Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Irish Week

Last week was Irish week around here; most nights I made something Irish for dinner. One was a hit but the rest were so-so and of course the corned beef on Friday for St. Patrick's day was delish. I'm not sure what exactly it was we didn't like about the first few recipes, maybe the Guinness (which is always better on draft), maybe some other ingredient or mix of ingredients. Nothing was horrible and maybe a few tweaks would make them better.

We tried bangers and mash with Guinness gravy. I think the problem with this recipe is that the Worcestershire sauce was a bit strong and just overpowered the Guinness a bit. It was still good, I'd probably make this one again, cutting back on the Worcestershire.

Another day was beef and stout pie. I think the problem here was operator error. I should have cut the puff pastry larger so it sat more on the dish and didn't sink into the stew. This one will probably be made again.

The Irish potato pie was probably the big hit, although this one did have it's issues as well. It ended up on the greasy side, partly because the directions weren't totally clear. It has bacon in it as well as a lot of butter to cook the potatoes in initially. I think the grease needs to be drained/left out when you pour the potatoes into the puff pastry. Really good flavor in this though. Definitely will try this one again.

We finished the week with corned beef and cabbage with roasted potatoes and carrots. As always it was really good. I love my crockpot for cooking corned beef; put it in in the morning on low and it's ready at dinner time. I used the leftover corned beef and potatoes to make hash Saturday morning and the leftover cabbage was chopped up and cooked with bacon for a quick easy dinner Saturday night.

All in all a good week of eating.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Slow Cooker Enchilada Quinoa

I used the instantpot again. I hadn't really planned to the other night but it fit the need. I was looking for a Mexican recipe but didn't want chicken since it was on the menu a couple of other times last week. I found something I thought looked good (we'll see how the other two like it) and it was made in the crockpot. Sarah said to make it in the instantpot so I could test out all the functions. Good idea there. Plus it was easy - the instantpot was on the dining room table while my crockpot is put away in the cabinet. We'll see how this works out, especially since I got things going a bit late.

After making this I'm not sure it's a total keeper but it was good. Sarah and I thought it needed more heat/spice/something (I used regular fire-roasted tomatoes since I couldn't find ones with chiles and I used mild enchilada sauce in deference to Bob). I'm not sure Bob liked it much at all. As for the instantpot it worked fine as a crockpot; could have just as easily have made it in a crockpot.

Slow Cooker Enchilada Quinoa
serves 4-6

1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-oz can yellow corn, drained
2 15-oz cans mild or medium enchilada sauce
1 15-oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes with green chiles
1 c uncooked quinoa + 1/2 c water
4 oz cream cheese (light is fine), room temperature
salt & pepper to taste
1 c shredded Mexican style cheese
optional - chopped cilantro, diced tomatoes, diced avocado, sour cream

Stir together the beans, corn, 1 can of enchilada sauce, fire roasted tomatoes, quinoa, water, cream cheese, salt, and pepper. Mix well to make sure the cream cheese is mixed in. Pour remaining can of enchilada sauce on top, then sprinkle with cheese. Cover and cook on high 4-5 hours or low for 6-7 hours. Uncover, top with cilantro, tomatoes, avocado, and sour cream.

from Creme de la Crumb

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Instantpot Garlic Mashed Potatoes

I used my instant pot again today. Still have mixed feelings about it. I don't think it really was any faster to make mashed potatoes in it (really all you're doing is cooking the potatoes, you still have to mash them). The one advantage of cooking the potatoes this way is that you avoid the messy boil over that usually happens, at least when I'm boiling potatoes. This would come in handy at Thanksgiving or some other time when I have a lot of things going on the stove but still need to get the potatoes cooked.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

5-6 large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 c chicken broth or water
3 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 milk (may need more)
salt & pepper

Put the potatoes, broth, and garlic into the instantpot. Cook on high manual pressure for 25 minutes then do a quick release. Drain and put into a bowl; add milk and butter and mash. Add more milk if needed to make them creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Note: you can use more or less potatoes and still cook them the same amount of time

Saturday, March 4, 2017


Like so many others I got an Instantpot for Christmas. I'll admit I was really on the fence asking for one because I wasn't sure I'd get much use from it. I've got a crockpot I like, it will be just the hubby and I soon, and did I really need another appliance in the kitchen. I'm still on the fence but I've at least by this point pulled it out of the box and used it to make hard boiled eggs several times. I also cooked beans once but that had mixed results.

I've decided, after some nudging from my cousin, that I need to get on the stick and use it. I have several things on the menu this week to give it a try. Tonight I'm making Asian sesame chicken, one day for lunch this week I'm going to make sweet potatoes, and I have about three other recipes that I want to look through and decide which one to try.

I think one of my issues is that my crockpot is either bigger or just a different shape that makes it seem bigger so I think some of my "throw a hunk of meat in the crockpot and let it cook" recipes will still work better in my crockpot even though this has a crockpot function. I'm also not sure how to transfer some of my other recipes and make them work in a pressure cooker. I'll give it a go with what I have above and figure it out as I go along.

If you have any tried and true instantpot recipes please share!