How to Dice an Onion

I taught my kids to do this when they were very young, and it is great for making quick work of cutting uniform pieces that will cook evenly.  Did I mention that it’s a very quick and efficient skill?!

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Filed under food, Technique

The Local Arena “Newsburger”

This “secret” sauce was developed by a figure-skating/hockey mom for the volunteer run snack bar at the local arena when I was growing up.

Newsburger Recipe

 

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Filed under comfort food, food, Sauce

Pot Roast in the Instant Pot

  • large carrot, cut into big chunks (will be removed at end)
  • rib of celery, cut into big chunks (will be removed at end)
  • ~ 3 pound cross rib beef roast
  • 1 cooking onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup wine
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce (Lea & Perrin’s)
  • 4 bay leaves
  • sprig of rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme

I do the browning and sautéing in a non-stick frying pan with some oil; I find the sauté feature on the Instant Pot to be sub-par

Put the carrots and celery into the Instant Pot.

Pat the meat dry, then season generously with salt and pepper.  Heat a frying pan, and add a tablespoon or so of oil.  When oil is hot, place the roast onto the pan, and don’t move it for 5 minutes.  At end of 5 minutes, turn the roast over and repeat.  Remove roast from pan, and transfer to the Instant Pot, on top of the vegetables.

Add some more oil to the frying pan, and sauté the onions and garlic, with a pinch of salt, until browned.  Transfer the onions and garlic into the Instant Pot.  Deglaze the pan with the wine, then add the Worcester sauce, and chicken broth.  Pour the liquid into the Instant Pot.  

Add the herbs to the liquid and the top of the roast.

Place the lid on, set to “seal”, and cook on high pressure — or ‘meat’ — for 36 minutes.  Let pressure release naturally for at least 10 minutes.  Carefully release pressure all the way.  

Remove the beef and place on a cutting board or dinner plate; cover with foil.

Pour the rest of the contents into a large measuring cup, using a fine mesh strainer.  You can save the carrots to eat, or just throw them out.  

Make gravy using the liquid.  

Cut or tear the meat into serving pieces.

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Filed under beef, comfort food, dinner, food, Main Course, Protein

Potato Soup – Instant Pot

I don’t measure anything for this, so quantities are estimates and can be adjusted as much as you like.  I also add bits of other veggies, such as broccoli, if I feel like it.

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SOUP:

  • 5 medium to large potatoes, peeled and chunked
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chunked
  • 1 large stalk of celery, chunked (if you have leaves, throw those in, too)
  • 1 large onion, chunked
  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled and sliced
  • Approximately 1 carton chicken or vegetable broth (and up to 1/2 another carton — your preference)
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • AFTER SOUP IS FINISHED COOKING:   1/4 to 1/2 cup heavy cream

GARNISH:

  • shredded sharp cheddar
  • dollop of sour cream
  • sprinkle of bacon bits (obviously, leave this out if you want vegetarian)

 

  1. Place all of the soup ingredients into the Instant Pot, making sure that the vegetables are covered with broth.  Put the lid on and seal.
  2. Select “Soup”, and enter time of 5 minutes.  Once the Instant pot has finished, let it release pressure naturally for about 15 to 20 minutes, then open the valve.
  3. With a hand blender, purée the soup until smooth. Add the cream and stir; you can also omit the cream.  Taste the soup, and adjust seasonings.
  4. Ladle into bowls, and serve with the garnishes.

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Filed under comfort food, food, Soups, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo)

INSTANT POT POLENTA

from Food52’s Emma Laperruque (slightly adapted)

Serves 4

Prep time: 5 min 

Cook time: 15 min

  • 1 cup coarse polenta, like Bob’s Mill
  • 4 1/2 cups cups water or broth
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 to 1 cup grated or crumbled cheese, for stirring in and sprinkling on top
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, for stirring in and sprinkling on top,
  • Optional: Fresh herbs for stirring in and/or sprinkling on top
  1. In the Instant Pot, combine the polenta, water, and salt. Whisk well. Secure the lid and adjust the pressure release to Sealing. 
  2. Pressure cook on High for 15 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for about 10 minutes, then carefully open.
  3. Whisk — the bejeezus out of — the polenta to smooth it out, then add the butter and whisk again until incorporated. 
  4. Add the butter and cheese (and anything else you want to).  Taste for seasonings.
  5. Serve immediately.  
  6. Alternatively,  pour the polenta into a greased 11” x 13”  pan or a cookie sheet, and let cool.  Put it in the fridge to firm up further, then cut into pieces and fry in olive oil.  Polenta fries are also amazing!

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Filed under comfort food, Grains, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo)

Chicken Stock in the Instant Pot

  • 1 chicken carcass (from a roasted chicken), including skin, bones, cartilage — everything (I can use up to 3 small chicken carcasses in my Instant Pot, which makes the broth much more flavourful! )
  • 1 yellow cooking onion, cut into chunks
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 large carrots, scrubbed and cut into chunks
  • 3 large ribs celery (and leaves), cut into chunks
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbsp PC Chicken Rub (sage, thyme, rosemary, etc)
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • water

Put the steaming rack — included with the Instant Pot — into the bottom of the pot.

Place the carcass in first, pushing it down; if you can break it up, all the better.  Add the rest of the ingredients, and add enough water to just cover it all.

Put the lid on, seal, and set at high pressure for 120 minutes.

When the time is up, let the pressure naturally release; it can take up to an hour!

Using the steaming rack handles, lift out the bones and vegetables, discarding them.  Get any remaining larger bits using a slotted spoon.  Discard everything.

Pour the stock through a mesh sieve into a bowl or large measuring cup.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours if you want to remove the fat.  Once cold, the fat will be sitting, solidified, at the top.  Scoop it out and discard.

Now make some chicken soup, or anything else that requires stock!

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Filed under comfort food, food, Soups, whole food

Bonnie’s Marinated Mushrooms

Comfort food from my second mother, Bonnie.  These were *such* a treat when we would be out sailing together!  I’ve never had it with fresh mushrooms, as they just didn’t keep while out cruising on Lake of the Woods.

  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar(2/3 c)
  • 1/3 cup peanut oil(2/3 c)
  • 1 small onion, sliced in thin rings(2)
  • 1 tsp salt(2 tsp)
  • 2 tsp parsley flakes(4 tsp)
  • 1 tsp prepared mustard(2 tsp)
  • 1 tsp brown sugar(2 tsp)
  • 2 tins whole mushrooms, drained(4) 

Boil and simmer, all together, for 5 min.  Store marinade and mushrooms overnight.  You can sterilize jars and preserve, but keep refrigerated.

 

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Filed under Appetizers, comfort food, food, Marinade

Lemon Aioli

  • 1/2 cup mayo (real mayonnaise)
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, grated (or 1 teaspoon roasted garlic from a jar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt, to taste

In a small to medium sized bowl, mix together all of the ingredients until smooth and creamy; go easy on the salt and add more, if necessary,  once mixed together.

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Filed under dip, food, Sauce

Moist & Tender Chicken Breasts for Other Recipes

For using cooked chicken in another recipe, use this method by thekitchn.com. It works really well!

1 to 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, of similar size

Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil, unsalted butter, or combination of both

  1. Flatten the chicken breasts. Pound the chicken breasts to an even thickness with the bottom of a wide jar or glass. You can also use the bottom of a small frying pan.
  2. Season the chicken breasts. Lightly season the chicken with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat the pan. Heat a frying pan large enough to fit the chicken in a single layer over medium-high heat. When it is quite hot, add the olive oil (or butter, if using). Swirl the pan so it is lightly covered with the olive oil.
  4. Cook the chicken breasts over medium heat for 1 minute without moving. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the chicken breasts. Cook undisturbed for just about 1 minute to help them get a little golden on one side (you are not actually searing or browning them).
  5. Flip the chicken breasts. Flip each chicken breast over.
  6. Turn the heat down to low. Reduce the heat to low.
  7. Cover the pan and cook on low for 10 minutes.Cover the pan with a tight- fitting lid. Set a timer for 10 minutes, and walk away. Do not lift the lid; do not peek.
  8. Turn off the heat and let sit for an additional 10 minutes. After 10 minutes have elapsed, turn off the heat. (If you have an electric stove, remove the pan from the heat.) Reset the timer for 10 minutes and leave the chicken breasts in the pan. Again, do not lift the lid; do not peek.

9. Remove lid and take temperature. After the 10 minutes are up, uncover and your chicken is done. Make sure there is no pink in the middle of the chicken breasts. If you want to be absolutely sure it is cooked, you can use an instant-read thermometer to check — the chicken should be at least 165°F. Slice and eat.

Quick brine: You can make your boneless skinless chicken breasts even juicier and more flavorful with a super-quick brine. Even just 15 minutes in a simple brine will make them juicier. Watch the video above to see how this is done.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 2 months.

Formatting errors are due to the new WordPress editor, which I can’t figure out how to use!

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Filed under food

Hash Brown, Egg, and Cheese Bake for Two

  • 8 ounces frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 extra large eggs (or equivalent)
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • large pinch of salt
  • 10 grinds of black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, DIVIDED in half
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 350F, and grease an an 8”x8” pan with butter or vegetable oil spray.

In a medium size bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, onion powder, salt and pepper.

Stir in the hash brown potatoes, 1/2 cup cheese, and the green onions.

Mix well, and pour into the prepared pan (I use glass), checking that the ingredients are well distributed.

Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of cheese over the top.

Bake at 350F, uncovered, for 45 minutes or so.

You can garnish with chopped green onions, chives, or whatever you like.

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Filed under Breakfast, dinner, food, lunch, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo), whole food

Grilled Veggie & Goat Cheese Sandwiches

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This is what we had on hand today.  If there’s time, I like to marinate the vegetables briefly, but today I just brushed on olive oil and sprinkled on freshly ground pepper and Lowry’s seasoning salt.

Vegetables that we like to grill for sandwiches:

  • sweet peppers, any colour
  • red or sweet onions
  • zucchini
  • small eggplant
  • large mushrooms

Goat Cheese:

  • herbed goat cheese log
  • plain goat cheese with chopped herbs of choice

Build on a crusty roll (like ciabatta) that will hold up to the messy insides; slices of bread don’t work very well.

Balsamic vinegar, or balsamic vinegar reduction (such as Nonna Pia’s) lightly drizzled on top of the filling, before putting the top on, is delicious!  We also add some greens, such as baby spinach or lettuce from the garden.

You could also roast the vegetables in the oven if you don’t have a barbeque!  A quick search on Google for “times for roasting vegetables” will guide you.

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What’s-in-the-fridge-pantry-garden Curry

Photo of the finished dish

Fridge:

  • 1 red pepper, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, broken into small florets
  • 1 large carrot, sliced into very thin coins
  • 1 Tbsp chopped garlic (in a jar)
  • 1 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger (in a jar)
  • 1/2 block of pre-made paneer, cut into small cubes
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp ghee

Pantry:

  • 1 large onion, chopped or “stripped”
  • 1 to 2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 to 2 cans regular fat coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp good quality Madras curry powder (or more, to taste)
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp garam masala 

Garden:

  • 1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
  • large handful cilantro, chopped 
  • handful of young kale, chopped

In a large, deep frying pan, heat the ghee until very hot.

Add garlic, ginger and onions.  Sprinkle a pinch or two of salt into the pan.   Sauté gently until onions are caramelized.

Throw in curry powder, stirring until the onions are coated, and the spice is fragrant.

Add the peppers, cauliflower, carrots, and chickpeas, stirring to coat with the spices and onions.

Pour in one can of the coconut milk, and stir until everything is blended together.  Add chickpeas and stir gently.

Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down.  Cover and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Stir occasionally; add more coconut milk if it’s looking too dry.

Meanwhile, fry the paneer in a separate pan until golden (I used olive oil for frying).

Add the jalapeño, kale, and paneer, and simmer for a couple of more minutes, lid on. 

Stir in cilantro, and taste for salt and pepper.

Sprinkle the garam masala over top and fold in.

Serve over brown rice.

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under comfort food, dinner, food, Main Course, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo), whole food

Alaa’s Lamb and Bulgur

Alaa had me make this recipe under her instruction, with no written recipe. I jotted down generally what I did and measured! I can’t remember what it’s called but this Syrian dish is absolutely delicious.

Scribbled down hurriedly!

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Filed under comfort food, food, Grains, lamb, Main Course, whole food

Dave’s Chili

serves: 8-12

  • Olive oil, for sautéing
  • 2 large cooking onions, chopped
  • 1 cup celery stalks, chopped
  • 6 cloves fresh garlic, chopped

 

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • (or 2lbs of ground meat, whatever kind)

 

  • 2 x 800ml can diced tomatoes
  • 1 x 710ml can crushed tomatoes/passata
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 2 400ml cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 400ml can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 400ml can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

 

  • 3 green peppers, chopped
  • 454g mushrooms, sliced and sautéed previously OR 2 cans mushroom pieces, no need to sauté
  1. In a large dutch oven, heat oil and add the onion, celery, and garlic, along with a pinch of salt.  Sauté until softened, stirring occasionally. 
  2. Add the meat, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until browned, about 15 to 20 minutes.  Discard the fatty juices that have formed in the pan.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes with their juices, crushed tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, beef broth, spices, beans, and chickpeas.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered for about 2.5 hours.  Stir occasionally.
  4. Add green peppers and sautéed mushrooms, and simmer for another 30 to 40 minutes.

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Filed under dinner, food, Main Course

Madhur Jaffrey’s Instant Pot Dal Makkhani (with my tweaks)

I found this recipe at Food52, and just ordered her new Instant Pot cookbook!

  • 1 cup whole urad with skin (also called sabut ma; these are small and black in colour)
  • 1/2 cup dried red kidney beans (called rajma in Indian stores; I prefer the smaller ones)
  • 1 tsp salt (plus more, to taste)
  • 4 teaspoons peeled fresh ginger grated to a pulp (or from a tube)
  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic (or from a tube/jar)
  • 1 cup pureed or strained tomatoes or passata (I like passata)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 4 cups water

  • 1 tablespoon butter, plus more if needed
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala

  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • half a large onion, sliced very thinly (halve from roots to tip)
  • 1/4 teaspoon bright red paprika, mixed with
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon chili powder

IMPORTANT, IN ADVANCE: Wash the beans and soak them overnight in water that covers them generously. Drain them the following day.  Alternatively, put the beans into a large pot and cover generously with water.  On stovetop, bring to a rolling boil for 2 minutes, then let sit as is for a couple of hours.  Drain.

  1. Put the soaked and drained beans into the Instant Pot. Add 1 teaspoon salt, the ginger, garlic, tomatoes, chili powder, and 4 cups water. Close and seal the lid, then cook on HIGH PRESSURE for 30 minutes, and let the pressure drop by itself. Hit CANCEL to reset the cooking program.
  2. Open the lid carefully, venting the steam away from you. Stir the dal. Using a potato masher, crush the dal as much as you can. Taste, adding another 1/2 teaspoon salt as needed.
  3. Select the SAUTÉ setting and set to Normal. Stir in the 1 tablespoon butter, cream, and garam masala, heating through.
  4. Tarka: Put the oil or ghee in a small frying pan over medium heat. When hot, arrange the onions in a single layer. Stir and fry them, turning now and then, until they turn reddish gold and crisp.
  5. Sprinkle the paprika/chili mixture over the top and quickly pour all the contents of the pan over the beans, spreading it out over the surface. I stir it right in and serve out of the Instant Pot!

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Filed under comfort food, food, Protein

Serious Eats’ Foolproof 2-Minute Hollandaise

From Serious Eats, this hollandaise is super quick and easy; makes about 1 1/2 cups

Active time: 1 minute
Total time:2 minutes

  • 1 egg yolk (about 35 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon water (about 5 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice from1 lemon (about 5 grams)
  • Kosher salt1 stick butter (8 tablespoons, about 112 grams)
  • Pinch cayenne pepper or hot sauce (if desired)

 

  1. Combine egg yolk, water, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt in the bottom of a cup that barely fits the head of an immersion blender.
  2. Melt butter in a small saucepan over high heat, swirling constantly, until foaming subsides. Transfer butter to a 1 cup liquid measuring cup.
  3. Place head of immersion blender into the bottom of the cup and turn it on.
  4. With the blender constantly running, slowly pour hot butter into cup. It should emulsify with the egg yolk and lemon juice.
  5. Continue pouring until all butter is added. Sauce should be thick and creamy.
  6. Season to taste with salt and a pinch of cayenne pepper or hot sauce (if desired).
  7. Serve immediately, or transfer to a small lidded pot and keep in a warm place for up to 1 hour before serving. Hollandaise cannot be cooled and reheated.
  8. Check out this link for a full video walkthrough of the process.

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Filed under Breakfast, Sauce

Refried Beans (Instant Pot)

Put into the Instant Pot and stir till combined:

        • 2 cups dried, unsoaked pinto beans, washed and picked over
        • 3 cups vegetable stock or water (I use boiling water and stock paste from a jar)
        • 1 large onion, chopped
        • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
        • 1 jalapeño pepper, sliced or chopped (leave seeds and ribs in)
        • 1 tsp paprika
        • 1 tsp ground cumin
        • 1 tsp chilli powder
        • 3/4 tsp salt
        • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
        • 1/2 cup tomato salsa, or some tomato paste and chopped tomatoes

Close lid of Instant Pot, and set to Manual > High Pressure > 30 minutes.  When pressure cooker beeps, either let stand for 10 minutes and open after releasing remaining pressure, or let pressure release naturally.

Mash the contents with a potato masher, or blend with a hand blender. 

Stir in:

        • handful of grated sharp cheddar cheese
        • handful of chopped red, or sweet, onion
        • small handful of chopped cilantro

Let it rest for a minute or two to let the cheese melt, then stir gently to combine.  It will thicken a great deal as it cools.

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Filed under dinner, food, Protein, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo)

Vegetarian filling for Tourtière, for Ness

I’m making regular Tourtière with traditional pork,  and this is my attempt at making a vegetarian-friendly version.

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 8 oz mushrooms, chopped small
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp vegetable broth paste
  • 1/2 tsp celery salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tin lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 tsp salt (more, to taste)

PLUS

  • (you will need mashed potatoes: about 3 medium-sized potatoes, as per the regular tourtière recipe)
  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, over medium heat.  Add the onion, Carrots, mushrooms, garlic and seasonings; sauté for 6-8 minutes until softened and slightly caramelized.
  2. Add the lentils and stir well. Taste for seasonings.
  3. Continue on as for Tourtière

 

 

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Filed under comfort food, dinner, food, Main Course, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo), whole food

Citrusy Kale Salad with Almonds, Cherries, & Parmesan

I do this by “feel” and observation of the proportions.

  • Kale
  • half a lemon, squeezed
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • drizzle of maple syrup (the real stuff, only)
  • handful of sliced, toasted almonds
  • handful of dried cherries, roughly chopped
  • handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Tear the leafy parts of the kale off of the stalks, and discard stalks.  Wash and dry kale leaves, then finely shred with a knife.

Place the kale into a bowl, pour in the lemon juice, add a pinch of salt, and then massage the leaves for a minute or so.  Set aside for about half an hour.

Toss in the remaining ingredients, making sure that everything is coated with the dressing ingredients. Taste, and adjust seasonings until it suits your taste.  Also feel free add more olive oil, lemon juice, maple syrup if it needs it.

Top with additional Parmesan cheese (shaved, if you have it).

 

 

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Filed under food, Salad Dressing, Salads, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo), whole food

Broccoli Soup in the Instant Pot, for Niall

Read over the entire recipe before beginning.

Place into the Instant Pot:

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • big handful of baby carrots, chopped (or a couple of regular carrots, scrubbed and chopped)
  • 1 large celery stock, chopped
  • large bunch of broccoli, chopped roughly (2-3 crowns, plus their stems)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup water

Set the Instant Pot to “Soup” for 7 minutes (most recently, I’ve been manually setting on High for 4 minutes, and it works very well).  When the cycle ends, do a quick release of the pressure valve, and remove the lid.

Using a hand blender, or potato masher, puree the contents of the instant pot.  If desired, add about:

  • 1/2 cup whipping cream

and then add chicken stock until you reach the desired consistency; I use chicken stock paste and water.  Add:

  • 2 – 3 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Let sit for a moment in order to melt, then stir the soup or use the hand blender again.

Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.

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Filed under comfort food, food, Soups, Vegetables