Thursday, December 21, 2017

Instant Pot Southwest Vegetable Chili

  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15 oz. can cannellini or Great Northern beans, undrained
  • 15 oz. can corn, drained  (I put in a bit less than a whole can.)
  • 14.5 oz. diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 4 oz. mild diced green chiles
  • 3 cups of potato, diced in bite-sized pieces
  • 1.5-2 cups of carrots, sliced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth or water + bouillon
  • 1.5 T ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup freshly-squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp. maple or date syrup or other sweetener (optional)

Add all of the ingredients to the pot except for the celery, lime juice, cilantro, and optional sweetener.  Close the lid and set the pot to manual 15 minutes.  When the Instant Pot is finished cooking, quick release the pressure.  Add the celery, close the lid, and pressure cook for 5 more minutes.  After quick-releasing the pressure again, stir in the lime juice, cilantro, and sweetener if desired to adjust acidity.  Serve.  If more heat is desired, sprinkle with red pepper flakes, or add hot sauce.

Instant Pot Creamy Zucchini Soup

While eating a predominantly Paleo diet, I loved to eat Mel Joulwan's Silky Gingered Zucchini Soup.  However, when I recently switched to eating an oil-free, plant-based diet, I tried to make the recipe, omitting the oil and using vegetable broth, but the soup lacked depth of flavor.  Tonight I decided to add a small amount of cashews to the mix which provided the necessary richness to make this soup satisfying once more.  Here is my vegan variation...

  • 1/2 onion, large dice
  • 4 large or 6 average-sized cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 4 medium zucchini, cut in thick rounds
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1-2 tsp. salt (to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth or water + vegetable bouillon (I used Seitenbacher)
Turn on the Instant Pot saute mode, and cook the onions and garlic until they are soft, adding a little bit of water as needed to keep the vegetables from sticking.  Add the zucchini rounds, cashews, spices, and vegetable broth to the pot and set it to manual for 15 minutes.  When the cooking time is done, turn the valve and release the pressure quickly.  Blend the contents of the pot with an immersion blender until completely smooth and creamy.  Serve.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Fast & Frugal Stovetop Soup

  • 2 cups vegetable broth or water+bouillon
  • 14.5 oz can green beans, undrained
  • 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1/2 tsp each: garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, and oregano
4-6 servings

Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan and simmer for at least 5 minutes before serving.  I like to put the green beans in first and cut them in half quickly with kitchen shears.  I have 15.25 oz cans of corn in my pantry, but I don't like to put in the whole can. 

Serving Ideas:
  • Stir in some leftover rice or mashed potatoes (pictured).
  • Use as a gravy over mashed potatoes.

I like Seitenbacher vegetable bouillon because it is gluten free and soy free (not an affiliate link).  

Monday, December 18, 2017

Instant Pot Calico Bean Soup

  • 15-bean soup mix (1 lb. package, throw out seasoning packet)
  • large onion, diced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2-4 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1-2 cups carrots, sliced
  • 14.5 oz. diced tomatoes
  • Vegetable broth, or water and vegetable bouillon (see instructions below for amount)
  • 2 TBSP coconut aminos (or other liquid aminos or soy sauce)
  • 1.5 tsp liquid smoke
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1.5 TBSP dried parsley
  • 1 TBSP dried rosemary
  • 1.5 tsp thyme
  • 1.5 tsp marjoram (or omit and increase thyme to 1 TBSP)
  • .5 tsp black pepper
  • salt to taste
Pre-soak the beans according to the helpful hipcooking guide.  It is possible to cook this recipe without soaking the beans, but since I live at an elevation over 5,000', I use the quick-soaking method to reduce the cooking time.

Place the diced onions and garlic in the bottom of the pot liner, then add the beans, spices, and liquid seasonings, reserving the diced tomatoes.  Add enough vegetable broth until the liquid reaches the 10-cup line on the pot.  Make sure the silicone gasket is in place, lock the lid, set the valve to sealing, press the bean/chili button (or manual) and adjust the time to 35 minutes.  When the cooking time is finished, let the pressure go down on its own for 10-15 minutes before opening the valve and releasing the rest of the pressure.  Check the beans for preferred tenderness.  If the beans need to cook longer, then close up the cooker and set it for 5 minutes or more.  Stir in the diced tomatoes and serve.

Serving Options:
  • Sometimes we like to serve the soup over some salad greens in the bottom of the bowl.  The greens add some crunch and it eliminates the need for salad dressing on the side salad.
  • For lunch the next day, serve the soup over baked or mashed potatoes, or...
  • Saute greens and mix in some of the soup for a meal of beans 'n greens

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Borscht 2 Ways

My mother often makes Borscht, or Russian beet soup, as taught to her by my Russian grandmother. The recipe is very flexible based on available ingredients.  For instance, my grandmother could not afford to use much meat.  My mom does not have a set recipe and bases amounts on the size of the pot that she is using, but I have written down an approximation.

1 lb.  or more beef stew meat
8-12 cups homemade beef broth or water with 4 tsp. of beef bouillon
1 medium to large onion, chopped
5 potatoes, cubed (in my recipe below, I use rutabaga instead; I also sometimes increase the other vegetables and omit potato or rutabaga)
at least 2 carrots shredded
1/2 green cabbage, shredded
4 med. or 3 lg. beets, peeled and shredded in food processor
2 T. lemon juice + more to taste
salt and pepper to taste

In a Dutch oven or stock pot, cover the beef cubes, celery, and garlic with water and simmer on low for two hours.  Discard celery and garlic.  Add the rest of the ingredients and cook for 30 more minutes.  Season with beef bouillon and salt & pepper as needed to enhance the broth.  Add a dollop of sour cream to individual bowls.  


I adapted my mother's recipe, using my Instant Pot (electric pressure cooker) to speed up the process.  I pressure cook the beets and the beef while cooking the rest of the soup ingredients on the stove top.  Total cooking time = 1 hour 

4 medium beets, stems trimmed, reserving leaves
2 T. fresh lemon juice

Pre-cook beets in pressure cooker (1 c. water in bottom of pot, beets on rack or steamer basket, 25 mins. high pressure, quick release); reserve liquid, slip skins when cool, grate, and mix in lemon juice.  Set aside.

1 T.  oil
1 onion, chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, smashed
2 - 2.5 # beef for stew, 1 inch cubes
2 tsp. salt
stalk of celery
1 cup water or broth
reserved beet juice

Salt the beef cubes. Sautee onions and garlic in oil in electric pressure cooker (optional).  Add beef cubes and water/broth to reserved liquid from cooking beets.  Cook for 35 mins. on high in pressure cooker and natural release steam for 10-15 mins.  Remove celery.  

While the beets and beef are cooking in the pressure cooker, prep and cook the following on the stove top (add the vegetables to the boiling broth in the stock pot as soon as the meat reaches high pressure in the Instant Pot).

10 cups homemade stock or beef broth made with bouillon 
2 large carrots, grated
2  rutabagas, peeled and cut in 1/4 in. thick rounds, then each round cut into 6-9 pieces.
1/2 green cabbage, shredded
beet greens, large stems removed and cut into bite-sized pieces (optional)
1 T. more fresh lemon juice to taste
1 1/2 tsp. dried dill weed
salt & pepper

In a large pot, bring stock to a boil and add rutabagas and carrots.  Cover and turn heat down to medium.  After 15 minutes, add shredded cabbage, cover, and cook for another 15 minutes.  Add beet greens and cook for a few more minutes.  Add grated cooked beets and heat only at a gentle simmer, adding lemon juice, dill, and salt & pepper to taste.  When the meat is done in the pressure cooker, stir it into the soup pot.  The soup can be served immediately in individual bowls with dollops of sour cream.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Vegetable Beef Soup

  • medium onion, diced
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 12 cups beef broth, homemade and/or from bouillon
  • 2 cups sliced carrots
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can green beans
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • salt & pepper to taste

Brown ground beef and onion, adding garlic when nearly done.  Set aside to drain.  In a stockpot bring the broth to a boil.  Add carrots, tomatoes, garbanzo beans, and spices. Cover and cook for 30 minutes until vegetables are soft.  Stir in green beans, ground beef, and lemon juice at the end and heat through.  Adjust seasonings if needed. Serves 6-8.

  • use fresh or frozen green beans
  • replace garbanzo with diced potatoes or rutabaga sliced thin
  • add thinly sliced cabbage at the 15 minute mark when cooking vegetables