Instapot Chicken & dumplings

3 Tbsp butter or olive oil
1.5 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, sliced into 1" strips
1 Medium yellow onion diced
3 Ribs of celery washed and diced
4 Carrots diced
1/2 Tsp poultry seasoning
Salt & Pepper
6 Cups chicken stock

1 Cup frozen corn

1.75 Cups Bisquick baking mix
2/3 Cups milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 Cup heavy cream

Turn Instapot to sauté, add butter or olive oil, chicken, salt & pepper, cook 4 minutes or until lightly browned.  Add in onions, celery, carrots, and seasoning, toss to combine and cook for one minute.  Add broth, lock the lid and cook for 8 minutes.  Perform a quick release.  Set pot to sauté or high and add in corn.  Taste soup at this point to see if it needs more salt & pepper, if so, season to desired taste.  Mix together biscuit dough and drop by rounded spoonfuls into soup.  Let dumplings simmer for 8 minutes.  Put lid on and turn to sauté, let cook covered for 2 more minutes to be sure the top of the dumplings cook.  Release, remove lid, stir in cream, and serve.  

I doubled the biscuit recipe and baked a set of cheese biscuits to serve with it also.  The next day for lunch I found that the dumplings had dissolved over night, so I put the biscuits on top of the soup, inside the kids thermos.

This recipe is adapted from the book (the only thing I added was cheddar cheese), "Great Food Fast" by Bob Warden.  You can get it on Amazon


Yellow curry roasted cauliflower & chickpeas

 I was looking for something new to mix with my lentils this week.  My friend sent me a recipe for a chicken curry that I modified.  This was a quick and easy dinner dish to make.

1 Can chickpeas drained & rinsed
1 Head cauliflower roughly chopped
4 Small yukon gold potatoes quartered
1/2 Can coconut milk
2 Tbsp yellow curry powder
2 Tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 375.  On a roasting pan combine chickpeas, cauliflower, potatoes, salt, pepper, olive oil & half of curry powder.  Toss until evenly coated.  Roast for 20-35 minutes until tender.  In a large sauté pan combine half can of coconut milk & remaining curry powder over high heat. Whisk until combined.  Continue whisking for one minute.  Reduce heat, and simmer on low.  Once veggies are done, add them to curry coconut milk, and toss until combined.  Serve as is, or on a bed of red lentils.  

This week I made this with my favorite red lentils as a side dish, to pack for lunch.  I added 4 diced carrots to the lentils before putting them in the Instapot, to give the dish a sweet flavor. It's been a great, filling vegan meal.

Red lentils

This has become one of my new go to Sunday night dishes that I make to use in a bunch of different ways throughout the week.  I will post the recipe for the lentils and then post the adjoining recipes using the lentils next.  This is a great dish because you can make it ahead, refrigerate it, and eat it all week.  As a bonus it taste super yummy cold on wraps. I would also like to add a disclaimer that I don't really have a picture of the finished product in the pot.  It was really good while tasting, and I kept burning my mouth, plus I was starving, so when it was finished I just put it on a wrap and walked away.  You can kind of see the finished product once it's layered on a wrap, I'll post that below.

1 Cup red lentils (checked for rocks and goodies, then rinsed)
3 Cups water / vegetable broth
1 Rounded tsp cumin
1 Tsp garlic powder
1/2 Tsp sea salt
Pepper to taste
1/8 Cup chopped white onion 

*Optional crushed red pepper flakes

In a medium dutch oven (or sauce pan) bring water and lentils to a boil.  Once boiling add in cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Stir to get all of the lentils off the bottom of the pan and combine seasoning.  Reduce heat to low and cover for five minutes allowing it to simmer.  Add in chopped onions, stir, once again getting all the bits off the bottom of the pan. Cover and allow to continue simmering for 15-20 minutes until lentils are tender and soft.  Remove from heat and stir one final time checking consistency.  If your lentils seem soft with no bite, they are done.  If not, add a little more water and keep simmering.  Your lentils should have very little left over liquid when done.

 Reduce amount of vegetable broth by 1/2 cup.  Combine all ingredients in pot.  Set to manual 9 minutes.  Instant release pressure and serve.

If you are more adventurous then me this is when you would add in a pinch or two of crushed red pepper flakes.  I am not adventurous.  

You can serve the lentils warm as is, or refrigerate them for about three hours and use them as the base for a few types of wraps which I will link to after I post them up.

This recipe has so far made enough for three wraps, plus a good amount just spooned right into my mouth, and it looks like I have enough left for two wraps. If you wanted to feed a family on this I would double the recipe.  This is something I made to have on for lunch and dinner for myself since I am the only vegetarian in the house.
This is how they look the next day after being chilled over night.  Kind of a spreadable wrap filling.  Reheated it will be a nice hearty spoonable texture.


The best cauliflower you will ever eat

5-6 Cloves of garlic roughly chopped
1/3 Yellow onion diced (red onion for a sweeter caramelized flavor)
2 Tsp dried parsley
4 Tbsp olive oil 
4 Pinches sea salt
1- Head of cauliflower chopped up

4-6 Sliced hot cherry peppers diced up
1 Tsp hot cherry pepper juice 

Preheat oven to 375. Combine all ingredients excluding hot peppers.  Taste for flavor once it's all combined.  I add more garlic, pepper, or more salt at this stage. Cover and bake for 20 minutes, remove from oven and toss in peppers and juice.  Cook another 10 minutes until it reaches your desired doneness. (I like it al dente, my husband likes it soft).  Normally I don't pull it until the onions are soft and caramelized.  I marinated mine for 2 hours prior and I think it gave it more flavor. I think this could also be marinated over night and thrown in the oven the next day. 

I used to make this adding the peppers at the start of cook time.  I realized it added too much heat and took away from all of the other flavors.  I now add it in at the end of cooking. I find the peppers stay sweeter, and you can still distinguish the onions and garlic from the overwhelming heat.


Spicy garlic parmesan chicken wings

My husband and kids love the Garlic Parmesan wings from Wing Stop.  After about five years I gave in and tried to make something similar without deep frying them.  The first time I just seasoned them and threw them in the oven.  After that my husband asked me if I could try it with Panko to make them really crunchy.  I tried, and the wings of happiness were born.

2-3 Pounds of fresh party wings (not frozen, must be defrosted)
1 Cup panko breadcrumbs
3 Tbsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp onion granules
4 Tbsp Parmesan cheese (smaller grain the better)
Chipotle powder to your liking I use about 1 Tsp
2 Tsp dried parsley
Pinch salt
1/2 Tsp black pepper
3 Tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 375.  Coat wings in olive oil.  Add a third of your seasoning to wings and give them a good rub down coating the entire wings in seasoning.  Add remaining two thirds of seasoning to panko and mix.  Line a pan with foil.  Place baking cooling racks over foil (if you have them).  One at a time roll each wing in the panko and place on the baking rack.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Carefully flip each wing over once trying not to knock off all of the coating.  Bake for another 15 -20 minutes until wings reach an inner temp of 175.  Pull out and let rest 5-7 minutes.  Enjoy.

Life hack.  I sometimes sprinkle more parmesan on the wings after I flip them.  Life hack two.  Even though it goes against all of my clean eating tips, my family really prefers that parmesan cheese in the green shaker bottle near the pizza sauce.


Authentic Pork Carnitas

**Pleas note this is an updated recipe but not an updated after pic.  My husband and kids ate the food so fast last night I did not get a picture of it. However this was by far the most moist, and flavorful carnitas I have made to date.
1 large 2-3 pound pork shoulder/butt
1/2 medium white onion chopped
6 cloves garlic chopped
1.5 tbsp sea salt or kosher
2 tbsp black pepper
2 Bay leaves
1 Tsp cumin
1 Cube chicken bullion

warm flour tortillas (or corn its a preference really)
1/2 white onion fine diced
cilantro fine minced

Combine all ingredients in crock pot and cook on low for 8-9 hours.  Shred with a fork and allow pork to simmer in juice for ten minutes. Serve. Mix diced white onions and cilantro. Place pork on warmed tortilla, top with onions and cilantro and enjoy.


Slow cooker BBQ pulled pork

4 - 5 pound pork shoulder
1 chicken bullion cube
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 garlic cloves minced
1/2 yellow onion chopped

BBQ Sauce:
1/2 yellow onion cubed
4 cloves garlic
 1 can tomato paste
2 Tbsp dijon mustard
3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 can pineapple chunks with juice
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup

Combine all ingredients for BBQ sauce in blender and puree until smooth.  Taste for seasoning.  I added a little more balsamic vinegar after tasting.  It is going to taste tomatoe-y until it's cooked down.  Add pork, half of sauce, and all ingredients for pork into crock pot.  Cook on low for 8 hours.  Store remaining sauce in blender, covered in the refrigerator.  After the 8 hours using a large spoon drain half of juice from cooked pork, shred and cover with remaining half of sauce.  Allow to cook for another hour until sauce thickens.  Serve and enjoy.  I served mine on a whole wheat bun spread with a little salted butter, and sliced fresh tomatoes.  The boys devoured it.

This sauce can be cooked longer, or even ahead of time.  You can simmer it on low for 2-3 hours then add it to any meat you desire.  The pork can be cooked a day ahead of time, drained and then put back in the crock pot with the sauce and cooked on low in the crock pot for 8 hours if you want the sauce to be really thick.