Todays recipe comes from my friend, Audrey’s, blog, Lady Melady My Castle My Food. Audrey’s blog is packed with recipes for what I call real people food. I can go to her blog anytime of day and find a recipe for things I already have on hand and for the time I have to cook. Her food is always tasty. I have a pile of her recipes in my to adapt file and have already adapted many of my favorite Lady Melady recipes for one or two.
In addition to being a great cook and an awesome blogger, Audrey is an awesome person. After talking back and forth on our blogs, we discovered that we live about an hour away from each other. We decided we absolutely had to meet. Once we did we discovered we had a lot more in common than a love of food and blogging. It’s always fun when we get together. It is also nice to have one friend who understands the cooking and blogging thing as most of my friends and family look at my cooking and blogging as that weird thing that Julie does.
Audrey’s Princess Diana carrot soup is one of my favorite soup recipes. It is deceptively simple. Just looking at the recipe you think it’s going to be bland and boring because there are no added spices and herbs beyond salt and pepper. Then you taste it and realize simple doesn’t mean bland and boring. It is an amazing soup.
Princess Diana Carrot Soup
2 tablespoon olive oil or ghee (to make it Whole30 compliant)
1 medium onion; chopped
2 1/2 cup chicken broth (check ingredients to make sure it’s Whole30 compliant)
1 pound carrot; peeled, sliced
1 3/4 cup potato; peeled, diced
1 1/2 cup milk (I used coconut milk to make it Whole30 compliant)
salt and pepper; to taste
Peel and slice carrots about 1/2″ thick. Peel and dice potatoes in 1″ cubes.Saute onions in margarine in a kettle. Add broth, carrots, potatoes.Bring to a boil; simmer 10-15 minutes or until carrots tender.Puree half of mixture in blender with milk. Return to kettle and heat through, making sure it does not boil (milk will curdle). Season to taste. Note: I make this soup the day before it I want to eat it. I don’t want to put hot soup into a blender. It won’t end well. Besides it tastes even better on the second day.
When I decided to do the Whole30, I spent a lot of time thinking what times I might be vulnerable to making bad food choices. The biggest danger zone I could think of for me is when I get off of work. I get home from work anywhere from 7 to 9 pm. Depending on how I slept the night before and how stressful my day was there are a lot of times I stop by the deli on my way home or toss a bowl of oatmeal or some other grain into the pressure cooker for dinner becauseI just don’t want to cook. I can’t do that on while I am doing a Whole30 so I need another plan. I decided to make a pot of soup on my prep day and eat it as needed throughout the week. The first soup I made was Weight Watcher’s Zero Point Vegetable Soup.
Back when I was a Weight Watcher, I wasn’t much of a cook. I lived on Smart Ones tv dinners, Boca Burgers and Weight Watcher’s zero point vegetable soup. I ate gallons of the stuff. The soup got me through a lot of times when I had no points left for the day and I was starving. I think it is going to do the same for my Whole30.
A lot of my friends are asking how I am feeling since I started my Whole30, so I thought I would post my response here. Day two and three, I woke up feeling like I was coming down with something. I had a vague headache and felt kind of achy. The literature said that is normal and should go away soon. I also started having very vivid nightmares and dreams. I wake up in a terrified and in a sweat or crying or ecstatically happy and I don’t know why. I don’t know if these dreams are connected to the Whole30 or not, but they started the same time as I started my Whole30. The literature says that vivid dreams about eating noncompliant foods and ruining your Whole30 are common. That is not what these dreams are. I usually don’t remember what I have dreamed so this is just weird. I don’t mind the crying or being ecstatically happy but I can totally do without the flop sweats and my heart beating so hard it feels like it is coming out of my chest. The only other physical symptom I have is I fart alot. This isn’t suprising since I have eaten more vegetables in the last three days than I have in the last three months. I am sure this will pass as my body gets used to eating more good stuff.
Weight Watcher's Zero Point Vegetable Soup
2/3 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup diced onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups fat-free broth (beef, chicken, or vegetable)
1 1/2 cups diced green cabbage
1/2 cup green beans
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup diced zucchini
In a large saucepan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, sauté carrots, onions and garlic over low heat for about 5 minutes. Add broth, cabbage, green beans, tomato paste, basil, oregano and salt, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for around 15 minutes or until beans are tender. Lastly, stir in the zucchini and continue to heat soup for 3-4 minutes.
Have I told you lately how much I love my pressure cooker? Today all I wanted was chicken noodle soup. Not any old can or packet of chicken flavored soup like substance but real, like my mom makes it chicken noodle soup. Problem was, even though it isn’t a complicated recipe, it still takes about an hour and a half to make on the stove. I didnt get home from work until after 8 pm and was totally exhausted from a busy work day. I didn’t have an hour and a half to spend in the kitchen plus time to let the soup cool down enough to put in the fridge before I was going to be out like a light. So I decided to try making my mom’s chicken noodle soup in my 6 quart pressure cooker. I just threw everything except the noodles into the pressure cooker and about 25 minutes later had the chicken noodle soup I so desperately wanted. The best part it was sooooo good, possibly the best chicken noodle soup I ever made. Have i told you lately how much I love my pressure cooker?
Pantry items used – Chicken boullion cubes
Mom's Chicken Noodle Soup In The Pressure Cooker
1 – 2 stalks celery, chopped
1-2 carrots, peeled and chopped
6 cups chicken broth
2 bone in, skin on chicken thighs, skin removed and excess fat trimmed
1 cup raw egg noodles
Chicken boullion to taste
Toss celery, carrots, chicken broth and chicken thighs into the pressure cooker. Lock the lid. Cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. Use a quick release to release the pressure. Turn the pressure cooker to the saute setting and bring the soup to a boil. Add the noodles and chicken boullion to taste and cook until they reach the desired tenderness. Meanwhile, remove the chicken from the bone and chop. Add the chicken to the soup. Place in bowls and serve.
On Black Friday I finally bought a 6 quart pressure cooker. No, it wasn’t an Insta – Pot. Even when Insta – Pots are on sale they are still a little too expensive for my budget. I bought a 6 quart Farberware pressure cooker. It was literally, half the price of the Insta – Pot on sale and it works beautifully.
So what happened to my 2 quart pressure cooker? Don’t I love it any more? Yes, I still love my little 2 quart pressure cooker. I still use it for the majority of my pressure cooking. However, as I learned more about pressure cooking and what they can and can not do, I realized there were a lot of things that my 2 quart pressure cooker just couldn’t do due to its small size. So I decided to go big or go home.
The first thing I made in my 6 quart pressure cooker was the taco soup recipe that came in the recipe booklet with the pressure cooker. I love soup so I make it year around. 90 degrees above or 40 degrees below zero soup is awesome. The only change I made to the recipe isn’t really a change. I used my homemade ranch dressing and my homemade taco seasoning instead of the store bought packets. You can use the stuff out of the packets if you want too.
Oh, I should really answer the question I posed in the title of my post. I you can only afford one pressure cooker, I would go with the 6 quart pressure cooker rather than the 2 quart pressure cooker to begin with. According to the instructions included with my 6 quart pressure cooker, which were only marginally better then those with my 2 quart pressure cooker, as long as I have a minimum of one cup liquids and 1 cup solids I can cook a small meal in the 6 quart pressure cooker.
1 lb ground beef
2 (16 oz) cans pinto beans
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (14.5 oz) can Rotel tomatoes
1 (1oz) package dry ranch salad dressing mix
1/2 (1 oz) package taco seasoning
4 cups water
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
In a 6 quart pressure cooker, saute your ground beef until no longer pink. Drain the fat from the hamburger. In a small bowl, whisk together the water, dry ranch salad dressing mix, and dry taco seasoning. Pour over the ground beef. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the cheese, and stir to combine. Lock the lid. Cook on high pressure for 20 minutes. Use a natural release. Top each serving with cheddar cheese.
The last few weeks I have really struggled to have recipes ready for A Solitary Feast. I am struggling, not because I am not cooking, but because I am cooking in my pressure cooker almost exclusively. I am seriously obsessed with that thing. Although I have posted a few pressure cooker recipes on A Solitary Feast, I really don’t want to turn it into a pressure cooking blog. Pressure cooking, no matter how awesome it is, doesn’t really fit the vision I have for this blog. A Solitary Feast is really about good home cooking without processed ingredients and kitchen gadgets. One of the things I have been cooking without my pressure cooker is soup. So for my eighth recipe every beginning cook should know is homemade broth.
I love making broth and freezing it in one cup portions to use in everything I make that requires broth. If you only have time to make one kind of broth make the vegetable broth as it is more neutral in flavor so it can be substituted for chicken broth if necessary.
Fast Vegetable Stock
1 large onion, quartered
4 carrots, cut into chunks
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
1 lb button mushrooms, trimmed but left whole
4 (or more) whole garlic cloves, unpeeled and crushed
1 bunch fresh parsley, stems and leaves
4 sprigs fresh thyme, or a big pinch of dried
1 tsp whole peppercorns
4 bay leaves
¼ cup tomato paste
¼ cup soy sauce
½ tsp salt, plus more to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Combine everything in a stockpot with 3 quarts of water. Bring to a boil and adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles steadily but gently. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. If you have the time, let it simmer for an hour, go for it; the flavor will deepen and improve. Yield: more than 2 quarts.
Quick Chicken Stock
1 3 to 4 pound chicken
1 onion, unpeeled and roughly chopped
1 large carrot, roughly chopped
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
Several sprigs parsley, optional
Salt and fresh black pepper
Cut up the chicken, if you like. Combine all the ingredients in a large pot with 14 cups of water and turn heat to high. Bring to just about a boil, then lower the heat so the mixture just sends out a few bubbles at a time. Cook, skimming any foam that develops, until the chicken is done, 30-60 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken and whether or not it is cut up. Cool slightly then strain, pressing the meats and the solids to extract more juice. Remove the chicken and save for another use. Use stock immediately or refrigerate (skim any hard fat from the surface). Use stock in 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. 12 cups stock