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
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, Box 1, Cooking, Essentials, Food, Kitchen, recipes, Uncategorized

It’s Time! Tomato Recipes for Summer

They’re here! It’s July and we’re talking tomatoes. If you can resist eating all your ripe tomatoes with just a little salt & pepper, here are our favorite summer tomato recipes.

Grab your serrated knife and cutting board for the easiest tomato action!

  1. Tomato Peach Salad with Basil
    With all seasonal ingredients, this tasty summer treat is a show-stopping salad.
    Tip: Add burrata or mozzarella for a more substantial dish.
  2. Easy Vegan Bruschetta
    A simple go-to snack or appetizer. Kids like it too!
    Tip: Don’t have basil? Use up any fresh herbs you have on hand! Set aside a few plain ones for the kids.

  3. Tomato Margarita with Fennel Salt (or just regular salt!)
    Try this summer sipper in the backyard or on the porch. You’re welcome.
    Tip: Not feeling the fennel? Plain salt will do! Still feeling a bit fancy? Try a mix of Old Bay and salt on the rim!
  4. Easy Gazpacho
    Tip: Use your garlic tools & oil pourer from Box 1 to make this recipe even easier. This is a fun, customizable recipe, so don’t stress!
  5. Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce
    Tip: You can make this in advance and leave it either chilled or at room temp for later! It actually tastes better the longer it sits.

Continue reading “It’s Time! Tomato Recipes for Summer”

Box 1, Cooking, Essentials, Food, Kitchen, Tools

What’s the Best Way to Cook an Onion

caramelize-onions-640-dm

Now that we have chosen and cut our onions like a pro, I bet you are asking, “How do I cook an Onion?” The terminology used in recipes can sometimes be vague or confusing for how long to cook an ingredient, but don’t get overwhelmed, the best tools you can use to help you are your senses. As previously mentioned, the smell of onions cooking isn’t just mouthwatering, it will guide you to knowing how your Onions are cooking, such as a sweet scent.. Along with the way they look whole cooking is also another gauge for how you want your outcome, if you see your onions are beginning to burn, you know will need to adjust.  

DIFFERENT WAYS OF COOKING AN ONION

If you are going to use your onion as a base, you will want to gently saute them chopped or sliced for about 7-10 minutes, then add in the rest of your ingredients. Keep them sauting for 40-45 minutes and you will have a delicious caramelized for your burger.

Roasting along with your favorite veggie is always a great idea, you will want to to slice or cut into wedges and roast for 40-50 minutes. Don’t forget to season with a little salt and pepper and a drizzle of oil!

If your recipe calls for making onions, you will want to put them in for about 20-30 minutes.

The best way to get comfortable with cooking with Onions (or any ingredient) is to just start where you are, with what you have. No one said it has to be perfect and the more you practice, the better you’ll get. As promised, we’ve included some of our favorite Onion recipes. They ideal for practicing your cutting skills. Happy cooking!

15- Minute Caramelized Onions

Easy French Onion Soup

Pico de Gallo

Guacamole

Asian stir fry

Box 1, Cooking, Essentials, Food, Kitchen, Tools

Onion Cutting 101

102244141_Mince_Dice_Chop_Onions_Photo-by-Meredith

As we’ve discussed before, onions are a must-have in almost every recipe. But no matter what onion you are incorporating into your dish, there is always one obstacle: cutting the onion without sobbing like you’ve just watched the end of The Notebook.

not-over

Cutting onions doesn’t haven’t to be a tear-filled experience. With the help of our Onion Slicer, dicing and slicing onions becomes a breeze. This tool not only will help you perfectly dice, slice or mince onion, it will also save you from balling your eyes out trying to cook dinner and prevent your hands from smelling like onions for the rest of the night.

But enough talk. Let’s show you how to cut an onion.

Sliced Onions

  • Cut onion into halves.
  • Remove skin (you may need to remove an extra layer or two)
  • Place one half cut side down onto a flat, hard surface (preferably a cutting board)
  • Lightly push in your Onion Slicer into the rounded side (about ¾ of the way in)
  • With your knife, slice between each prong, continuing on until the last prong
  • Gently pull out the Onion Slicer
  • Use onion as directed in recipe

Remember that burger topper we spoke about ? This technique will give you a result of perfect half moons that are ideal for slow, long cooking delicious golden caramelized onions. Stay tuned, because we will share our fool proof recipe with you soon.

Diced Onions

  • Cut onion into halves.
  • Remove skin (you may need to remove an extra layer or two)
  • Place one half cut side down onto a flat, hard surface (preferably a cutting board)
  • Lightly push in your Onion Slicer into the rounded side (about ¾ of the way in)
  • With your knife, slice between each prong, continuing on until the last prong
  • Once sliced, run your knife over the exposed onion to finely chop or dice (as needed).
  • Gently pull out the Onion Slicer
  • Use onion as directed in recipe

Depending on how closely you cut will determine the size of your chop or dice. Some recipes call for diced chopped, that way the onion almost melts down into translucent sweet pieces. Others will call for finely chopped so you still get the dominant flavor, *COUGH QUAC COUGH*. Guacamole is a perfect example, with finely chopped onion mixed in, you still get the flavor and a bit of crunch but it basically blends into the creaminess of the avocado. When in doubt on which to use, always follow the recipe, if the recipe doesn’t specify (most do) try diced for one recipe and chopped for the next time, it wont make a dramatic difference. In the meantime you’ll be a pro with our slicer.

We’d love to see how you slice and dice, share your photos with use using #Quoconow. Heck, we’d even love to see other unique ways you would use the slicer! Stay tuned for more Quoco tips.

Box 1, Cooking, Essentials, Food, Kitchen, Tools

Your Guide to Picking an Onion

onion pic

Amateur cooks and foodies alike all know that onions are a versatile and essential ingredient in countless recipes. I mean, who doesn’t love the smell of onions sauteing in a pan?

Onions are the base for cooking. In the majority of recipes, they are usually the first thing that goes in the pan (accompanied by that irresistible smell). The way you prepare and use onions will add a unique depth of flavor to any dish. Whether it is quickly sauteing with other vegetables as a base, or a long slow caramelization to incorporate a sweet element in your dish.

But, as you’ve seen at the grocery store, there are a wide variety of onions to choose from. And any cook may ask, “How do I know which type of onion to use for my recipe?”. You can of course trust the ingredients list from your cooking website or cookbook of choice. However, as a culinary education, it’s better to know what exactly a specific onion works in a particular recipe.

So, we’ve decided to put together a quick guide for you to make onion shopping a whole lot easier. Here’s how to find your type of onion:

Yellow Onion (Spanish Onion): This onion has a light golden skin with yellow flesh and is normally medium to small in size. Yellow onions are a good go-to option for any recipe. But hey are ideal for dishes with long cooking times. When you add caramelized onions to that burger order, you are usually adding a yellow onion. And who doesn’t loved caramelized onions?

White Onion: Known for a white papery skin with white flesh, White Onions are typically medium to large in size. Offering a sweeter and milder flavor than Yellow Onions makes them perfect to be used in raw form. Looking to step up your Taco Tuesday toppings? The crisp and clean taste of a white onion is a perfect additive to that Pico de Gallo recipe you saw on Pinterest… When in doubt, swap for Yellow onions.

Red Onion: Unique with a red/maroon skin with dark red and white flesh, Red Onions vary in size from medium to large. Red onions are mild in flavor, less “onion-y” as others. The are widely used when raw but adds sweet, subtle flavor when cooked. Speaking of Taco Tuesday, no fiesta is complete without a little bit, A LOT a bit of GUAC. Red Onion is a key additive to a deliciously flavorful guacamole. But just like caramelized, raw Red Onion is a great burger topper.

Shallots: Pinkish skin and light purple flesh, sizes and shapes vary, but  Shallots are commonly known for their bulb like shape. Once peeled, it divides into cloves, similar to garlic. Mild & sweet in flavor, Shallots can be substituted for ANY onion. Great to add to salad dressings or to roast with vegetables.

Green Onions – often referred to as Scallions differ in shape and size from their Onion cousins. Distinguished by its bright green tubular leaves attached to a small firm white bulb, they are almost always bundled together in a bunch. Green Onions present a much more mild taste than its counterparts, often compared to garlic. Being all encompassing, both the white and green parts are edible, where the bulb would be used as with any onion, for depth of flavor and the green leaves are used as a garnish and for texture. Commonly used in Asian dishes – stay tuned…we have a delicious stir fry recipe we will be sharing with you soon.

Now that you know what onion to pick out from the grocery store, it’s just a matter of incorporating each onion’s diverse uses and flavors into the dish you plan to make. And you can continue to follow and read more at QuocoNow to find our helpful hints on just how to do that.

Box 1, Cooking, Essentials, Food, Kitchen, Tools

The Essentials

The Essentials

How Do I Use My Tools?

Onion Slicer

Cooking Essentials Pt 1-1 from Quoco Now on Vimeo.

Sliced Onions (Half Moons)

  1. Cut onion into two halves.
  2. Remove skin (you may need to remove an extra layer or two)
  3. Place one half cut side down onto a flat, hard surface (preferably a cutting board)
  4. Lightly insert in your Onion Slicer into the rounded side (about ¾ of the way in)
  5. With your knife, slice between each prong, continuing on until the last prong
  6. Gently pull out the Onion Slicer
  7. Use onion as directed in recipe

Diced Onions (Chopped)

    1. Cut onion into two halves.
    2. Remove skin (you may need to remove an extra layer or two)
    3. Place one half cut side down onto a flat, hard surface (preferably a cutting board)
    4. Lightly insert in your Onion Slicer into the rounded side (about ¾ of the way in)
    5. With your knife, slice between each prong, continuing on until the last prong
    6. Once sliced, run your knife over the exposed onion to finely chop or dice (as needed).
    7. Gently pull out the Onion Slicer
    8. Use onion as directed in recipe

GARLIC

File_000 from Quoco Now on Vimeo.

Garlic Roller

  1. Using your fingers, divide the whole bulb into individual cloves. Store remaining cloves with the skin on.
  2. To remove the skin, place clove into Garlic Roller and apply slight pressure down as you roll the roller back and forth against a hard flat surface.

(Tip: make sure to clear the tube of any remaining skin, this little step will help prevent littering your drawer with flakes)

Garlic Chopper

    1. For chopped garlic, once you have removed the skin, place one piece of garlic (2 if tiny) into carriage of Garlic Chopper. Roll chopper for 15-20 seconds or until clove has been fully crushed.
    2. Remove from carriage and you are ready to use!

Olive Oil Bottle and Pourer

    1. Gently wash bottle before using.
    2. Pour in Olive Oil (Use what you have on hand, we’ll explain about the different types later on)
    3. Press pourer into top of bottle
    4. Enjoy! (Tip – go out and buy some fresh bread to dip in olive oil)