French Dip in your Instapot/Pressure Cooker

Now THIS French Dip recipe for a pressure cooker is a KEEPER! It rivaled the taste and texture of a brisket recipe I make every year at Christmas (?!?!!)

Two caveats on the time. Meat must be room temp for 15 min before starting AND there’s 25 minutes to add to cook time in the natural release (steam).

I also chilled the dipping broth so the fat rose to the top for removal. I don’t find it palatable without that step.

The meat is tender as buttah and the flavor??
To-DIE-for. Never making a chuck roast another way.

Instant Pot French Dip Sandwich
★★★★★
INSTAPOT/Pressure Cooking, Kid-Friendly, Main Dish, Meats, Sandwich
Prep 15 mins ∙ Cook 1 hr 40 mins ∙ Makes Servings: 6 sandwiches ∙ Source Number-2-pencil.com
INGREDIENTS

2.5 pound chuck roast
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
2 teaspoons of kosher salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 onion sliced
1/2 cup of red wine
1 14 oz can of low-sodium beef broth
1 dried bay leaf
6 soft rolls
3 tablespoons of butter melted
1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
pinch of kosher salt
6 slices of provolone cheese
DIRECTIONS

For best results, let chuck roast rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before searing.

Add vegetable oil to the Instant Pot and hit the sauté button.

Season chuck roast with 2 teaspoon of kosher salt, freshly ground pepper to taste and 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder on all side.

Using a pair on long heat-proof kitchen tongs, sear roast on all sides in Instant Pot.

Remove seared roast from Instant Pot and set aside.

Add onions to pot and sauté just until they start to soften.

Add red wine to pot and let simmer until reduced by half.

Use a wooden spoon to scrape up seared bits from the bottom of the pot as it simmers.

Once wine has reduced, add low-sodium beef broth and bay leaf.

Return roast to Instant Pot, close lid and make pressure release valve is set to sealing.

Hit Meat/Stew function and increase time to 100 minutes.

Let Instant Pot natural release for 25 minutes, then turn valve to venting to release any excess pressure.

Remove lid and transfer roast to a serving plate and shred.

Strain liquid through a fine mesh strainer and serve warm for dipping sandwiches.

Set oven to broil and place sandwich rolls on a baking sheet.

Combine melted butter, 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder and pinch of kosher salt in a small bowl.

Brush over rolls and toast 2-3 minutes, just until gold brown.

Pile meat onto rolls and top with cheese. Return to broiler and heat just until cheese has started to melt.

Top sandwiches with freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley and serve with warm au jus for dipping.

Pickled Vegetable Sandwich Slaw

f you’re one of those people who saw the word “pickled” in the title and said “Ugh, no, sorry, not for me,” do know, I was the same not too long ago and encourage you to fight the good fight for as long as you can, because once your tastes cross over to the vinegar side, there’s little going back.

INGREDIENTS

Pickling mixture

1 cup distilled white vinegar

4 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons Kosher salt

2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds

1 cup cold water

Slaw mixture

4 to 5 cups mixed slivered or julienned* firm, raw vegetables (see above for vegetable suggestions, below for slicing tips)

Optional: Few slivers of jalapeno

DIRECTIONS

Heat vinegar, sugar, salt and mustard seeds to a simmer in a small, non-reactive pot over moderate heat, stirring only until sugar and salt dissolve. Stir in water, which should bring the mixture’s temperature down significantly. Let cool to lukewarm.

Divide vegetables between jars. (I used two 3/4 liter jars.) Pour vinegar mixture over vegetables and refrigerate until needed. You’ll find the vegetables to be lightly pickled within an hour, and deliciously pickled within a day. They will get slightly more pickled as they sit, but the change shouldn’t be too dramatic from the 24 hour level.

Eat with/on sandwiches, aside grilled food and pack it along for picnics — it goes with almost anything. Then make more, because this stuff is habit-forming.

Do ahead: Mine have kept in the fridge for a month without any change in taste or appearance. Updated to add (thanks, Erika!) that you’ll want to make sure that your vegetables are submerged in the brine for them to keep this long.

* I used a mix of a sharp knife, a simple mandoline (that includes julienne blades) and a julienne peeler (the Kuhn one), which I was embarrassed to admit I bought last year until I realized how much easier it makes getting juliennes from long, thin vegetables (carrots, cucumbers, parsnips and zucchini). Don’t fret if you don’t have a fancy peeler or mandoline; you can cut thin strips with your knife, then slice them into skinny matchsticks quite easily.

1, 2, 3 … PESTO 🌱

Nothing says summertime to me like a garden full of basil. Here’s my favorite recipe for a classic Pesto (although I do substitute walnuts for pine nuts if I happen to have them on hand).

Quick work in a food processor

I love it straight up on pasta and even freeze some in ice cube trays, to pop into sauces come winter.

Let me know in comments your favorite way to enjoy homemade pesto.

Pesto

★★★★★

INGREDIENTS

2 cups fresh basil leaves 

4 medium-sized cloves garlic, chopped

1 cup walnut meats (or pine nuts)

1 cup best-quality olive oil 

1 cup freshly grated imported Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup freshly grated imported Romano Cheese 

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

Process the basil, garlic, and walnuts in a food processor fitted with a steel blade – or in 2 batches in a blender – until finely chopped.

With machine running, pour in the oil in a thin, steady stream.

Add the cheeses, a big pinch of salt, and a liberal grinding of pepper. Process briefly to combine. Remove to a bowl and cover until ready to use.

Yield: 2 cups, enough to sauce 2 pounds of pasta

Freezes beautifully
  • After making the fresh basil pesto recipe pour it into an ice cube tray- in 1 ½ tablespoon portions. Top each cube with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
  • Put the ice cube tray in the freezer.
  • After a couple hours the pesto cubes will be frozen, pop them out and store them in a freezer safe bag.
  • You can keep the cubes in the freezer for up to 6 months.
  • Pull out the delicious homemade pesto 1, 2, or 8 cubes at a time to add to your recipes.
My basil plant’s insanely huge this year 💚

It’s CORN season🌽

We live in corn country!
Whenever I buy a dozen at the farmstand, I prep it for the microwave (as shown, cut and outer husks removed) and store in the fridge.

4 minutes in your microwave


To cook:
Place in microwave for 4 minutes (mine has a fresh hard vegetable setting).
Husks and silks remove in one fell swoop!
Enjoy! 🌽

Chicken Enchilada Soup

Chicken Enchilada Soup

Chicken Enchilada Soup has everything you love about chicken enchiladas… in one big bowl of soup!


Chicken Enchilada Soup (Slow Cooker and Instant Pot)

★★★★★

Skinny Taste, Soups & Stews

INGREDIENTS

2 tsp olive oil

1/2 cup onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups less sodium chicken broth

8 oz can tomato sauce

1-2 tsp chipotle chili in adobo sauce, or more to taste

1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish

15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes

2 cups frozen corn

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp dried oregano

2 skinless chicken breasts, 16 oz total

For topping:

3/4 cup shredded part skim cheddar cheese

1/4 cup chopped scallions

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

4 oz 1 small haas avocado, diced

6 tbsp reduced fat sour cream, optional

DIRECTIONS

Slow Cooker Directions:

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft, 3-4 minutes. Slowly add the chicken broth, tomato sauce and chipotle adobo sauce and bring to a boil. Add cilantro and remove from heat. Pour into crock pot.

Add the drained beans, diced tomatoes, corn, cumin, oregano and stir. Add the chicken breasts; cover and cook on low heat for 4-6 hours.

Remove chicken and shred with two forks. Add chicken back into the soup, adjust salt and cumin to taste. Serve in bowls and top with cheese, avocado, scallions and cilantro. Also great with sour cream or crushed tortilla chips. Enjoy!

Instant Pot Directions:

Press saute on the Instant Pot. Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft, 3-4 minutes. Slowly add the chicken broth, tomato sauce and chipotle adobo sauce and cilantro.

Add the drained beans, diced tomatoes, corn, cumin, oregano and stir. Add the chicken breasts; cover and cook on high pressure for 20 minutes. Quick or natural release.

Remove chicken and shred with two forks. Add chicken back into the soup, adjust salt and cumin to taste. Serve in bowls and top with cheese, avocado, scallions and cilantro. Also great with sour cream or crushed tortilla chips. Enjoy!

NUTRITION

333 Cals 30 Protein 35 Carbs 10 Fats
Serving: 11/2 cups, Calories: 333kcal, Carbohydrates: 35g, Protein: 30g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 2.5g, Cholesterol: 65.5mg, Sodium: 812.5mg, Fiber: 9.5g, Sugar: 6g Blue Smart Points: 3 Green Smart Points: 7 Purple Smart Points: 3 Points +: 8

Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake

When it’s half gone and not yet frosted, I’d say that’s a ringing endorsement 😂

It reminds me of a blueberry muffin recipe I make in the way it’s assembled, but the glaze is much like, if not exactly like, my favorite Lemon Bundt Cake.

Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake

★★★★★

Baked goods, Cakes

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE CAKE:

1/2 cup milk

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, packed (see note)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 cups + 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off with a knife

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup blueberries (if using frozen blueberries, do not defrost)

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened

1-1/4 cups granulated sugar

2 large eggs

FOR THE GLAZE:

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/4 teaspoon lemon zest, packed

1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

DIRECTIONS

Begin by zesting the lemons.

In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Let sit for at least 10 minutes while you proceed with the recipe. (It will curdle; that’s okay.)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the 2 cups flour, baking soda, and salt.

In a small bowl, toss the blueberries with the remaining teaspoon of flour. Set both aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or beaters), combine the butter and sugar.

Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

With the mixer on low speed, beat in a third of the flour mixture.

Next, beat in half of the milk mixture.

Beat in another third of the flour mixture, then the remaining milk mixture, followed by the remaining flour mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix briefly to make sure the batter is evenly combined.

Add the flour-dusted blueberries to the batter and, using a spatula, fold until evenly combined.

Transfer the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and a tester comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

When the cake is cool, transfer it to a serving platter and make the glaze. In a small bowl, combine the confectioners’ sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice.

Add more confectioners’ sugar or lemon juice as necessary to make a thick but pourable glaze (it should be a little thicker than you’d think, about the consistency of molasses or honey).

Spoon the glaze over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides.

Let the glaze set for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Slice with a serrated knife. The cake will keep on the countertop for up to 3 days; store in a covered container or wrap in plastic wrap.

Wrap it securely with aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap, or place it in heavy-duty freezer bag. Thaw overnight on the countertop before serving. (Add the glaze after the cake is thawed.)

NOTES

Note: You’ll need 2 large lemons for the entire recipe. Be sure to zest them before you juice them.

Couldn’t wait for the glaze …

Grilled Vegetable Orzo Pasta Salad


Grilled Vegetable Orzo Pasta Salad

★★★★★

Healthy, Make Ahead, Pasta, Salads, Side dish

INGREDIENTS

1 1/4 cups uncooked orzo pasta, wheat or gluten-free

1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes

1 clove minced garlic

extra virgin olive oil spray

1 small red onion, quartered

1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into 4 pieces

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced into 4 pieces

1 large, 10 ounce zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds

kosher salt

black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup chopped basil

DIRECTIONS

Cook orzo in salted water according to package directions; drain and rinse under cold water, transfer to a large bowl and combine with tomatoes and 1 tablespoon of the oil and garlic.

Meanwhile spray the onions, bell peppers and zucchini with olive oil; season with 1 teaspoon salt and black pepper, to taste.

Grill vegetables on a grill basket over oiled grates, covered, (or broil 4 inches from flame) 10-12 minutes or until lightly charred and tender, turning halfway.

Set aside on a cutting board to cool slightly, then dice into 1/2-inch pieces.

Toss with the remaining olive oil and vinegar and top with chopped basil.

NUTRITION

267 Cals 6.5 Protein 39.5 Carbs 9 Fats
Serving: 11/3 cups, Calories: 267kcal, Carbohydrates: 39.5g, Protein: 6.5g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 6mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 4.5g Blue Smart Points: 7 Green Smart Points: 7 Purple Smart Points: 7

Air Fryer Bacon Burger Bites

Move over, sliders. Get ready for burgers on a stick! This bun-less appetizer will be your new favorite low-carb way to eat a burger. They’re so cute and a definite crowd-pleaser. If you’re hosting a party, you should add these burger bites to your menu. If your obsessed with your air fryer as much as me, you will love this and more air fryer recipes!

These mini burgers are a healthy appetizer that don’t skimp on flavor. The bacon is mixed right in with the beef, making it extra juicy. Oh, and did I mention that they’re totally low-carb? There’s no bun – everything’s skewered on an appetizer toothpick. You definitely won’t miss the bread!

To make these bacon-burger bites, start by making the meat mixture. Put the beef, bacon, mustard, salt, pepper, and onion powder in a bowl and combine. Form into about 30 small meatballs. You can prep the beef ahead and refrigerate overnight covered tight in plastic. Prep the remaining ingredients so they are fast to assemble as you want to eat them hot.

When ready to serve, cook the meatballs in batches in the air fryer for 8-10 minutes at 400 degrees.

If you don’t have an air fryer, you can bake the meatballs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in a 400-degree oven for 20 minutes or make them on the grill.

Set out your favorite condiments and let everyone dig in!t

So easy!

Once they’re done, it’s time to skewer! Add the meatball, jalapeño (if you want some extra spice), pickle, and lettuce on the toothpick and top it off with the tomato. So easy!

Air Fryer Bacon-Burger Bites

★★★★★

Appetizer, Meats

INGREDIENTS

2 lbs 90% beef

4 oz center cut raw bacon, minced

2 tablespoons yellow mustard

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 head butter lettuce

30 cherry tomatoes

2-3 jalapeño sliced in 30 thin slices, optional

30 dill pickle chips or slices

ketchup, mayo and/or yellow mustard , optional for dipping

DIRECTIONS

Using your hands, gently mix together the beef, bacon, mustard, salt, onion powder and pepper.

Form into 30 (golf ball size) balls.

Preheat the air fryer 400F. Working in batches arrange burgers in a single layer.

Cook, flipping halfway to your desired doneness, 8 to 10 minutes for medium.

Place each burger on a skewers with lettuce, pickles and tomatoes and serve with dipping sauces.

NUTRITION

125 Cals 13.5 Protein 2 Carbs 6.5 Fats
Serving: 2burgers, Calories: 125kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 13.5g, Fat: 6.5g, Saturated Fat: 2.5g, Cholesterol: 39.5mg, Sodium: 521.5mg, Fiber: 0.5g, Sugar: 0.5g Blue Smart Points: 4 Green Smart Points: 4 Purple Smart Points: 4

VARIATIONS:

  • Don’t eat pork? Use turkey bacon instead or leave it out completely.
  • Prefer turkey burgers? Ground turkey will be just as good.
  • What do you like on your burgers? Feel free to skewer your favorite fixins!

Bone Broth Common Mistakes

Bone broth is everywhere these days. Learn how to make it at home by avoiding the most common mistakes.

Toasted Garlic Beef Stock made with the bone broth instructions you’ll find here

We know. We know: Bone broth. It’s almost too hip for its own good. But whether you consider it a miracle cure for all ailments, or just a hearty broth to sip on during cold winter months, it’s a cooking project worth tackling. That said, poorly made bone broth can be about as palatable as, well, a bowl full of bones. Avoid these common mistakes, and your bone broth will be the hottest ticket in town—or at least your kitchen.

1. Skipping the Blanching Step

If you think bone broth is too funky, you’ve probably had to suffer through a mug or bowl that was made without blanching. This step, to be done before roasting and boiling, removes any impurities (read: the nasty bits) from the bones. And if you’re using the right bones, there will be some nasty bits. A real bone broth is made with bones and cuts of meat high in collagen, like marrow, knuckles, and feet. While beef is the meat most people associate with bone broth, it can also be made with lamb, pork, chicken, veal… you name it. A word on these collagen-heavy bones: They make for a stock that’s gelatinous at room temperature. Don’t let the texture of this meat Jell-O alarm you; that’s a sign you did it right. To blanch, cover the bones with cold water, bring to a boil, and let them cook at an aggressive simmer for 20 minutes before draining and roasting (see mistake no. 2!).

this might take 2 stock pots
takes my largest pot

2. Not Roasting the Bones

Repeat after us: “I will always roast my bones.” This browns and caramelizes them, and we all know what browned and caramelized means: Better flavor. Don’t be afraid to really take the bones to the limit: Crank the oven up high—a bold 450˚, says senior food editor Andy Baraghani. Lily Freedman, test kitchen contributor, also adds that you have to put in ample oven time. A quick 15 minutes won’t do: Take those bones right up to the edge of “too done.” Once you’re ready to boil the bones, don’t waste the crisped brown bits on the bottom of the pan; loosen them with a little water and a metal spatula, and add those to your stockpot. This adds flavor to the finished broth.

roasting at 450 degrees

3. Adding Too Much “Stuff”

According to Baraghani, a good bone broth doesn’t need much more than bones and a few choice aromatics, like onions, garlic, and black pepper. “Don’t even get me started on carrots,” he says, which add sweetness. (We won’t dock points if you choose to add them, however; a little sweet can help balance the deeply savory quality of bone broth). But ultimately, this is not the best place to dump all of your compost scraps. Keep the flavor focused and concentrated. Worried about it tasting “one-note”? Just roast the bones to build depth of flavor, and that won’t be an issue.

4. Not Using a Large Enough Stockpot

Those femur bones you’re using? They’re pretty big. This is not a task for your 4-quart sauce pot, says senior associate food editor Claire Saffitz. Use the biggest, heaviest stockpot you’ve got, and fill it up with your roasted bones, plus your (carefully curated) selection of aromatics. Add just enough water to cover, bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, and cover. “There shouldn’t be so much water that the bones are floating,” Saffitz explains. The bone-to-water ratio should be close enough that the resulting broth is intensely flavored. Adding too much liquid will make it taste, well, watered down.

5. Not Simmering It Long Enough

Q: How long can you simmer a bone broth? A: How much time have you got? Saffitz recently made one that she kept on the stove overnight. Because the bones used are thick and hardy, they have a lot of flavor to offer up. This is in contrast to a simpler broth, like basic chicken stock: Those smaller, thinner bones will disintegrate after hours on the heat, and won’t add much more flavor.

6. Letting the Finished Broth Cool Slowly

Not to alarm you, but hot broth can be a breeding ground for bacteria—and not the good kind. “Cool it as quickly and efficiently as possible,” says Saffitz. This will also keep the broth fresher for longer. Once you’ve strained out the bones, she recommends adding ice and transferring it to a shallow and wide container, where it will lose heat more rapidly. Don’t worry about the ice diluting the broth; it’s so intensely flavored (you did roast the bones and simmer them for a heck of a long time, right?) that a few cups of cubes won’t drastically impact the flavor. One thing’s for sure: Don’t put screaming-hot broth in the fridge. Not only will it invite bacterial growth, it will raise the temperature of the refrigerator and potentially contaminate the rest of its contents.

the finished product

How do YOU use your bone broth? I like mine straight up or I use it for the recipe in the first image (posting soon). I use it most for (beef) pressure cooking.

Classic Short Beef Ribs in an Instapot

Beef Short Ribs

Classic Short Beef Ribs with Red Wine in an InstantPot

★★★★★

Practically falling off the bone tender, this recipe made a convert out of me.

INSTAPOT/Pressure Cooking, Meats

INGREDIENTS

3-5 pounds short ribs

2 TBSP oil for sautéing 

2 cups beef/chicken broth (or water)

1 cup red wine (or additional broth)

 cups onion in 1” dice

4 cloves of garlic, minced

2 TBSP vinegar

2 TBSP soy sauce

2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce

1 TBSP brown sugar

1 tsp dried basil

 tsp thyme

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp pepper

3 TBSP flour

½ cup water

DESCRIPTION

Mouthwatering, nearly fall off the bone short ribs 

DIRECTIONS

Hit Sauté and when the display says HOT, add the oil. Swirl it around to coat the pan and add the ribs. Brown the ribs well on all sides. Browning greatly improves the flavor. Transfer the ribs to a plate and add the broth and wine to the pot. Thoroughly deglaze it by using a wooden spoon to scrape ALL the browned bits off the bottom. Do not skip this step or the Instant Pot may interpret the stuck bits as burning food. That can result in the dreaded Burn warning.

Add all the other ingredients except the flour and water. 

All assembled and ready to pressure cook

Return the ribs to the pot and turn to coat all sides with the sauce. Secure the lid and make sure the valve is set to Sealing. Push the Pressure Cook (or Manual) button. Adjust the time using the + and – buttons to get to 40 minutes. When it beeps that it’s done, leave it for 15 minutes natural release.

While it’s releasing pressure, whisk the flour and water until smooth. Flip the valve from Sealing to Venting for a quick release of any remaining pressure and when the pin drops, remove the lid. Carefully transfer the ribs to a warm platter and cover them with foil to keep them warm. 

Hit Sauté and whisk the flour/water slurry again to freshen it. When the broth comes to a boil, add about half the flour slurry. Bring back to a boil to thicken. Add more slurry if you like a thicker gravy but don’t get carried away. It will thicken a little more as it cools a bit and you don’t want porridge. Taste and adjust seasoning and prepare for Oooos and AHHHs.

One thing I always do is to use a fat separator for any gravy made by a pressure cooker. This one by OXO is amazing and can be put in the dishwasher 🙌🏻

Oxo gravy fat separator