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

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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

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!

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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

Cooking, Food, recipes

The Best Summer Produce Recipes

Yellow, green, blue and red: has your summer been colorful so far? Are you seeing the brightness through the rain?

We’re riding this tasty rainbow as long as possible, with our favorite recipes using summer’s best ingredients.

The good news? The ingredients alone taste so good, you barely have to do any work! The perfect recipe for summer relaxation.

What we’re eating

ACS_0121August is peak time for some of nature’s best delights. Right now our kitchens are full of corn, tomatoes, zucchini, blueberries, cherries, peaches and plums.

What we’re cooking

On days when it’s too hot (almost every day), it’s simple salads and cold soups. On more ambitious days, we start in the morning when the kitchen is at its coolest!

Here are some highlights from our summer menu:

Appetizer

Fried Zucchini Blossoms

An easy crowd pleaser and a great excuse to pretend you’re in Italy! We never need help stimulating our appetites, but if you do snack on these with a Negroni, Aperol spritz or prosecco. Saluti!

Main

Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli

This looks like a long ingredient list, but you probably have a lot of these things on hand. Don’t worry; no need to make your own pasta sheets (unless you want to!) Hate mushrooms? Leave them out and make the rest as is. If you want, use peeled fresh tomatoes instead of the canned ones.

Or

Avocado-Basil Zucchini Noodles with Chile-Lime Shrimp & Corn

Easy, breezy and a perfect summer dish. Throw the corn and shrimp on the grill to make it even easier!

Or

GZ’s Ultimate BLT

Show off summer’s finest with a classic BLT. Bonus: watch your family and friends’ eyes light up with joy when they realize they’re getting bacon for dinner. Pick up a few beautiful heirloom tomatoes for a hearty thick-cut slice on each sandwich, and buy extra avocado for any veg pals.

Side

Oven Roasted Corn on the Cob

Once you try Chef Tyler Florence’s trick for corn on the cob, you’ll never worry about boiling again. The easiest recipe makes delicious, slightly crispy corn. Use your favorite seasoning: simple good butter and sea salt; cayenne and sea salt; or cinnamon and sugar.

Dessert

Plum-Cardamom Crumble with Pistachios
We’ll keep saying it until the leaves fall – there’s nothing better than summer stone fruit desserts, and this plum-cardamom crumble is perfection on a plate. The leftovers are great for breakfast with Greek yogurt!

Find out what else is in season and keep your kitchen stocked!