Slow Weekend, Instant Pot Cooking {White Bean Chicken Chili}

Three day weekends are the best! After the hustle of the holidays I was well prepped to do a whole lotta nothing. Just completing on of my most unproductive weekends on records. Unless putting a dent in my Netflix queue is considered productive. I really enjoyed My Next Guest with David Letterman. The interview with President Obama had me feeling depressed and hopeful all at once. Letterman’s statement at the end of the interview is spot on. Spoiler alert, I was super disappointed they did not in fact play dominoes. Too obvious I guess.

I followed that up with a million episodes of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Always a bad sign when Netflix keeps asking “are you still watching”. Don’t judge me Netflix. In my defense, the episodes are short. Great line-up this season. I also watched two movies, Manchester by the Sea and Stronger. Both were tear-jerker. And 90% of the dialog of both were a derivative of the F-word delivered in a Boston accent. Definitely went over my screen time limit this weekend.

In between, I did manage to cook some delicious meals with a lot of help from my instant pot. I got one for Christmas, and I am putting it through its paces. I started easy with hard-boiled eggs. They turned out perfect and were so easy to peel. Something I can’t seem to accomplish when making them on the stove top.

The Instant Pot is essentially a pressure cooker that offers a slow cooking, rice cooking, sauté and a ton of other features. I am sold, the meat is not rubbery or dry, as I find it tends to be coming out of the slow cooker. In most cases the recipes cook a lot faster, and with the sauté feature it truly is a one-pot meal. I made a few recipes to both have on hand this week and to stock the freezer.

To start, chicken. Simple enough and will become a meal of BBQ pulled chicken sandwiches with cole slaw. The rest goes into the freezer for future tacos or enchiladas.

Instant pot shredded chicken

Next up, white bean chicken chili, as I had a few more chicken breasts to use. A great way to use up can goods and jarred salsa. Doesn’t get much easier.

white bean chicken chili

Perfect for a snowy day. Again, half for the week the rest in the freezer.

white bean chicken chili

Finally, when a friend posted this instant pot butter chicken recipe I knew had to make it! I’ve made butter chicken before, and it is pretty involved. I found this version really simplified the process and had a better result. The flavors were amazing and the heat level was perfect. But I do question when the recipe calls for you to freeze half the sauce. I’d just increase the amount of chicken and freeze it in that form. Though, I’m skeptical of how well a sauce with cream and butter would defrost. I am not confident the texture would hold up and I am not willing to risk any of this dish to put it to the test now.

instant pot butter chicken

I made the rice in the instant pot with the rice option. I accidentally took the lid off mid-cooking. I think that contributed to a less than stellar outcome. I’ll have to attempt this again, rice is a just a dish that I struggle with perfecting (like hard-boiled eggs).

Tonight we will be trying out pot roast made with leftover homemade French onion soup. I’ll let you know how it turns out. In the meantime, here is the white bean chicken chili recipe.

Instant Pot White Bean Chicken Chili

Ingredients

  • 2 T. Olive Oil
  • 2 lbs. Chicken Breasts
  • 2 T. Taco Seasoning
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 C. Chicken Broth
  • 1 15 oz. can Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz. can Garbanzo Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz, can Roasted Corn Kernels, drained and rinsed
  • 1 10.75 oz. can of Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1 jar Salsa
  • 1 cup Mexican Crema (or sour cream)

Instructions

  1. Set instant pot to saute. Once hot, add oil and let get hot.
  2. Season chicken with taco seasoning. Brown on each side, about 3 minutes per side.
  3. Add onions and garlic and cook about 2 minutes.
  4. Pour in broth, beans, corn, soup, and salsa.
  5. Press the Bean/Chili button on instant pot. Set time to 30 minutes.
  6. Let pressure release naturally 15 minutes, then manually release remaining.
  7. Shred chicken.
  8. Stir in Crema.
  9. Serve with cilantro and crushed tortilla chips.
http://www.jaxhouse.com/2018/01/15/slow-weekend-instant-pot-cooking-white-bean-chicken-chili/

Anyone have any must try instant pot recipes to share?

Happy New Year {Ginger Thyme Simple Syrup}

My simple syrup making goes way back. Back to the days of helping my mom grocery shop, only to have first dibs on the food as it came in the house. In a house of eight people, the food didn’t last long. On grocery day we lived like kings, not so much by the end of the week. We got creative with whatever we could find.

Things we generally always had in the house, bread, sugar, eggs, and a variety of McCormick imitation flavorings. I made a lot of French toast in those days. Something we never had in the house, maple syrup. We always made our own, water sugar and imitation maple flavoring. Essentially a maple simple syrup. Necessity is the mother of invention, indeed.

These days I don’t make maple syrup, but I do like to use up herbs, fruit etc. in a simple syrup to be used in drinks. Today it was thyme and ginger that were on the verge of going unused.

Heat equal portions of water and sugar in pan until the sugar dissolves. Put in your flavorings and let cook about 2 minutes. Turn off heat, let cool and strain into a jar. Keeps about 2 weeks in the fridge. I like to keep a bit of the ingredient in the syrup so I can remember what flavor it is, as I often have a couple in the fridge.

I thought the thyme and ginger combo would make a delicious cocktail to ring in the new year. I mized about 4 oz. of grapefruit juice, 2 t. of simply syrup and topped it off with Prosecco.

I was right! Cheers to a new year full of family, great friends, good eats, new experiences and an abundance of kindness.

Happy New Year. Let’s see what ya got 2018.

Old School {French Onion Dip}

There is nothing the like the hustle and bustle of the holidays to such the joy out of the season. Whoever said it is the most wonderful time of the year wasn’t in charge of getting anything done. My to-do list is always a mile long and time is always short. Making time to enjoy the season is always a challenge, especially in the final stretch. At this point whatever isn’t done or bought makes no matter, and there will NOT be a fiftieth trip to the grocery store as the entertaining portion of the holidays begins. We have a full house this week, but entertaining doesn’t have to be stressful. I prepped a few meals in advance to have on hand and I am digging into my pantry to fill in the gaps.

Here is an easy recipe, if you can even call it that,  to whip up and leave out for everyone to grab as they  wrapping gifts, cooking in the kitchen, sipping cocktails, whatever their thing may be.

French Onion Dip

It’s simply a mix of beef bullion and cream cheese.

French Onion Dip

Start with 1 T. bouillon and 1 block/tub of cream cheese. Adjust to taste. I used whipped cream cheese this time and i think i prefer it over the block, it was easier to combine thoroughly.

French Onion Dip

Dip your favorite vegetables.

French Onion Dip

It’s total old school and totally delicious.

French Onion Dip

Besides, we can all use more access to vegetables this time of year.

veggie tray

French Onion Dip

Ingredients

  • 1T. beef bouillon
  • 8 oz. cream cheese

Instructions

  1. Stir to combine. Add more bouillon to taste.

Notes

Alternatively, replace sour cream for cream cheese serve with potato chips.

http://www.jaxhouse.com/2017/12/23/old-school-french-onion-dip/

Keeping it simple, ore time to focus on family festivities.

Fake News {Thai Quinoa Meatballs}

Turns out a I like peanuts, or more specifically peanut sauce. Quinoa, not so much, that I just tolerate. It is pain to make and besides it always gets stuck in my teeth. I made an exception in order to try this recipe and it paid off, delicious and no quinoa in my teeth. I used the recipe from Everyday Cooking plant-based recipe cookbook as my starting point and made a few alterations from there. Between my daughter and I we’ve made over a half-dozen recipes from this cookbook, and they have all been great. My only complaint is that every single recipe calls for sugar or maple syrup. I leave it out of the savory recipes as I do not see what value they add. Otherwise lots of good recipe, vegan or not.

roasted chickpeas

Start with roasting the chickpeas and then making the peanut sauce. Don’t bother to clean it out for blending the chick peas, the flavors all end up being mixed together anyway. You call it lazy, I call it efficient.

peanut sauce

Speaking of, the lengths I will go to avoid a trip to the grocery store are spectacular. I was out of soy sauce but I did have all the ingredients on hand for this soy sauce substitute. It got the job done.

soy sauce substitute

Fake news, as the shape is the only thing these have in common with meatballs. The texture and flavor are way off, they are good but I think a hard sell for a dedicated meat-eater.

Thai Quinoa Meatballs

Carrots as noodles, fake news too. However carrots make an awesome noodle fake out. My fav celebrity chef ever, Sara Moulton, introduced me to the carrot noodle trick years ago. This would be just as good with spaghetti squash or real pasta.

Thai Quinoa Meatballs

Always good to try something new. Give it go, see what you think.

Thai Quinoa Meatballs

Thai Quinoa Meatballs

Thai Quinoa Meatballs

Ingredients

  • Peanut Sauce:
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 T. soy sauce
  • 1 t. chili garlic sauce
  • 2 T. hot water
  • Meatball:
  • 1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed.
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 T. creamy peanut butter
  • 2 T. soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1 t. chili garlic sauce
  • 1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • Carrot Noodles:
  • 6 carrots, peeled into ribbons

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. For peanut sauce, blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth sauce. Add water to desired thickness. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Place chickpeas on a cookie sheet and cook for 15 minutes. Set aside, After cooled, blend in blender or food processor.
  4. In a large bowl combine all meatball ingredients. Mix to combine.
  5. Scoop out 1 T. per meatball. roll and place on greased cookie sheet.
  6. Cook meatballs for 15 minutes, turn and cook another 15 minutes.
  7. Cook carrot noodles in salted boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside. Reheat as needed to serve.
  8. To serve top carrots with peanut sauce, meatball and top with cilantro and chopped peanuts.
http://www.jaxhouse.com/2017/12/14/thai-quinoa-meatballs/

 

Daily Soup {Malaysian Cabbage and Peanut Soup}

Any time I am looking to make soup I look no further than The Daily Soup Cookbook. I’ve made a good number of the recipes in the nearly twenty years that I have had the book. It is actually in sad shape, the spine is pretty messed up. This recipe caught my eye this weekend when I was meal planning for the week. I altered the recipe a bit from the book. This will serve as my lunch this week.

Sidebar, the bowl of my trusty food processor of nearly twenty years cracked. I search everywhere for a replacement, turns out they don’t make them anymore. I have watched eBay for one, but no luck. I ordered a new highly rated Cuisinart food processor, turns out it sucks. I am not able to get the bowl to click into place. I have rig it with a butter knife to get it to work. Both the manufacturer and Amazon were no help. Royal pain in the ass. I’m on the hunt for a new one before Christmas, any suggestions out there?

A food processor is key for this recipe, as I attempted to blend the peanuts and determined it was better accomplished in a food processor. Same goes for the garlic and ginger. Anyway, check out the gorgeous color of the spices in the soup, curry powder, coriander, turmeric, cayenne.

Malaysian Cabbage and Peanut Soup

The grilled Napa cabbage adds a bit of char and crunch to the soup.

grilled Napa cabbagePotatoes, both Idaho and sweet, add thickness and heartiness to the soup.

Diced PotatoesThe final results is a rich and hearty soup with a touch of spicy warmth. The texture is velvety, like butta. The spice mix lends to the deep color. If you are a fan of peanut sauce you’ll love this soup.

Malaysian Cabbage and Peanut SoupTop each bowl with crushed dry roasted peanuts. Enjoy by the spoonful.

Malaysian Cabbage amd Peanut Soup

Category: Soup

Cuisine: Vegetarian

Yield: 8

Serving Size: 1.5 cups

Malaysian Cabbage amd Peanut Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 head Napa cabbage, quartered
  • 2 T. soy sauce
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 3 t. kosher salt
  • 1/4 t. black pepper
  • 16 oz. dry roasted peanuts
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 T. ginger, minced
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 2 t. curry powder
  • 1 t. ground coriander seeds
  • 1 t. turmeric
  • 1/4 t. cayenne
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 T. fish sauce
  • 1 t. garlic chili sauce

Instructions

  1. Combine soy sauce, 1/2 of the lime juice, 1 t. of salt, and pepper. Pour mixture into a shallow dish, add cabbage cut side down. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  2. In running food processor drop in garlic and ginger until finely blended. Scrap out and set aside.
  3. Set aside a cup of the peanuts for garnish. Process the remaining peanuts, lime juice and garlic chili sauce in a food processor until a smooth spread.
  4. Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, and sugar and cook until golden, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add curry, coriander, turmeric, remaining salt, cayenne and stir to coat the onion mixture.
  6. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Add water, potatoes, fish sauce. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, grill the cabbage, cool and thinly slice.
  9. To the soup mixture, stir in peanut spread and cabbage. Cook another 5 minutes.
http://www.jaxhouse.com/2017/12/10/daily-soup-malaysian-cabbage-and-peanut-soup/

Cookbooks Worth Gifting

Christmas Day goals, staying in your pajamas and diving into the new books you received. Growing up I remember regularly getting the year-end edition of Rolling Stone Magazine. I would take hours to read it cover to cover. I still love getting a new book, especially a cookbook, and taking my time with it. I also love to give books as gifts, here are a few cookbooks worth gifting to your favorite cook.

Homegrown: Cooking from My New England Roots

by Matt Jennings

My husband ordered himself this cookbook a couple of months ago. It is filled with straightforward no fuss recipes, with a unique twist on classic flavors. Each recipe has a story and there are a lot of extra tidbits thrown in throughout the book. Makes for a great read with something new to discover each time. The pictures are amazing and I love how it is organized (Dairy, Ocean, Farm, Garden and Orchard, Forest). I’ve read through it a few times and have lots of recipes bookmarked. The few I have tried so far have been great.

A post shared by Jacky Hackett (@jaxhouse) on

Roasted squash salad with Gouda and apple butter. The apple butter caught my eye in this one, and it was the first time preparing delicata squash which is my new favorite skin and all. Perfect fall salad!

A post shared by Jacky Hackett (@jaxhouse) on

Lamb Meatballs with pickled chiles, this recipe was amazing. The classic lamb, yogurt, mint combo gets a kick with the pickled chiles. And those chiles go great on just about anything.

Evie’s Pub Cheese, this is not your typical cheese spread. Cornichon, paprika and turmeric are some of the unique ingredients. This spread is rich and flavorful, The author and I agree on favorite crackers, Wheat Thins. Though I went with the Club this time. Perfect spread to have on hand for holiday visitors.

Prune

by Gabrielle Hamilton

About five years ago I read Blood, Bones & ButterThe Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef and crushed pretty hard on Gabrielle Hamilton. Such a great story! I knew I had to get to her restaurant, Prune, for brunch one day. I was fortunate enough to get there last year. It was a fabulous meal and the best bloody Mary I have ever had in my life. For real.

A post shared by Jacky Hackett (@jaxhouse) on


I couldn’t stop thinking about that Bloody Mary and the crumbed poached egg my friend ordered, so I ordered the cookbook. The book itself is so cool, designed in the style of a Moleskin notebook. And I love the service tips, and section on kitchen scraps. Bonus, gift both of the book and cookbook together.

My Last Supper: 50 Great Chefs and Their Final Meals / Portraits, Interviews, and Recipes

by Melanie Dunea

My husband gave me this cookbook for my birthday last year. As the title suggests it includes details of what chefs like Another Bourdain and Lidia Bastianich consider the perfect last meal, including a creative photo of the chef depicting the meal and recipes to accompany it.

A post shared by Jacky Hackett (@jaxhouse) on

Jamie Oliver contributed a recipe for spaghetti All’Arrabita. It was small effort with big flavor. The bread crumb topping is the piece de resistance.

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The recipe for fries from Hélène Darroze are a bit of work, but a perfect match for a steak.

Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi 

by Yotam Ottolenghi

This cookbook has been around for awhile, but it is always on my counter so I thought it was worth including. The recipes are a bit fussy, but the end results are always worth the effort.

smoky frittata

This smoky frittata recipe made for an amazing dinner.

burnt eggplant and tahini

I also loved this burnt eggplant with tahini. I previously shared a few other recipes, caramelized garlic tart, sweet potato wedges with lemongrass dipping sauce, and saffron fettuccine with spiced butter. It is an elegant cookbook with great recipes that anyone would enjoy.

Happy gifting.

Like Riding a Bicycle

Just like riding a bicycle, except the bike has been locked up so long you can’t find the key. You dig thru all your cabinets and try every last key you can find, the mystery keys you just can’t throw away. You try the keys you know would never work. Reopening cabinets over and over hoping the key just presents itself.

I hope everyone is enjoying their Thanksgiving! I started mine off rereading this Thanksgiving Toast. Always something new to glean from it.

Cranberry sauce

I started my cooking Wednesday night. A cocktail accompaniment. Spiced cider, bourbon, maple syrup and  Garam Masala bitters. Delightful!

F0BC4806-3CC0-4EA1-A356-5252D879DC36

French silk pie complete. A day in the fridge does this pie good.

French Silk Pie

I spent my morning sipping hot coffee and watching the movie Julie & Julia. A perfect movie for a holiday celebrating food. Though, it made me nostalgic for the time when blogging was more personal story telling and less portraying a simulated perfection for monetization. It was the kick in the butt I needed to finally to get back here.

Yep, just like riding a bicycle. Thankful for that.

Donut Day

The farmers market in our town has always been spectacular. All the vegetables and fruits are delicious, but the donuts are the real attraction. Forget all the fancy donut places with their unique toppings. The donuts are made in the church basement, sent out through the window still warm. They are the real deal!

Through the organization that have provided my kids day care for the past 10+ plus years, I got the opportunity to go behind the scenes and take part in making the donuts.  Sign me up! And I jumped at the chance to cook the donuts, even if it meant getting up at the crack of dawn. On the plus side, there were plenty of parking spots.

donut alarm

The kitchen was already in full swing when I got there just after 4 am. I found my spot at the frying station and they taught us the ropes. We dove right in and starting making donuts at a good clip.

Each week a different organization helps out making the donuts, under the supervision of the regular church donut staff. The organization gets to take home a percentage of the proceeds. It can take as long as 10 years to get a spot in the rotation!

 

Oak Park Farmers Market

Huge lines form for these donuts, three varieties are served. Plain, cinnamon sugar, and powdered sugar. The plain are my favorite, but as I learned Saturday the cinnamon sugar is pretty amazing when they are warm. The powdered sugar are so darn messy, my kids always order those  no matter how hard I tried to persuade them otherwise.

They have the donut making routine pretty nailed; make the dough, pour it in the donut dropper, cook, clip, cook, move to the try table, tray, coat and serve. The kitchen was a well oiled machine.

donut dough

Each batch makes about 75 donuts. Between 4am and 11am we made about 35 batches, about 6 bags of spice cake doughnut mix. They make anywhere from 6-7000 per day!

Donut Dough

I learned more about the shortening then I care to know, I liked to refer to it as the secret sauce. We went through two of these, not sure how many pounds it was.

Donut Day

The tools of the trade? Drum sticks to flip them. Took a few batches and then we could flip them with only one stick.

Donut Day

Once you flip them, they only take about 10-30 secs to finish to a nice golden brown.

Donut Day

Then it is off to the trays and to get their tasty coating. After my frying shift, my son showed up to help too. These two were expert coaters.

Donut Helpers

Though they really loved walking around handing out samples. I mean, everyone is happy to see you, what is not to like?

Donut Helpers

But lets be real, getting paid in donuts is what it is all about!

Donut Helpers

So mannnnny donuts!

Donut Day

And jugs and jugs of coffee to go with it. Lucky for me, it was a cool day. I could not imagine being in that kitchen over the frying when it is really hot out.

image

The coffee jugs were a workout to get up and out the window to the server.

Donut Day

From what I was told, the proceeds from the 24 Saturdays they sell donuts, it pays all the utilities for the church for the year. Not a bad deal. We are looking forward to volunteering again next year.

Donut Day

Check out Saveur’s write-up from back in 2011, they are often list as the best doughnut in Chicago by Chicago Magazine too. But most important, make a trip out and try them yourself.

 

Marinated Cauliflower Salad

My love of cauliflower is well documented. And while I normally prefer it roasted, this salad is a great way to enjoy it in the summer when you dread cranking up the oven.

cauliflower salad

 

Marinated Cauliflower Salad
Author: Jacky Hackett
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • ¼ red onion, finely diced
  • ⅓ cup golden raisins
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • ½ teaspoon garlic chili sauce
  • ½ cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground
Instructions
  1. Chop cauliflower into bit size pieces
  2. Finely dice the red onion and parsley
  3. combine cauliflower, red onion, raisins, and caraway seeds in a large bowl
  4. In another bowl make dressing, add garlic chili sauce, parsley, dried oregano, olive oil, vinegar and salt. Stir to combine.
  5. Pour dressing over cauliflower and stir to coat.
  6. Cover and place in refrigerator to marinate a couple of hours or overnight.

Caraway seeds add peppery licorice flavor, it also evokes the flavor of meat to me. Probably because a soft rye with caraway seeds is essential for a killer corned beef sandwich. The golden raisins add sweetness that is tamed with the bite of the red onion. The garlic chile sauce gives it just enough heat.

marinated cauliflower salad

This salad gets better the longer it sits, so make a big batch and eat it all week. Serve it as a meal over salad greens, as a side dish, or even on some fresh bread for a veggie sandwich.

cauliflower salad

No matter how you chose to eat this salad, it is delicious!

 

Radish Crostini

The radishes were another gorgeous item we saw at the farmers market this past weekend. When we walked past this bunch on the table the 8 year-old said “I want some of those”.

radishes

Of course, I had to grab a bunch to take home. Such beauties.

radishes

Knowing radishes have a bite, I didn’t want that to be my son’s first taste of a radish. I figured I’d sweetened to deal with some butter.

radishes with butter and salt

This is my absolute favorite way to eat radishes. I especially love this combo on a steamy summer day. The cool crisp radish with the sweet butter. The touch of salt is the pièce de résistance!

He loved it! Phew.

radishes with butter and salt

We were having a going away party for our friends so I made up a batch to serve. Spread some butter on grilled bread, top with sliced radish and top with a pinch of salt. These went fast!