Cuban Sazon (Whole 30)

In this crazy time a lot of food bloggers are left wondering what they should post or if they should post at all. Some are stopping posting thinking it seems disrespectful in these time of possible food limitations to keep posting recipes. Other bloggers are doing their best to post easy recipes using common pantry ingredients.

I will admit to being in the first category for a long time. Then I realized what I need most is to keep to my routine as much as I possibly can in this crazy time. A big part of my routine is this blog, looking for recipes, adapting recipes, testing recipes and posting recipes. When I am not doing those things it is way too easy to become overwhelmed and anxious about current events. So I am going to keep posting recipes, and about books I am reading, movies and shows I am watching, my crazy animals and what ever is making me happy in this crazy time. I hope that they will make you happy too.

First up is a simple seasoning blend using common spices. I have tried as a rub on turkey cutlets, added to ground beef and over vegetables. It’s a great way to add flavor to your meal when other ingredients are scarce.

Cuban Sazon

Adapted From The Made Whole, Made Simple Cookbook

2 TBS garlic powder

2 TBS onion powder

1 TBS dried parsley

1 TBS ground cumin

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp ground black pepper

Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl; mix well. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.

Pressure Cooker Herbed Turkey (Whole 30)

This week I am posting my Whole 30 Thanksgiving recipes. When I started A Solitary Feast my goal was to show you that just because you are a small household you don’t have to give up Holiday food traditions. This year, I wanted to show you don’t have to give up your Holiday food traditions just because you are doing a Whole 30. When I could , I did straight up adaptions of traditional thanksging recipes like turkey, and mashed potatoes and gravy. When I couldn’t easily do straight up adaptions, I tried to find things that taste so good you won’t mind they aren’t exactly like a tradional holiday recipes, like the stuffing and cranbery sauce. I hope you will find these recipes useful whether you are doing around of Whole 30 or not.

By the way, my camera picked horrible time to be at the repair shop for routine maintenance.  I clearly suck at planning these things.  But I wanted  you to have the recipes even though I don’t have pictures.


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From The Complete Slow Cooking For Two cook book Pressure cooking technique by me

(2 ½ to 3- pound) turkey breast

3 garlic cloves, cut into slivers

2 TBS ghee, at room temperature

1 tsp dried parsley

1 tsp dried thyme

½ tsp dried sage leaves

1 tsp salt

¼ tsp ground black pepper

2 onions, sliced

1 cup chicken stock

Poke several holes in the turkey breast with a sharp knife. Push the garlic slivers and parsley into the holes. Rub the tukey with the ghee and sprinkle it with the basil, thyme, sage, salt and pepper. Place the turkey on the trivet in the pressure cooker liner. Add one cup stock to the liner. Lock the lid and bring to high pressure. Cook 3 minutes per pound of turkey. Naturally release the pressure.


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.

English Style Madras Curry Powder


If you went to India and asked someone about finding some Madras curry powder no one would know what you were asking for.  Madras curry powder doesn’t actually exist in India.  It was created by the British in the 18th century to help them recreate the curries they had in India when they come back to England.

If you like your curries hot, this is the spice blend for you.  If you like milder curries go easy on this spice blend. You have been warned.

English Style Madras Curry Powder


1 TBS coriander seed

2 tsp cumin seed

1/2 tsp whole cloves

1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds

1/2 tsp black peppercorns

5-7 dried red Thai chilies

1 tsp ground tumeric

Mix everything together except the ground turmeric, and grind in a spice grinder or a mortar  and pestle.  The texture should be similar to course ground black pepper.  Add the tumeric and mix well.  Store in an airtight container for 1 month. 

Triticale, Spelt and Rye Flakes #1 The Basics


One of the things I love to do when I am on vacation is to get in the kitchen and try new ingredients.  So when I was at Natural Grocers last week, I decided to grab some triticale flakes, some spelt flakes and some rye flakes.  At first I was just going to I was just going to try cooking the flakes as a substitute for my morning oatmeal.  The more I thought about it the more I realized that triticale and spelt are just different types of wheat so could I bake with them?  If so, what changes would need to be made to accomodate the differing amounts of gluten in these flakes?  Could the flakes be used in savory dishes like pilafs or veggie burgers?  What would these things taste like?  (I realized a long time ago, I don’t look at food the way most other people do.)

To begin my experiments, I decided to just cook a plain batch of each grain to discover how they taste and if the cooking directions on the packages are accurate.  I generally find the directions on the package use way too much water producing a mushy grain or rice.  Although,  I did find the water ratio in these directions where acceptable.

Today’s recipes are just the basic recipes to cook an oatmeal type porridge.  As I discover or create more recipes I will post them.

Basic Spelt Flakes

1 cup spelt flakes

2 1/2 cups water

In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil.  Add the spelt flakes and reduce the heat to medium – medium low.  Simmer for 15 – 20 minutes. 

Basic Triticale Flakes

1 cup triticale flakes

2 cups water

In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil.  Add the triticale flakes and reduce the heat to medium – medium low.   Cover and cook 15 minutes.

Basic Rye Flakes

1 cup  rye flak
3 cups water

In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil.  Add the rye flakes and reduce the heat to medium – medium low.  Cover and cook 25 – 30 minutes.