Pressure Cooker Squash

A few weeks ago, I was at Natural Grocers whereI was totally seduced by a display of squash.  I bought an acorn squash, a spaghetti squash and a red kuri squash.  Once again, impulsively buying something I don’t usually buy because it was so pretty and now having to find something to do with it.  Oops.

The reason I usually don’t buy squash is because I am scared to death of loosing a finger or two trying to cut it half to bake in the oven.  On my way home, I was thinking about how I was going to cook the squash and what I was going to do with the cooked squash when I remembered an Instagram story where a lady cooked a whole pie pumpkin in her pressure cooker.  Is there anything my pressure cooker can’t do?

I popped my spaghetti squash into the pressure cooker, locked the lid and let it go.  I opened the pressure cooker to a perfectly cooked spaghetti squash.  It was easy to cut in half and gently scoop out the seeds.  Once I scooped the flesh out and seasoned it with a little salt, pepper and butter.  I had a very tasty side dish for my dinner in a fraction of the time it would take in the oven and I still have all my fingers.

Note:  The squash from Natural Grocers are organic and are on small side.  If you buy conventionally grown squash from the market you may have to add more time due to their large size.

1 small squash

1 cup water

In a 6 quart pressure cooker  liner, add 1 cup water.  Add the steamer insert and place the squash.  Lock the lid and set on high pressure for 6 minutes.  Release the pressure naturally.   Open the lid and let the squash cool until you can handle the squash with out burning the fingures you saved not having to cut the squash in half.  Once cooled cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds then scoop out the flesh.  Season with salt, pepper and butter and eat or use in another recipe.

Whole30 Day 6 Pressure Cooker Pork Roast

I don’t have much to say today. I am just so tired.  I guess this is normal. I am not giving my body the quick form of energy it is used to using and my body isn’t efficent using  the new  form of energy I am giving it yet. The literature says  this too shall pass.

Thank goodness for my pressure cooker.  If I had to make an effort to cook today, I probabally would have given in and orered  a sandwich from Erbert’s and Gerbert’s.

Pressure Cooker Pork Roast

1 3 lb pork roast

1 – 2 tsp salt

1 – 2 tsp smoked paprika

1-2cloves garlic cloves, sliced

Place your trivet in the bottom of your pressure cooker liner.  Add enough water to bring your pressure cooker to pressure.  Cut seveal slits into your roast and push slivers of garlic into each slit.  Spinkle the top and bottom with salt and paprika.  Be generous. You want it to be well seasoned.  I ended up using about 1 1/2 teaspoons each of salt and paprika.  Place the roast on the trivet. Lock the lid.  Bring to pressure and cook for 90 minutes.  Use natural release.   Remove the pork from the liner and slice or shred the pork.

Whole30 Day 2 — Pressure Cooker Hard Boiled Eggs

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One of the things that drew me to the Whole30 is they want the Whole30 journey to be about more than a number on the scale. They don’t want you to weigh yourself for the entire month. No problem here, I don’t own a scale. How do you stay motivated if you can’t see the number on the scale consistently go down? The Whole30 helps you stay motivated by concentrating on non scale victories (nsv). Non scale victories are the little success’ we have everyday on our journey. Maybe we bypassed the free donuts in the break room at work. Maybe we bypass a serious sugar craving by taking a walk. Maybe we, firmly but politely, told our less than supportive friend, we would love to spend time with them, just not at a restraunt.

Today I had a NSV that I am pretty proud of.  I decided to go to a movie this afternoon. I am on vacation and I made it through  my first day of my Whole30, I wanted to have a little celebration.   I didn’t think bypassing the concession stand would be that big of a deal.  I usually go to the movies with my friend, Steph, who has sensitivities to certain sounds, like me munching on popcorn.   I usually don’t get anything as I refuse to pay $4 for candy I can get at work for .98 cents.  I seriously under estimated the pull of movie theater popcorn on my psyche.  As I walked towards the theater I actually thought I am only on day 2.  I could have the popcorn and start over tomorrow. Nobody would have to know.  The problem is I would know so I went in bought my ticket and took my seat without a stop at the concession stand.  Popcorn just wasn’t worth screwing up my Whole30.

There are as many ways to hard boil eggs as there are people who boil them so why am I posting this one?  On the Whole30 eggs are your friend.  Hard boiled eggs are a quick source of grab and go protien.  Hard boiled eggs in the pressure cooker  is a very quick way to make them.  I absolutely love the texture of the eggs made in the pressure cooker and even eggs fresh out of the chicken peel like a dream.

Pressure Cooked Hard Boiled Eggs

However many eggs you want to cook

enough water to bring the pressure cooker to pressure

Place the eggs in the pressure cooker liner and add enough water to bring the it to pressure.  Lock the lid and cook on high pressure for 3 minutes.  Release the pressure with a 10 minute natural release.  Rinse under cold water until the eggs are cool.  Store in the refrigerator.

Pressure Cooker Chicken and Rice

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Sooner or later you are going to want to cook a recipe in your pressure cooker that has ingredients that have vastly different cooking times, like chicken and rice.  The chicken takes 14 minutes and rice takes 3 minutes.  If you cooked these two things together the chicken would be way under done or the rice would  be way over done.So how the heck do we cook a recipe like chicken and rice and get them to come out right?  We use a method I call sequential cooking.  We cook the ingredient with the longest cooking time first and then take it out  and keep it warm, broil it or in other ways, finish it and then cook the ingredient with the least amount of time separately.  Or we cook the ingredient with the longest cooking time until it has cooked to the time needed to cook the food with the least amount of time, quick release the pressure, add the ingredient with least amount of cooking time and finish cooking them together.

I know your thinking “doesn’t opening the pressure cooker to add an ingredient add a lot of extra time to the recipe to come back up to pressure?” A hot pressure cooker comes to pressure faster then a cold one.  Have all the ingredients you need to add ready to dump in and you will only add 3-4 minutes to your final cooking time.

The full sized version of the recipe came from Hip Pressure Cooking and is by far my favorite pressure cooking recipe I have tried.

 

Chicken and Rice

For Chicken:

3/4 tsp canola oil

1/2 onion, chopped

3 tsp tomato paste

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 cup water

4 bone on, skin on chicken thighs

Spices:

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp cardamom

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

1/8 tsp turmeric

1 bay leaf

For Rice:

1/2 cup water

1 cup Basmati rice

Preheat your broiler to 400.  In a small frying pan over medium heat, saute the onions, until soft.  Add the garlic and spices and stir for about 30 seconds.  Place the onion mixture in the pressure cooker liner.  Add the water, tomato paste, and salt.  Add the chicken and coat with the liquid.  Bring to high pressure and cook for 14 minutes and quick release. Remove the chicken to a platter and cover with foil.  Measure the remaining liquid.  You will need 1 3/4 cup.  If the liquid from the pot doesn’t give you that amount, add some water until it does.  Pour the measured liquid back into the pressure cooker liner and add the rice.  Mix well.  Bring to high pressure for 3 minutes.  Use a natural release.  While the rice is cooking remove the foil from the chicken and place until the broiler until the skin is brown and bubbly. Serve with the rice with the chicken. 

Pressure Cooker Taco Pasta, Hamburger Helper Style

597This week I came upon some pressure cooking controversy. Yeah.  I couldn’t believe pressure cookers have controversy either but they do.  I was online looking for a pressure cooker pork loin recipe.  I found one I thought I could adapt to my liking and was reading through the comments to see what other people did with it when I came a cross a comment that said, ” I wish people who use pressure cookers would stop lying about how fast pressure cookers  get things done.  By the time the pressure cooker came up to pressure, cooked the food and released pressure I could have done this quicker on the stove top.” While this lady is a little harsh, she isn’t necessarily wrong but she isn’t entirely right either.

The lady is right when she states that the recipe could have been done in about the same time, if not a little quicker, on the stove top.  Recipes that are fairly quick on the stove aren’t necessarily going to be quicker in the pressure cooker.   I have tried several recipes I have adapted on  A Solitary Feast, and the pressure cooker doesn’t do many of them any faster then on the stove top.  Where the pressure cooker shines in these types of recipes, at least for me, is in its fix it and forget it ability.  I can just throw things in the pressure cooker and leave the kitchen.  This is with my electric pressure cooker.  I would not attempt this with a stove top pressure cooker which needs more attention to regulate the heat.  I like knowing the pressure cooker will switch to the keep warm setting when it is done. I can eat at my leisure.

Where the lady went a little overboard was in saying that pressure cooks were lying about how quickly things cooked  in the pressure cooker.  When I tried a BBQ chicken recipe in my in my pressure cooker that said it cooked in 12 minutes,  it wasn’t lying, it cooked in 12 minutes.  Once the pressure cooker comes to pressure it does take 12 minutes to cook.  The time it takes to get the pressure cooker to pressure isn’t included in the cooking time because so many things can affect that time.  It takes longer for the pressure cooker to come to pressure if you use frozen food, how full your pressure cooker is, how big the pieces of food are, what kind of pressure cooker you have and on and on.  This omission isn’t unusual in recipes.  Stove top recipes don’t include the time it takes for your oven to preheat or a pan to heat the oil to saute your aromatics. Prep times in general aren’t included because no cookbook author can know the cook’s knife skills, the condition of the cook’s equipment and the million other things that effect the time it takes to prep a recipe.  As you gain more and more experience with your pressure cooker you will be able to judge the total prep and cook time more exactly.   Where I think this lady went wrong was in having unrealistic expectations of what a pressure cooker actually does.

This is the first recipe I created that I cooked in my pressure cooker.  The idea behind the recipe was to have a homemade equivalent of Hamburger Helper, make it in one dish. I like to brown the hamburger before adding it to the pressure cooker line, my 2 quart pressure cooker doesn’t have a saute function,  so I can drain as much fat as possible.  It isn’t necessarily the fastest recipe or the recipe that will save you the most time in the pressure cooker but it is rather tasty.

Taco Pasta

1/2 lb ground beef

1/2 cup onion, chopped

1 1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp cornstarch

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp oregano

1 cup elbow macaroni

1 8 0z can tomato sauce

1 cup water

Brown the ground beef and onion on the stove until the ground beef is no longer pink.  Drain well.  Add the ground beef and remaining ingredients to the pressure cooker pot and gently stir to combine.  Lock the lid and set the pressure cooker for high pressure and 6 minutes.  When the pressure cooker is done, turn of the unit and let sit for 10 minutes to release the pressure.  When you remove the cover the hot dish will look a little soupy.  It will firm up a bit when it sits for a few minutes.  I added a sprinkling of cheddar cheese to my serving.