Instant Pot Creamy Ranch Pasta With Chicken & Broccoli
This recipe requires a 6 or 8-quart Instant Pot or other brand multi-cooker.
**Please refer to the manufacturer’s guide for your specific cooker regarding locking the lid and preparing to cook; quick release and pressure settings.
This recipe yields approximately 6 servings.
~ IT'S HELPFUL TO READ THE ENTIRE RECIPE BEFORE BEGINNING ~
Add the pasta to the Instant Pot with 4 cups of water. Stir around once to evenly distribute pasta and water. Add the chicken on top of the pasta. Sprinkle a very small amount of the ranch seasoning to the top of the chicken. **Set to pressure cook on high for 12-14 minutes. I cook for 14 min.
While the pasta and chicken is cooking, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, Cheddar and remaining seasoning mix in a large bowl. Set aside.
Once the chicken and pasta is cooked, use the quick-release until the pressure is released from the pot. Be cautious of any remaining steam while removing the lid. The residual water in the pot will make the cheese sauce.
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Let cool enough to cut or shred.
*The broccoli flowerets can be added to the pasta at this time while the chicken is cooling for a bit [see below for options on broccoli]. Return and secure the lid to the Instant Pot. You can let the ‘keep warm’ setting stay on. There is enough water and heat to steam the broccoli.
Roughly chop the chicken into small pieces while still warm. Add the cheese mixture to the pasta and stir until the cheese mixture melts. Add the chicken and stir until everything is well coated.
*The broccoli can be:
Chocolate Cake in a Mug
To start, I will say in this time of challenges, it is very important to keep sugar consumption at a minimum. Nothing drags down the immune system like sugar.
I am sharing a recipe for Chocolate Cake in a Mug because sometimes we need a little treat or comfort food and this can be shared for two small servings. To further contradict my own belief and practices, I don’t use or advocate for the use of microwave ovens for cooking or heating food which this recipe requires. I do own one to melt craft wax and it is kept in the garage and unplugged when not in use.
This is very quick and easy to make. It’s better than buying a larger cake from the store and it’s always better to make your own because we know what the ingredients are. To be honest, I tried out this recipe both with the chocolate chips, and without. It’s good both ways ;)
Note: This works best using a large, 15 or 16 oz. straight-sided microwave safe ceramic mug.
Combine in the mug: flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Blend thoroughly with a fork. Add the milk, oil and vanilla and blend until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Microwave on high for 90 seconds. Do not overcook, or the cake may be dry. Let cool for 2-3 minutes before eating.
The original recipe was found on the Food Network, courtesy of Ree Drummond
This presentation of Ree’s original recipe has been altered to my own preferences, which includes organic ingredients. Her ingredient quantities are perfect!
The Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips (my favourite) are non-GMO, dairy, nut, gluten and soy-free.
........Then make yourself a green smoothie
Romaine Walnut Cranberry Salad
Use all organic ingredients where possible.
This is a simple summer salad with a great mix of flavors and textures. The avocado and walnuts provide protein while the cranberries give it a little sweetness.
½ large, or 1 small head of Romaine lettuce
1 handful of walnuts
1 handful of juice-sweetened dried cranberries – or “Craisins”
1 Avocado, sliced
A creamy dill, peppercorn or herb dressing is very nice on this salad
Homemade dressing of fresh squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, crushed garlic, salt & pepper is also good.
Cacao Ganache Raspberry Tart - Raw/Vegan
This sinfully decadent & delicious raw, vegan recipe came to me via my friend Karolina. The original recipe is from the book: Rawmazing, with my tips and suggestions.
Makes one 3" to 4" tart.
Combine all ingredients and press 1/4" layer into the mold using fingers. Press hard to make a solid crust.
Mix together all ingredients
Top the pressed almond-based crust with a thin layer of the ganache. Top the ganache with a layer of raspberries, then fill with ganache to 1/2" from the top of mold. Top with raspberries.
Refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.
Carefully un-mold by pulling out the waxed paper.
Someone near and dear brought me ground venison, which I had no idea what to do with. Not a fan of wild game since I’m not experienced with cooking it, so lingers that “gamey” taste whenever I’ve tried. Because venison could not be more “organic” I decided to give it a try.
Based on my friend's recommendation of using caramelized onions, I started with that and came up with the best burgers ever! They were small in size because the meat was packed in a sleeve maybe 3” in diameter. I cut approximately 1-1/4” thick slices from the sleeve.
One tip I read was not to over season ground venison for burgers with spices or herbs. Another is that because venison is so lean, it requires the addition of ground pork, bacon, bacon fat, etc., especially if grilling. Since it’s frigid here, I cooked them indoors using a George Foreman Grill. This meat did not have ground pork added.
The amount of meat I used was probably a little less than 1 pound, so this can be a general guideline and adjusted accordingly.
1 pound ground venison
1 very large organic onion
1 large or 2 small cloves of garlic – thinly sliced
Salt & pepper
1 Tablespoon Kerrygold butter or other organic butter
Organic Olive oil
Kerrygold Reserve Cheddar Cheese
In a large skillet, pour 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil - more if necessary so the onions don’t burn or stick.
Add about 1 tablespoon of butter for flavor.
Add chopped or sliced onion and garlic.
Sautee until tender and richly browned.
While the onions are cooking, salt and pepper both sides of the burgers to taste.
Drizzle olive oil on both sides.
Place inside Foreman grill and cook on medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes for well done.
Use the oil that drips out the front to baste the burgers while they are cooking.
Top with lots of finely grated cheese, then the caramelized onions
Serve on thin sliced Ciabatta bread (made with organic flour if possible) – or no bread at all – over a bed of caramelized onions.
Grain-Free Turkey Taco Salad
Something I threw together recently. It was easy, plain and simple and tasted great. It was filling and satisfying, without the taco shell or tortilla chips.
Cook 1 pound of organic ground turkey in skillet and add taco seasoning to taste.
I used a mix of ½ white and ½ dark turkey and ½ packet of Riega Organic Taco Seasoning #4 so it wasn’t too spicy. Riega is grain-free and available on VitaCost.com if your local health food store does not carry it.
*See below for homemade taco seasoning recipe.
Add a tablespoon at a time (as necessary) of filtered water to the turkey & taco spice while it’s cooking so the mixture doesn’t dry out because turkey is lean. Just enough so the meat isn’t completely dry.
Salad greens: I used a mix or organic Romaine and spinach
1 sliced organic avocado (instead of making guacamole)
Organic black olives – sliced
Shredded cheese – I used Kerrygold Reserve Cheddar. Other options are pepper jack or shredded Mexican blend.
Sliced or diced organic tomatoes and/or organic salsa to taste.
Layer greens on the bottom of the bowl leaving a hole in the middle for the hot meat.
Add in the meat depending on serving size, top with cheese so it melts a little, then olives, other add-ins such as corn, black or kidney beans and salsa/tomatoes.
*Make your own taco seasoning:
2 Tablespoons cumin
1 Tablespoons coriander
1 teaspoon chili powder
Pinch of onion powder
Pinch of garlic powder
Pinch of ground sea salt
Karolina's Squash Soup
My amazing friend Karolina came up with this vegetable soup - it is delicious and a very warming.
OK - here's the BASIC list - all organic ingredients if possible:
1 Butternut Squash - peeled & cubed if possible
1 small onion
2-3 cloves garlic
Butter - oh, maybe a couple tablespoons or more.
1 32 oz. carton organic Vegetable stock, PLUS another 32 oz. of filtered water (depending on the size of the pot).
Fresh turmeric - 2 small 'thumb-size' pieces or ground turmeric (1 teaspoon or so)
3 stalks celery
1 large russet potato
Salt & pepper to taste
Add all ingredients to stock pot. Bring to boil, then simmer for a few hours until all the veggies are soft. Cool. Blend with a submersible stick blender or in a blender in small batches until smooth.
I added some allspice.
Sweet potato can be used instead of white potato
Rachael Ray's Kale Pesto
There were 2 different published versions of Rachael's recipe that I found. This is the version I prefer ;-)
Ingredients - (use organic when possible):
5 - 6 Cups stemmed & rinsed kale (1 large bunch)
1/2 Cup grated pecorino Romano cheese
1/3 Cup toasted pine nuts or chopped hazelnuts
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
Juice & zest of 1 lemon
2 - 3 cloves crushed garlic
Salt & pepper to taste
1/3 to 1/2 Cup olive oil
Put 1/2 the kale in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
Add remainder of ingredients except olive oil, then the other 1/2 of the kale. Pulse to combine.
Drizzle in olive oil to desired consistency. (I use 1/2 cup)
Toss desired amount of pesto with 1 or more servings of rice or other pasta.
Can be used as a delicious cracker spread.
Superfood Date Bars
This was sent to me as an adapted recipe originating from The Food Babe. I further adapted it. This is loaded with super healthy items.
Ingredients - (use organic when possible):
12+ Medjool dates, pitted and quartered *
1/2 Cup rolled oats
1/2 Cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 Cup hemp hearts (shelled hemp seeds)
1/4 Cup raw sunflower seeds
2 Tablespoons shredded or flake coconut
2 Tablespoons dried cranberries or goji berries
2 Tablespoons chia seeds
2 Tablespoons cacao powder
2 Tablespoons walnut pieces
2 Heaping teaspoons flax seeds
4+ Tablespoons coconut oil *
Put all the ingredients in a food processor, starting on a slow pulse. The dates will take a bit to break down. Increase speed once the machine runs smoothly.
When all the ingredients are mixed thoroughly, make sure they will stick together. *At this point add additional coconut oil or dates if necessary. Remix. Remove and place in a waxed paper lined 8x8 pan.
Use a spatula to firmly and evenly press into the bottom of the pan.
Chill in refrigerator for 3 hours or overnight before cutting into squares.
This recipe yields approximately 12 bars, depending on size. I wrap each piece in waxed paper, then store in a plastic bag.
Personally, I don’t use anything grown in China, which is where goji berries come from. While they are an excellent tart superfood, I use dried cranberries, which adds a bit of sweetness to the already sweet dates.
About the ingredients:
Raw Chocolate Coconut Macaroons
Prep time: 15 min.
3 Cups organic shredded coconut
1-1/4 Cup raw organic cacao powder
1 Cup organic raw honey - or mix the raw honey 1/2 and 1/2 with regular honey or maple syrup.
1/3 Cup organic unrefined coconut oil (melted)
2 Teaspoons vanilla extract (Mexican Vanilla is the best)
Pinch of salt
Mix shredded coconut, cacao and salt
Add in honey, coconut oil and vanilla
Stir with strong spoon until thoroughly mixed
Place in refrigerator or freezer for 10-15 min. to set
Use hands to roll into balls. Place on waxed paper lined cookie sheet and place in freezer to set.
Makes 36-50 macaroons depending on size.
Store in freezer. Can be eaten as a frozen treat.
Raw Almond Coconut Bars
Requires 1 hour of chill time in refrigerator.
Great for breakfast ;)
If mixing all ingredients in a food processor more coconut oil may be necessary.
2 Cups whole raw almonds
1 Cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 Cup almond butter
2/3 to 3/4 Cup coconut oil (melted)
1/2 teaspoon ground sea or pink Himalayan salt
1-1/2 Tablespoons honey or molasses
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
One 3 oz. or 3.5 oz. dark chocolate bar (70% to 86%) preferably organic, fair trade
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Handful of raisins
Melt coconut in small saucepan on stove over low heat.
Line a 9x9 baking pan with wax paper so it at least meets the top edge of pan.
Pulse almonds in blender or food processor until it resembles course sand. Add the shredded coconut and pulse a few seconds more.
Dump almonds and coconut into a bowl and mix in the rest of the ingredients by hand EXCEPT the chocolate.
Pour into the wax paper lined pan and smooth out to the corners. Refrigerate until set, at least one hour.
Melt chocolate in double boiler (I use a metal one-cup measuring cup inside a small pan). Drizzle over almond coconut base and spread with a spoon or rubber spatula until evenly coated Place bars back into refrigerator for approximately 5 minutes until chocolate is solid but still a little soft. Cut into squares and store in covered container in refrigerator.
Organic Green Smoothie
1.5 to 2 Cups cold filtered water
2 Tablespoons fresh or 1 frozen "cube" lemon juice
1 Large head washed organic romaine, green leaf or red leaf lettuce
1 Bag or 6 cups washed organic baby spinach (I use one small bag of Olivia's organic baby spinach)
2-4 stick organic celery
1 Large fistful or 1 bunch organic cilantro
1 Large fistful or 1 bunch organic parsley
1 Organic Banana
1 Organic Pear
1 Organic Apple
Begin filling the blender carafe with water, greens and the harder items & fruit last. Pulse intermittently to fit everything into blender.
Press "smoothie" setting.
Yields 3-4 pints. Consume within 4 days.
I own a Blendtec blender and use the large "WildSide" carafe for this. A high powered blender is not necessary.
Any smaller, scaled-back version of this can be made, even in a "Magic Bullet" type blender.
Always use lemon juice when eating raw spinach. For convenience, squeeze and freeze organic lemon juice in ice cube trays. 1 'cube' = 2 Tablespoons juice.
An apple or pear makes any raw blended vege mixture taste great.
Hint: Wash grocery store bought veges in water with a small splash of white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide to remove residue of pesticides, etc.
Credit: Adapted from Kimberly Snyder's Glowing Green Smoothie
Awesome Organic Guacamole
3 Organic avocadoes (mashed)
2-3 Small plum tomatoes
1-2 Cloves organic garlic minced or crushed
1 Jalapeno pepper diced or several drops of liquid hot sauce
Juice of 1/2 lime
Several sprigs of fresh, organic cilantro chopped
1 Tablespoon sour cream
Mix all ingredients, adding sour cream last.
Cover in glass bowl with plastic wrap directly on top of the dip to prevent it from turning brown
A pastry blender or potato masher works great for avocadoes.
Tastes best after chilled for a few hours.
Credit: Cousin Janie ;)
Banana Almond Milk Smoothie
1 Cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 large or 1 very small frozen banana
1 Date (Medjool or other)
Combine all ingredients in blender, pour & enjoy
Notes: This is a good snack or a quick pick-me-up.
Credit: origin unknown
Organic Almond Milk
Soak almonds in filtered water on counter top for 12-24 hours.
Cheese cloth or mesh nut milk bag is necessary to strain after blending.
1.5 to 2 Cups raw almonds (organic if possible)
5 Cups cold, filtered water
Organic liquid stevia sweetener (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
Rinse almonds thoroughly, dump into blender (I use Blendtec Wildside carafe).
Add NO more than 5 cups of cold, filtered water to the carafe.
With hands & towel (just in case) on top of the blender, process on Whole Juice setting
Pour into nut milk bag in large bowl, or use cheesecloth doubled over inside a strainer to remove nut pulp.
Thoroughly squeeze the milk out of the pulp.
Whisk in additional 6th cup of water at this point, if desired, for thinner consistency.
Once strained, add:
1 teaspoon organic, pure vanilla extract (I use Mexican Vanilla)
5-8 drops organic liquid stevia
Store in glass container(s)
Enjoy within 6-7 days (max).
Mesh nut milk bags can be purchased at local health food stores or from Matt & Angela Monarch at www.therawfoodworld.com
the sprout / nut milk bags are under the categeory of kitchen tools.
I support Matt & Angela because they are young entrepenures who are walking testimones to the benefits of raw food and have authored their own books. My order came with a hand-written thank you note for supporting their business.
Mexican Vanilla has a very smooth, creamy aroma and taste and contains far less alcohol giving raw dishes a completely different (and delightful) flavour. www.bluecattletruck.com
Credit: Multiple sources; trial and error