Saturday, September 3, 2016

Salisbury Steak Meatballs (Instant Pot, Stove Top, Slow Cooker)

I think everyone I know has an Instant Pot cooker. I finally broke down and bought one. Terrified to use it because of the "pressure cooker" side of it. I have nightmares, for some reason, of pressure cookers exploding. Now, I've never see it happen, but for some reason it terrifies me.

This ain't your grandma's pressure cooker. It's an all in one pot that does slow cooker stuff, pressure cooker stuff, and rice cooker. Got rid of the rice cooker and slow cooker!

THIS recipe is absolutely delicious and so dang easy. With the Instant Pot it was super easy and done quickly.

When I make this again, I'd not put in the 1/4 cup beef broth in the meatball mixture. It made the mixture a bit too wet for my liking. But putting tomato paste in the meatballs? Brilliant! Just brilliant.

And for the record, is one of my all time favorite blogs (and cookbook). If you've not checked it out, you should.

Salisbury Steak Meatballs
Photo from
Recipe from

2 tsp olive oil, divided
1/2 cup minced onions
1/2 lb 93% lean ground beef
1/2 lb 93% lean ground turkey
1/3 cup whole wheat seasoned breadcrumbs
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons tomato paste, divided
kosher salt
pinch black pepper
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce, to taste
1/4 tsp mustard powder
5 oz sliced mushrooms
1 1/4 cup reduced sodium beef broth
chopped parsley for garnish (optional)

Finely chop 1 oz of the mushrooms into small pieces and set aside. Heat the Instant Pot (or a large nonstick pot on medium-high) on Sauté add 1 tsp oil and onions and cook until golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Divide onions in two.

In a large bowl, combine half of the sautéed onions with the ground beef, ground turkey, chopped mushroom, bread crumbs, egg, 1 tbsp tomato paste, 1/4 cup of the beef broth, 3/4 tsp salt and black pepper.

In a small bowl, blend flour and 1 cup broth until smooth. Mix in remaining onions, remaining 1 tbsp tomato paste, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and mustard powder.
Gently shape into 20 small meatballs.

Heat the Instant Pot (or non-stick pot) back on saute, add remaining teaspoon of oil and brown the meatballs about 2 minutes until no longer sticks, turn and brown an additional 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, 1/8 teaspoon salt and black pepper and pour the sauce over the meatballs, cover and cook on high pressure 10 minutes (20 minutes in a regular pot). Let the pressure release on it’s own. Garnish with parsley.

w Cooker Directions: Saute meatballs in a skillet, transfer to slow cooker with mushrooms, salt and pepper and pour sauce over. Cover and cook low 6 to 8 hours, until tender.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Carolina Peach Sangria

For book club this month I opted to try to bring summer into Seattle. I made this Peach Sangria. And let me tell you...

1. Super refreshing
2. SOOOO good
3. A little beyond delicious
4. Have a designated driver

Carolina Peach Sangria
Recipe from Southern Living

bottle rosé wine
3/4 cup vodka
1/2 cup peach nectar
6 tablespoons thawed frozen lemonade concentrate
2 tablespoons sugar
1 pound ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
(6-oz.) package fresh raspberries - I found frozen raspberries held up better in this drink
2 cups club soda, chilled


1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a pitcher; stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in peaches and raspberries. Cover and chill 8 hours.
2. Stir in chilled club soda just before serving.
*Peach-flavored vodka may be substituted. Omit peach nectar

Monday, May 9, 2016

Mediterranean Pork Shoulder

The local store had pork shoulder on sale for $1.99/lb...which is crazy cheap. So I picked me up one.

Now as a single person, a pork shoulder could feed me for the entire week, and some friends. But it freezes well and there are so many "other" recipes I can make after having pulled pork.

This recipe was easy and delicious. The ONLY thing I'd change is I wouldn't put the kalamata olives in from the beginning. They get kinda mushy. I would however, put the juice in. I think that flavor is fantastic.

I think I had closer to a 3.5 lb roast and I didn't change anything with the measurements. The pork gives off plenty of liquid.

Mediterranean Pork Shoulder
Recipe from emeals
Serves 4 (or more)

2 lb boneless pork shoulder roast
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup chicken broth
1 (14.5-oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
½ cup pitted kalamata olives
2 tsp dried oregano
4 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ cup chopped fresh basil

Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add pork. Cook 3 minutes per side or until browned.

Transfer to a 5- to 7-quart slow cooker. Add broth, tomatoes, olives, oregano and garlic. Cover and cook on LOW 7 to 8 hours or until very tender.

Shred pork with two forks, and toss in sauce to coat. Stir in basil. Divide into 4 servings.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

30-Minute Filet Bourguignonne with Mashed Potatoes

I love me some Beef in it's one of my favorite dishes. It does, normally, take a long time to make. This recipe is not only quick and easy, but delicious (despite me forgetting the tomato paste).

You won't be disappointed with this one. It was a recipe provided to me by my Cooking Light Menu plan. One serving is 512 calories. A little high for some, but so worth it.

30-Minute Filet Bourguignonne with Mashed Potatoes
Photo from Cooking Light

Recipe from Cooking Light
Serves 4

1 pound baking potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup frozen pearl onions
1 pound beef tenderloin, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
5 teaspoons butter, divided
1 bacon slice, finely chopped
1 (8-ounce) package mushrooms, quartered
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons no-salt-added tomato paste
1/2 cup earthy red wine
1 cup fat-free, lower-sodium beef broth
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons 2% reduced-fat milk
Fresh thyme sprigs (optional)

Place potato in a saucepan over high heat; cover with cool water. Bring to a boil; cook 10 minutes or until very tender. Drain. Return potato to pan; keep warm.

While potato cooks, place onions in a microwave-safe bowl; cover with a paper towel. Microwave at HIGH 4 minutes. Finely chop 1 (2-inch) cube of tenderloin, and set aside. Pat dry the remaining beef cubes with a paper towel; sprinkle evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Heat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in pan; swirl to coat. Add seasoned beef cubes; sauté 3 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove beef from pan. Add finely chopped beef and bacon to pan; sauté 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms; sauté 5 minutes or until mushrooms brown, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, chopped thyme, and sugar; sauté for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add wine, and bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook 2 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half.

Add onions and broth; bring to a boil. Cook for 1 minute. Combine 2 tablespoons water and flour in a bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add flour mixture to pan; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Return browned beef cubes to pan; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated and cooked to medium-rare or desired degree of doneness.

Add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, remaining 2 teaspoons butter, and milk to potatoes in saucepan; mash with a potato masher until desired consistency. Serve beef and sauce over potatoes; garnish with thyme sprigs, if desired.

Monday, April 25, 2016


I have been cooking some, but not as much as I used to. Work being crazy caused me to not want to do anything, let alone cook.

Finally my life is getting back to normal, at least as normal as it can.

Tonight I made this recipe. I modified it a bit...shocking, I know.

It was delicious though. So I'm sure if you follow the recipe it'll be just as tasty.

Linguine With Mushrooms, Marsala and Mascarpone
Recipe from
Photo from Milk and Honey blog

1/4 c dried porcini mushrooms
1/4 cup marsala
1/4 cup water
1/2 c mascarpone
freshly grated nutmeg
ground pepper
2 tablespoons chopped parsley, plus extra to serve
1 package dried linguine
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 small garlic clove, peeled
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan

Put the porcini into to the smallest pan you have. Pour in the Marsala and the water, bring to boil over medium heat and then, just as it starts to boil, take it off the heat and leave for about 10 minutes. The mushrooms need to be submerged in the liquid so that they soften.

[Jenn Note: I'm not a fan of porcini mushrooms. Instead, I sauted sliced cremini mushrooms in butter and garlic. Following that, I deglazed with the marsala wine.  Followed by adding the mascarpone to the sauce, off heat.

Put the mascarpone into a small bowl, add a good amount of grated nutmeg and some ground pepper. Once the porcini have softened, strain them into the bowl, letting the soaking liquid mix with the mascarpone. Whisk to combine.

Chop the porcini and the parsley together on a chopping board.

Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water according to packet instructions.

In a large pan, warm the butter and add the grated garlic. Stir it together, then mix in the mushrooms and parsley and cook for a few minutes. Pour the mascarpone into the pan and cook for another minute. Remove it from the heat. Reserve a cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta and pour it into the pan with the mascarpone and toss to coat. Add a little of the reserved pasta cooking water if it looks a little dry.

Add the Parmesan, toss everything together and check the seasoning. Serve with more parsley and Parmesan.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Deconstructed Cabbage Rolls

For the March Sunday dinner I decided to do a "Bring your Favorite Irish Dish". Who knew there were so many options for Irish food?  I opted to make Deconstructed Cabbage Rolls - which, it turns out, are German, not Irish. Though no one really mentioned that to me.

This was a fantastic meal. It makes a ton and the leftovers were out of this world. For a girl who doesn't like leftovers that's a pretty amazing comment.

It's a super easy meal to make and would be great for a family meal. I should also mention, I left out the sauerkraut...gross.

Deconstructed Cabbage Rolls

1 cup uncooked short-grain brown rice (or any rice of your choice)
1 ½ pounds green cabbage, cleaned, cored and cut into chunks
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces raw bacon diced
1 cup chopped onion
2 large cloves garlic minced
2 tablespoons tart red wine such as merlot
1 pound lean ground beef (90/10)
½ pound ground pork
½ pound ground veal (if you can’t get ground veal, increase ground pork to one pound)
2 cups tomato juice (or for a more intense flavor, our daughter Courtney suggests using V-8)
¼ cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon dry thyme
¼ teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup drained sauerkraut

Cook rice according to package directions. Try to time rice so that it finishes cooking as the preparation of the dish nears the end. If rice is cooked to soon, fluff and leave at room temperature to cool.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and blanch cabbage chunks for five minutes. Drain, cool and set aside.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, place olive oil and bacon and cook until bacon is almost browned, about 4 minutes. Increase heat to medium high and add onions and sauté for three minutes. Add garlic and sauté for one more minute. Add red wine and deglaze the pan.

Move the cooked onion mixture to the edges of the pan and place all three meats into the center. Keep moving the meat around to brown and slowly work in onion mixture until the meat is fully browned.
Add tomato juice, tomato paste, vinegar, sugar, thyme, paprika, salt and pepper. Reduce to medium and simmer for five minutes.

Add in sauerkraut, cooked rice and cooked cabbage. Bring back up to heat and simmer for five more minutes.

Adjust seasoning and serve.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Hamburger Steaks with Sweet Onion and Mushrooms

I joined this new program a couple weeks ago called It sends me a week menu plan of healthy, high protein, low carb meals (you have options of the types of meals you want them to send).

I've made a couple of the meals and have really liked them. Tonight I made this meal...I'm a big fan of Salisbury steak and this recipe is essentially the same.  I cut too many onions though so it was a bit overwhelming - if it can be - with onions.

According to emeals the nutrition is:
314 calories
28 grams protein
6 grams carbs

Hamburger Steaks with Sweet Onion and Mushrooms
Recipe from
Serves 4

1 pound 93% lean ground beef
2 tablespoons plus 2 1/4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsalted beef stock
1 ounce Gruyère cheese, shredded (about 1/4 cup)

Combine beef, 2 1/4 teaspoons oil, Worcestershire, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl; mix with hands. Divide into 4 portions, shaping each into a 4-inch patty.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan. Add patties to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side. Remove patties from pan. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and mushrooms to pan; cook 6 minutes or until mushrooms brown. Sprinkle with flour, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook 2 minutes. Add stock to pan; cook 1 minute or until thickened and slightly reduced, stirring frequently. Return patties to pan, and spoon onion mixture over patties. Sprinkle evenly with cheese. Cover; cook 3 minutes or until cheese melts.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry

Hello 2016!
Wow. It's hard to imagine it's 2016 and that I'm STILL trying to eat healthy.  Alas, here we go again.

I joined this online healthy recipe service called So far I've found that they offer quite a few healthy recipes focused to what your goals are. For example, if you're low calorie - they have recipes for that. If your low carb (like me) they have recipes for that.

So the start of the week is Sunday to me. I pulled down their recipes and decided what I was going to make this week.

Tonight is my first recipe, chicken and vegetable stir-fry. Super easy meal and quite tasty.  I, naturally, switched up the recipe slightly.

Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry
Recipe from

Net carbs for 2 servings: Main dish (11 g), side dish (6g). 

Serves: 2
2 tsp seasame oil, divided for use
1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 c sliced yellow onion
1 bell pepper, cut into strips (yah, I didn't add this)
1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt (didn't use this either since the soy sauce has plenty)
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Heat 1 tsp oil in large skillet over m edium-high heat. Add chicken; saute 4 minutes or until browned. Remove chicken from pan; add remaining 1 tsp oil to skillet. 

Add green beans, onion and bell pepper; cook 2 minutes.

Stir together soy sauce, brown sugar, salt and crushed red pepper flakes; add to vegetables in skillet. 

Return chicken to skillet; cook 1-2 minutes or until thoroughly heated and sauce is thickened.

Side note: if you don't like things spicy, cut back on the red pepper flakes. I put in the total amount and it about blew my lips off. also provides a side dish with each main dish. I especially love this. When trying to eat high protein I get tired of the same old veggies that I make (read:broccoli).

I sorta cheated and made a small bit of rice with this meal because I really like rice with stir fry. That said, the side dish went well with the chicken/green beans AND rice.

Side Dish:
1 oz bag fresh sugar snap peas (so turns out I bought snow peas instead...which I've decided I like better. Unfortunately, they aren't so great for roasting like this recipe calls for)
2 T soy sauce
1 T toasted sesame oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 F. Toss all ingredients in a small roasting pan. Roast 10 minutes or until tender.

Overall confession: I didn't actually use green beans in my meal. I bought snow peas instead of snap peas and figured they could double as green beans.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Weight Watchers Chicken and Potato Casserole

This recipe was OUT OF THIS WORLD. I wasn't sure since I had to modify the recipe. And frankly, my modification were just fine and probably made it better.

The recipe says to slice the potatoes with a vegetable peeler. It's just too difficult. So I sliced them thin and went that route. Turned out just fine.

I'll make this again, for sure. Oh, the other thing I'd do is NOT use all the paprika. I only used 1.5 T and it was a bit overwhelming for me.

Chicken and Potato Casserole
Recipe from Weight Watchers Ultimate Chicken
Makes 4 servings
Serving size: 1 c - 225 cal

1 (3/4 lb) baking potato, preferably a russet potato, peeled
1 small onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced (as if)
3/4 lb ground skinless chicken breasts
2 T paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c reduced sodium chicken stock
1/2 c fat free sour cream

Fill a large bowl with cool water. Cut the potato in half lengthwise. Using a vegetable peeler, make thin "noodles" from the cut sides of the potato, letting the strips fall into a bowl of cool water.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Drain the potato noodles and add them to the pot. Cook until they lose their crunchy edge, no more than 2 minutes. Drain and refresh the cool water.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a 1 quart shallow baking dish with nonstick spray.

Spray a skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium heat. Add the onion and celery; cook, stirring frequently until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds more. Add the chicken and cook thoroughly.  Add the paprika, salt and pepper, then pour in the broth, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer for 1 minute (JW note: I found I had to simmer for about 5 minutes to reduce the liquid a bit). Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream.

Place 1/3 of the potatoes in the baking dish making one overlapping layer. Add 1/3 of the chicken mixture. Repeat the layering two more times; ending with chicken on top.

Bake until lightly browned and bubbling; about 40 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Weight Watchers Thai Style Chicken

In my new eating plan I'm supposed to eat 30 grams of protein a meal - and then some - to get to a total of 105 grams total for the day. In order to do that, I fear, I need to eat a lot of chicken. In order to eat a lot of chicken I have to make it interesting and flavorful.

This recipe was not my favorite. It was missing, well, flavor. If I make it again, I'd put lime in it to add flavor.

Thai Style Chicken
Recipe from Weight Watchers Ultimate Chicken
Makes 4 servings

1 c light coconut milk
2 T chopped fresh cilantro
2 T Asian fish sauce
2 large garlic cloves, crushed through a press
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 (1/2 lb) whole chicken legs, skinned (I used chicken breasts)

Combine the coconut milk through black pepper. Then add the chicken into a sealed Ziploc and marinade for at least 4 hours or over night.

Grill the chicken until done.