St. Patrick’s Day – Corned Beef Dinner

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Taking the day off as it’s been a fun birthday week for me so I thought I would repost last years St. Patrick’s Day meal. This year I am planning to make my corned beef in the Instant Pot so I will post how it turned out on next weeks blog. I love the recipe that I’ve made for years but thought it’s time to mix things up a bit. One year I did try a version made in the slow cooker and it was a bit of a disappointment, so let’s see how the pressure cooker does.

So just click the links below and enjoy!

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Honey Glazed Corned Beef and Colcannon

 

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Irish Soda Bread

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

Sometimes you need Breakfast for Dinner

How often do you really have the opportunity to have a hearty breakfast at home? Occasionally we will have a leisurely breakfast on a weekend but when life gets busy I don’t like to bother with things like making pancakes, waffles or French toast.

When I’m planning our weekly dinner menu and I have planned numerous chicken dishes several different ways, I know I need to throw in a night with something different. So when I’m trying to save money and avoid going out to the local diner or pancake house I’ll plan breakfast for dinner once in a while. Baked omelets, eggs and sausage or leftover ham or bacon with home fried potatoes, throw in some buttered toast from the loaf I made earlier in the week and I have a great meal. Other times I just want the French toast or pancakes with melted butter and lots of maple syrup because it has been a long time since we had them. I can then decide what I would like to serve on the side depending what in the refrigerator.

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Homemade pancakes aren’t hard to make, there are many recipes out there. They take a bit more time when made from scratch compared to the mix in a box but the taste is so much more satisfying. Here are some of my favorite recipes.

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Quick Fluffy Homemade Pancakes

Makes approx. 16 pancakes when using a level 1/4 cup measure

2 cups biscuit mix (you know the one in the yellow box)
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs

1. Heat griddle or skillet over medium-high heat or electric griddle to 375°F; grease with cooking spray, vegetable oil or shortening. (Surface is ready when a few drops of water sprinkled on it dance and disappear.)

2. Stir all ingredients until blended. Pour slightly less than a 1/4 cupful onto the hot griddle.

3. Cook until edges are dry and show bubbles. Flip over and cook until golden. To keep warm, place on a cookie sheet. Cover with aluminum foil, and place in 200°F oven up to 10 minutes while you are cooking the others.

Fluffy from Scratch Pancakes

Ingredients
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp baking soda
• ½ tsp salt
• 2 tbsp granulated sugar
• 2 cups buttermilk
• 2 large eggs lightly beaten
• 1 tsp vanilla extract optional
Instructions
1. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl or, as I frequently do, a large glass measuring cup.
2. Whisk in the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla extract just until combined. Some small lumps are okay.
3. Let pancake batter rest for 10 minutes.
4. Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat.
5. Spray with non-stick cooking spray OR brush with butter or oil.
6. Ladle (1/4-1/3 for regular stack size – 1/2 cup for large pancakes) batter onto the griddle for each pancake.
7. Flip the pancakes over when small bubbles appear on the surface and continue cooking on the opposite side until golden brown.
8. Serve with butter and syrup.

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French Toast

6 thick slices of your favorite bread
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
Salt to taste

Beat together egg, milk, salt, desired spices and vanilla.
Heat a lightly oiled griddle of skillet over medium-high flame.
Dunk each slice of bread in egg mixture, soaking both sides. Place in pan,
And cook on both sides until golden. Serve hot with butter and maple syrup.

Fluffy Waffles  (I can’t seem to find the photo on this one)

• 1 1/3 cups flour
• 4 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoons sugar
• 2 eggs, separated
• 1/2 cup butter, melted
• 1 3/4 cups milk
1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients.
2. Separate the eggs, adding the yolks to the dry ingredient mixture, and placing the whites in a small mixing bowl.
3. Beat whites until moderately stiff; set aside.
4. Add milk and melted butter to dry ingredient mixture and blend.
5. Fold stiff egg whites into mixture.
6. Ladle mixture into hot waffle iron and bake.

 

IMG_1839(1)  Leftover sliced ham and French toast made from home baked bread.

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

Game Day and an Awesome Chili Bar

Today is Game Day or for some Super Bowl LIII.  There will be folks gathering for a day of fun, friends or family with lots of good eats and drinks while watching the big game. But there are many of us who are just not followers of football. Yes, as un-American as that may sound, there are many of us who are just not into “the game”. That doesn’t mean we can’t have a great day of fun, food and gather around the TV or game table.

In years past our Sunday would start in the afternoon where we may watch the Kitten Bowl as I start to prepare the good eats of the day. Later in the afternoon we tune in to our favorite, The Puppy Bowl. We are animal lovers at our house. Have you ever watched those adorable pups frolicking around the stadium? Too darn cute. Then at the end I would often get teary eyed as the pups are adopted and go to their Fur-Ever homes. Silly I know, but we love it.

Once Puppy Bowl was over we would sometimes get together and play World of Warcraft or some other RPG (role-playing game) on our computers. Another time we would have a movie marathon. Nothing like a binge watch of classic Sherlock Holmes movies with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. But, no matter what we choose the “game is on” (but not the game) and so is the food. Have fun and enjoy the day no matter how you celebrate it! Any one for Rummikub and pigs in a blanket?

Beef and/or Bean Chili and a great Chili Bar

Items you need:

Your favorite chili recipe (I’ll add mine below)

Bowls of the following:

Sour Cream

Diced Onion, white or yellow

Sliced Jalapeno or your favorite hot peppers

Shredded Cheese, Cheddar, Monterrey Jack or Pepper Jack are usually favorites

Chips of your choice:  Doritos’s, Frito’s or taco

Diced Avocado

Sliced Green Onion

Corn bread or corn muffins (I’ll add my recipe below)

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Instant Pot Beef and Bean Chili

Made for a 6 qt. Instant Pot.

(Easily made in any electric pressure cooker or converts to the Slow Cooker as well)

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

2 tsp minced garlic

1 1/2 lb. ground beef

1 large onion, chopped

1 large bell pepper, chopped

5 stalks celery, chopped

1 package Chili Seasoning or homemade (See homemade chili seasoning)

1 cup Beef Broth (I use Better than Bullion Beef)

1 15 oz can Pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 15 oz can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 15 oz can Ro-Tel Original Tomatoes

1 15 oz can diced tomatoes

1 15 oz can tomato sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Set your Instant Pot to Sauté and vegetable oil and minced garlic to the pot.

Once the pot is hot and oil is simmering, add ground beef.

Once browned, add chopped onion, bell pepper and celery to the beef.

Cook until onion is starting to become translucent, then add McCormick’s Chili Seasoning.

Turn the Instant Pot “off” of Sauté.

Mix well and add beef broth.

Scrape up any browned bits that have adhered to the bottom of the pot.

Add both beans to the pot and stir.

Then add Ro-Tel tomatoes, diced tomatoes and tomato sauce on topdo not stir in.

Put on your Instant Pot lid, make sure vent is set to seal and set your IP to 10 minutes at high pressure.

Once time is up, let your Instant Pot naturally release.

Once released, open your Instant Pot, stir and enjoy your chili!

Homemade Chili Seasoning

Ingredients

1 Tbsp. chili powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp approximately freshly ground pepper

Instructions

Add all of the ingredients to a bowl and stir to combine. Store in an air-tight container, away from heat and moisture for up to six months.

Recipe Notes: Makes enough for one pot of chili (about 6 servings).

 

creamed corn-muffins

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CREAMED CORN MUFFINS

1 1/4 cups Flour
1 cup Yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon Baking powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Sugar
1 cup Milk
1/4 cup Vegetable oil
2 Eggs — lightly beaten
1 can Creamed corn — (16 oz can)

Preheat oven to 400. Lightly coat 16 muffin cups with non-stick cooking spray or use paper muffin cups.

Mix together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and sugar in large mixing bowl.

Stir in milk, oil, and eggs, mixing just until all ingredients are moistened. Stir in creamed corn.

Pour the batter into muffin tins, filling to the brim. Bake for 25 minutes.

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My Maestro

 

A Chicken in my Sunday Pot and several ways to enjoy it!

With the rising cost of groceries these day chicken still seems to be a good bargain and when preparing a whole chicken you can get the most for your money.

So on a Sunday I sometimes will put up a pot of chicken soup to start. If the chicken is plump enough I can get two or three nice size meals depending what I make.

basic chicken stock

Basic Chicken Stock Recipe

1 Large chicken (about 4 lbs)
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped into quarters
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces
2 medium stalks of celery, chopped into 1 inch pieces
8 sprigs parsley
½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
4 1/2 quarts cold water

Rinse chicken under cold water and add the chicken to a large heavy stockpot. Add cold water to cover chicken. Bring the water slowly to a boil then reduce to a bare simmer. There should be very few gentle bubbles bursting on the surface of the water. Skim the surface of the stock to get rid of the impurities (foam).

Add the onions, carrots, celery, parsley, peppercorns to the pot. Continue to simmer the stock for 3 hours, skimming occasionally.

Carefully remove the whole chicken. Strain the stock through a paper towel or cheesecloth lined colander into a large bowl. Carefully discard the hot solids. Let cool. Place in refrigerator for 12 hours to allow fat to rise to the top. Skim fat off and discard. Divide between freezer safe containers. Freeze for up to 3 months if it lasts that long!

Yields 2 quarts

Once you have make the chicken stock there are lots of meal options that can be made: Once the chicken has cooled remove the chicken from the bones and divide. Separate and shred the breast and wing meat into two portions. Then remove the leg thigh meat making a third portion of chicken. Each portion should yield about 2 cups of meat enough for three meals. After a long day at work it’s nice to have one of these meals easy to prepare.

What to make now? Here are a few ideas.

Chicken Soup – your choice, you have two quarts of broth you can add vegetables, rice or noodles and one portion of the chicken or follow your favorite recipe.

chicken & biscuit dumplings

Chicken Pot Pie with 2 Crusts or Biscuits

This is old-fashioned, from scratch, comfort food. This has been a family favorite for years.

1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup milk
2 cups cut up cooked chicken
1 (10 ounce) package frozen mixed vegetables
2 prepared pie crusts (1 top crust and 1 bottom crust)

Heat butter over low heat until melted.

Blend in flour, onion, salt and pepper.

Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth and bubbly.

Remove from heat.

Stir in broth and milk.

Heat to boiling; stirring constantly. Boil and stir one minute.

Stir in chicken and veggies. (Add in 1 – 2 diced cooked potatoes if you like!).

Reserve.

Line pie plate with prepared bottom crust.

Pour in filling.

Top with top crust. Cut slits in center to vent. Flute edges.

Cook uncovered in 425°F oven until crust is brown; approximately 30-35 minutes.

Note: If you don’t have any pie crust available add the filling to a greased 9″ x 13″ casserole and top with your favorite biscuits and bake for 20 minutes.

 

chicken ala king

Chicken ala King

This old fashion meal is total comfort food on a cold winter evening and when you have two cups of chicken available it’s so easy to prepare. Have you ever read about the history of Chicken ala King? Seems there are at least 5 different possibilities of where the recipe originated going as far back as the late 1800’s and it was served in some very prestigious restaurants and hotels. Who would have thought, right?

 Ingredients

1 1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup chopped celery

1/3 cup butter, cubed

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup milk

2 cups cubed or shredded cooked chicken

2 tablespoons diced pimientos or small diced red cherry pepper

Directions

In a large skillet, sauté the mushrooms, onion and celery in butter until crisp-tender. Stir in flour and salt until blended. Gradually stir in broth and milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.

Add chicken and pimientos; heat through. Serve over toast points, or biscuits or in puff pastry patty shells if you want something fancier.

Chicken Tetrazzini

Named after a famous Italian singer, Tetrazzini is an American dish made with diced poultry or seafood and mushroom in a butter/cream and Parmesan sauce flavored with wine or sherry. It is served hot over linguine, spaghetti, or some similarly thin pasta, garnished with parsley, and sometimes topped with  Parmesan cheese. Tetrazzini can be prepared as a baked noodle casserole, sometimes with steps taken to give it a browned crust.

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Ingredients:

1 (16 ounce) package uncooked thin spaghetti (not Angel Hair) or pasta of choice

1/2 cup butter & 2 Tb

2 TB Olive Oil

Add any of these items to taste – I have no exact measurements

Onions

Garlic

Mushrooms

1 10 oz. box of Frozen Peas or Peas & Carrots (optional)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3 cups chicken broth & 2 cups milk

1 2/3 cups grated Parmesan cheese

4 cups chopped cooked chicken

Handful of chopped parsley

Season to taste, herbs etc.

Butter bread crumbs to top the casserole if you like.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a medium baking dish.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain, and place in the prepared baking dish.

Melt 2 Tablespoons butter and olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

At this point I sauté the onion, garlic, mushrooms. Remove from pan and set on the side.

Melt 1/2 cup butter in same pan over medium heat.

Stir in flour, pan cook so flour cooks but is not brown

Mix in chicken broth and milk. Cook and stir until the mixture comes to a boil. Stir in about 1 1/3 cups Parmesan cheese, and remove from heat.

Add onion, garlic mushroom mix to the sauce and fold in. Add chopped chicken, parsley or any frozen vegetable you are using

Mix chicken sauce mixture with cooked spaghetti and put into a greased 9 x 13 casserole.

chicken croquettes my

Chicken Croquettes

Easy-to-make chicken croquettes. These croquettes freeze well. This one needs a bit of pre-planning as the croquette mixture needs time to chill in the refrigerator.

Cone shape is traditional for croquettes, but I have made patty shaped ones that are just as wonderful. Try adding some chopped mushrooms too

Ingredients

2 cups roasted chicken, shredded

1 (10 1/2 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup or cream of celery

1/4 cup milk

1 (6 ounce) box chicken stuffing mix

1 large egg, slightly beaten

½ of a small onion, chopped fine

1 stalk of celery, chopped fine

breadcrumbs, for dredging

1/4 cup vegetable oil, for frying (may need more or less)

Sauce

1 (10 1/2 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup

1 cup milk

Directions

Mix well the chicken, soup, stuffing mix, egg, onion, and celery. Refrigerate for 3 hours minimum.

Create a ‘log’ shape from about 3/4 cup of mixture. Gently drop onto the counter to flatten the bottom to form a traditional ‘cone’ shape. (about 3″ high, 2″ in diameter), or form patties for a simpler method.

Roll croquettes in bread crumbs. (At this point, you can freeze them for up to two months or cover them and place them in the fridge overnight to serve the following day. Just bring them to room temperature when ready to use if frying them).

Fry in about 1/4″ of oil in skillet over medium heat turning occasionally till golden brown on all sides and bottom, about 10-15 minutes. For a healthier version, they can be baked at 350F for about 25-30 min (from the freezer, bake 45-50 minutes).

MAKE THE SAUCE: In a small saucepan, stir the remaining can of soup with milk, stirring until warmed and creamy.

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

Easy Cooking Sunday’s – The Instant Pot

The last several weekends have been busy so no special meal preparation. We went away to open our summer place in the Pocono’s two weeks ago, then last weekend was Mother’s Day and the family insisted I shouldn’t cook. This weekend is filled with chores so I need an easy peasy meal for dinner. I’ll put on a loaf of bread for the weeks lunches in the bread baker and put dinner in the Instant Pot so I won’t have to bother babysitting while it cooks and I can get some things accomplished.

I’d been putting off from buying an Instant Pot for several years, I just felt I really didn’t need one. The more I read about how I could make some easy put together recipes that didn’t take as long as it would on the stove or oven I decided to go for it. Preparing dinner on a weeknight sometimes takes far too long after a long day at work and heck it’s all in one pot so less dishes. I have found with the slow cookers of recent years that the cooking time is shorter being they now cook at a higher temperature. Doesn’t work for me with the 10 hours I’m out for work and commute time, I didn’t like the thought of warm food sitting on the counter for hours until I got home. So I took the plunge and ordered a 6 Qt IP Duo. There are a ton of IP recipes out there and lots of helpful folks on the FB Instant Pot Community group.

My 6 Qt Duo

I keep trying new recipes each time I use the IP. So far no disappointments.

Today’s dinner will be IP BBQ Ribs, I’ll let you know how they turn out.

Here are some of my cooking adventures with the IP. One day I will tackle that cheesecake everyone in the group has been making that looks so delicious.

 

Above left to right: Zuppa Toscana, Chili with Beef and Beans, Creamy Tomato Basil Soup, Chicken Teriyaki and Pot Roast with baby red potatoes, carrots and mushrooms.