Cooking, Food, Kitchen, recipes

Cozy Instant Pot Recipes for Fall

Instant Pots are all the rage this Fall – the best season for cozy recipes.

Serious Eats has more about what an Instant Pot is used for, and we have to agree — it’s only worth it if you don’t already have a pressure cooker.

You can make some great meals (and cakes!) quickly — but the other functions that make it a multicooker can be done with regular kitchen equipment.

We think the Instant Pot is a great cooking tool since it cuts down on time and can do so many things.

As Daniel Gritzer said in Serious Eats:

As the name implies, what’s most appealing about a multi-cooker is the range of cooking options it offers. It steams! It sears! It simmers! It cooks beans! It cooks rice! It cooks stews! It cooks chili! It makes yogurt! It’s a pressure cooker! It’s a slow-cooker! It can make my bed and clean my toilet and rub my feet and sanitize my dentures! All! In! One!

Here are a few recipes we made so far this season:

IMG_1340 copySquash soup

From the Instapot recipe book (included with the pot!). This is a tasty, velvety, vegan soup!

ACS_0070Curries

Curry recipes are great because you can sub any ingredients you have on hand. The spices are what make it great, and you can adjust based on what spice level you like.

IMG_1488 copyRed Lentil Kale Curry

Lentils are cheap and healthy, so keep them on hand! You can sub in any greens you already have.

Recipe

IMG_0641 copyChickpea Curry

This recipe is one of our favorite curries. The cauliflower really makes it tasty, but you could sub broccoli or just leave it out if you hate it!

Recipe

Advertisements
Basics, Cooking, Essentials, Food, Tools

Tools 101: Mezzaluna

You have new kitchen toys, hooray! Now, what the heck do you do with them?

This series features some ideas to get you cooking – and eating – asap!

Now: to the chopping block!

IMG_0626

Meet your mezzaluna

Italian for “half-moon,” this tool gives new meaning to chopped salads. Using a smooth rocking motion, effortlessly chop large amounts of lettuce, veggies & herbs all in one bowl for an easy and even chopped salad.

What’s it for?

  • Makes mincing piles of herbs a breeze
  • Can be used for chopping nuts or chocolate for baking
  • Allows for even chopping
  • Works well as a pizza cutter

How to clean

Use a soft sponge with warm soap and water. Dry with a clean dish towel or air dry. Do not put in the dishwasher.

IMG_0632 copy

Tips

Make one or two big salads for this week’s lunches & dinners! It’s an easy way to make sure you have veggies this week.

IMG_0853Happy eating!

Get cooking! Use offer code “BACK2COOKING” for 10% off your first month!

Cooking, Essentials, Food, Kitchen

Ingredients 101: Easy, Affordable Cooking

Keep these staple ingredients on hand for cooking, and always have an easy, affordable meal at your fingertips!

Proteins

danielle-macinnes-676245-unsplashEggs: Cheap, satisfying staple for hearty breakfasts, lunches and easy dinners. Plus top any pasta with an egg for rich deliciousness! More egg tips here.

Lentils: Hearty, energy-boosting and protein-packed for easy salads, stews and more.

Ground beef: Easy to prepare and versatile. Cook a bunch at once, using half for tacos and the rest for a hearty meat sauce the following night.

Chicken thighs: A great affordable and flavorful option. Buy in bulk on sale and freeze for up to 6 months.

Grains

andrea-tummons-448848-unsplashOatmeal: Cook a bunch of steel-cut oats at the beginning of the week, along with some easy stewed cinnamon apples. You can also add sliced banana during the last few minutes of the oatmeal cooking for a yummy treat. Adults and kids love oatmeal! Try easy overnight oatmeal too to simplify your mornings.

Brown rice: Versatile for simple grain salads, soups, sides and healthy rice pudding. Always have a batch ready to eat in your fridge.

Quinoa: Great for breakfast bowls, easy side for grilled meat or tossed with leftover veggies for a simple lunch.

Pasta: Easy, no-fuss meals with tomato sauce, simple butter sauce, pesto and seasonal veggies. Also pasta for breakfast makes waking up easier.

Fruit & Veg

jessica-lewis-512219-unsplashFruits: Always have apples, grapes, bananas, and berries for yogurt, smoothies, oatmeal and more. Keep an apple or pear sliced and ready to eat so you’re more likely to grab that when you mindlessly poke around for a snack.

img_2572.jpgStaple Veggies: Always have carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli/cauliflower, and/or butternut squash. All of these will last a while, so you don’t need to stress out about using them right away. Just keep the carrots, broccoli & cauliflower clean and ready to use in your crisper. The potatoes and squash can stay out at room temperature until they’re cut.

chiara-conti-505587-unsplashGreens: Always have fresh greens on hand! Spinach is the best for versatility, but arugula, kale and others are nice to switch things up, especially if you like things a bit more flavorful!

Pro tip:

Don’t forget the freezer! Keep it stocked with frozen veggies, which are flash frozen at their peak for healthy deliciousness year-round!

Happy cooking!

More Info

Meal Prep Help

Guide to Expiration Dates

Essentials, Food

How to Make the Best Sandwiches

ola-mishchenko-600012-unsplashWe all know that sad lunch feeling: another turkey sandwich, another salad. But sandwiches and salads don’t have to be sad — you just need the right ingredients to liven them up.

Build a Better Sandwich

florencia-viadana-723345-unsplashBread

Get your bread fresh from a bakery or grocery store each week if you can. It will make your sandwiches much tastier and more hearty, keeping you full and satisfied.

Meat

If you’re a meat eater, always go to the deli counter of your local store for freshly sliced meat. This will usually be tastier than packaged options, and you can choose the amount you want depending how many sandwiches you’re making.

Cheese

You can also pick up cheese at the deli counter. Grab at least two different varieties at once so you can switch things up during the week.

Greens

Wash your greens when you bring them home, or buy pre-washed greens, but note those are generally more expensive than bulk greens. Spinach, arugula and romaine lettuce are good go-tos, but we like to buy whatever is on sale so we’re constantly trying new greens!

thomas-martinsen-105809-unsplashTomato

Go for the freshest seasonal tomatoes when possible. Use your sharpest knife to slice them thin so they don’t slip out of the sandwich. Season with a little salt & pepper. Hint: keep the knife out to make a tomato relish while tomatoes are still in season to savor that sweet taste all year long.

Condiments

Mayo, Mustard & More

We know some kids (and adults) prefer ketchup on everything, but for sandwiches mayo and mustard are best.

Having a good mayo on hand is key; you can spruce it up with some fresh herbs, lemon juice or hot sauce. That way, you’re constantly getting slightly different flavors on your sandwiches.

For mustard, always have a Dijon and a spicy brown on hand. Those will pack the most punch for your sandwiches.

lauren-mancke-63448-unsplashAcid

A good rule of thumb for any kitchen is to always have some citrus on hand. Lemons are the most common, and you can use a bit of juice to brighten up the veggies for your sandwiches and salads. A squeeze of citrus also helps keep avocado from browning!

Red wine vinegar is what makes sandwiches at old-school Italian delis so delicious (along with the best quality meats, cheeses and bread, of course!) A little oil and vinegar provide tons of flavor, and the oil gives you a good dose of healthy fat. Use your olive oil bottle so you don’t drench the sandwich.

jonathan-pielmayer-89798-unsplashPickles, Peppers & More

Pickled EVERYTHING will make your sandwich pop. A little sour zing is always a good thing, especially when it’s pickled hot peppers. Always have at least two pickled vegetables on hand.

Assembly

Assemble any wet ingredients (aka veggies and pickles) last, or as close to eating as possible. If taking to school or work, wrap tightly and bring plenty of napkins.

You don’t need much more for excellent sandwiches! Tag us @quoconow with your best pics.

Get chopping!

Basics, Cooking

Eggs 101

Simple foods make every day delicious.

Aside from being Insta-worthy, adding an egg to raw veggies helps you retain more of the veggies’ nutrients. Let us help you master eggs to create a world of tasty, easy meals!

Fried Eggs

Why fried eggs?

Fried eggs not only look pretty when you cut into the oozing yolk, but they make dishes richer and more delicious. Add to sandwiches, salads, pasta and rice bowls to enjoy an extra protein punch and a rich, velvety taste.

How long will it last?

Fried eggs are best cooked to order. Invest in a small nonstick skillet for quick, easy frying.

How to

You want a well-oiled nonstick pan. Using a spray can will help coat the pan evenly without making it too greasy, but you can also use your olive oil bottle, coconut oil or butter (approx 1 tbsp) if you prefer.

Heat the pan over medium or medium-low heat. Medium-low is usually best, but stoves can vary. If you crack the egg in and it starts to bubble, the pan is too hot; lower the heat.

Sunny Side Up

sunnyside.jpgCook 1 minute at medium, then lower heat to medium-low or low, cover, and cook another 4 minutes for sunny side up, 5 minutes for medium, 6 minutes for hard. Covering traps the steam, gently cooking the top.

Over Easy

overeasy1Cook 1 minute until outside white is set, then flip for another 1-2 minutes.

Over Medium or Over Hard

Cook 3-4 minutes per side.

Boiled Eggs

Why boiled eggs?

Hard boiled eggs are a great healthy snack and addition to salads and sandwiches, and we like soft or medium boiled eggs for breakfast bowls.

How long will it last?

Hard-boiled eggs can last up to a week in the refrigerator; medium-boiled and soft-boiled eggs should be cooked to order.

How to

Put cold eggs (with shell still on) in a single layer in a saucepan and cover with water. Cover. Set pan to medium-high.

hardboiledHard boiled

Is this for me?

If you like a nice firm yolk.

How to

When water bubbles, reduce heat to a slight simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat. With a slotted spoon, remove each egg and place into an ice cold water bath (ice cubes + water in a big bowl). Leave the eggs there until cool enough to touch, then peel.

Medium boiled

Is this for me?

If you like a soft yolk that’s not runny.

How to

See above, but simmer for 6 minutes.

Soft boiled

Is this for me?

If you like that Insta-worthy runny yolk.

How to

See above, but simmer for 4-5 minutes.

Pro Tips:

  • Only add salt & pepper to the finished eggs. Crush sea salt in your fingers as you sprinkle over the top, and add fresh cracked pepper if you’d like.
  • Serving eggs for brunch? Include a variety of salsas and hot sauces on the side, with optional avocado.
  • For egg sandwiches, start by assembling everything but the eggs. The hot eggs will melt any cheese you added to your bread, so you can eat as soon as the eggs are ready!
Cooking, Food

Favorite Summer Foods

It’s really almost September?

While our tummies keep rumbling for corn, crab and more, let’s review our favorite foods from this summer — all easy to make at home with the freshest ingredients and simple kitchen tools!

What were your favorite summer dishes? Did you make anything gorgeous? Let us know in the comments!

Wishing you a happy, healthy, hearty Labor Day!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It’s not too late! More summer cooking ideas:

Grilling Tips
Summer Salads
Best Produce Recipes

Cooking, Food

Endless Summer: Freezer 101

Preserve the flavors of summer for a spark of joy all year long! Freeze herbs, melons, and more to use year-round for smoothies, cocktails, desserts and more.

How to freeze herbs:

paul-morris-128424-unsplashMake sure herbs are washed, thoroughly dried and chopped. Place in a zipper bag and freeze or place in ice cube trays, covered in oil, before freezing.

How long? up to two weeks

Use it: soups, sauces, stews, braises

How to freeze melons:

photo-1513435160994-a731e7e5cb52Cut melon in half, and remove the seeds and rind. Slice, cube, or cut into balls and place in freezer bags or airtight containers.

How long? 10-12 months

Use it: smoothies, fat-free fro yo

How to freeze blueberries:

photo-1470072768013-bf9532016c10.jpegWash and dry thoroughly, then place in sealed containers and freeze. Or, freeze in the container they’re in; just make sure to wash before using!

How long? 10 months

Use it: smoothies, oatmeal, baking

How to freeze peaches and plums:

photo-1534084662352-f0e27788f302

Plums:

Peel them if you want first. Then halve and pit them. Cut into slices or cubes and place on a baking tray in the freezer. Freeze until they’re frozen through; it should take a few hours or you can leave them overnight. Once frozen, place in airtight containers or sealed zipper bags.

How long? 6-12 months. If the quality degrades, make jam!

Use it: baked goods, smoothies, jam

photo-1532704868953-d85f24176d73.jpegPeaches:

Peel first, then slice and toss with 1 Tbsp lemon juice. Place on baking tray and freeze a few hours or overnight. Transfer to sealed zipper bags.

How to freeze broccoli & cauliflower:

foodism360-397360-unsplash.jpgFrozen vegetables at the store are frozen at their peak quality. You can also DIY when veggies are in season! Choose the freshest option you can find, ideally from the farmers market.

Wash and dry, then chop into small pieces. Blanch in a pot of boiling water for three minutes. Cool it right away in an ice bath for three-five minutes, then blot dry or run it through a salad spinner. Place in zipper bags or airtight containers, and freeze.

How long? 12 months

Use it: Toss into soup, stir-fry or pasta, or steam or boil it for 60-90 seconds to serve as a side dish.

How to freeze corn & peas:

rawpixel-745958-unsplash.jpgCorn:

Similar method as above, but cook the corn according to its size: small ears about 7 minutes; medium ears about 9 minutes; large ears about 11 minutes. Then cool in an ice bath for the same amount of time. Store in plastic zipper bags.

How long? 6-8 months

Use it: Soup, sauce, stir-fry, pasta. Thaw and add to salsas.

Peas:

Remove from shell and blanch for 2 minutes. Then cook for 2 minutes, place in zipper bags and freeze.

How long? 6 months

Use it: Soup, sauce, stir-fry, pasta