butter.
Place the ham bone in a large pot. Add the water, chicken stock and peas and bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce the heat and simmer. Add all the seasonings and continue to simmer the mixture until the peas are very soft, about 1 hour and 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
Remove the ham bone. Use an emersion blender to smooth peas and veggies so they are creamy.
Stir in the milk and cream. Add chopped ham. Simmer, stirring occasionally for another 10 to 15 minutes.
Serve topped with a buttery croutons.
ham and split pea soup

Chinese New Year 2019 – Egg Foo Yung

Gung Hay Fat Choy! 2019  is the Chinese New Year of the Pig.

We love classic Chinese American dishes from our local Chinese take out place. Over the years I have learned how to make many of my own homemade versions of Chinese American meals from recipes I’ve collected. One of my favorite dishes is Egg Foo Yung. I thought I’d share my recipe for those who would like to make this dish at home.

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Egg Foo Yung

4 eggs
1/2 cup diced cooked pork or shrimp
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup small frozen peas
1 cup bean sprouts, cut to 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. white pepper
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

Crack eggs into large bowl.  Do not break yolks yet.  Add pork or shrimp,
onion, peas, sprouts, salt, and pepper  Coat a large nonstick skillet with
oil and heat over high heat.  While the skillet heats up, mix the following: Mix eggs and all the ingredients thoroughly in a bowl.  Ladle egg mixture into the hot skillet making 6 pancakes. Reduce heat to medium. Cook until brown on bottom, about one minute.  Flip cakes over and brown the other side for two minutes longer.  Place on platter over white or brown rice. Cover with Egg Foo Yung Sauce.

Egg Foo Yung Sauce

3/4 cup chicken stock
1/8 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cornstarch
1/8 tsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. oyster sauce

In a small saucepan, mix all ingredients. Stir until cornstarch is
dissolved. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and
cook, stirring until sauce is thick and smooth (about a minute).

 

egg foo yung

A Good Luck Meal for the New Year – Kahlua Piggie & Macaroni Salad

New-Year-2012-HeaderThere are many foods people like to eat to ensure good luck for the coming new year. My family always serves herring as the first food after the midnight toast. Some other traditional foods often served are Ham with Black-eyed Peas or Hoppin’ John, Pork, Cabbage, New Year’s cake that has a coin inside and who ever get the coin is ensured good luck, Lentils, grapes and the salted brine fish or herring to name just a few.

I know there are so many folks who got Instant Pots for this holiday season. I got mine several months back  and I am really loving it. I will use it to make our New Years day meal of pork and cabbage that I affectionately call Kalua Piggie. There are lots of version you can find on the web; what I am sharing here is my adaptation of several of those recipes.  I won’t be using the Hawaiian Red Salt that many traditional versions call for. I try to keep to a budget and I really don’t have any other use for a two-pound bag of red salt that you order online, but trust me it will still be a delicious meal.

So remember your favorite good luck food this New Year’s Day.

Wishing you a Happy New Year with the hope that you will have many blessings in the year to come.

 

My 6 Qt Duo

Instant Pot Kahlua Piggie

I make this in my 6 Qt Instant Pot Duo

Serves 8

3 slices of Bacon

4-5 lb Pork Shoulder roast (I cut the pork off the bone and the meat into about 4 pieces)

4-5 Garlic cloves peeled and sliced into quarters

1 Tablespoon of Kosher salt

1 Cup Water

1 Tablespoon of Liquid Smoke

1 Small-Medium head of Cabbage, cored, and cut into 8 wedges

 

1. Put the bacon in the Instant Pot. Press Sauté.

2. While the bacon is cooking (turning it with tongs occasionally), cut the pork roast into about 4 nice size pieces so they will nicely fit into the pot. Slice the garlic cloves into quarters then cut slits in the roast and press the garlic pieces into the slits. Sprinkle half of the salt over the pork pieces and rub it in a bit. Turn the pork pieces over and sprinkle the rest of the salt on the pork rubbing it in.

3. By this time the bacon should be nicely browned. Put the pork on top of the bacon slices. Stop the Sauté function by pressing the Cancel button.

4. Add the Liquid Smoke to the 1 cup of water, stir, then pour to the pot, put the lid on and lock it in place. Make sure the pressure release knob is in the seal position.

5. Select Pressure/Cook. Press the “+” button until it shows 90 minutes. It will come up to pressure and the pressure pin will rise up. In a few minutes the time will begin to decrease. 90 minutes is the time it cooks once it’s under pressure.

6. When the 90 minutes is up, press the Cancel button to turn it off. Let the pressure release naturally, this will take about 20 minutes. The pressure pin will drop down when the pressure is completely released and you can open the pot.

7. Remove the pork from the pot and put the cabbage wedges in the cooking liquid into the pot. Put on the lid, press Pressure/Cook and press the “-“ to change the time to 3 minutes. While the cabbage is cooking, shred the pork with two forks.

9. When the cabbage is done, do a Quick Release. Push the pressure knob over with tongs or oven mitt to protect your hand. The steam will release immediately.

10. When the pressure has released and the pressure pin has dropped, open the pot. Put the cabbage on a large platter and top with the shredded pork.

11. You can pour some of the cooking liquid into the pork if you want it a juicier.

Serve with your favorite rice whether plain white rice or a flavored yellow rice. I also like to serve it with some chilled diced Pineapple on the side or a chilled fruit cocktail.

One of my favorite side dishes is Hawaiian Macaroni Salad. Goes great with Kahlua Pork or any Pulled Pork or BBQ Ribs.

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Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Recipe

 Ingredients

1 pound elbow macaroni

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 cups Hellman’s Mayonnaise ONLY! Do not use Kraft Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip.

1 cup whole milk or can also use 2% but not 1% milk

1 Tablespoon brown sugar

4 green onions, thinly sliced

1/2 cup carrot, peeled and grated

1/2 cup celery. chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Bring approximately 4 quarts of water to a boil and add the macaroni. Cook through, you don’t want al dente.
  2. Drain the macaroni and return to the pot. Add the 1/4 cup vinegar and stir until the macaroni is well coated. Let cool.
  3. While the macaroni is cooling, combine the mayo, milk and brown sugar. Mix well. Add any desired salt and pepper.
  4. Pour this mixture over the cooled macaroni and mix until well blended.
  5. After mixing, add in the green onions, carrots and celery. Remember to save a little to add as a garnish on top.
  6. This salad is best if chilled for 2-4 hours before serving.

Easy Sunday Dinner in the Slow Cooker – Pineapple & Brown Sugar Ham

We are at the age where we are planning to retire in the near future so savings are a must. I have always been one to make a dollar stretch when it comes to meal preparation being careful to use fresh and quality ingredients where I can. Sometimes when I shop at the grocery store I stumble on a sale that’s worth picking up ahead of time. Several weeks ago I found a fully cooked bone in ham shank on special for 69 cents a lb. So for less than $7 it was a great bargain, so in our freezer it went. I knew it would make a great meal one day soon and the left over ham could morph into several other dishes as well. So yesterday I took out the ham to defrost knowing this Sunday I had some plans and didn’t feel much like fussing with dinner. I searched through some easy ham recipes I had, and I decided to make this one. It was easy, no fuss and a perfect day to make dinner in the slow cooker since it has been hot and humid. No way would I be turning on the oven today.
Only one small problem, the ham I bought was 9.5 lbs and had a shank bone and wouldn’t quite fit in my slow cooker. So to resolve the problem I cut down one side of the ham and then into larger pieces. The ham now fit fine and I just arranged the ham pieces around the sides. Voilà!. With this being a fully cooked ham I was comfortable doing this being this was just cooking on low to heat through and absorb all the juices.

Slow Cooker Pineapple and Brown Sugar Ham

5-7 lb. Fully Cooked Smoked Ham (butt or shank)
French’s Yellow Mustard (I never measure it)
Light Brown sugar – about a cup
1 (20-oz.) can crushed pineapple – Do Not Drain
Instructions
1. Put the ham in a large or oval slow cooker, put it in the slow cooker sliced side down if possible.
2. Squirt the mustard all over the ham.
3. Cover the ham with the brown sugar and lightly pat down.
4. Pour the crushed pineapple all over the ham, letting the juices fall down the sides and spreading the crushed pineapple over the brown sugar.
2. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-7 hours. (Keep the lid on until it’s finished)
3. Carve the ham and let the slices fall into the tasty juices
4. Serve warm and enjoy with your favorite sides.

Pineapple Ham

Pineapple Glazed Easter Ham

This was suppose to get posted last weekend however I was a bit under the weather for the holiday weekend so I couldn’t get to posting it. Hope everyone enjoyed the holiday weekend however you may celebrate.
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Pineapple Glazed Baked Ham

1 whole or half ham with bone in

Select ham with the bone in according to the number of guests allowing 1/3 pound of ham per guest. Wash the ham and place in a shallow roasting pan with the fat side up 10 to 15 pound ham insert a meat thermometer so that the tip is in the center of the thickest part of the ham but does not touch the bone or the drippings.

Do not cover bake in oven at 325° F. until the thermometer reaches 140° F. The last 30 minutes take the ham out of oven and remove any skin from top. Score top of ham lightly, cutting uniform diamond shapes. Place a whole cloves in each diamond. Then cover with the pineapple glaze below. Return to the oven for another 30 minutes

Pineapple Glaze

1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 can (8 1/2 ounces) crushed pineapple, with syrup
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon prepared mustard

In a small sauce pan, place the brown sugar, cornstarch, salt. Then stir in the pineapple, lemon juice, and mustard. Cook over medium heat. stirring constantly. until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir for 1 minute. Pour over undrained on to the ham. Baste 2 times while finishing the baking process. Remove and place on a platter to server.