Instant Pot Mexican Chicken

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I love to get a couple of meals out of one dish.  Cooking a whole chicken in the Instant Pot is a huge timesaver and yields lots of succulent chicken to use for tacos, soup, and salads. This isn’t really a recipe, more of an idea…

  • 1 whole chicken, remove any giblets/liver etc. and rinse with cold water
  • 1 small can El Pato tomato sauce download
  • 1 T. ground cumin
  • 2t. garlic powder
  • 1 T. Kosher salt
  • 2 t. chili powder
  • 2 t. oregano- They have Mexican oregano in the produce section of your grocery store
  • 1 C. water

Place the chicken into the Instant Pot. In a bowl, combine all the other ingredients and stir. Pour the tomato-spice mixture over the chicken.  Set the Instant Pot to manual-for 35 minutes. Be sure to close the steam vent. Alternatively you can get the same effect in a slow cooker for 8 or so hours on low. You can vent the steam manually or let it come down on it’s own. Once the lid unlocks, turn off the pot, remove the lid and let it cool down until you can handle it.  Some of the chicken is just going to completely fall off the bone. That’s what you want! Use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken and the bones to a separate bowl.  The rich, tomatoey broth that’s left behind is called the “pot liquor”. Don’t get rid if it! It’s an amazing base for soup. Strain the pot liquor through a mesh sieve and reserve it in the fridge or freezer. (it will gel when it’s cold and be jiggly, meat-Jell-o, then become liquid again when warmed)

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Your hands are the best tool for separating all the chicken from the bones.  Carefully pick over the chicken and put all the meat into a separate container.  You may need to use a fork to shred some of the white meat. The bones are pretty much leached of all their nutrients at this point.  You could use them again to make more broth but it will probably be a mild-tasting one. I like to ladle a few spoonfuls of the pot liquor over the shredded chicken before I store it in the fridge or freezer to keep it from drying out.

Ideas for your shredded chicken:

  • Tacos: like these!  or these! 
  • Use the pot liquor for a base for tortilla soup- think of it as a concentrate and add a cup of water for each cup of liquor. Adobo Corn Soup is a winner! 
  • Chili – add half the chicken and pot liquor to a sauteed onion and three cans of pinto or black beans.  Simmer.  Top with fresh cilantro and sour cream.
  • Corn and chicken chowder- 2 C. pot liquor + 2 C. water + 1 C. half and half, cooked and diced potatoes, 2 C. shredded chicken, and fresh corn sliced off two or three cobs. Heat it through. Top with fresh cilantro and shredded cheddar cheese.
  • Cold chicken salad- add curry powder, mayo, mustard, red grapes, and almonds, serve over fresh greens. Or this one!
  • Baked chicken pasta like this! 
  • Topping for ramen noodles.
  • Toss with steamed yellow, Mexican rice and peas, throw in a few cooked shrimp, a 1/2 t. of paprika and call it paella!
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Spinach and Beet Green Salad with Broiled Zucchini and Basil Vinaigrette

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Salad for dinner.  It’s hot. It’s even too hot to go outside and grill the zucchini. The broiler heats up and cooks quickly so it’s a doable stand in for the grill on a sweltering day. How long has it been since you had grown-up spinach?  For me it’s been a long time, years maybe. I only ever seem to buy baby spinach.  Lately I’ve been buying the bunches of regular, full-grown spinach and I like it a lot more.  It’s more hearty, has more texture, and I think more flavor as well.

  • 1-2 zucchini
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 t. herbes de Provence or dried oregano
  • one bunch of beets, reserve the greens, wash them well, and cut into bite sizes
  • one bunch of fresh spinach, washed and cut or torn
  • A few basil leaves for garnish

For the vinaigrette ( I like to make mine in a smoothie blender)

  • one packed handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 C. olive oil
  • 1 t. Dijon mustard
  • pinch of Kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/8 C. Balsamic or red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 C. champagne or white wine

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings. Set aside.

Prepare the beets: cut off the greens and set aside. Place the whole, unpeeled, beets in a pot, covered with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.  Test with a sharp knife. Drain the hot water and place the pot in the sink. Fill it with cold water to stop the beets cooking.  This is a great time to peel them- use your hands, the peel slips right off, and if you do it while your hands are submerged then you won’t get too many beet stains on your fingers. Slice the beets into 1/2 inch thick slices, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

Prepare the zucchini: Slice the zucchini into 1/2 inch rounds and place on a baking sheet that’s been drizzled with olive oil. Season the rounds with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the dried herbs. Give the whole pan another drizzle of oil and put it under the broiler- about two inches from the heat source. Broil for about two minutes per side, or until the rounds are blistering and turning golden brown.

Assemble the salad: Greens on the plate, I like a few beet stems too for color and crunch, a few zucchini rounds, a few sliced beets, a few basil leaves and a nice drizzle of the vinaigrette.

 

 

 

 

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Farro Tabouli

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I love this salad for hot summer evenings when you don’t want to turn on the oven.  You can make this salad a day ahead and let it sit in the fridge until you need it. It’s great cold or at room temperature, so bring this to your next potluck.  It’s also vegan.  Farro is a nutty, chewy grain that is similar to barley, which would be a great substitute. Serve this salad with some hummus and toasted pita and you’ve got a healthy, fresh dinner!

  • 1/4 C. olive oil, divided
  • 2 C. farro
  • 4 C. vegetable broth or water
  • 1 t. cumin
  • 1 T. shallot, minced
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice reserved
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 C. fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat 1 t. of olive oil in a medium pot with a lid.  Toast the dry farro in the oil…

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Swordfish with Caramelized Corn and Fennel

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I love the way fennel becomes so sweet and mellow when you saute it.  The combination of corn and fennel makes for a sweet, nutty side dish that could accompany any of your favorite summertime entrees.  I used fresh corn for this, but you could easily substitute frozen.

  • 1 t. olive oil
  • 2 t. butter
  • 1/2 sweet onion, I used a Walla Walla, diced
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, diced
  • 4 ears of corn, kernels cut off from the cob
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1/4 C. fresh basil (plus a bit more for garnish)
  • 4 swordfish steaks
  • 1 C. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 C. white wine

Heat the oil and butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion, fennel, and corn.  Saute until the onion softens and the corn begins to color, about 4 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Increase the heat to medium high and add…

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Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

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What do you do when you have a flat of beautiful ripe strawberries?  First you eat a bunch, and take pictures of your children with strawberry juice running down their chins.  You freeze some and then you make ice cream, of course.  If you’ve never made homemade ice cream, it’s worth a try.  It’s not difficult to make and you will feel so accomplished and satisfied with yourself.  This recipe is adapted from epicurious.com.

  • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream or whipping cream
  • 1/2 t. almond extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 lb strawberries (3 cups), trimmed and quartered

Combine cream, almond extract, and salt in a heavy saucepan and bring just to a boil. Remove from heat.  Whisk the eggs with 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl, then temper them by adding the hot cream in a slow stream, 1/2 C. at a time…

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Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Tart

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This savory tart is rich and delicious served hot, cold, or room temperature, making it the perfect dish for a potluck! If you buy an oil based puff pastry such as Pepperidge Farms, it’s also vegan!

  • 1 puff pastry sheet (the box comes with two, double the recipe to make two tarts or freeze the second sheet for later.)
  • 2-3 t. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lb. mushrooms- you could use crimini, baby bellas, white, whatever you can find. sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices
  • 1 t. dried Herbes de Provence, or dried oregano
  • Fresh parsley or basil for garnish, optional

Bring the puff pastry to room temperature.  Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and lay the pastry out on it. Set aside. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add 1 t. of the oil. Add the sliced onions and cook, stirring occasionally until they are tender, and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Season the onions with a little salt and pepper. Scrape the onions onto a plate and set aside to cool.  In the same pan, heat another t. of oil. Add the sliced mushrooms, salt and pepper, and the dried herbs. Cook, stirring occasionally until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.  To assemble the tart, scrape the onions onto the pastry sheet and distribute in an even layer.

Scrape the mushrooms on top of the onions spread them out into another even layer.  Stretch the pastry up over the top of the mushrooms to form a rustic edge around the tart. Drizzle with a little more olive oil. Bake at 400 degrees until the pastry is golden brown, about 20 minutes.  Garnish with some fresh, green herbs if desired.

 

 

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Polynesian Party Meatballs

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Once again, proving that eating things off of sticks is fun.  This is a great dish to bring to a party or make for Dad’s special day.  The nifty bamboo sticks came from the Asian grocery store, but you could easily use plain bamboo skewers cut in half.  Makes 40

  • 2 lbs. ground turkey, dark meat if possible
  • 5 scallions, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 C. bottled teriyaki sauce, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 C. panko crumbs
  • 2 t. ground ginger or 1 T. freshly grated ginger
  • salt and pepper- about 1 t. each
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 whole fresh pineapple, cut into two inch pieces

In a large bowl, combine the turkey, scallions, 1/4 C. of sauce, panko, eggs, ginger, garlic, and salt and pepper  Chill in the fridge for at least one hour.  Heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Roll the turkey mixture into 40 meatballs and place about an…

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