Soup’s on!

What a snowstorm yesterday!  It was a day of shoveling at my house … it started at 7:30am and didn’t end until 5pm.  After all that snow, it was time to think about dinner.  Soup sounded perfect.  I had cooked up a turkey breast the day before so there was plenty of meat in the refrigerator plus I had a box of chicken bone broth on the shelf and vegetables in the refrigerator.  All I needed was my pressure cooker and some seasonings and dinner would be ready in about 20 minutes.  I know so many people who are afraid to use a pressure cooker, but I just love mine.  It is the only way I make soup.  Something that might take 30-40 minutes cooked in a regular pot, only takes 10-15 minutes in my pressure cooker.  And it’s not just about time, but about flavor.  A pressure cooker locks in all of the steam and therefore all of the flavor.  I rarely follow a recipe when I make soup.  Basically I use whatever vegetables I have on hand, broth if I have it, water if not, and then some spices.  It’s hard for me to duplicate a recipe, but I never mind.  I like the variety.  Here is what came out of my pressure cooker yesterday:

Pesto Turkey Vegetable Soup

6 medium carrots

6 stalks celery

2 small zucchini

1/2 head of cabbage (small to medium)

1 box chicken bone broth

2 cups chopped turkey or chicken meat

1/4 cup pesto

2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a large pot or pressure cooker over medium high heat.  Wash and chop the carrots and celery into bite sized pieces and add to the pot.  Sauté for about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile core and chop the cabbage into bite sized pieces.  Add to the pot and cook for an additional 3 minutes.  Add the bone broth and bring to a boil.  Add the zucchini.  If you are using a pressure cooker, allow the soup to come to pressure and then lower the heat.  Cook for 7 minutes. (If you are cooking the soup in a regular pot, lower the soup to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are soft.)  Bring down the pressure and check to make sure the vegetables are soft.  Add the chopped turkey or chicken meat and the pesto.  Simmer for an additional 3 minutes to warm the meat.  Serve and Enjoy!

 

 

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Kitchen Experiments – Granola in a Crockpot

I am all about having the right tools in the kitchen to make life easier. When I counsel people on how to improve their diets a common complaint is “I just don’t have time to cook good meals!” My first response to this is: “what kind of tools do you have in your kitchen?” This makes all the difference in the world! I do not think that I could cook without my pressure cooker, rice cooker and crock pot. OK, I could, but it would take me a lot longer.

A few years ago I really wanted to use my crock pot more so I bought several cookbooks. Who knew you could make so many things using a crock pot. I was thinking soups, stews, meats, but granola?  I never would have thought!  Well, if you think that you do not have time to make homemade granola because you don’t have time to stand around the kitchen waiting to turn the granola every few minutes so it won’t burn – pull out your crock pot and give this a try!

It was so easy.  If you have a favorite granola recipe or something sitting on the back burner waiting for you to have time, pull it out and let’s get cooking!  Basically what I did was put my dry ingredients in a large bowl.  I used gluten-free oats, pumpkin seeds, coconut, black currants, and maple sugar.  The recipe also called for milk powder but since I can’t have milk products yet, I used brown rice protein powder instead to give it an extra boost.  The next step was to turn the crock pot on high and melt/heat the liquids for 30 minutes.  I did not have that much time so I decided to heat the liquids on the stove in a small pot.  I used agave syrup and 1/2 cup of oil, instead of 1 cup and used 1/2 cup of applesauce as well. Once it was heated through, I poured the liquids over the dry and mixed it until everything was coated.

granola

I did preheat the crock pot while I was preparing the ingredients.  I had it on high for maybe 15 minutes.  It seemed pretty hot when I added the oat mixture.  Here comes the easy part.  I cooked it on high for 1 1/2 hours with the lid off, stirring once every 30 minutes.  After the hour and a half, I turned the crock pot to low, placed the lid on it, and left it for 3 hours.  The recipe had said 4 hours but when I came home after 3, it seemed pretty well cooked.  I removed the lid for another 1/2 hour to cook off some of the moisture and then it was done!

cooked granolaI allowed it to cool and then placed it in an airtight container.  The next morning I had delicious granola with oat milk for breakfast!  Boy, that was easy!