Sunday, July 24, 2016

My New Best Friend!

For the past several years, I've been debating whether or not to purchase a pressure cooker.  I would see recipe posts using a pressure cooker and say maybe I should get one?  Then I would think I have no more room in the kitchen and most recipes seemed to be ones I could make in my crock pot.

Before, I start let me say this isn't a sponsored post, just my own thoughts.  If you're an Amazon Prime member, you're familiar with the Prime Day sales from a couple of weeks ago.  One of the items on sale was the Instant Pot, prior to Prime Day, I had never seen an Instant Pot.  The Instant Pot is touted as Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Yogurt Maker and more.  On Prime Day, the cooker was on sale for $69.99.  Okay so now I was thinking, if this pot really can be my rice cooker and my slow cooker, maybe I do have room for this in the kitchen??  I did some reading and everything I read was this was the best gadget since sliced bread.  I was hooked and ordered one.

Two days later when the Instant Pot arrived, Tim and I unpacked it and attempted to steam some carrots for dinner.  It was quite intimidating at first, lots of steps and buttons and in the back of my mind, all I could think of was the old pressure cookers that would blow up.  Really I don't want to have this blow up in my kitchen?!!!  Our first attempt at the steamed carrots was a bit of a bust because I didn't realize time had to be based on the cooker coming up to pressure, so 4 minutes is really 14+ minutes, allowing for the 10 or so minutes for the unit to come up to pressure.


Once I became familiar with the ins and outs of the Instant Pot, I was over the fear of it blowing up and ready to experiment with what I could make.  Ten days or so later, the Instant Pot is my new best friend.  I've made pasta and meatballs, chicken breasts for chicken curry, chicken broth from a carcass (which finishes in 30 minutes!), lentils, corn on the cob and hard boiled eggs.

Hard boiled eggs are just one of many things  Instant Pot users rave about! Thinking I would make egg salad for lunch this week, I decided to give them a try! The reviews are correct, if you've ever struggled with peeling eggs, you'll agree.  These eggs peeled perfectly and were beautifully cooked!  Yep ... I'm on the bandwagon (albeit a little late, the Instant Pot has been available for a while),  I love the Instant Pot!!!


Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs
Ingredients
  • Eggs (as many as you like to fill the bottom of the pot rack or a steamer basket)
  • 1 cup water
  • Instant Pot electric pressure cooker
Instructions
  1. Pour the water into the pot, and place the eggs in a steamer basket if you have one. If you don't, just use the rack that came with your pot.
  2. Close the lid, set for 5 minutes at high pressure.
  3. It will take the cooker approximately 5 minutes to build to pressure and then 5 minutes to cook. Let the pressure naturally reduce for an additional 5 minutes after the cooking cycle completed, and then did a quick pressure release. That's around 15 minutes, total.
  4. Place the hot eggs into cool water to halt the cooking process. You can peel immediately, or wait.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Bacon Cheeseburger Pie

If you're looking for a dinner for the kiddos or the grandkids, give this one a try. I took the easy way out and used a store bought pie crust. Tastes just like a cheeseburger without the grill.




Bacon Cheeseburger Pie

Recipe Adapted from Spend with Pennies

1 uncooked pie crust (store bought or prepared)
1 pound lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
5 slices raw bacon, chopped
⅓ cup panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
3 tablespoons barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 egg
¼ cup milk

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Brown ground beef, onion and bacon until no pink remains. Drain well. Remove from heat and stir in bread crumbs, mustard, barbecue sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire and pepper. Place mixture in prepared pie crust.
In a small bowl, combine cheese, milk and egg. Spread over meat mixture.
Cover the edges of the pie crust with foil or a pie shield to prevent over browning. Bake 15 minutes, remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Lime and Beer Cupcakes - SRC

Can you believe it's July?  This year, like all of them, is flying by.  The second Monday in July brings us Secret Recipe reveal day!  Not familiar with this fun club, you can fine the details here.  This month, I was assigned WhyIamnotskinny, love that blog title!  Maxine, the blogger behind WhyIamnotskinny is a South African food blogger living in Brussels (Belgium).  She says, " I am definitely not skinny, have a REAL appetite and am pretty sure that there is a 2nd stomach reserved for desserts and sweet treats. Sharing a home with HIM (aka the wonderful husband) and our first child (born 2015 – aka Little Miss) – you can follow me on my journey through recipes, restaurants and all round love of food."  The idea of a second stomach could most certainly apply to me!

I enjoyed my tour around Maxine's blog.  Fun and interesting to see the ingredients with different names.  Courgette is what we call zuchinni, brinjal is what we call eggplant.  While I thought about choosing a savory recipe using one of these ingredients, I settled where I do most months with dessert.  Whenever I can, these sweets go to work with Tim for his monthly food day.  Otherwise, I really would need that second stomach. I chose to tweak Maxine's Lime and Beer Cake recipe just a bit and make cupcakes.  Of course, we gave these a try before sending them to work and enjoyed the light texture and hint of lime!


Lime and Beer Cupcakes
Recipe Courtesy of WhyIamnotskinny

100g butter, softened (1/2 cup)
200g sugar (1 cup)
2 eggs
225g self-raising flour (scant 1 cup)
200ml Ale (I used a cream ale)
2 lime (zested and juiced)
  • Cream butter and sugar together
  • Add eggs, beating between each addition
  • alternative mixing in flour and beer
  • Add zest of 1 lime & juice of 1 lime
  • Place into muffin tin with cupcake liners
  • Bake for 30min at 180C (350 degrees)
  • Remove from oven and cool
  • Mix together icing sugar and juice of the other lime and spoon over the cake


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Hot Fudge Caramel Ice Cream Cake

We've had a really HOT late Spring and early Summer in Nebraska. One particularly hot Saturday when we were having friends for dinner, I wanted to find a dessert that didn't require the oven or the stove top.  Normally when in search of a dessert that doesn't require cooking, I choose a trifle.  With the hot weather, I really wanted something cold.  Ice Cream!!???  A quick search on Pinterest and I was drawn to this one ...  hot fudge?  Yes, please!!!

Layers of ice cream bars, hot fudge, caramel, whipped topping, and chocolate chips make this tasty treat look much more difficult than it really is.  My dinner guests were so impressed, they thought I worked for hours to create this.  I was quick to reveal just how easy this dessert is to make but that's not the best part!   This ice cream cake is sooooo good!




Hot Fudge Caramel Ice Cream Cake
Ingredients
  • 18 ice cream sandwiches (you may need more if they’re the square kind)
  • 2 cups hot fudge topping
  • 3/4 cup caramel topping
  • 1 container (8 ounce) Cool Whip
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Directions
  1. Microwave the fudge and caramel topping for about 25 seconds to loosen it and make it spreadable, if necessary.
  2. Line the bottom of a 3-quart rectangular baking dish with a layer of the ice cream bars (9 of them; trim if necessary.) Spread half of the hot fudge, followed by the caramel, and then Cool Whip over the sandwiches. Sprinkle on half of the chocolate chips. Repeat layers.
  3. Freeze until firm, about 1 hour. Cut into squares and serve.
Notes
You can make this up to 3 days ahead of time and frozen, tightly covered. Let thaw for about 5-10 minutes before slicing.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Rhubarb Vinaigrette

What do you think of when you think of rhubarb?  In my kitchen, I think dessert.  Rhubarb can be used in so much more than just desserts.  How about a beautiful salad dressing?  Tart rhubarb makes a delicious base for a vinaigrette.  I neglected to get a photo in the jar but if you look closely you can see how beautiful it is from this photo.



Rhubarb Vinaigrette
Recipe Courtesy of Dinner with Julie

1 rhubarb stalk, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar (red wine or raspberry vinegar would work well too)
2 tsp. grainy Dijon mustard (or to taste)
1/4 cup canola or mild olive oil

Directions
In a small saucepan, simmer the rhubarb with 1/4 - 1/2 cup water for 5 minutes, or until very soft. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Put the rhubarb into a blender with the honey, vinegar and mustard. Pulse until smooth. With the motor running, slowly pour in the oil.



Sunday, June 19, 2016

Smoked Gouda Potatoes

If you live in a city where the temperatures are soaring into the upper 90's or 100's, this probably isn't a recipe you want try.  Trust me, though, it's a good one to save for when the temperatures cool down.  The smoked Gouda gives these a wonderful flavor ... cheesy goodness!! 



 
Smoked Gouda Potatoes
Ingredients
  • 1 clove garlic, halved
  • cooking spray
  • 2 pounds peeled and thinly sliced potatoes
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup grated smoked gouda
  • 1 cup whole milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Rub the inside of a casserole baking dish with garlic. Spray with cooking spray.
  3. Layer half the potatoes in the dish. Pour over two tablespoons of the melted butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and then 1/2 cup of the smoked gouda. Repeat for second half of potatoes. Pour milk over potatoes.
  4. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 1 and 1/2 hours. Uncover and bake for 15 more minutes to brown. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

For the June edition of Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned, Nichole of Cookaholic Wife.  Nichole says, " I get a great sense of satisfaction when in the kitchen, whether it be cooking or baking, although baking is what I do to relax. Nothing makes me happier than feeding people. It's not enough to cook dinner for Tom and I throughout the week. I bring baked goods into work nearly every Monday morning."  Now this is the kind of coworker we all wish we had!!

The trend here at Little Bit of Everything has been to bake using cake mixes and today's post is no exception.  For June's Secret Recipe Club, I wanted to find a "summer" recipe.   I love all things pink and these cupcakes caught my eye.  What a fun recipe for a picnic or little girl's birthday party.  These cupcakes were fun and easy to put together and oh so delicious!



Pink Lemonade Funfetti Cupcakes
Recipe adapted slightly from Cookaholic Wife
Yield: 20 cupcakes

Ingredients:
    • 1 cup water
    • 1 1/2 single-serve packets of Crystal Light Pink Lemonade drink mix (I used raspberry Crystal Light)
    • 18.9 oz. box funfetti cake mix
    • 1 stick of melted butter (Nichole's recipe used applesauce, much healthier!)
    • zest from 1/2 a lemon
    • 1 drop pink food coloring  (I didn't need this)
    • sprinkles
Directions:
1. Stir together the water and the pink lemonade mix.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 and line cupcake tins with paper liners.
3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the cake mix, applesauce, lemon zest, vegetable oil, food coloring and pink-lemonade mixture. Mix until all of the ingredients are combined.
4. Scoop the batter into the cupcake pans. Top with additional sprinkles and bake for 22 minutes.
5. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

I topped these with cream cheese frosting and additional sprinkles.

 
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