JeffreyW plates up a good-looking Pot Roast Dinner
I love to cook in my pressure cooker – rice, beans, soups – they all get their start in my pressure cooker. But my favorite thing to do is that quick dinner that tastes like it’s been in the slow cooker all day, even though I completely forgot to even take the meat out to thaw.
My usual meal is to add about 1 cup of water to the pan, add a bunch of spices and herbs to the water, put the tray in and then layer halved potatoes, FROZEN skinless chicken breast or thighs (boneless or not, doesn’t change cooking time much), throw a couple of halved carrots on top and pressurize. Twenty minutes later, dinner is ready. The spices and herbs in the water infuse everything with flavor. It’s not as complex as roasted chicken, but for a quick dinner, it’s great.
Today I was wandering through the freezer, reorganizing to make room for holiday stuff and counting my bags of cranberries – which I stockpile in case there is a great cranberry shortage in the future. I pulled out a nice chuck roast I bought on sale a few weeks ago, half of which I used for the beef stew last week, half I tucked away for a nice pot roast dinner. I thought it would be nice to make tomorrow. Then I decided I wanted it today.
So I pulled out the pressure cooker. This would be a first, starting with a frozen roast. It was either going to work or I was going to end up with one tough piece of beef. But I wouldn’t know if I didn’t give it try. (I do these things so you don’t have to).
I put the roast on the tray, poured a little bourbon over it (since it worked so well with the beef stew) added water, bay leaf, salt, pepper, onion, halved potatoes and carrots. I pressurized it for 55 minutes. I was guessing at the time because I wasn’t sure with it frozen how much extra time I should add.
At the 55 minute mark, I turned off the heat and let it depressurize slowly (instead of cold bath method). When I opened it, the beef was perfect. Again, the flavor was not as complex as if I had been able to brown it ahead of time. But it was tender and moist.
The carrots and potatoes were good, although if I did it again, I would probably add them at the twenty or thirty minute mark and re-pressurize for another twenty minutes.
So I’ll mark this down as a win and know that if I need a quick dinner, I can put pot roast on the list of recipes that will go from frozen to dinner in an hour.
They are predicting a quick hitting snow storm for tonight and tomorrow with some locations having blizzard-like conditions. Seemed like a good time to make a batch of soup.
Because I have a vita-mix, most of the soups I make start with a thick vegetable broth. It gives a great depth of flavor. It’s also chocked full of nutrients and anyone who knows me well, knows I don’t eat enough vegetables, so I do what I can to up my daily veggies. But you may not want to go to that trouble, so you can substitute 4 cups of chicken broth for the vegetable broth in the recipe below.
Cream of Chicken Soup
- 1/4 tsp rosemary
- 1/4 tsp thyme
- 1/4 tsp basil
- 2 stalks celery (with leaves), rough chopped
- 2 medium carrots, rough chopped (or frozen sliced)
- 1 cup cut green beans (I use frozen)
- 4 cups of water
- 2 skinless chicken breasts (bone-in or boneless, doesn’t matter it will be shredded)
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
small saucepan, dutch oven or large saucepan, blender
Stock: In the blender, add rough chopped carrots, celery and green beans, spices, 2 cups of water and blend until smooth. Add to dutch oven or saucepan.
Add chicken breasts and 2 additional cups of water to the saucepan. Bring to a low boil, stirring constantly, reduce heat to medium and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken to a plate to cool. Add diced carrots, celery, salt and pepper to the liquid and cover. Cook until vegetables are tender crisp.
While the chicken is cooking, melt butter in the saucepan, add onions and garlic, and sauté until the onions are translucent. Whisk in flour and cook about 2 minutes or more. Turn the heat up to medium-high, slowly stir in milk and bring to a low boil, whisking until thickened. Reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer, stirring occasionally.
While the vegetables are cooking, shred the chicken. The easiest way to do this is to use two forks and pull across the grain of the meat in different directions. You can then use your fingers to break apart any large pieces.
Once the vegetables are tender crisp, whisk in the white sauce and then stir in the chicken. Cook an additional 10 minutes. Serve with parsley garnish.
Makes about 6 cups.
Years ago we used to frequent a Chinese restaurant where I almost always ordered their “Kung Pao Triple Delight” – a Kung Pao chicken dish that also included shrimp and pork. The triple delight referred to the three kinds of meats. This was the place (and the dish) where I learned there could be a huge difference between ordering extra peppers and extra hot. The waitress was kept busy refilling this red faced and sweaty (and stubborn!) patron’s glass with ice water.
The double delight in the post title reflects the shrimp and chicken in the dish. I do have a little heat in this one via a dollop of chili garlic paste in the sauce and a couple of jalapenos with the veggies but not so much that Mrs J noticed enough to mention. The chicken was dredged in corn starch and then fried in oil and set aside until the dish came together in the wok after the veggies had cooked down for a few minutes. The noodles were pre-cooked and oiled to keep them from sticking together. The chicken, noodles, and shrimp were all combined with the veggies and the sauce to warm them all for the platter.
Someone asked me if I could post a few recipes that limited the amount of salt, so this week I thought I’d focus on that. I’ll start with lemon. It makes a great substitute for salt, it adds flavor, a bit of bite and enhances the flavors of many things like fish, chicken and pastas. In this recipe, both ricotta and Parmesan are salty enough that additional salt should not be necessary.
Lemon Ricotta Linguine with Chicken and Spinach
- 1 lb boneless chicken breasts
- 2 lemons
- 2 oz fresh basil leaves
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 10-12 oz dry linguine pasta
- 1 cup reserved pasta water
- 6 oz baby spinach, washed
- 12 oz ricotta cheese
- fresh ground pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup fresh shredded Parmesan, additional for garnish
shallow dish, large pot, skillet
Place chicken between plastic wrap, pound flat and place in a single layer in a shallow dish. Zest lemons and then juice them. Reserve 2 tbsp of juice, mix the remaining juice with 1 tbsp of oil and basil leaves and pour over chicken, making sure it’s well coated. Cover and marinate for 30 to 60 minutes, turning the chicken halfway through.
Cook pasta according to directions. While it is cooking, heat oil in skillet, remove chicken from the marinade (toss the marinade) and cook chicken breasts over medium high heat until cooked through. Remove from heat, cover and let rest. Alternately you can grill the chicken.
When pasta is al dente, remove 1 cup of water and then drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Over low heat, add lemon juice, ricotta, lemon zest, 1/2 cup of Parmesan and toss. Slowly add a 1/2 cup of pasta water, tossing to make a sauce, until the pasta is coated evenly. Add more water as needed. Slice chicken into strips and add to pasta mixture, then add spinach leaves and toss. Add pepper as desired and serve immediately with more shredded Parmesan. Serves 6
p.s. Schedule is still crazy this week, so time for recipes, but not photos. I may update later with pix as time allows. ;-)
JeffreyW’s garden bounty
Another week just flew by and it’s time for the recipe exchange. I came home from NE with a car full of fresh vegetables from my brother’s garden. I’m afraid some of tomatoes did not survive the change in altitude very well. But I made fresh salsa with them and all was well.
I gifted my family with Palisade peaches and with the few that were left, my mom made Peach Cobbler (recipe here). At that link you can also see a photo of the 110 year old house I considered putting a bid on before heading out on my trip.
Dinner menu this week was Fajita Chicken & Vegetable Kabobs and another cobbler. For the full dinner menu, recipes and shopping list, click here.
JeffreyW turns his garden bounty into spicy Five Pepper Jelly.
Finally, JeffreyW was showing off his Five Pepper Jelly, and I wish I canned because I LOVE pepper jellies. How he transforms peppers into jelly, click here and what he does with it, yum, click here (warning, click and you’ll want biscuits and gravy).
For the pet lovers, Bixby took time out from his daily adventures to write a diary entry here.
Cooler weather has put me in the mood for fall recipes, especially soups. What are you looking forward to making as fall approaches? What is on the menu for the weekend?
Tonight’s featured recipe has to be all about the peaches again, since it’s a short two to three weeks of sweetness. This recipe is sweet and spicy, great for lunch or dinner.
Spicy Peach Dressing
- 2 large peaches, peeled, pitted and quartered
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 jalapeño or other hot pepper, halved and seeded
- 1/2 cup olive oil
Purée all of the ingredients, except oil, in a blender or food processor until smooth. Continue to blend, on low, while adding oil slowly. Mix until well blended. Refrigerate.
Spinach Chicken Salad
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
- 1/2 small sweet yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 lb cleaned baby spinach leaves
- 1 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
- 1 peach, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced
- 3 ounces crumbled bleu cheese or chevre
Place the chicken in a plastic zipper bag with ½ cup of dressing. Marinate 2 hours in refrigerator. Remove chicken, discard marinade and grill until cooked through (165 degrees at center).
Toss the spinach, onion, walnuts and cheese with the remaining 3/4 cup dressing. Slice the grilled chicken and arrange on top of the salad.
Serving: 4 to 6
That’s it for this week. Have a good weekend and enjoy the last full week of August, I know I will. – TaMara
I’ve been on a fruit salad kick. Lots of fresh fruit at the market this time of year. Grapes are a mainstay, I use both red and green grapes and I like to cut them in half unless they are really tiny. Seedless grapes are easier but I have spent a lot of time scraping seeds away when those aren’t available. Also in this one are pears, peaches, kiwis, pineapple, oranges, and bananas.
Kitteh! Here’s a 3 month old male. Mrs J says they named him Diti but she will not swear to the spelling. D. T.? DeeTee? Ditty?Mmm… cheeseburger. This one has Swiss cheese and a pile of pickled peppers.More of those roasted rosemary Parmesan potatoes. These are Yukon Golds and they are plated with sesame green beans and a piece of roasted chicken.Moar Kitteh! This is Kaitlyn, an 8 week old female with interesting coloration, a tabby/calico look.That’s Kaitlyn there – right up against the blue watchband on this kitten house staffer. They call that staffer “the cat whisperer” because she can really get a feral cat calmed down and purring.Country ribs and fries. I have my best luck with these pork “logs” when I braise them, covered, in a low oven, say 225 to 250. I use broth as the braising liquid, adding bbq sauce at the end and uncovering them to help reduce the sauce. These were finished on the outside grill but they can be done under a broiler – watch them close so they don’t char.Here’s another cheeseburger, this one is garnished with some of those refrigerator pickles. On the side is one of my favorite summer salads of tomatoes and cucumbers with onions in a vinaigrette. It’s better the next day but isn’t bad when freshly made like this one.