Braised Pork and Apple Stew

Instantly French has been a big hit in our home.  What a wonderful cookbook.  Doug has made several recipes from this book and they have all been winners.  This is for Instant Pot but anyone who cooks with a stove top pressure cooker could probably follow the recipes.

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This pork and apple stew gets an A+ and I hope Doug makes it again soon. Unbelievably tender and so flavorful, the apples could be doubled next  time :-)

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It's a good winter stew, something to warm the bones when it's cold outside.  I am going to send this to Deb in Hawaii for her Souper Sunday series, although I need to send her more vegetarian offerings soon.

This is brothy enough that you'll want some good quality bread, hopefully homemade, for dipping.  The apples look like potatoes, don't they?


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Braised Pork with Apples

1 TB olive oil, more as needed
3 slices of bacon cut crosswise into 1/2 inch lardons
2 lbs. pork shoulder cut into 1-inch cubes
1 medium onion, diced
i celery stalk, diced
2 carrots, cut into 1/2 inch rounds
1 cup dry hard cider
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 firm cooking apple, such as Fuji or Honeycrisp, peeled, core and cut into 1 inch chunks
1 TB whole Grain Dijon mustard
3 TB creme fraiche or sour cream

Directions for an Instant Pot

1. Using saute function, heat olive oil in pressure cooker, add bacon and cook until lightly browned,  About 2 minutes.  Remove bacon and drain on a paper towel.

2. Working in batches, add the pork cubes to bacon fat in pressure cooker, arranging them in a single layer.  Brown each side well, about 8 minutes.  Add more olive oil as needed to keep the meat from sticking.  As you finish each batch remove to a plate.

3. Next add onions, carrots and celery to pot, cook until softened slightly, about 2 minutes.  Turn off saute function, add hard cider and stir, scraping up browned bits from bottom with a wooden spoon.

4. Return the bacon and pork to the pot and add thyme. Season lightly with salt and pepper and stir to combine.  Cook on high pressure for 20 minutes.

5. Manually release the steam.  Transfer the pork to a plate, leaving the liquid in the pot.  Using saute function bring cooking liquid to a simmer.  Add the apple and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.  Turn off saute function.

6. With a wire whisk, beat the mustard and creme fraiche into sauce.  Return the pork to the sauce and any juices from the plate.  Heat through before serving.

This is a great stew, highly recommended.  It's a little time consuming but worth it. (Says the lady who didn't make this dish !)

Next week I am hoping to have a broccoli and cheese soup option for Souper Sunday.  Let's see if I can remember to take photos when I'm making my soup :-)

Sharing with Beth Fish's Weekend Cooking Series and Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for the Souper Sunday event. Check out her Creamy Mushroom Soup HERE.


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Homemade Potato Soup with carrots, onions, garlic and milk for Souper Sunday

Two weeks ago I posted a Potato Soup that was hearty and delicious, but not homemade. I haven't been able to duplicate that recipe exactly but I did whip up a pot of homemade soup for the cold work week.  Not sure why we can't get heat at work but I can combat the chill with a hot bowl of comfort food.

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While dinner was heating I started sauteing onions, garlic and carrots in butter and olive oil.  I added some 2% milk and a bit of broth with the potatoes.  Simmer for roughly 30 minutes until potatoes are soft.  This was good after it sat overnight in the fridge.

Other easy lunches I've brought are BLT sandwiches. What could be more simple than a BLT? I fry up the bacon in the morning, place some lettuce in a bag and pack all of that with bread and a tomato.

Oooo, I ought to combine that with the soup one day!

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Pity I didn't have a toaster on hand, that makes for a better sandwich, in my opinion.

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Homemade Potato Soup

1 thinly sliced carrot
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 or more garlic cloves, chopped
1 TB olive oil
3 TB unsalted butter
2 TB all-purpose flour
2 baking potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cups milk
1 cup broth

Simply saute the veggies in oil and butter.  Once soft mix in 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, then toss in the cubed potatoes and slowly add milk.  Add broth to dilute to the thickness you prefer.

Toppings can be diced bacon, cheese, scallions or whatever you like.

 Linking up with Deb for the Souper Sunday event at her place.  Check out her Tortelloni-Tomato Soup  HERE.  Join in at Kahakai Kitchen!


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Chicken with Mushrooms and Cream
{Instant Pot Cooking}


Chicken with Mushrooms and Cream.  I can say this may be our favorite recipe using the Instant Pot.... so far.  Martha Stewart's recipe for Arroz con Pollo is a very close second.  More on that one later.

Sadly my photography skills using an iPhone doesn't begin to do this dish justice.  It was creamy, tender and flavorful. It was hard to limit myself to a reasonable portion as it was so delicious.

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A few weeks ago we had checked out a few cookbooks for pressure cooker/Instant Pot from our local library.  These two pictured below are excellent, so much that we bought both of them.  You can see the little tabs on one book for recipes to try.

The Instantly French  book now has a multitude of green stickers!  This particular recipe was not difficult to prepare, according to my husband as he is THE IP chef.  I still haven't used the IP.

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Here it is in the pot........

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Here is a photo from the book - my photo wasn't as good but you can get the idea of what it ought to look like in a pretty bowl.

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Since Doug likes cooking in the IP and I can say the meals have been outstanding, I decided to add a new Tab at the top for recipes made in the Instant Pot.  I have the Cuban Pork Roast added already and I will drop this in there too.

Let me know if you try this one - I recommend it. Delicious!




Chicken with Mushrooms and Cream

3 Tb unsalted butter
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 large onion, diced
2 TB all-purpose flour
½ pound button mushrooms (I’d say use more is you like mushrooms!)
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ cup chicken stock
Salt and pepper
3 TB sour cream or crème fraiche

Using the sauté function, melt the butter in the pressure cooker. Add the chicken thighs and cook until pieces are lightly colored, about 3 minutes. Turn off the sauté function.

Add onion, flour, mushrooms, thyme, stock, 1 teaspoon salt and some pepper to the pressure cooker. Stir to combine. Cook on high pressure for 4 minutes.
Allow the pressure to release naturally. Using the sauté function bring the cooking liquid to a boil and cook until sauce has reduced by a third, about 8 to 10 minutes. Turn off the sauté function.

With a whisk, beat in the sour cream until fully incorporated. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning to taste before serving.

Linking up with Beth Fish Reads for Weekend Cooking.

Soupy Jambalaya to warm the tummy

When it gets chilly I like a bowl of comfort food. This is a hearty soupy version of Jambalaya. It's loaded with protein, tomatoes, onions and bell peppers.

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First you saute all the veggies, in olive oil and a bit of butter.   I used green and red bell pepper, onions, scallions and tomatoes. Then you add the protein of your choice.  In this case we have sausage and chicken.  You can always use tofu if you want to keep it vegetarian.

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The longer it simmers the better it is.  As a matter of fact, I may start making this the day before and then saving it until the next day so all the flavors mingle overnight. This time I used vegetable broth as there was enough of the chicken and sausage fats to thicken things up. You can add rice as it cooks or serve separately and spoon the mixture over the rice.  That way you can control the amount of rice you want.

I don't have a specific recipe as I add whatever I have in the fridge.  We always have onions so that's something I couldn't do without.


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Linking up with Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sunday event. Check out her Chickpea and Rice soup this week. I want it! 

Hope your cold is long gone, Deb. Rest and good food will do you wonders.  xo

Chicken Salad on Croissant and Loaded Baked Potato Soup for Souper Sunday

I'll bet there are many turkey soup posts this weekend in the U.S.!  I am going to be the rebel and post about a chicken salad sandwich and loaded potato soup, not that we didn't have some turkey but hey.... let's go crazy.

This isn't homemade but it is inspiration for me to duplicate this soup.  Hopefully I can do that and post in an upcoming Souper Sunday.  Doug met me for lunch one day this past week and we did the easy thing - went to a restaurant so we could eat, talk and then run a few errands.

One of the things I like to do is duplicate a meal/dish that we have when eating out.  I did that with Linguine Pompeii from a locally owned Italian restaurant. Just winged it and created the same dish.  That's fun for me.


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This soup was such a hearty bowl of comfort food on a chilly day.  I need to make a version that isn't so heavy on the bacon but just as creamy and cheesy. Certainly there are other folks who enjoy duplicating a recipe and tweaking it to their taste, it's a cool challenge and so rewarding when it turns out well.  So, coming up I hope to share a loaded potato soup recipe that's all homemade!


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This year we were supposed to be at St. George Island but thanks to storm damages we are home.  Still, it's easy to adapt and as long as I am off work and enjoying good food and company (Doug and Aja) I am a happy camper.


Join in for Souper Sunday if you can.  Check out Deb's Roasted Broccoli and White Cheddar soup this week, looks delicious!




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Cuban Mojo Pork for dinner and a soup from leftovers

This is a post about the newly acquired Instant Pot and one of the meals my husband has made with this device (recipe follows). I'd also like to share some thoughts on the IP even though I have yet to use it. I've been an observer and taste tester :-)

It's not instant.  But it is a very cool device.  If you are already experienced with the old school pressure cookers then this will be seamless for you to use.  We purchased the 6 quart size from Costco so some of the controls/options are different,  There isn't a button to select for eggs but obviously you can still cook eggs in this IP.

The texture and tenderness of the meats he's cooked so far get an A+. Some meals are faster using the IP than they would be using a Dutch oven. It also keeps your kitchen from heating up and when it's summertime, so that's another plus.  You still have the same amount of time for prep as you would any other recipe but it doesn't seem like this pot needs the same attention.  As an example, no lifting of lids for extra stirring.

One of the confusions in talking to someone who uses IP is understanding the difference between cooking times and the ready-to-serve time. For instance, the Chicken in Cream Sauce is the same as a Friccassie .  When I have made the Friccassie it takes one hour.  When someone asks me how long until dinner is ready I say 1 hour.

It takes the same amount of time in the IP but....ready for this....the chicken is actually cooked in 7 minutes.  But it's not ready!  The IP then needs a depressurizing time.  It slowly releases pressure in the pot.  By the time all this is done and the creme fraiche is added it is 1 hour.  It is then ready to serve.  So when I hear the chicken is done cooking in 7 minutes, I think I ought to have started rice or vegetables because.....well....7 minutes.

Now I understand this concept and know to ask, when will it be ready to serve and eat, not how long does it take to cook.   My coworker told me about a great Indian chicken recipe and said the chicken cooked in 8 minutes.  But again, it wasn't ready to eat so there is a misconception about how instant it is.  When I ask how long does it take to cook, I really mean all phases of cooking - the time until it's ready to be served.

 The exception we've discovered so far is the Arroz Con Pollo.  It honestly was done in record time in the IP and I can say, the chicken was fork tender and the rice had a creamy texture that reminded you of arborio rice.  I'll share that in another post.


So..... for the In My Kitchen linkup I shared a Mojo Cuban Pork dinner which was prepared in the Instant Pot. Doug did this and it was excellent.  There was enough leftover that I made a soup with the remainder. 

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And here's the soup. Lovely flavors of Mojo marinated pork with rice and black beans.  I added some broth, parsley and more onions.

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Cuban Pork Shoulder

1 TB olive oil
1 bone-in pork shoulder (3 lbs)
course salt and pepper
3/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup navel orange juice
1/2 cup fresh grapefruit juice
10 galic cloves
1 TB cumin seeds
5 marjoram or oregano sprigs
3/4 cup water (for stove top pressure cooker only)

Heat oil in a 6 or 8 quart Instant Pot pressure cooker. Pat pork dry and season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.  Cook pork, turning until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients - the juices and seasonings.  We used a bottled Mojo as it has all of the ingredients needed.  Just get a good brand like Badia.

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After all that is in the IP secure the lid. Manually set cooker to 50 minutes and let it come to pressure.  Once time is complete, turn off, quickly release pressure, then remove lid.  You can let it naturally release pressure too.  I think that takes another 10 minutes.

It was a very good meal.  So tender and flavorful.  With the leftovers I chopped the pork and made soup.  Nothing goes to waste!


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Please note - I still haven't used the IP.  Doug loves it.  My son loves it. People who have one and cook with it seem to be quite enamored of it's qualities.  I am afraid of the steam and getting burned.  Trust me, if you knew me and knew how clumsy I am, it's a valid concern :-) 

Since I am not the one cooking these meals if there are any corrections or questions Doug will be able to answer as he's the man on the grill and the Instant Pot!

Linking up with Beth Fish's Weekend Cooking Series and Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for Souper Sunday.  Check out her Fish and Creamed Corn Chowder HERE



Octoberfest Beer and Charcoal Grilled Cheeseburger with Roasted Potatoes

Happy Sunday and Veteran's Day all.

I am learning to use a mobile hotspot at home and so, I can actually participate in Deb's Souper Sunday today without having to run to Starbucks for use of their internet,  Yea!

My laptop is old and I'm not sure if that's the problem here but my photos move around when I hover over them.  Weird!  So, I'm keeping this short and sweet.  Doug's retirement means he is cooking and grilling more.  This is something I have probably shared before, a grilled burger, but her we have oven roasted potatoes as an accompaniment.  I tossed the tint potatoes with olive oil and rosemary and convect roasted.  They were pretty good.



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We are fortunate to be able to dine outside for a while longer but the cooler temperatures are surely moving in.

Join in for Souper Sunday, maybe next week as I'm not giving anyone much time or notice to linkup, but this week Deb has a delectable and healthy Puy Lentil and Eggplant Stew.

Next week I'm bringing a Cuban themed soup with Mojo Pork and Black Beans.  Getting myself ready early for next week's link.


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In My Kitchen - November

It's linkup time for  November's In My Kitchen hosted by Sherry.

We had some comfortable chairs that curved around our backs and were just the right height for our table.  Unfortunately they were ugly and you couldn't find a tablecloth to match with those colors. See this photo from my October IMK post.  I have a lovely maroon tablecloth that just doesn't work with these green and blue patterned chairs.

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When we were offered these brown chairs (below) from Doug's father's house we decided to snap them up.  They looked great in our kitchen and blended well with the brick floors.
Alas, they are no where near as comfortable as the others and I couldn't touch the floor if I sat all the way back.  I'm 5'3" and that's if I stand up straight so my legs dangled. Yup, I could actually swing them back and forth.  Pity we acted so quickly and took the other chairs to a charity shop.
So I may have something new to show off in the January edition of IMK whe these get replaced.

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The Instant Pot arrived last month and so far I haven't used it.  Doug has used it and made some wonderful meals.  We checked these cookbooks out of the library and have been marking which recipes we wanted to try.  As a matter of fact, these two had so many delectable recipes that we bought the books via Amazon and Thriftbooks.

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One of the first meals Doug made was this Arroz con pollo from a Martha Stewart book.  I didn't do the meal justice with this photo as the lighting and turmeric gave this a yellowy look.  But, wow......this chicken was fork tender to cut.  The rice had a creamy texture as shirt grain rice does, but he used long grain.  This is a keeper.

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The next meal he made was a Cuban pork roast with a Mojo seasoning and broth. Again, this one is keeper, so tender.  I fried up some plantains and made black beans and rice to go along with it. 

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Linking up with Sherry's Pickings for her In My Kitchen series.



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Shrimp and Sausage Paella

Here we are in November already. Wow, this year has flown by for us.  Today was Doug's last day at work for all of this month.  He returns for about 2 weeks in December.   I will be taking time off near Thanksgiving and I guess we will plan something at home.  We had a bay side rental at St George Island but it was damaged so - reservations were canceled.

Here is a video of the place 2 doors down. :-(



Having cleared out the fridge I am now shopping less, keeping it fairly well cleaned out.  We have on hand what we want to eat for a week.  This is working out well.

On to the Paella.  This is an easy version, so many ways you can make this dish.

Stir frying up the onions, peppers, garlic and shrimp. Add sausage, spices, broth and rice.

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Heat black beans and maybe fry up some plantains.   This is my plate below.  I mix everything, food touching doesn't bother me.

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Doug's plate always looks neater, more photogenic.  He has the beans on the side.

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Linking up with Beth Fish Reads for Weekend Cooking.

Braised Pork and Apple Stew

Instantly French has been a big hit in our home.  What a wonderful cookbook.  Doug has made several recipes from this book and they have all...