Recipes

5 Favorite Instant Pot Recipes for Beginners

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After my last, heavy post on grief, I wondered how I could segue into a light and fluffy post on my five favorite no fail Instant Pot recipes for beginners? From grief to recipes? Really? I pondered this question with my sister to which she replied, “Jen. No matter how deep we are in grief or what kind of day we have had, the kids still need to eat.”

Truer words have never been spoken, and my sister has been right there with me. We could have the worst day, filled with tears, sadness and heaviness but the kids still need dinner. Life goes on, and moms have to take care of business. So we wipe our eyes, and move on. One foot, and one dinner, after another. And my Instant Pot has been a life saver.

Disclosure: Links to the mighty Instant Pot in this post are affiliate links. Which means if you were to click on the link here and buy, I get a very small portion. No cost difference to you. Just need to let you know. 

The Instant Pot: Appliance, Myth or Legend?

My friends were making this appliance seem like the answer to all my dreams. Suddenly they were all professing their love of their Instant Pot like they were infomercial actors. The perfect hard-boiled eggs in 5 minutes! Cook a whole chicken in just 25 minutes! Steel-cut oats cooked to perfection in 4! But wait! There’s more! 😂

My sister told me this appliance would, and I quote, “change my life.” I mean, seriously.  Change my life. I wanted to laugh, but she was serious. I told her, “But, I like my Crock-Pot…” to which she replied, “When you get the Instant Pot you can THROW AWAY your Crock-Pot!”

With an endorsement like that, I didn’t think twice about clicking to buy it when I saw the Instant Pot go on sale on Amazon (and it’s on sale NOW!!!) Get it mamas. It WILL change your life.

When my Instant Pot arrived I was scared. It is intimidating, especially for a cooking-challenged person like me. There are a whole lot of buttons, and scary beeps, and steam, and sounds. Hold me!!!!!! One of the first times (I think) I turned it on right, I just stood there staring at it while it started to come to pressure.

I was just a girl, standing in her kitchen in front of the Instant Pot, hoping everything would be okay.

And it was! Most of the time that is. There are fails. But we have to learn and move on. And once I got the hang of it, and I am getting the hang of it, I have to admit it is pretty darn amazing. I use it 3 – 4 times a week and I LOVE IT!!!

So I wanted to share five recipes that even a newbie like me was able to figure out which were DELICIOUS.

All photos compliments of their respective blogs and I will link to each in the recipes. Enjoy!

Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

This was one of the first recipes I mastered. Soups are amazing in the IP, because you can sauté and soften your veggies on the Sauté function IN the IP before you add your liquid! Then, this recipe instructs you on how to cook the WHOLE chicken for your soup also in the IP. It’s a one-pot wonder! My kids love CNS (chicken noodle soup) and we love this recipe.

Click here for this Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup recipe

Instant Pot French Dip Sandwiches

I get tired of the same stuff for dinner, so it is fun to mix a warm sandwich into the rotation. This is a great meal for the family because you can prepare the meat and then fix the sandwiches when you get home from running around doing all the things we do every day as moms!

Click here for this Instant Pot French Dip Sandwich Recipe

Instant Pot Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes

You guys. This quite possibly is the BEST. MEATLOAF. EVER! It’s like magic done in the IP. And you cook your potatoes right there underneath your loaf! Juicy and delicious. I subbed ground turkey, omitted the BBQ sauce, and added in some shredded parm like she suggests in the recipe. Didn’t brave the sprouts. It is truly spectacular. Kids don’t like meatloaf? They will like this one. Try it!

Click here for the Instant Pot Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes recipe

Instant Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta

Cheese. Tacos. Pasta.
Three of life’s greatest foods in one easy to make Instant Pot dinner that will knock your socks off! It’s only calls for 6 ingredients and will be done in 30 minutes. Sure to become one of your weeknight dinner staples!

Click here for this Instant Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta recipe 

Instant Pot Perfect Steamed Broccoli 

 I HAVE to share this method for cooking the best steamed broccoli because broccoli is one of the few veggies my kids like.  I didn’t even KNOW cooking something in the IP for ZERO minutes was a thing! It is. Here’s how to do it…

Click here for the Instant Pot Perfect Steamed Broccoli Recipe

Do you have some favorite IP recipes to share? Ones that are easy for beginners? Please link in the comments below!

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Grill Crashers Giveaway!

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 Disclosure: This post was sponsored by our friends at the National Pork Board to inspire new delicious pork recipes.

porkcollage3

Yesterday I shared our recent Grill Crashers party Susanne and I planned to kick off the summer season and surprise our guests with a flavorful new pork chop recipe – Grilled Pork Chops with Chimichurri Sauce.

The pork chops were a hit and so easy to make for a party!  Grilling pork chops are a great way to play around with new flavors and delight guests with a moist, delicious, lean protein as the star of the meal.

Today we want to give YOU the opportunity to host your own Grill Crashers party and BBQ pork this season with a pork giveaway! One lucky winner will receive a $75 Kroger Gift card and a brand new digital meat thermometer to ensure you cook your pork to perfection. 

Before the giveaway, let me inspire you with the best pork chop recipes you will want to try…

Grilled Pork Chops with Mango Guacamole

Grilled-Pork-Chop-Recipe2

Grilled Pork Chops with Chimichurri Sauce

grilled-pork-chops-with-chimichurri-sauce Brined and Grilled Pork Chops with Grilled Peaches

Brined and grilled pork chop recipe with grilled peaches

Pork Giveaway! 

Is your mouth watering? Do you want to have a party this summer and crash YOUR grill with pork?  Enter the Grill Crashers sweepstakes below and enter to win a $75 Krogers (Ralphs) gift card and digital meat thermometer so you can plan your own Grill Crashers party! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Crash Your Grill with Pork!

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Disclosure: This post is Sponsored by our friends at the National Pork Board to inspire readers with our favorite pork chop recipes!

porkcollage

Last month Susanne had us over for dinner and made these mouth-watering Grilled Pork Chops with Mango Guacamole.

The chops were so tasty we were inspired to host a family BBQ for friends to try out another one of her delicious pork recipes, Grilled Pork Chops with Chimichurri Sauce.

grilled-pork-chops-with-chimichurri-sauce

Crash Your Grill with Pork!

It’s common to get into a grilling and flavor rut, isn’t it? I know personally, we have our standard go-to grilling recipes that are recycled over and over again. Boring.

Grilling pork chops are a great way to mix up your menu and delight guests with unexpected, delectable flavors.  

This season, crash your grill with pork, and watch the rave reviews that result!

Plan a BBQ Together with a Friend

We wanted to surprise our guests with a delicious pork recipe at an outdoor BBQ to kick off the summer season.

Susanne came up with the amazing menu,  grilled pork chops with chimichurri sauce over a bed of grilled asparagus and tomato bread pudding, we set the date and our Grill Crashers Party was in motion.

From menu planning to shopping to designing the decor, planning a dinner party with a friend is so much fun. Not only does it split up the work load, but being able to share ideas and to-do lists takes off the burden and allows you to enjoy the process from start to finish.

Step 1: Time to Shop 

Ralphs

Ralphs was our supermarket of choice for shopping because we knew they would carry everything needed for our party. We love their selection of fresh herbs, all the Simple Truth product options, amazing wine selection, fresh flowers, and more.

The first stop on our shopping excursion was the butcher to check out their selection of boneless pork chops. When serving smaller groups, look for pre-cut pork chop packages, but when planning for a large group, you can ask the butcher to cut them for you.

Our Ralphs butcher was so accommodating. When the butcher cuts the chops you can customize the thickness (our preference – 3/4″ thick).

For those that opt for natural meat, Ralphs natural and organic line, Simple Truth, carries natural pork which is humanely raised, fed an all vegetarian diet, with no antibiotics, added hormones or preservatives.
porkpic RalphsCollage

Step 2: Party Prep!

I got to Susanne’s house early to help with the cooking and set-up. This is another benefit of throwing a dinner party with a friend – you can sip on a little wine and chat while getting ready and it doesn’t feel like work!   

She handled the food prep and I worked on setting the table.

Flowers are one of the most inexpensive ways you can add a pop of color to your party and make your dinner table feel special.

I love using mason jars and milk bottles as vases for outdoor BBQ’s. To me, this inspires a natural, rustic feel.

For a backyard party with all the natural elements, you really don’t need much more for decor. Opt for some fresh flowers, candles, and cafe lights and you add instant ambiance, without breaking the bank.

rustictable2

rustictable3

Now it’s time to talk about the star of the party – the pork chops! Here Susanne will give you the how-to on how to make this delicious pork chop recipe for your next party….

Grilled Pork Chops with Chimichurri Sauce,
Tomato Bread Pudding & Asparagus

[Click here to download and print the recipe]

serves 8 people

Chimichurri is a super fresh, herby sauce.  It’s little salty and a touch spicy in the best way possible giving your pork chop a bright, summery flavor.  Warning: you may want more than just one!  Paired with asparagus (in its peak season) and the delicious and sort of indulgent savory bread pudding.  This plate is sure to please the party people.

Grilled Pork Chops with Chimichurri Sauce

12 pork chops, boneless, 3/4 inch thick

garlic powder

onion powder

salt + pepper

Pat the pork chops dry and sprinkle liberally with onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Once done, set aside until it is time to grill.

grilled pork chop seasoning

susanne seasoning

Chimichurri Sauce 

1 cup flat leaf parsley, packed, stems removed, chopped

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbsp fresh marjoram, chopped (or fresh oregano)

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon salt (maldon or kosher)

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Stir together ingredients, serve at room temperature.  I like to make chimichurri sauce no more than a few hours ahead as the freshness of this sauce is key.  (If you need to make ahead, no more than 24 hours.)

chimichurri sauce herbs

chimichurri sauce

Grilled Asparagus

2 bunches, asparagus, tough ends snapped off and lightly shave the ends

1/2 lemon

drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

salt + pepper

When you are finished grilling your pork chops, quickly put the asparagus over medium heat for no more than a few minutes, taking care to keep a little crunch to them.   Then quickly add the lemon to the grill for a minute to sweeten the juice a little and squeeze over the asparagus.

grilled asparagus

Tomato Bread Pudding Recipe 

Serves 6-8

12 cups (1 inch) cubes country style bread (can use a flavored bread, like garlic or rosemary, day old bread is best), crusts discarded

1 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted

2 cloves crushed garlic

1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes

1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed from the stems

1 tbsp tomato paste

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp tabasco

tomato bread pudding

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400.

Toss bread cubes with butter in a 13×9 inch baking dish until coated.

Place tomatoes in a saucepan along with brown sugar, garlic, thyme, tomato paste, salt and hot sauce.

Bring mixture just to a simmer, stirring to break up the tomato paste.  Pour mixture over bread, gently stirring to combine.  Bake uncovered, until edges are beginning to caramelize 35-40mins.  Watch carefully to make sure it doesn’t burn.

How to Grill Perfect Pork Chops

Because our men LOVE to BBQ we put them in charge of the grilling – careful not to share with our guests what was on the grill.  They probably assumed steak or chicken or burgers. But little did they know we had something special planned for them!

Here is Susanne’s husband Mike at the ‘cue.

grilled pork chop tips

You will want to grill your pork chops over medium heat, turning once, for 4-6 mins per side until they reach an internal temperature of 145-160 degrees F followed by a 3 minute rest.

We pulled them off the grill at 145 degrees, and then let them sit under foil to rest.

A digital meat thermometer is a necessity to ensure proper cooking. Click here for the full guide of pork cooking times and temps.

porktemp

pork1

The Grill Crashers Reveal!

In the meantime, our party guests were hanging out, keeping Baby Shea entertained with no idea we were about to crash the party with pork!

When we shared the menu they were surprised, and also really excited to try Susanne’s recipe.

Doesn’t Teresa look happy at the thought of having pork chops?

teresa

ourbbq
The pork chops were juicy and delicious and the herby sauce made it so flavorful.  And, please do yourself and your party guests a favor and try out Susanne’s tomato bread pudding recipe.  The dish was passed around and around for 2nds and 3rds.

Perhaps the most important feedback however, was from these little girls who can tend to have discriminating tastes when it comes to food (discriminating tastes = picky eaters). However the girls all loved the pork which we cubed for easier eating.

Big thumbs up.

kidslikeit2

Be Inspired to Throw Your Own Grill Crashers Party!

Our party was a huge hit! Everyone had the best time and the pork was the talk of the night.

Are you feeling inspired to throw your own summer BBQ and crash the grill with pork? We want you to be able to have the same experience too!

Come back here tomorrow for a big GIVEAWAY of a Grill Crashers prize back generously offered by the National Pork Board so you can plan your own Grill Crashers Party and crash your grill with pork.

Do you love grilling pork? What’s your favorite recipe? Please do share in the comments below! 

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My Favorite Easy Tuna Casserole Recipe

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My Favorite Easy Tuna Casserole_3

Today I want to share with you my favorite easy tuna casserole recipe my family loves.

I’m a mama who likes tasty meals (with basic prep!)…and I have two picky little eaters on my hands…so this easy tuna casserole recipe is one of my go-to’s.

It was given to me years ago (I think at my wedding shower!) by one of my dear childhood friends (and fabulous cook!), Nancy.  I’m so glad she’s given me a handful of easy recipes to follow.

Here we go!

Easy Tuna Casserole Recipe

My Favorite Easy Tuna Casserole_2

Ingredients:

– 6 oz wide egg noodles

– 1 can 9 1/4 oz can tuna

– 1 cup sliced celery

– 1/3 chopped onion (sometimes I leave this out, per the kiddos’ request)

– 1/4 cup chopped pimento (optional)

– 1 teaspoon of salt

– 1 cup cream of celery soup

– 1/2 cup of milk

– 1/2 cup of mayonnaise

– 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

– 1 small can of French’s fried onions

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 475 degrees.

2. Cook noodles until tender and drain.

3. Combine noodles, tuna, mayonnaise, veggies, and salt in a big bowl.

4. Blend soup and milk; heat through.

5. Add cheese to soup mixture; stir until cheese melts.

6. Add tuna noodle mixture and soup mixture together.

7. Transfer into an oven safe casserole dish.

8. Bake in the 475 degree pre-heated oven for 15 minutes.

9. Add fried onions on top, and let cook until onions are golden brown; this usually only takes 2-3 minutes. (Sometimes, I shred extra cheese and sprinkle on top with the fried onions…yum!).

10. Let cool for a couple of minutes.  Enjoy!

Picky kid tips:

– I call it “macaroni cheese pie,” instead of tuna casserole.  Somehow this name resonates better with my kids.

– If you sprinkle cheese on top of the casserole and let it melt, it looks more like “macaroni cheese pie.”

– I leave out the pimentos and chopped onions…that’s a little too much my kiddos’ tastes!

– Only sprinkle the fried onions on one half of the casserole…my kids only really like the “noodle and cheese part, mom.”

Last, I add a quick salad or heat up some frozen veggies, and voila! Dinner is served.  It’s easy prep and is an easy crowd pleaser!

You can check out Nancy’s foodie Facebook page, Cooking with a Side of Sunshine for more recipe ideas!

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A Little Rub a Dub Dub for Your Turkey

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Best Turkey Rub Recipe

Looking for the best turkey rub recipe? Like ever?

Last week I roasted some turkey breasts for my daughter’s Daisy Troop Thanksgiving Feast and used this rub (slightly adapted from Barefoot Contessa’s recipe). I have to say it was tasty so I wanted to share this turkey rub recipe with you. I’ll be using it on our bird this year!

Best Turkey Rub Recipe

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp minced garlic (or you can use your press)

6 tsp dry mustard

3 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

3 Tbsp chopped fresh sage leaves

3 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves

6 tsp kosher salt

2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1 tsp white pepper

6 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

6 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 cup Sherry wine

In a bowl combine the garlic, mustard, herbs, salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice to make a paste.   Loosen the skin from the meat gently and smear the paste under the skin.  Pour the wine into the bottom of the roasting pan.

Make sure to pay attention to your birds packaging for weight/roasting times.  (Center of  breast should reach an internal temp of 165 degrees F and the stuffing should too.)

Check out this link for some great turkey tips.

Happy Turkey Day to you and yours!

Enjoy!

XO,

Your Sus Chef

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