Recipe Friday: Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup

Soups are so flexible because you can throw almost anything in: left-overs, the bottom of that old jar of herbs or spices, the tail ends of veggies, etc. I had some left-over potatoes and gravy from our pot roast, and threw that in. If you have been saving ends  of onions, celery, and carrots, you can throw them in, too: be sure clean them first, and fish them back out before you serve.

This soup can easily be made on the stovetop. Allow it to simmer for about 2 ½ hours total.

This would be good with a can of diced tomatoes in it; but my husband doesn’t like tomatoes.

I make my own bone broth and use that for the broth. Read more about the health benefits of bone broth here and here.

I like to cook my meat and veggies separately because the veggies get mushy if you cook them for as long as you need to cook the meat. But if you don’t mind the mushiness, you can throw everything in at the same time and pressure cook for 30 minutes total. Still use the natural pressure release for at least 10 minutes, though, so your meat doesn’t toughen up.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb beef stew pieces
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • 2 Tbs minced garlic
  • ½ cup red cooking wine
  • 2 cups coffee
  • 3 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 Tbs tamari (soy sauce that’s really soy)
  • ¼  tsp liquid smoke (if that’s to your fancy)
  • 1 Tbs tomato paste
  • 1 cup sliced or chopped mushrooms
  • 4 cups beef bone broth
  • 1 tsp thyme or basil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2/3 cup instant barley
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Directions:

Turn the Instant Pot to sauté.  Heat the oil, then brown the stew meat (salt and pepper the meat). Remove the stew meat to a bowl. (If desired/needed, cut the meat into bite-size pieces.)

Add the chopped onions, celery, and carrots to the pot and cook until browned (add salt and pepper as desired). Remove to a separate bowl.

Add the wine to the pot and scrape the fond up.

Add the browned meat back into the pot.

Pour in the coffee, Worcestershire sauce, tamari, and liquid smoke.

Tighten the lid and cook at pressure for 15 minutes. Natural pressure release for 10 minutes, then quick release the rest of the pressure.

Cancel, and turn to sauté.

Take off the lid. Add in the veggies (onion, celery, and carrots), mushrooms, garlic, tomato paste, bone broth, thyme, bay leaf, and barley. Stir well.

Cancel, and turn to meat/stew pressure for 5 minutes.

Cancel and natural pressure release for 10 minutes, then quick release the rest of the pressure.

Remove the lid, and take out the bay leaf.

Turn to sauté. Stir in the peas and cook until the soup is hot.

Taste test and add salt, pepper, more broth, or whatever else you like (like the left-over potatoes and gravy).

Serve with a salad and some crusty bread.

Recipe Friday: Kathy’s Instant Pot Chicken & Dumplings

This is a comforting, stick-to-your-ribs dinner. It’s also time-consuming, so pick a day when you really feel like cooking, and want to bless your family. You’ll want to plan ahead and make sure you have all the ingredients at-the-ready before you begin. Plan 3 to 3 ½ hours from start to finish.

This serves 3 with generous portions.

I started with frozen chicken breasts, bone-in. Because they were bone-in, I didn’t want to try to separate the meat from the bone until after they were cooked. If you have boneless chicken breasts, you can skip the first step, and just put in the raw, cut-up meat. Similarly, if you’re using left-over chicken, skip the first step.

Because my bone broth is concentrated, I used water and wine to supplement the amount of liquid. For extra nutrition, whisk a big scoop of collagen powder into the liquid.

The peas are optional. In our house, the peas only go into my bowl. 😉

Here is the complete list of ingredients. They are listed again later, separately, to show where in the recipe to add them.

Into the Instant Pot insert, put:

  • 3 large frozen, bone-in chicken breasts
  • 2 cups chicken bone broth

Close the lid, set to Seal, and cook 10 min at pressure. Allow 10 min natural pressure release, then release pressure and open the lid. Push Cancel.

Remove the chicken to a plate and allow to cool.

Pour out the liquid into a 2-cup measuring cup.

While the chicken is cooling, set the Instant Pot to Sauté and start in on the next set of ingredients:  

  • 4 T Butter
  • 2 T Olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut to bite-size chunks
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cut to bite-size chunks
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tsp thyme or rosemary (or both)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Add the butter and olive oil; allow butter to melt.

Add the onion and celery, and sauté only 3-4 minutes.

Add the carrots, potatoes, garlic, mushrooms, thyme/rosemary, salt, and pepper. Stir.

Separate the cooled chicken from the bones. Cut the chicken into strips or bite-size pieces. Add the chicken to the Instant Pot.

Add back all but ½ cup of the cooking liquid (keep that ½ cup broth in that cup; you’ll use it for the dumplings). Stir.

NOTE: If you don’t have at least 1 ½ cups of liquid in the pot, add water until you do.

Cook 15 minutes at pressure. Allow 10 minutes natural pressure release, then release the rest of the pressure and carefully open the lid. Push Cancel.

Next ingredient set:

  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 2 Tbs softened cream cheese OR ½ cup heavy cream

Stir in the ½ cup water, ½ cup white wine, and 2 Tbs cream cheese (or heavy cream).

Set the Instant Pot to Sauté.

While the cream cheese is melting, mix the dumplings (This made 6 medium-size dumplings.):

  • ½ cup broth from cooked chicken mixture
  • (If your broth isn’t very salty, you’ll want to add a bit of salt to the dough.)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ Tbs butter, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten

In that 2-cup measuring cup with the ½ cup broth left in it: mix the dumpling dough together.

Stir the chicken mixture, making sure the cream cheese is blended in.

Drop dumpling dough by spoonfuls onto the top of the chicken mixture. DO NOT mix the dumplings into the liquid; leave them on top.

Replace the Instant Pot lid, but do not tighten or seal it. Cook, on Sauté, for 15-20 minutes. On my Pot, the Sauté function gets the mixture to a rolling boil. I let it boil for 8 minutes, then turned it off to cook the rest of the time, still with the lid on. (Alternately, you can seal the lid and cook at pressure for 10 minutes.)

Open the lid and check the thickness of the liquid. If you like, you can thicken with 2 Tbs flour:

GRAVY (optional):

  • 2 Tbs flour, mixed as a slurry with water or broth

First carefully remove the dumplings to a bowl or plate and keep warm.

Stir the flour slurry into the chicken mixture and allow to boil for at least two minutes.

If you like, add the frozen peas at this point, mix in and allow to cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Replace the dumplings on top of the chicken mixture, or serve them from the separate plate/bowl.

This is the pot after 2 servings were taken out.

Recipe Friday: How I Make Bone Broth

Bone broth is my morning hot drink. It is one of the most nutritious things you can ingest because of its healing, protective, and regenerative capabilities.

For more information about the healing properties of bone broth, go to draxe.com and do a search for bone broth. One of the articles is here: https://draxe.com/nutrition/bone-broth-benefits/ .

Before I get into how to make bone broth, I should divulge that you can take easier routes. Sometimes I buy bone broth. You can do your own search for your favorite type/s. I buy bone broth from Walmart as a backup. It says it’s bone broth (not chicken broth or beef broth, i.e.), and it’s organic, so I believe them. I stipulate, however, that I fortify that bone broth with collagen and gelatin (the same as I do my own bone broth, and how I do that is at the end of this post).

Another easier route is to buy powdered bone broth. Dr. Axe’s store sells several types of flavored and unflavored powdered bone broths (some may also be purchased through vitacost.com, one of my favorite sites to shop). My favorite is the turmeric bone broth. Be aware that his powders (Ancient Nutrition brand) take a lot of mixing to get all the clumps out, and it’s best to use very hot water (or whatever liquid you’re using), unless you are using a good blender. These powders can be used many ways (again, visit Dr. Axe’s site for ideas), such as baked goods, oatmeal, and drinks. My favorite is to mix Dandy Blend, turmeric bone broth, and a bit of sucanat with hot water, then add a splash of rice milk.

To make your own bone broth, you can use a large saucepan, a slow cooker, or a pressure cooker. I use an Instant Pot.

If you use the slow cooker or the saucepan, you will need to simmer the bone broth for 2 or 3 days (36 hours is prime), adding water as needed to keep the pot full.

In an Instant Pot or other pressure cooker, 5 hours will do it. When I use my Instant Pot, I plan on the whole day to make bone broth: from prep, to cooking, to pressure release, to draining and cooling, to cooling in the jars, to clean up and refrigeration. I bought a strainer insert for my Instant Pot, and it saves the time and hassle of straining hot broth from the bones and veggies at the end.

Ingredients:

  • Bones (can use chicken, beef, pork, or fish, or any combination) In my Instant Pot, the bones of one small chicken is just enough for one batch. Or, three or four T-bones. If you’re using raw soup bones, it’s a good idea (for the sake of flavor) to roast the bones first. If you have stuff like chicken’s feet and necks, those are good.
  • Veggies: when I chop onions, celery, and carrots for recipes, I keep the ends in a freezer bag. I use some or all of these ends. You can just chop up any vegetables you like, too. Garlic is a good addition.
  • Organic apple cider vinegar (this helps draw the nutrients from the bones; the vinegar taste does not come through to the finished bone broth, unless you add too much)
  • Natural sea salt or Himalayan salt (PLEASE, do not use grocery store, white table salt. It is pure sodium chloride and is bad for you. Natural mineral salts, on the other hand, contain minerals that are salty, and they’re not all sodium: there are magnesium salts, for example, among others. Even if you’re buying labeled “natural” salts, read the label to see what’s in it, and make sure it’s not a bunch of chemicals.)
  • Filtered water

Directions:

If you have one, put a strainer in the Instant Pot insert. Dump your bones and veggies into the strainer. (Yep, they’re still frozen, and that’s okay. Break them apart if you need to, to fit in correctly.)

Add 1 – 2 tablespoons of good salt

Pour 2 tablespoons of organic vinegar into a pitcher of water. (I just do this to get the vinegar mixed in well. You can add the vinegar and water separately, if you like.) Add it to the pot.

Add more water as needed to the fill line.

Put the cover on the pot and make sure it’s properly locked. Turn the vent to Seal.

Use the Soup function, if you have it. The highest number for time is 4 hours. I cook mine for 5 hours, but I set it at 4 for now.

The pot will start heating and cooking. Once it comes to pressure, the timer will start the countdown.

Somewhere in the middle of the countdown, but after at least one hour is up, I add an extra hour.

After the cooking time is up, let the pressure release naturally. Wait for the pressure pin to drop. This will take 30 – 60 minutes.

After the pressure has released and the pin has dropped, carefully take off the lid.

Use pot holders to take the full insert out of the pot.

Use the handle to lift the strainer full of bones and veggies out of the broth. Put a cooling rack on top of the insert, and rest the strainer on top of the cooling rack. Let the strainer drain and cool.

When the broth has strained out of the bones and veggies, remove the strainer. You can compost the bones and veggies, or throw them away.

Make sure the broth is cool enough before you pour it into jars.

Wait until they’ve cooled enough; then screw lids on (I use plastic lids, but the metal bands and lids are fine) and refrigerate.

To prepare bone broth as a hot drink:

I heat enough bone broth each morning for two people. Yes, you can just heat and drink, but I like to stretch mine with amendments. When heating, please use a stove and not a microwave; microwaves destroy some of the vital nutrients.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup bone broth
  • 2 tablespoons powdered gelatin
  • 2 scoops collagen powder
  • 1 ½ cups filtered water
  • Natural salt, to taste

Directions:

Pour about 1 cup of bone broth into a small saucepan.

Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of powdered gelatin over the top.

Sprinkle 2 scoops of collagen over the top.

Add some healthy salt. Start with a few shakes. You will need to taste your bone broth before you pour it into your cup, to see how much salt you’ll need to add when you prepare this batch of bone broth.

Turn the burner to high. After a minute or two, start whisking the mixture. Don’t wait too long, as the gelatin will sink to the bottom and stick.

Heat and whisk until all the lumps are out. The mixture will be fairly hot by this time.

Add 1 ½ cups of filtered water. Stir and heat until hot enough for you to drink.

Use a spoon to take a taste, and add salt if needed. Stir well.

Pour into two mugs. Your bone broth is ready to enjoy.

You needn’t worry about consuming too much salt, if it’s the healthy kind, and used in moderation. I used to drink salt sole (pronounced “so-lay”) every morning, but now I get my salt via bone broth. Salt sole is simply a saturated mixture of salt (REAL salt, not table, store-bought salt) and water (FILTERED water). Why is it so healthy? Because Himalayan salt or Celtic salt is naturally occurring, and provides a multitude of essential minerals our bodies need to function properly. And, the minerals are delivered in a way that our bodies can assimilate and use. Please see my post on Salt Sole here: https://maggietiggles.wordpress.com/2019/12/27/recipe-friday-salt-sole/

Recipe Friday: Beef Stroganoff Pressure Cooked

We’ve got a blizzard going on in our neck of the woods. This calls for comfort food.

I know, I know, stroganoff automatically goes over noodles, right? Well, you can do it that way, but this household likes potatoes. Hey, you can even serve it over rice or quinoa or whole grain barley or not over anything.

The Instant Pot (or a pressure cooker) and the coffee make the meat tender. The sherry or red wine adds “depth of flavor,” as I hear in all the cooking shows (well, it makes it better is what it does).

Ingredients:

1 pound beef stew meat, cut into bite-size pieces

1 medium onion, diced

1 tablespoon (heaping) minced garlic

1 cup strong brewed coffee

spices to taste: cloves, basil, paprika, parsley, celery seed

salt to taste

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup cooking sherry or red wine

1 tablespoon tamari sauce

1 cup hot water

1/2 – 1 cup instant potato flakes

1/2 cup sour cream

hot mashed potatoes

 

Directions:

Set pressure cooker to sauté. Sauté onions and beef until browned. In the last five minutes, add garlic.
Add just a bit of the coffee, and stir up the browned bits.
Add the rest of the coffee, the hot water, the spices, salt, Worcestershire sauce, tamari, and sherry or red wine. Stir.
Push Cancel. Put the lid on, and seal.
Set the Instant Pot to meat/stew, set for 20 minutes.
At the end of the 20 minutes, allow natural pressure release for at least ten minutes. After ten or fifteen minutes, release the pressure. Remove the lid.
Stir in the potato flakes: add enough to thicken. (This should be a bit thicker than you want it to end up, as it thins out a bit after you add the sour cream.)
Push Sauté, and let the mixture come to a low simmer.
Turn off the Instant Pot.
Stir in the sour cream; stir until completely incorporated.
Serve over hot mashed potatoes.

Recipe Friday: Yogurt So Easy

There are many health benefits of yogurt, such as boosting immunity, reducing yeast infections, and lowering the risk of colon cancer.

When you make yogurt, you will get thousands of times the benefits of nutrition if you use raw milk. This recipe is specifically for raw milk – it does not boil the milk, which would thereby destroy many of its nutrients and benefits. Be sure your raw milk comes from an impeccably clean facility with organic, pasture-raised cows.

Raw Milk Benefits:

“Raw milk is an incredibly complex whole food, complete with digestive enzymes and its own antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-parasitic mechanisms conveniently built into a neat package. It is chock-full of both fat and water-soluble vitamins, a wide range of minerals and trace elements, all eight essential amino acids, more than 60 enzymes, and CLA—an omega-6 fatty acid with impressive effects on everything from insulin resistance to cancer to cardiovascular disease. Raw milk is delicious medicine.” – from https://www.drdeborahmd.com/health-benefits-raw-milk

More information about the health benefits of raw milk can be found in a search of “weston a price raw milk.” This one is an easy read: http://www.realmilk.com/brochures/real-milk-brochure/

Another interesting and informative article can be found by Dr. Josh Axe, here: https://draxe.com/nutrition/raw-milk-benefits/ . Benefits include reducing allergies, improving skin health, and preventing nutrient deficiencies.

The addition of gelatin guarantees thick yogurt, and contributes nutrition. Be sure to only use pure, organic gelatin, as other types may be mixed with other ingredients, or may come from chemically-raised beef. Gelatin is another nutrition powerhouse. It’s great for gut health, it has collagen, and helps your body build strong discs, ligaments, tendons, skin, nails, and hair. It helps to strengthen joints and prevent against the development of injuries, or helps to heal them faster.

You can let the yogurt culture 8 – 24 hours. The longer it cultures, the tangier it gets. 20 hours was too tangy for me. I’ll try 12 hours next time.

I buy my yogurt starter in a box that has little packets; one packet per quart. You can also buy yogurt starter in bulk; read the instructions for amount to add.

 

My recipe cultures the yogurt right in the jar. You can also pour everything into the Instant Pot insert: this would be helpful if you’re making it by the half gallon or gallon. If you use the insert, you will need a good-fitting lid for it when it goes into the ‘fridge.

This recipe uses an Instant Pot. If you don’t plan to use an Instant Pot, you can culture your yogurt in any type of setting where the temperature is kept at a fairly consistent 110° – 115°. Temperatures above 125° – 130° will kill the beneficial bacteria. If you have an oven with a heat-producing light bulb, or a gas pilot light, that is an option. I’ve also seen folks use a chest-type cooler: heat the inside of the cooler by putting in a pan of hot water (with a lid on it). Make sure the water is below 115°, then put in the yogurt and close the lid. Check the temp every once in a while to keep it warm. I’ve also heard of wrapping the yogurt in a towel and a heating pad, or putting it on a heating pad (but you’d have to check the temp of the heating pad).

Raw Milk Yogurt

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 8 – 24 hours to culture; 24 hours in the ‘fridge

Yield: 1 quart yogurt

Ingredients:

1 quart raw milk

1 packet yogurt starter

2 teaspoons powdered beef gelatin

Directions:

Pour a small amount (maybe 1/4 – 1/2 cup) of the raw milk into a 2-qt saucepan.
Sprinkle the gelatin over the milk in the pan. Let it soften 1-2 minutes.
Over medium heat, warm the milk to just under simmering. Take the pan off the heat. Whisk the gelatin in.
Pour the rest of the raw milk into the saucepan. Whisk.
Sprinkle the yogurt starter over the milk. Whisk.
Pour the milk into a 1-quart glass jar.
Put the jar of milk into the Instant Pot insert. (Do not put the lid on the jar.)
Put the lid on the Instant Pot and turn to seal.
Press the yogurt function. If yours allows, adjust to show Normal.
Set how much time you want, from 8 to 24 hours (the longer the culturing time, the tangier your yogurt will be).
Once the Instant Pot recognizes the setting, it will revert to 0 for time, and count up to the time you set.
If you like, you can take the lid off any time to check on it or take it out. The Pot does not seal because it never goes above the low temperature needed to culture the yogurt.
When your yogurt is finished culturing, remove it from the Instant Pot, and turn the Instant Pot off. Put the lid on the jar, and put the jar in the refrigerator. Leave it there for 24 hours.
Now it’s ready.

Recipe Friday: Pressure Cooker Pot Roast

Boy, there’s hardly a better comfort food than good old-fashioned pot roast. You can use up an arm roast, a chuck roast, or pretty much any cut of meat you like. Using a pressure cooker almost guarantees a tender meat, and it cuts the cooking time needed to achieve that.

My pressure cooker is an Instant Pot. But if you have a stove-top pressure cooker, the directions are all the same. Pressure cooking (and the addition of some coffee) is the secret to moist, tender pot roast, no matter how tough a cut your meat is. The acid in the coffee breaks down those tough strands, and you don’t taste any coffee flavor.

Also, be sure to take the ten minutes (more, if you like) of natural pressure release: a quick release of pressure leads to dry meat. (Natural release = turn it off and leave the lid on; let it sit. After that, a quick release: move the vent to release the rest of the pressure.) Safety tip: Never try to remove the lid of a pressure cooker until all the steam / pressure is released through the valve, and the pressure pin drops.

Timing: Plan at least 3 hours from start to sitting down.
Amounts: I don’t measure anything by the pound. Our roast is maybe 2 1/2 pounds. Use 4 medium-large potatoes and 5 medium-large carrots (or the equivalents thereof). Just make sure everything fits in your pot without overfilling. For cooking time, chunks refers to a size of 1 – 3 bites, depending on your mouthful.

Tip: When I want thicker gravy, but don’t want to add more cornstarch, I sprinkle in some instant mashed potato flakes to the simmering gravy and stir, adding more until it reaches the desired consistency.

This recipe serves 4, generously.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup           olive oil

3                      stalks celery, with leaves, chopped

1                      large onion, chopped

1/4 cup           cooking red wine

3 pounds       beef chuck pot roast, thawed (mine includes fat, and a bone)

1 teaspoon    Himalayan pink salt

2 cups            beef broth, with a tablespoon

1 tablespoon instant coffee

                        dashes of Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, and Tamari sauce

3 pounds       potatoes, cut into medium-small chunks

1 pound         carrots peeled and cut into chunks

1/4 cup           cornstarch mixed well into 1/2 cup beef broth

Directions: Turn the pressure cooker to sauté. Once hot, add in the oil, then chopped onion and celery.
Brown the vegetables, then remove with a slotted spoon to a plate.
Sear meat on all sides, 3-4 minutes per side. Remove meat to the vegetable plate
Pour in red wine and scrape up any browned bits on bottom of instant pot.
Add roast back into pressure cooker, along with the cooked onion and celery.
Mix the instant coffee, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, and Tamari sauce into the 2 cups of beef broth. Pour it all into the pot, over the vegetables and meat. Close and seal the lid.
Cook on high pressure for 45 min.
When the cook time has elapsed, allow for pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes, then quick-release the rest of the pressure.
Open instant pot and add in carrots and potatoes. Seal pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes.
Allow pressure cooker to naturally release pressure for 10 minutes before quick-releasing pressure. Remove the lid.
Remove meat, potatoes and carrots (along with the onion and celery, if you wish) to serving dishes; keep warm.
Set Instant Pot to Sauté. If needed, add more beef broth to make gravy. Let it come to a boil, then add broth and cornstarch slurry. Stir constantly until gravy comes to a boil again and thickens. Remove to a gravy boat.
Serve.