Stir Fry Sauce (Whole 30)

When I did my first Whole 30 back in 2017,  I thought I would live on stir fries.  They are quick, easy and infinitely variable.  I have pages of stir fry sauces.  The problem is almost all stir fry sauces have some kind of sugar in them.  Sugar is not allowed on the Whole 30 and most stir fry sauces don’t taste good without it.

The recipe this sauce originally came from Eat, Drink, Paleo.  Being Paleo, it was already a clean recipe.  It just needed a little tweaking to be Whole 30.  I omitted the honey,  changed the acid to rice vinegar instead of lime juice and since I like my stir fry sauces a little thicker than usual, added arrowroot.  The result is an excellent sugar-free stir fry sauce, that along with Melissa’s stir fry sauce and Nom Nom Paleo’s basic stir fry sauce, put stir fries back on the menu for my next Whole 30.

Stir Fry Sauce

Inspired by Eat, Drink, Paleo

1 tsp garlic, minced

1 1/2 tsp ginger, minced

1/3 cup coconut aminos

1 TBS rice vinegar

2 TBS fish sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

1/4 tsp salt

1 TBS arrowroot

In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients.  Mix well.  Use in any stir fry recipe.

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Instant Pot Mini Monday — Corn On The Cob

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My weekend got off to a great start.  Read that statement with a very sarcastic tone of voice.  Friday morning I stumbled into the kitchen and walked through a big puddle of water.  I didn’t think much of it because with my sleep disorder, I often wake up and do things in the middle of the night that I don’t remember doing in the morning.  I figured I got up, dumped some water and went back to bed without cleaning it up.  No big deal.  Turned out it was a very big deal.  When I went to grab the milk for my breakfast it was warm.  Sometime in the night my refrigerator died.  I had to throw out everything in my fridge.

I was so unhappy.  I didn’t have a lot of food in the fridge but I planned my menu around what I had because the  budget is tight this pay check.   Sigh.  Fortunately,  when the maintenance man called my land lord, my landlord told him to open an empty apartment and let me use the fridge down there so I didn’t lose all my frozen meat.   It wasn’t ideal but my landlord was out-of-town so I am not going to get a new fridge until today at the earliest.

I had to do a little revising of my menu until payday but I am not going to starve.  I bought a lot of corn on the cob as my vegetable because it is in season and so cheap right now. I make just enough corn in my pressure cooker for one person for one meal.  I probably wouldn’t do that if I made it in a big pot on my stove.  If you make more corn on the cob then can fit in a single layer in your pot make sure to stagger them so the steam can reach all around the cob.

Instant Pot Corn On The Cob

2 – ? shucked and cleaned ears of corn

1 cup water

Place the trivet in the bottom of the pressure cooker liner. Add the water to the bottom of the liner. Place the ears of corn on the trivet.  You may have to break them in half to make them fit.  Lock the lid and cook for 3 minutes.  Quick release the pressure and carefully remove the corn. 

Flash Back Friday — Quick Pickles

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Last week, I had a rare Saturday off so my friend, Steph, and I, headed out to the farmers’ market.   This particular weekend the farmers’ market was right in the middle of the downtown street fair.  So I was in heaven combining my two loves, food and crafts.

When I go to the Farmer’s Market I don’t really have a plan of what I want to make with my bounty because you never know what you are going to find.  I found stuff to make a fabulous stir fry and punnets  of Kirby cucumbers for making my favorite refrigerator pickles.

Most recipes you find for refrigerator pickles are for bread and butter pickles, which are sweet pickles.  The pickles are good but I prefer a more savory pickle, like dill pickles.  I found a recipe for a savory refrigerator pickle in the cookbook Veggie Burgers, Every Which Way before I even had a blog.  I make them as often as I can during the summer.   Unfortunatly, the recipe really only works with Kirby cucumbers so they are available for only a short time durning the summer.

Quick Pickles

Adapted from Veggie Burgers, Every Which Way

4 kirby cucumbers
½ cup cider vinegar
2 TBS kosher salt
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 cups water

Cut cucumbers into 1/4 inch slices. Combine 2 cups water, the vinegar, salt and sugar in a non-reactive bowl, stirring to dissolve. Add the cucumbers ensuring that they are completely covered, add more water if necessary. Cover the bowl and let stand at room temperature for 12 hours or overnight. With a slotted spoon, transfer the cucumbers to a colender and rinse with cold water. Divide the cucumbers garlic, peppercorns and mustard seeds between the 2 pint jars or other non reactive container with a lid. Pour the brine over the cucumbers ensuring that the pickles are entirely submerged. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours. The pickles can be kept, refrigerated for about 1 month. 2 pints or 1 quart.

Instant Pot Mini Monday — Taco Soup

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Yes, I know it is July.  Yes,  I know it’s hot out.  No, I don’t care.  I made soup anyway.  Unless you eat salads for every meal during the summer, I don’t want to hear it’s too hot for soup.  In my world, it’s never too hot for soup.

This recipe is an even smaller version of the taco soup I made in my 6 quart pressure cooker a few months ago.  I am doing a pantry cleanse to get rid of all my non compliant ingredients before my September Whole 30.   I have a lot of cans of beans to use so taco soup seemed the way to go.

Taco Soup

Adapted from my recipe for taco soup

1/2 lb ground beef

1 15 oz can pinto beans

1 8oz can tomato sauce

1 4 oz green chilies

2 TBS dry ranch dressing mix

1 TBS dry taco seasoning

2 cups water

Preheat your pressure cooker on the saute mode.  When hot add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink.  Drain the fat.   Add the remaining ingredients, mix well.  Lock the lid and cook on high for 10 minutes.  Release the pressure with a 10 minute natural release then quick release the remaining pressure. 

Flash Back Friday — Debby’s Tater Tot Hot Dish

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I like to cook and bake for myself but I love to cook and bake for my friends, especially my best friends, Steph and Debby.  Steph and Debby are always willing to try whatever crazy culinary experiments I come up with.  They trust me so much when I ask what they want for dinner they say, “I don’t know, Julie, whatever you want to make is fine.”  I love that my friends aren’t picky but it is also very annoying.  When I ask what they want it is because I have no idea what I want to make.

Since my friends so seldom ask for anything, I really pay attention when they so much as mention they are remotely craving something.  My friend, Debby, mentioned tater tot hot dish one afternoon so I made it my mission to get her a small batch of tater tot hot dish with no cream of crud soup  what so ever.  It was my biggest challenge to that point.   I had to figure out how to make 1/3 can of 3 different cans of cream soup.

I surprised Debby with my first attempt one night for dinner.  Debby declared it delicious.  What more could I ask for?

Debby's Tater Tot Hot Dish

½ lb ground beef
½ cup frozen mixed vegetables
3 TBS butter
3 TBS flour
½ cup milk
½ cup chicken broth
½ cup cheddar cheese
¼ cup finely chopped onion

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef until no longer pink; drain and set aside. Turn the heat to low and melt the butter. Add the flour to the butter, whisk and cook 3 minutes. Gradually, add the milk and broth. Add the onion. Whisk the broth mixture constantly until it starts to thicken. Add the cheese and whisk until melted. Stir in the ground beef and vegetables. Transfer the mixture to a 3 cup baking dish and top with the tater tots. Bake for 40 minutes.