Melt butter in saute pan over medium low heat. Add pearl onions and cook until crisp tender, about 5 minutes. Add peas and carrots. Turn heat up to medium high and wait for butter to come to a simmer. Simmer 2 minutes.
Add flour, stirring constantly until well incorporated and smooth. Add vegetable broth, a little at a time, stirring constantly. Bring back to boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Add parsley, chives, thyme, salt and pepper. Take off heat and allow to cool slightly. Add cream and chicken.
Spray 12 ct muffin tin with cooking spray. Cut biscuit dough into 12 equal pieces and roll into balls. Flatten each ball and press into muffin cup, bringing it slightly above the rim of the cup. Fill each cup with ¼ cup of the chicken mixture. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until biscuit tops are golden brown.
Allow chicken pot pies to cool for 5 – 10 minutes, then remove by sliding knife into muffin cup and gently underneath to pop the pies out. Serve warm.
Hack: Place cooled chicken pot pies on a cookie sheet and freeze until solid. Store in freezer container. I don’t recommend using a just freezer bag as the crust might break up as they are moved around the freezer.
To reheat: Thaw in refrigerator overnight. Bake in 350͒ for 15-20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160͒.
These delicious homemade butter biscuits can go two ways…a traditional biscuit or an herb biscuit. The butter creates steam pockets for a light, flaky texture.
Homemade Butter Biscuits
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
½ cup (1 stick) cold butter, grated
1 cup milk
½ tsp rosemary
½ tsp parsley
½ tsp chives
½ tsp thyme
Heat oven to 450͒ F.
Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and herbs (if desired). Mix in butter, then add milk. Stir to combine.
Turn out onto floured surface or silicone pastry mat and kneed a few times to fully incorporate ingredients. Add small amounts of flour or drops of milk as necessary so the dough will hold together but not be sticky.
Pat dough to ⅔” thickness and cut with a 2” biscuit cutter or drinking glass.
Place biscuits on greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly browned.
10 servings (1 biscuit), 185 calories per serving
Hack: Place leftover biscuits on cookie sheet and place in freezer until fully frozen. Place in a sealable freezer bag and store in a freezer-safe container.
After World War II ended in 1945, the lives of Americans began to change dramatically and for the better.
These were people who had lived through the Great Depression when they didn’t have money to meet their basic needs followed by a war during which they couldn’t buy what they needed no matter how much money they had.
Now prosperity reigned and a new middle class began to emerge. Food was abundant as rationing ended and supermarkets began to crop up in every neighborhood.
Suburbs popped up everywhere and every kitchen in every new home was equipped with shiny new appliances, the likes of which had never been seen before.
And what else popped up? Come on now, we’ve talked about this. That’s right…convenience foods!
Companies that manufactured and sold all these new fangled foods were more than happy to assist the modern day housewife in getting the most from this brave new world of modern conveniences.
They began to buy ad space in womens’ magazines and use that space to print recipes that included their products.
I guess some of the recipes must have tasted good but, for humors sake, I wanted to present to you a small sampling of the most cringe worthy vintage recipe ads that I found (in a relatively short time).
The Rise and Fall of Gelatin Molds
Who remembers gelatin molds?
They were so popular there was even a name for it: Gel Cookery (I kid you not).
I personally remember that my mothers’ specialty was a lime gelatin and grated carrot thing. I don’t know if there was more to it than that, I just know that I liked the lime gelatin, I could have done without the carrots.
Now the fruity, powdered gelatin products that are available to us today were originally brought into existence back in the mid 1800’s but there was one problem.
Once it was mixed with water, it needed refrigeration to make it gel, which was a luxury most homes did not possess.
With refrigerators finally being available to mainstream America in the 50’s, gelatin finally came into its’ own.
It was fun to make, fun to look at and it was a status symbol, of sorts, to show that you had the appliance needed to actually gel up that concoction.
But for every good idea, there is an equally bad idea out there. Here are just a few:
Jellied Bouillon combined beef bouillon, hot dogs, hard boiled eggs and Knox Gelatine with the tagline “Frankfurters take on glamor in the gleaming aspic”.
I would not put the words frankfurts and glamor in the same sentence but I guess you had to be there.
Barbecue salad was a mixture of lemon Jell-O and tomato sauce. Adding onion juice and horseradish were optional.
The ad makes no mention of what one may have served this as or with but they did proclaim it to be “Tomato aspic with personality”.
This ad is clever mash-up that totes the many uses of Kraft mini marshmallows and…well…other stuff.
One includes freezing a mixture of Miracle Whip, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, confectioners sugar, heavy cream, marshmallows and canned pineapple.
Another is far more simple: marshmallows and (generic) lime gelatin. I guess Jell-O didn’t pay for a spot in this ad.
Anyhoo…both delightful creations are served on a bed of lettuce because lettuce beds are, apparently, where all fancy desserts are presented. Tagline? “Keep glamor handy for salads”.
Now I know I’m picking on gelatin molds but I gotta include one more recipe card, this one for Tuna Fish Mold.
Here it is paired the “flavor blessing” of A-1 sauce and it claims to be “Real Cool”. Like, for real, who doesn’t want to eat a gelatinous mound of pureed, canned tuna and tomato soup molded to look like a marine animal?
There’s even a coupon to get the fish mold for $1 (a $2.50 value!!)
So…Who Thought This Was A Good Idea?
This particular ad is a throw-back to the late 1940’s. Potato Mor Ring presents Wilson’s Mor, a Spam-like pork product, warmed in cream sauce and served over a molded potato ring.
Mor was toted as being “highly nutritious and ready-to-eat source of vitamin B”.
Speaking of mystery meat did you know that when you add Spam to your baked beans “a crisp new flavor is added to an old favorite”?
And much like Wilson’s Mor, it claims to be a magical, healthy food made of pure pork and packed with B vitamins!
I would assume those are canned baked beans as well but it doesn’t specifically say.
Wieneroni Casserole — Hot dogs simmered in Karo and served over pasta. “Frankly delicious!”
There’s nothing I can even add to this. I’m at a loss for words.
Jellygrill Sandwich is made with Velveeta Cheese and Kraft Grape Jelly. We’re encouraged to “bite into the taste of natural fruit”.
If we weren’t convinced that grape jelly is a fruit the first time they said it, they had to get it in there once again: “The good rich taste of natural fruit and smooth, yummy Velveeta”.
If you say it enough times, it must be true.
We can wash all this delightful food down with a yummy glass of 7-Up and milk.
“Mothers know that this is a wholesome combination. The addition of 7-Up gives milk a new flavor appeal that especially pleases children”.
Or not. While you may be feeling shocked that they’re calling this drink “wholesome” we shouldn’t be too surprised.
This is the same company who claimed their soda was “100% natural” in 2006, a claim they had to drop less than a year later after being sued.
And the trophy goes to… (drum roll, please!)…
I know I’m a little late with this one but how could I resist?
The Oscar Meyer Holiday Hostess Tree features not one…not two…but FIVE types of processed meat, all of which appear to be served at room temperature.
Mini weiners, mini smokies, canned ham, cotto salami and liver sausage all hang merrily from a holiday tree made of parsley sprigs hand stapled on a cone of styrofoam, into which you have rammed a plastic kitchen funnel.
I think we could still get away with this for New Years, right?
Now THAT Was Fun!
I could go on and on. And on. But really, we should stop as I’m sure you have other things to do.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this fun trip into the past and, if you have a minute or two, comment below and let me know what weird (or wonderful!) recipe you remember from your childhood!
I’m sure you’ve heard of Instant Pot. It’s That Thing that has everyone talking. That wondrous, marvelous, amazing, extraordinary, almost transcendent piece of kitchen equipment that the whole world is raving about. Since you’re here, reading this review, I assume that you’re considering buying and you’re looking to see if this is the brand for you.
The fact is that Instant Pot is the best-selling and most popular pressure cooker out there. It’s user-friendly and has many, many uses, from the obvious (pressure-cooking) to things you may not be aware of such as making yogurt, cooking eggs and even sterilization. The problem (at least for me) is that there are 10 different models available. T.E.N. Which one is the right one for you? I’m going to break it down for you here.
My review: Instant Pot.
Basic Instant Pot Features
There are certain features that all Instant Pots have in common so I’m going to cover those first:
High-Pressure Cooking Function that cooks food up to 70% faster.
Slow Cooker Function.
Steamer Option for cooking vegetables, seafood, and eggs. Steamer accessories are included with Instant Pot.
Saute Function for sauteing, browning and reducing.
Rice Cooker Option to cook rice in as little as 4 minutes.
Warm Setting for keeping food at the proper temperature when it’s finished cooking.
Stainless Steel Inner Port has a 3 ply bottom and is dishwasher safe.
Accessories included: stainless steel steam rack with handles, rice paddle, soup spoon, measuring cup and condensation collector.
Free Instant Pot App for iOS and Android devices that’s loaded with hundreds of recipes as well as an online community to provide support and guidance.
More than 10 built-in safety features, including Overheat Protection, Safety Lock and more to ensure safe pressure-cooking
All Instant Pots except the Lux 6 in 1 have these additional features:
Low-Pressure Cooking Function for cooking items such as hard or soft-cooked eggs as well as more delicate vegetables and fish.
Yogurt Making Function.
Pot By Pot
Now that we know the basics, let’s get down to the brass tacks: the pot by pot comparison so you can choose the perfect Instant Pot for you! Ready? Let’s roll.
Instant Pot Duo Plus is an updated Duo. Duo Plus upgrades include the easy seal lid to automatically seal when pressure-cooking and a cooking progress indicator, so you know when cooking begins. It has 15 one-touch Smart Programs and can prepare meals for up to 6 people.
A larger version of the Instant Pot Duo Plus 9 in 1 has all the features of the regular Duo Plus but in an 8-quart size.
Instant Pot Duo Plus Mini has a 3-quart capacity and comes in a bundle with the 6-quart. It’s great for making side dishes or for anywhere that space is limited. It has 13 one-touch smart programs but does not have the cake or beans/grain option offered in the larger size.
A central dial with a simple turn and press provides added precision in program selection and adjustment. 16 one-touch Smart Programs include complete temperature customization and preset cooking times for up to 6 hours.
The automatic altitude adjustment takes the guesswork out of recipe conversion while the new self-closing pressure valve adds a higher safety rating.
Instant Pot Ultra 10 in 1 Mini has all the features of the larger Ultras but in a 3-quart size. It’s great for small households, making side dishes or for anywhere that space is limited.
Instant Pot Duo Evo is a hybrid of the Duo Plus and the Ultra and has features you won’t find in other models. It has 10 one-touch Smart Programs and 48 customizable preset options, making it a must-have for cooking enthusiasts!
It has the biggest display of all the models we’ve looked at so far, big, bold and angled so it can be read from a distance while the new cooking progress indicator shows clearly where you are in the cooking cycle. The 1200W heating element reduces preheating time allowing you to make meals faster.
The easy seal lid automatically seals the pressure cooker while the improved steam-diffusing cover takes the fear out of the pressure release process. Pressure release time is shortened with the new QuickCool technology.
The cookware-grade inner pot made from 304 (18/8) stainless steel features non-slip, cool-to-the-touch silicone handles and a flat bottom that can be used on gas, electric and induction stovetop/cooktop.
Accessories include stainless steel steam rack with long handles and an extra sealing ring.
This WiFi-enabled cooker lets you schedule, cook, adjust and monitor the progress of your meals on the go from your mobile device with the Instant Pot app. It’s also compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant. As if that’s not awesome enough, you’ll have access to thousands of pre-programmed recipes and 13 one-touch Smart Programs!
The sustained 15psi pressure in this cooker not only cooks food faster while using less energy, it also enables you to do home pressure canning. It automatically releases pressure in the pot when the food is cooked. New Nutriboost technology creates a boiling motion during pressure-cooking to break down food, adding nutrition, flavor, and taste to soups and bone broth.
A new-brushed stainless steel exterior body, stainless steel interior cooker and inner pot are made from food-grade 304 stainless steel and accessories include 2 heat-resistant silicone mitts.
A lot of people I know call their Instant Pot a game-changer. They’re absolutely hooked.
Much of their fondness comes from a place of convenience. There is a shorter cooking time for large, tough cuts of meat, wild rice, steel-cut oats and lentils plus its ability to cook meat from frozen.
As a one-pot meal creator, it will leave you with fewer dirty dishes, leading to a quicker cleanup time. You can’t hate that!
What about you? Which Instant Pot are you going to choose? If you already have one, tell me what you think about yours! I’d love to hear from you.
Scallops: Place scallops carefully in pan so they are not touching. Cook on one side for 2-4 minutes, until they are nicely seared. Flip them over and cook for 2 minutes.
Shrimp: Place shrimp carefully in pan so that they are not touching. Cook for one minute. Flip over and cook for one more minute, or until shrimp is opaque.
Remove seafood from pan and arrange on top of rice. Add lemon poppy dressing to pan and scrape bottom of pan to deglaze. Empty contents over the top of seafood and rice.
1 serving, 360 calories
Hack: Place leftover rice while still warm (to retain moisture) in serving size containers and freeze for future use.
Hack #2: Shrimp and scallops can be purchased individually from the seafood counter at most grocery stores. Alternately, both of these items can be purchased frozen in large portions if you wish to keep some on hand. Thaw needed amounts before cooking.
Hack #3: Seafood can be thawed overnight in refrigerator. It can be thawed more quickly by placing it in a sealable bag and submerging in a bath of cold water for about an hour.
We’ve all seen him. That guy in the checkout line at the grocery store, the one we know is single and lives alone. 4 frozen dinners, 1 deli sandwich, 6-pack of beer and an economy sized bag of Cheetos.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Just because we’re single, it doesn’t mean we’re doomed to a future of breakfast cereal, frozen pizza for one and Ramon noodles.
Nor must we choose drive thrus or gas station hot dogs (I often who came up with THAT idea. Like, was someone pumping their gas and suddenly thought, “Well, this makes me want to eat a smoked sausage!”?)
We have a choice. I’d like to share a few things that I’ve picked up along the way to make cooking for one a bit easier and, hopefully, a little more fun.
Healthy Ways Start to Your Day
Running late this morning? Always keep some bananas, frozen strawberries and yogurt on hand to make a smoothie. It just takes a minute and you can drink it on your way to work!
Overnight oats are convenient and the flavor combos are endless so you’ll never get bored. They can be stored for up to 5 days in the fridge so go ahead and throw together a few one evening for a quick breakfast.
Everybody loves Sunday morning breakfast! Make a crustless quiche to enjoy with a leisurely cup of coffee and the newspaper. Store a few pieces in the fridge up to 5 days for a healthy lunch and put the rest in the freezer for another time!
Play It Again, Sam
No big plans for your day off? Make a big pot of spaghetti sauce and freeze it in portions for use another day. Might as well freeze up a batch of meatballs to go with it, too!
Make connected meals. For example, when making potatoes for garlic chicken, do a few extra and use the leftovers to go with Korean beef (instead of cooking rice).
Or save some potato cubes unmashed to make potato salad. While your boiling the eggs for the potato salad, throw in a few extra for egg salad.
And always, always, make extra rice to package up in single serving sizes and store in the freezer!
Strategic Contingency Planning
It happens. You get stuck working late, encounter a major traffic jam on the way home or get caught up in a lengthy conversation with a friend. Then it’s too late to cook that dinner you had planned or you’re just too tired.
Make sure you’ve stocked up on a few items that are have a decent shelf life and are quick and easy to throw together.
Eggs, cheese, peanut butter and pasta are excellent choices, as are crackers, rice and bread (store this double wrapped in the freezer if you need to!). Frozen fruits and vegetables require no prep at all so they can easily be used in a pinch.
Think of ways to be creative!
Decide to go to the farmers market, choose something you haven’t had before then go home and create a meal.
No, honestly, I “wing” a lot of my recipes and it always turns out fine. Ok, almost always. There was the “Fennel Incident”. Fennel, as it turns out, tastes like black licorice. Gross. Who knew?
Dress up your go-to meals. Grilled cheese? Mix it up with a two cheese combo, mustard and a couple of pickle slices. Add a splash of cream and some croutons to your tomato soup. Swap out the ketchup on your burger for some thousand island dressing.
Presto Chango! Leftovers don’t have to be the same thing that they were when they were originally left over. (Say THAT 5 times fast!) Pair the grilled chicken and roasted carrots you had last night with chopped onion, soy sauce, leftover rice and – BOOM! – a delicious (and definitely not leftover) stir-fry.
Riddle Me This
Who do you have to answer to anyway? Cooking for just you allows you to eat what you want, when you want, using whatever ingredients you want and as spicy (or not) as you want.
Who’s gonna even know? So what if that tuna and spaghetti thing didn’t measure up to your expectations? I’m not gonna tell and you don’t have to either!
No one’s watching, right? Pour a glass of wine, turn up the 80’s pop music and have a dance party in your pajamas while cooking pasta for the 3rd day in a row. Because you can.
Life is what you make it so make it good. Be brave, be bold, be empowered. And above all, have fun.
What are your thoughts on cooking for one? What are your favorite recipes and strategies? Let me know in the comments below!
In my book, nothing says comfort food like a nice plate of spaghetti with these: the best Italian meatballs ever! I’ve skipped the pan browning to it simple.
Best Italian Meatballs
½ cup Italian style bread crumbs*
¼ cup milk
1 pound 85% ground beef
1 onion, finely diced
1½ tsp minced garlic (3 cloves)
1 tsp Worchestershire sauce
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tbls grated Parmesan cheese
½ tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
Soak crumbs in milk for 20 minutes.
Mix all ingredients in a bowl until well blended. Shape into 24 balls (1 ½“ each).
*For gluten-free meatballs, replace old-fashioned rolled oats for bread crumbs.
Cooking Method #1: Drop meatballs one at a time into the sauce, soup or other cooking liquid and simmer gently for 30-35 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160͒. Do not stir for the first 10 minutes to allow meatballs to set. Stir gently and occasionally after that.
Cooking Method #2: Bake uncovered in at 400͒ for 15-20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160͒.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Add peas during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain.
Add oil to saute pan and heat over medium-low heat. Add garlic and saute for 4 minutes. Increase heat to medium high. Add tomatoes and cook for 1 minute. Add pasta, salt and pepper to pan, cook for 3 minutes until heated through. Toss with basil and parsley, sprinkle with cheese. Serve immediately.