pressure cooker

Healthy Dinners you can make in advance

Everyone I know (okay, online anyway) is in love with their Instapot, and while I have not yet succumbed, we do have a few time-saving kitchen devices. There’s an older pressure cooker that I pull out only rarely – just one bad experience with a chicken soup spill/semi-explosion (entirely operator error, btw) stays with you for a while, and a newish Crock-Pot which I use at least once a week because I do like an easy dinner prep.

Our favorite, and possibly over-served but maybe not because I never get push back, dish is Smitten Kitchen’s Black Bean Ragout. Served over garlick-y toast, rice or pasta or sweet potatoes (we do love our starches), with avocado and quick pickled red onions. The leftovers (if there are any) go into another favorite – and super easy – dish also from Smitten Kitchen –  Spaghetti Squash tacos (shhh, I even microwave the spaghetti squash – it’s so fast and easy).

These lovely Parmesan crackers are another favorite.  Serve them alone, or with almost anything – hummus, chutney, more cheese, and it will look as if you know more than you do about baking.

We’ve been eating more plant-based foods around here, it’s healthier, more eco-friendly and kinder, too. And the Minimalist Baker is wonderful go-to resource. I made the One Pot Red Lentil Chili for that freezing cold Marathon Monday and it was delicious! Start it on the stove and move to the slow-cooker.

We also love the wonderfully flavorful and hearty Abundance Kale Salad. Prep this on Sunday and you have meals for a few days. I also prep grain bowls for lunches. Make your favorite grains in advance and put them in the fridge, do the same with roasted veggies. In the morning, pack a bowl with whatever strikes your fancy. Fast dressing? A chef friend told me to slightly water down hummus for a quick tahini dressing. Yummy and easy.

Minimalist Baker knows sweets – and appreciates you don’t have all day – try these One Bowl Vegan Funfetti Cupcakes, and the Two Ingredient Dark Chocolate Truffles




Lobster, or as we say around here “Lob-stah” and more

The other day I made lobster salad – no recipe needed – mayo (I have three kinds in the fridge – two are organic and made with canola oil from Whole Foods but Hellman’s won out because it was my the mayonnaise choice of my youth and it was perfect), salt, pepper, cucumber (I know celery is the gold standard but I felt like cucumber)  and a bit of lemon juice and served it on a toasted hot dog bun as nature intended) and a lobster stock from Epicurious because I am fancy.  No, actually, pretty much not – but I do have lovely friends, some fancy, mostly not.

Hey – What is up with you and the lobsters, you are thinking? A friend (definitively not fancy – capability mom makes a perfect lobster saladyou know who you are and that being called “not fancy” is a compliment) who is so generous that when she got lobster (from another friend) she gave some (more than two!) to me.  Who are these people passing around lobsters? It is out of the ordinary, true. Leave it at an unexpected bonus treat and stop speculating. No, we did not liberate these lobsters on some Mom Weekend gone wrong.  Stop.

So I got creative and made my first lobster stock ever and I had so much lobster salad that I brought some to another friend who was nice enough to let me borrow some cowboy boots for a hoe-down on Saturday. It was a great fundraiser for Lovelane – a wonderful organization that another friend (not the friend with the lobsters but she would share, too)  is involved with – here is the link.

Just so you don’t think it is all gourmet all the time, I also made a nice tomato sauce with ground turkey the same night. Really basic and simple. Olive oil, ground turkey, canned diced tomatoes, garlic, onion, salt and pepper. It is in the freezer waiting for a night when I have nothing on deck – this is most of the time – just saying.

Note: The lobster stock is in the freezer waiting for inspiration because I have never made anything with lobster stock or even, heaven forfend, fish stock, but I think I am entering a more daring and creative cooking period. Whew. That was the collective sigh of my family who is tired of my tried and true (or beaten to death) recipes. I’ll  keep you posted, as it were. Send me any good recipes you have – I’d love to try them out – especially anything requiring lobster stock.

I must be on a cooking binge because I am making chicken soup in the pressure cooker my Mother-in-law gave me. Easy as pie which I am making later. Apple, thanks for asking.

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