Do you have an Instant Pot and don’t know where to start? I am still getting the hang of it, but I’ve mastered how to make PERFECT hard-boiled and soft-boiled eggs in the Instant Pot.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by the American Egg Board and the Egg Nutrition Center. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible!
What Can the Instant Pot Do?
215,000+ Amazon customers purchased the Instant Pot on Prime Day alone. Now that it’s in everyone’s kitchen they are looking for new recipes to try.
The Instant Pot is a single appliance that does the job of seven (yes, seven!) different kitchen appliances. It can handle the tasks of a slow cooker, electric pressure cooker, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, sauté/browning pan, and a warming pot. Think of all those appliances taking up space in your kitchen that can be replaced by one.
New to using the Instant Pot? Learn about these seven tips for efficiently using your Instant Pot.
While I am still learning all the functions of the Instant Pot, the first technique I mastered was preparing hard and soft-boiled eggs.
How Are Eggs Healthy?
One large egg has 6 grams of high-quality protein and all 9 essential amino acids. Nearly half the protein is in the yolk so don’t ditch the yolk!
Eggs were once avoided and criticized for their cholesterol content. However, the totality of scientific research has shown no or little effect between dietary cholesterol and cardiac outcomes or markers of heart disease risk in healthy individuals.
Government and health organizations have revised their dietary cholesterol recommendations. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans place no daily limit on dietary cholesterol intake. Foods like egg yolks and some shellfish are higher in dietary cholesterol but not saturated fats making them a healthful choice along with healthy eating patterns.
Hard-boiled eggs are something I pretty much meal prep every week for myself. One large egg has varying amounts of 13 essential vitamins and minerals, including choline plus the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, all just for 70 calories.
Why the Instant Pot method works:
Now, I know making hard-boiled eggs on the stovetop is not too challenging, but this Instant Pot method makes it even simpler and in just 5 minutes, they are ready. Plus, there is a science behind why cooking eggs in the Instant Pot make them easier to peel. The reason according to Alton Brown is:
“Eggs that are quickly heated are easier to peel than eggs that are slowly heated, say in cold water brought to a boil. Fast cooking prevents the white from bonding so epoxy-like to the outer membranes. Since pressure steamers can generate temperatures between 230 and 250 degrees F it is suspected that this is actually why folks think they’re magic egg machines.” Also, thorough cooling eases peeling by allowing the proteins in the albumen to fully set and harden, thus preventing tearing.
How to Make Soft Boiled Eggs in the Instant Pot
Pour the water in and place the rack (trivet) in the bottom. Then sit the eggs on the rack in the Instant Pot in a single layer.
Cook for 3 minutes on high pressure. Once the timer goes off, quickly release the pressure.
Transfer the eggs to a bowl with ice and cold water until they are cool enough to hold in your hand.
Peel right away.
The Best Pressure Cooker Hard Boiled Eggs
If you want to make hard boiled eggs in the Instant Pot, pour the water in. Set the rack in the bottom. Place the eggs on the rack. Cook for 5 minutes using high pressure. Let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then transfer to an ice bath. Peel once they are cool enough for you to hold.
Tips for Making
Make sure the eggs are in a single layer, do not stack them.
There is an accessory you can buy that is specifically for making eggs in the Instant Pot that may allow you to cook more at a time.
When you release the pressure, place a towel over the top. Also make sure the pressure cooker is away from cabinets so the steam doesn’t ruin them.
How Long Do Cooked Eggs Last?
Hard-Boiled Eggs will keep up to a week in your refrigerator. Make a few perfect hard-boiled eggs to create delicious recipes throughout the week.
A few ways I use hard-boiled eggs are:
Pair hard-boiled eggs with avocado and tomato. I usually just add a little salt and pepper, but when I’m looking to add an extra pop of flavor, I add everything but the bagel, sesame seasoning blend.
For a filling snack, try my version of a “quick deviled egg”. Scoop out the yolk, mix with hummus and fill back in the egg white.
Ways to Use Instant Pot Eggs
Go for a traditional cobb salad but switch up your greens with a Kale Cobb Salad
Place the rack in the bottom of the pot. Pour the water in the pot. Place the eggs on the rack.
For soft-boiled: Set Instant pot on high pressure on manual 3 minutes. Quick release placing a towel over the valve. Quickly add eggs to a bowl with cold water and ice until cool enough to hold. Peel right away.
For hard-boiled: Set Instant Pot on high pressure on manual 5 minutes. Natural release 5 minutes then use quick release placing a towel over the valve. Quickly add eggs to a bowl with cold water and ice until cool enough to hold. Peel right away.
Cozy up to a bowl of Beef and Barley Soup. Not only can you add layers and layers of flavors, but they also can be balanced nutritionally.
I am on a total soup and stew kick lately. Mainly because I can cook once and eat all week.
I am teaching three cooking classes this week, so cooking all day at work, the last thing I want to do when I get home it to cook again and wash more dishes!
What is Hulled Barley?
Aim to add more whole grains in soups and stews when you can. Barley is a fantastic whole grain. I chose to use hull-less barley. This type of barley has an outer hull that’s so loosely attached to the kernel that it generally falls oﬀ during harvesting. This cuts down on processing and ensures that all of the bran and germ are retained.
Ingredients for Beef and Barley Soup
Veggies: celery, carrots, garlic, kale, onion
Spices: salt, pepper, oregano, parsley
beef chuck roast – trim the fat if needed and dice into bite size pieces
How to Make Hulled Barley Soup
Once you have trimmed and diced the beef, add the flour, salt, and pepper to a shallow bowl or dish and dredge each piece. Shake off the excess flour if needed.
Add the olive oil to a large pot and heat over medium-high heat.
Brown the beef, turning as needed. You will need to do this step in batches because you don’t want to overload the pot. Once the meat has finished browning, remove and set aside.
Add the carrots, celery, diced onions, garlic, and oregano. Stirring occasionally, cook the veggies until they are soft.
Pour in the red wine to deglaze the bottom of the pot, scraping the brown bits. Simmer and reduce the red wine by half. Add in the tomato paste and stir.
Place the beef back in the pot, and add the water and broth.
Bring it to a boil then add the hulled barley.
Turn the heat down low, and simmer for 45 minutes. The meat should be tender and the barley should be cooked all the way through.
Be sure to stir it occasionally; this will keep the barley from sticking together.
Once the soup is done, remove the pot from the heat and the kale. Season with salt and pepper!
My Barley Soup is Too Thick, What Do I Do?
If you find that the soup is too thick for your liking after it is done simmering, add some more water until it reaches a consistency you are happy with.
Tips for Making and Storing
Be sure to add the kale while the soup is still hot so it will wilt.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 5 days.
This barley soup is great for freezing. Let it cool completely before placing it in the freezer. To serve again, reheat on the stovetop over low heat until it is warm all the way through.
Soups are great! Not only can you add layers and layers of flavors, but they also can be balanced nutritionally. Any good soup starts with mirepoix. I like to use dry herbs and spices in my soup recipes because you are able to add them during the cooking process, as they can stand up to the heat.
This beef and barley soup may take a little longer to prepare, but it’s worth the wait.
1lb boneless beef chuck roast, fat trimmed off and cubed
1largecarrot,peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 cup red wine
4cups low-sodium beef broth
3/4cup hulless barley
4 cups kale, spines removed and roughly chopped
1tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
In a shallow dish combine flour, salt, and pepper. Dredge the beef cubes with flour, shaking off excess flour.
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven (or large pot) over medium-high heat. Add the beef to the pot and cook just until the meat starts to brown, turning as needed. Do this in 2 or 3 batches, to not crowd the pot. Remove the meat from the pot and set aside.
In the same pot, add the chopped onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and oregano. Cook the vegetables until soft, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Deglaze the pan with red wine scraping the fond (the brown bits) from the bottom of the pan. Let simmer and reduce red wine by half. Add tomato paste and stir to coat the vegetables.
Add beef back to the pot with water and beef broth. Stir to combine.
Bring to a boil, add barley and turn down to a simmer for 45-50 minutes, until meat is tender and barley is cooked through. Stir occasionally so the barley won’t stick together. If you find that too much liquid has evaporated or the soup is too thick add more water as necessary until you get the desired consistency.
Remove soup from heat and stir in the kale while the soup is still hot to wilt. Season with salt and pepper, as needed.
Garnish with parsley, if using.
If you do not want to use wine, deglaze with additional beef broth.
With just five simple ingredients this Cranberry Relish will add a pop of color and a side dish full of nutrients that will be a great addition to the table at any holiday gathering.
With Thanksgiving just a few days away, everyone is finalizing their Thanksgiving Day menu. Thanksgiving dinner is all about timing. What needs to be in/out the oven or stovetop. I am always a fan of the menu items that can be made ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about factoring that in the day of the festivities.
This recipe is inspired by one of my friend’s aunt’s recipe. (Hi Steph!) I was scrambling last week to get a menu together for my Thanksgiving cooking class at work. I’ve been teaching multiple Thanksgiving Day-themed cooking classes for work the past 3 years now. I get a lot of the same people attending the classes, so I didn’t want to repeat any previous recipes used in class.
I tend to catch up with family and friends on my way to and from work in the car. Whoever invented Bluetooth, thank you! I was chatting with Steph on my way home from work and I mentioned how I didn’t know what I was making yet for my class the next day. She was told me about her Aunt’s cranberry relish recipe that her family goes crazy for every year. What I really loved about it was it was only a few simple ingredients and everything goes right into a food processor. Plus, it is a recipe that can be made ahead of time. I did tweak the original recipe to make it healthier.
Cranberries: What’s So Great About Them?
I’m so glad you asked! Cranberries are actually full of antioxidants known as PACs, which may help reduce inflammation related to chronic diseases and aging.
A cup of fresh cranberries is a great source of fiber and Vitamin C, but the downside is that they only come into season during the fall.
The good news is that you can buy up several bags of fresh cranberries and freeze them to have year-round!
Also, research indicates that consumption of flavonoids in foods and beverages may decrease the risk of atherosclerosis.
In vitro and in vivo experiments with flavonoids demonstrate that flavonoids are dietary antioxidants and inhibit LDL oxidation, inhibit platelet aggregation and adhesion, inhibit enzymes involved in lipid and lipoprotein metabolism that affect the immune response to oxidized LDL and their uptake by endothelial macrophages, may induce endothelium-dependent vassorelaxation, and may increase reverse cholesterol transport and decrease total and LDL cholesterol.
Cranberries contain both hydroxycinnamic acids and flavonoids. The cranberry flavonoids belong to three groups: anthocyanins, flavonols, and proanthocyanidins, which make cranberries a great addition as part of a heart-healthy diet. Source: The Cranberry Insitute.
What You Need For Cranberry Relish
pineapple rings – I am using canned with the juice drained, you can use fresh if you would like.
How To Make Cranberry Relish
Add the cranberries to the food processor and pulse until they begin breaking down. Depending on the size of your food processor you may have to do this in batches.
Slice the lemon into wedges and remove the seeds. Add the wedges, with the peel on, to the processor and pulse just until it breaks down.
Then add the sugar, honey, and pineapple rings. Continue pulsing until the relish reaches your desired consistency.
Can You Make Cranberry Relish with Nuts?
Yes! Because I recommend chilling cranberry relish overnight so all of the flavors come together, fold them in just before serving. Pecans and walnuts pair well with cranberry dishes, but you can add any variety of nuts.
I like smaller pieces, so if you have whole pecan or walnuts chop you can chop by hand or throw them in a food processor for a few pulses.
What’s the Difference Between Cranberry Sauce and Cranberry Relish?
Relish is made with raw ingredients that are blended together then chilled. Traditionally cranberry sauce is actually cooked (unless you are eating it from the can) and is much sweeter.
Can You Use Frozen Cranberries?
You can use frozen, just know the flavor is much more muted, but that’s usually the case when you swap frozen fruits and veggies for fresh.
Be sure you allow for some additional time so they can thaw completely. Then drain the cranberries to remove the excess liquid.
Cranberry Relish Serving Suggestions
In case you were wondering, here are some of the popular ways cranberry relish is served.
As a holiday side dish
Over Brie or cream cheese
With crackers – you could use a salty variety or graham crackers for a sweeter version
Topping – use the leftover to top off your pancakes, waffles, or yogurt bowls
How Long is Cranberry Relish Good For?
You can store it in the fridge for up to 5 days. This also means you can make it ahead of time if you are prepping for holiday meals to ease the stress!
Lasagna is such an underrated dinner. Maybe, it is because when most people think of lasagna, the thought of having to assemble this meal detours many. Adding a little twist on a classic, try this Veggie-Packed Beef Lasagna.
This post is sponsored by the Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative, a subcontractor to the Beef Checkoff. Thank you for supporting brands that make this blog possible!
What if I told you I could provide you with
tips to make this meal both delicious and easy to prepare?
Lasagna is one of those recipes that can be made ahead, frozen for later, and a hearty meal that can help make weeknight meals a breeze. Also, depending on how you make this dish it can incorporate four of the five food groups all in one pan.
Dietitian Tip: Aim to have at least 3 food groups featured for meals (making one of those a fruit or vegetable!)
Each food group has its own properties which
can be beneficial for one’s health. Building colorful balanced plates can help
maintain healthy eating patterns, providing essential vitamins and minerals to
keep the body healthy. For example:
Grains: Grains have carbohydrates which provide our body with energy. Grains
are divided into 2 subgroups: Whole Grains and Refined Grains. Whole grains
contain the entire grain kernel ― the bran, germ, and endosperm. Refined grains
have been milled, a process that removes the bran and germ. Aim to make half of
your grains whole grains.
Protein: Is a building block for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.
Contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which may
also help to protect you from chronic diseases.
Vegetables: Eating vegetables that are of different colors will help to provide
your body with important nutrients like fiber (can help you to feel fuller for
longer), folate (beneficial for fetus growth during pregnancy),and vitamins A
(aids in good vision) and C (aids in a strong immune system).
Dairy: Which has a strong association to improved bone health.
Can beef fit onto a healthy plate?
When building a balanced plate, beef goes
beyond just being a good source of protein.
Beef supplies 10 essential nutrients
Iron – helps your body use oxygen
Choline – supports nervous system
Vitamins B6 & B12 – helps
maintain brain function and gives energy
Phosphorus – helps build bones and
Zinc – helps maintain a healthy
Niacin – supports energy
production and metabolism
Riboflavin – helps convert food
Selenium – helps protect cells
One 3-ounce cooked serving of beef provides
approximately 50% of your Daily Value (25 grams) of this important
nutrient—making it an excellent source! Protein helps maintain a healthy
weight, as well as preserve and build muscle.
New research suggests it’s not only important to just get enough protein in at dinner or lunch but to spread it throughout your day for optimal health. Aim for 25-30 grams of protein at each meal.
EASY, DELICIOUS, BEEF AND VEGETABLE, LASAGNA
Does this lasagna recipe freeze well?
There is no reason to feel like you need to finish this meal in one night. This is a prime dish to freeze and heat back up on a future date. You may have already tried some of my other freezer friendly recipes like my Beef & Barley Soup, Freezer Oatmeal Cups, or Zucchini Carrot Fritters. Add this beef and vegetable lasagna to the list for nights when you have less time to prepare a meal for dinner.
How long can I freeze lasagna?
For the best results, freeze lasagna after it
has been assembled but before it’s been baked. Freezing food this way will help
maintain the lasagna’s cheese and noodle texture and prevent it from getting
If you’ve already baked your lasagna, don’t
worry; it can still be frozen! The texture may be a little different than freshly
If properly stored, it will maintain best quality for about 2 to 3 months but will remain safe beyond that time.
How do I reheat lasagna?
When you’re ready to use your frozen lasagna,
transfer it to the refrigerator and let it defrost overnight. Then, take it out
of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes while
your oven preheats to 375°.
Remove the lasagna’s freezer wrappings, cover the top with new foil and bake for 60-70 minutes, or until heated through (a thermometer inserted in the center should read 165°). Remove the foil and bake the lasagna for 10 more minutes or until browned on the top. Pull the lasagna from the oven and let it sit for another 10 minutes before slicing into it.
Why are Family Meals Important?
It is easy to get caught up in after school
activities or with work assignments which can take away from sit down meals
with the family. But family meals are important for a variety of reasons such
Regular family meals are linked to higher grades and self-esteem
Adults and children who eat at home more regularly are less likely to suffer from obesity
Family meals nourish the spirit, brain, and health of all family members.
Make it a Family Affair:
Another aspect that I love about this meal is
that it is easy enough so that the whole family can participate in creating
This recipe is coming right in time to celebrate National Family Meals Month. This initiative is a nationwide event which encourages families to have at least one meal at home per week.
What if I have a picky eater?
No one wants to be a short order cook preparing separate meals for each family member. When introducing new foods or new recipes, start with what I like to call lateral shifts. Meaning, start with something they are familiar with – for instance traditional beef lasagna. Adding vegetables won’t drastically change the original, it just adds a new flair. Understanding your family’s preferences is also key. Knowing that if they see the vegetables is going to cause resistance, chop them finer or even puree them into the sauce. The more exposure to new lateral shift type meals, can be helpful.
What You will Need to Create this Veggie-Packed Beef Lasagna
For the filling: 93% lean ground beef Olive oil Yellow onion Mushrooms Salt Zucchini Baby spinach
For the tomato sauce: Olive oil Garlic Crushed tomatoes Fresh basil Salt Crushed red pepper flakes
Don’t feel like making your own sauce? No worries! Substitute with 2 cups of your favorite prepared marinara sauce.
Remaining ingredients: Ricotta cheese Parmesan cheese Mozzarella cheese Egg Italian seasoning Salt Black pepper No-boil lasagna noodles (see notes in the recipe)
How to make this Veggie-Packed Beef Lasagna
Preheat your oven and coat a deep baking dish
with cooking spray.
Cook the ground beef, then remove from the
pan. Using the same pan (because who wants to wash more dishes), cook the
vegetables. Add beef back in and set aside.
Make the sauce by gently sautéing the garlic
(we don’t want it to burn, then add the remaining sauce ingredients to simmer
and allow flavors to develop.
Mix the ricotta cheese and some of the
parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese. Add a beaten egg (this will help hold
the cheese mixture together and not seep out of the lasagna). Season with
Italian herbs, salt, and pepper.
To assemble, start with adding a layer of
tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan. Then layer in the order, noodles,
ricotta mixture, beef & veggie mixture, sauce, and sprinkle cheese. Top
with more lasagna noodles and repeat.
Wrap in parchment paper and bake!
To cut down on prep time, buy
pre-sliced mushrooms, & frozen diced onions, zucchini, and spinach. (Just
be mindful when swapping out with frozen to drain excess liquid when cooking)
Skip making your own sauce and use
your favorite jarred variety.
Freeze in individual servings for
pre-portioned leftovers instead of defrosting the whole dish.
Lasagna is such an underrated dinner. Maybe, it is because when most people think of lasagna, the thought of having to assemble this meal detours many. Adding a little twist on a classic, try this Veggie-Packed Beef Lasagna.
For the filling: 1-pound 93% lean ground beef 1 tablespoonolive oil 1 small yellow onion, chopped 1 (8 ounce) container sliced mushrooms ¼ teaspoon salt 1 cup zucchini, chopped into a small dice 1 cup baby spinach, roughly chopped
Tomato sauce*: 1 tablespoonolive oil 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 (28 ounce) crushed tomatoes ¼ cup fresh basil, chiffonade (ribbon like slices) + additional for garnish ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, more or less as desired
Remaining ingredients: 2 cups (16 ounces) ricotta cheese 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, divided 2 cups freshly grated mozzarella cheese, divided 1 egg, beaten 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning ¼ teaspoon salt, to taste Freshly ground black pepper, to taste 9 no-boil lasagna noodles*
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat a 9×13-inch deep baking dish with cooking spray.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add ground beef breaking apart into small crumbles. Cook until meat has browned, no longer pink, about 6-8 minutes. Remove beef from the pan, drain any excess fat from the beef and set beef aside.
Return skillet to medium heat. Add olive oil. Sauté onions and mushrooms until tender. During the cooking process add salt to help draw out excess moisture. Once excess moisture has evaporated, add the zucchini, and continue to cook until tender. Add spinach and continue to cook until wilted and excess moisture has evaporated. Add beef back to the veggie mixture, stir to combine. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a medium pot add olive oil over low heat. Sauté garlic for about 1 minute or until fragrant, being careful not to burn. Pour in the crushed tomatoes, basil, salt, and crushed red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer to allow the flavors to come together.
In a medium bowl, add the ricotta, ¼ cup parmesan, 3/4 cup mozzarella, egg, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Mix well until combined.
To assemble: Spread 1 cup of tomato sauce evenly over the bottom of a baking dish. Layer 3 lasagna noodles on top (snap off their ends to fit, and/or overlap their edges as necessary). Spread half of the ricotta cheese mixture evenly over the noodles. Top with half the beef & veggie mixture. Then spread 1 cup tomato sauce on top and sprinkle 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella and 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese. Top with 3 more lasagna noodles and repeat the previous order. Then top with remaining 3 lasagna noodles, remaining sauce and sprinkle remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese on top.
Wrap a sheet of parchment paper or foil around the top of the lasagna (not letting it touch the cheese). Bake, covered, for 20 minutes, then remove the cover, rotate the pan by 180° and continue cooking for about 10 to 12 more minutes, until the cheese is melted and slightly bubbling on the sides.
Remove from the oven and let the lasagna cool for 15 to 20 minutes, so it has time to set and cool down to a reasonable temperature. Sprinkle additional basil over the top, then slice and serve. Top with additional sauce or cheese, as desired.
Looking to save a step? Substitute the tomato sauce with 2 cups of prepared marinara sauce.
At the grocery store I see lasagna noodles as “no-boil” or “oven-ready” lasagna sheets. Read package directions as some brands need additional liquid.
Can’t find no boil or oven-ready lasagna noodles? Buy regular lasagna noodles, cook according to package directions, and use the same way. Cook time may decrease.
Keywords: lasagna, beef lasagna, family meal, dinner recipe, easy dinner
Are you looking for a new and creative way to utilize spaghetti squash? Let me introduce you to my new favorite recipe: Spaghetti Squash Waffle Grilled Cheese! It’s easy to make and the entire family will love it!
We all know that spaghetti squash has many health benefits. It’s rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. One of the reasons I love using spaghetti squash so much when I’m cooking is because of how versatile it can be.
What ingredients do I use for this Spaghetti Squash Waffle Grilled Cheese?
This recipe calls for ingredients you likely already have in your pantry. From eggs to parmesan cheese and various seasonings, I’m sure you have most of the ingredients on hand already. If you want to kick the recipe up a notch you could add other various seasonings as you see fit!
How do I make this Spaghetti Squash Waffle Grilled Cheese?
It’s very easy to make, which is another benefit if you’re busy or on the go. The most difficult part of the entire recipe is preparing the squash (which really isn’t even difficult at all!).
How do I serve the Grilled Cheese Sandwiches?
Personally, I like to each them alone for a quick lunch or snack. If you want to make these for dinner, you can serve them with your favorite soup! You’ll find some of my favorite soup recipes here: https://chefjulierd.com/recipes/?_search=soup
How do I cook spaghetti squash?
The easiest method to cook the spaghetti squash for this recipe is in the microwave. However, you can also use your instant pot or oven. You’ll find the instructions in the recipe card below!
Do you have spaghetti squash but you aren’t quite sure what to make with it? Let me introduce you to my new favorite recipe: Spaghetti Squash Waffle Grilled Cheese! It’s easy to make and the entire family will love it!
1 medium spaghetti squash 2 eggs ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese ½ tablespoon garlic powder ½ tablespoon Italian seasoning ¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Cut spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds. Place the squash halves skin side up in a microwave-safe baking dish. (You can cook each squash half separately if your baking dish is too small to fit both, or cook both at once.) Fill the dish with about 1 inch of water.
Microwave on high for 8 minutes. When done, a fork poked through the skin should slide easily into the squash. Continue microwaving on high for another 2 to 5 minutes as needed, until fork tender. When cool enough to handle, use a fork to scrape the strands of squash from the inside. (see notes below for alternative cooking methods)
Using a cheesecloth or thin dishtowel, squeeze excess liquid from the squash (there will be a lot!).
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, parmesan, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Add the spaghetti squash and mix well breaking up any clumps of squash.
Preheat waffle iron to medium-high heat. Coat waffle iron well with cooking spray. Add half the squash mixture to the waffle iron and cook until golden brown, about 5-10 minutes, depending on your waffle iron.
Open waffle iron and sprinkle one side of the waffle with half of the mozzarella cheese. Gently fold over the other half of the waffle on top of the side with the cheese. Gently press down on the waffle iron and continue cooking until the cheese has melted.
Serve alongside tomato soup or dunk in marinara sauce. (or just enjoy it as is!)
Instant Pot – Slice the spaghetti squash in half and then scoop out the seeds in the center.
Place a trivet or steamer basket in the bottom of the Instant Pot and add a cup of water into the bottom. Arrange the cut squash halves on top of the trivet and secure the lid. Place the steam release valve in the lid is in the sealing position. Use the pressure cook or manual button to set the pressure cooker to cook at high pressure for 7 minutes. Release pressure and remove from Instant Pot.
In the oven – Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds. Drizzle the cut side with oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake 40 minutes or just until fork-tender. Let cool until able to handle. Flip spaghetti squash over and run a fork down the squash to separate into strands.
Do these Spaghetti Squash Grilled Cheese Waffles freeze well?How do you reheat them? Yes! Feel free to meal prep these in advance. I would suggest heating them in the oven to warm up to retain their crispiness.
What if I don’t have a waffle iron? Not to worry! You can still make the concept of this recipe by adding a scoop of the spaghetti squash mixture to a frying pan, crisp both sides and add cheese in the middle.
Get creative with apples this season and switch it up by making this Rustic Apple Galette.
We are all creatures of habit. When I have apples on my grocery list, I walk straight to the produce department and pick the same few apple varieties each time. When I was in culinary school, it really opened my eyes to exploring new foods. I’m not just talking about unique foods, but rather some of the everyday foods that we don’t necessarily take advantage of. The majority of grocery stores carry over six varieties of apples at a time. When I was a supermarket dietitian, during the fall season, I’ve seen even up to 15 varieties taking up a spot in the produce department.
It’s not just apples to apples. Different apples contain different tastes, culinary uses, and may even ripen at different times during the season. Here are some apple varieties to look out for and ways to use them in the kitchen.
Best apples for making applesauce:
The best apple for making tart applesauce is a Pink Lady (for a tangy-sweet flavor) or, depending on taste, you could opt for a true tart variety like Granny Smith. Unless you have a high-powered blender, be sure to peel the skin prior to cooking. Add a hint of sweetness without added sugar, by sweetening applesauce with cinnamon.
Best apples for baking:
There are a few! Apples on the sweeter end of things are a good choice, as their higher sugar content means you can go a bit lighter on added sugars in the recipes. If you want your apples to maintain a bit of crispness, look for firmer apples that will maintain texture under the heat.
Best apples for salads:
For salads, you’ll want a crunchy apple that doesn’t brown too quickly when sliced or chopped. Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Fuji, Jazz, and Empire apples have bright white flesh that resists browning when cut.
Best apples for stuffing:
Looking for a balance of sweet and savory in your stuffing recipe? Both Pink Lady and Golden Delicious varieties make a great addition to savory stuffing with their firm texture and sweet/tart flavor.
Best apples for making galettes:
What is a galette?
A galette is a French term for round or freeform crusty cakes. The fillings can be made with both sweet or savory ingredients.
The best apples to use for making an apple galette is one that is sweet and tart that holds up exceptionally well to heat, like pink lady, fuji, or honey crisp. If you are looking for a little extra tartness, using Golden Delicious apples is a great way to go too.
Next time apples are on your grocery list, I challenge you to choose a different apple variety than your typical choice.
For the crust: ¾ cup white whole-wheat flour 2/3 cup all-purpose flour ½ tablespoon sugar ½ teaspoon salt 1/3 cup unsalted butter (5 tablespoons), cut into ½ inch pieces 3 tablespoons low-fat milk ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
For the filling: 3 apples, peeled and thinly sliced (choose a firm, sweet and tart variety, like Pink Lady) 2 tablespoons white whole-wheat flour 2 tablespoons maple syrup 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 teaspoon lemon zest ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
(optional) 1 teaspoon sugar
Unwrap dough and place on a floured surface. Roll out dough to a 15-inch circle. Place the dough on the baking sheet. Evenly, spoon the apple mixture onto the dough, leaving a 2-inch border around the edges.
Fold the edges of the dough over the apples. Brush edges with the whisked egg white. Sprinkle with sugar, if using.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting. Cut into 8 wedges.
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This recipe was originally posted in the November 2018 issue of Today’s Dietitian.
Do I have to make a homemade crust? Nope! You can definitely skip that step and use a pre-made pie crust.
What other fruits would work well in this recipe? Any fruits that don’t have too much moisture. Pears, plums, and peaches work well in galettes.
What savory flavor combinations would you try? I developed a savory root vegetable galette for the American Pecan Council that was delicious!
Enjoy as part of breakfast or alone as a snack. These Pear Walnut Muffins are simple to make with big flavor.
How to know if a pear is ripe
Remember to “check the neck”. Pears are one of the few fruits that don’t ripen on the tree. Pears are harvested when they reach maturity, and when left at room temperature pears slowly ripen from the inside out.
Apply gentle pressure to the neck of the pear with your thumb. If it yields to pressure, it’s ripe.
What’s different about green anjou pears?
Anjou pears have a more egg shape appearance. Their dense flesh holds up well in heated applications like baking, poaching, roasting, or grilling and they are delicious when sliced fresh in salads or eaten as an out-of-hand snack.
How to make Pear Walnut Muffins
The recipe for these pear walnut muffins is pretty much a straight forward muffin recipe.
Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients.
Fold in mix-ins.
Why sift flour?
Sifted flour is much lighter than unsifted flour and easier to mix into other ingredients when forming a cake or muffin batter. When flour is sifted with other dry ingredients, it helps combine them evenly before they are mixed with other ingredients.
Be mindful of the size.
When chopping ingredients to mix into the batter, be mindful of the size. Chop ingredients in an even size. For the pears in this recipe, think about each bite of the muffin – big enough to note the taste and texture but not too big that it takes over.
These pear walnut muffins are the perfect addition to a breakfast or enjoy alone as a snack. Learn baking tips to create perfect muffins every time!
1 large ripe pear peeled, cored and diced (preferably d’Anjou) 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder 1/8 teaspoon baking soda 1/3 cup granulated sugar 1 large egg 1/2 cup full-fat Greek yogurt 1/4 cup apple cider 1/4 cup unsalted butter melted and cooled slightly 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract ¾ cup chopped walnuts
Optional topping: coconut sugar or coarse sugar chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a muffin tin with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together diced pears, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and granulated sugar. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.
In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the egg, Greek yogurt, apple cider, butter, and vanilla, until smooth.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Gently fold together until the dry ingredients are just moistened.
Add the walnuts and pear mixture and any accumulated juice to the batter. Gently fold with a spatula until the pecans and pears are incorporated.
Divide the batter between the muffin wells. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins generously with coconut sugar and chopped walnuts. Allow the muffins to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before baking.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with no wet batter.
Cool the muffins in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Why sift flour? Sifted flour is much lighter than unsifted flour and easier to mix into other ingredients when forming a cake or muffin batter. When flour is sifted with other dry ingredients, it helps combine them evenly before they are mixed with other ingredients.
Cool muffins completely before wrapping and freezing. To freeze, wrap securely in foil or freezer wrap, or place in freezer bags. Be sure to remove as much excess air within the bag as possible. Muffins can be stored frozen for up to 3 months.
Revamp taco night with a kick of spice with these Instant Pot Barbacoa Beef Tacos. This flavorful meat is deliciously seasoned and cooked until perfectly tender. Layer it in tortillas with all your favorite toppings your next taco night!
This post is sponsored by the Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative a subcontractor to the Beef Checkoff. Thank you for supporting brands that make this blog possible!
Did you get gifted an Instant Pot this holiday season? The Instant Pot is a single appliance that does the job of seven (yes, seven!) different kitchen appliances. It can handle the tasks of a slow cooker, electric pressure cooker, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, sauté/browning pan, and a warming pot. Think of all those appliances taking up space in your kitchen that can be replaced by one.
Barbacoa refers to the method of cooking meat. Barbacoa is an authentic Mexican dish typically made with a cut of beef head meat, like beef cheek. When cooked long and slow it becomes extra tender. It is traditionally seasoned with dried chilies and spices and slowly cooked.
Barbacoa is now used to refer to a seasoned beef, that has been slow-cooked.
Choosing lean beef
Forget about sacrificing taste for nutrition. These lean beef cuts are chock-full of flavor and 10 essential nutrients. Beef can only be claimed as “lean” if the cut of beef is less than 10g total fat, 4.5g or less saturated fat and less than 95 mg of cholesterol per 100-gram serving.
Beef chuck is a primal cut that comes from the shoulder area and yields cuts known for their rich, beefy flavor. Beef chuck is ideal for slow cooking to yield tender beef.
Revamp taco night with these Instant Pot Barbacoa Beef Tacos! This flavorful meat is deliciously seasoned and cooked until perfectly tender. Layer it in tortillas with all your favorite toppings your next taco night!
For the beef barbacoa: 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided 1/2 small onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, chopped 2 chipotle peppers (from a can in adobo sauce – reserve sauce), chopped 2 tablespoons adobo sauce (from the chipotle peppers) 1 tablespoon ground cumin 2 teaspoons dried oregano 1 teaspoon salt 3/4 teaspoon black pepper 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 1/2 cup low-sodium beef broth 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar 1/4 cup fresh lime juice 2 pounds beef chuck, fat trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces 2 bay leaves
For the tacos: Tortillas, soft or hard shells Sliced avocado Pickled onions Chopped tomatoes Chopped cilantro Lime wedges
Press the “saute” setting on the Instant Pot. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil until heated and shimmering. Add the onion and garlic, saute for 1-2 minutes until the onion begins to turn translucent. Add the chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper, and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Press “cancel” to turn off the heat.
Remove contents from the Instant Pot into a food processor and add beef broth, apple cider vinegar, and lime juice. Pulse until smooth and set aside.
Press the “saute” setting on the Instant Pot. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil until heated and shimmering. In batches, add beef and brown all sides. Be mindful not to overcrowd the pan. Repeat until all beef is browned. Press “cancel” and turn off the heat.
Add all the beef, bay leaves, and reserved sauce in the Instant Pot. Stir well to combine. Close lid securely and set vent to “sealing”. Press “manual”, then press “Pressure” until the light on “High Pressure” lights up, then add 60 minutes of cook time.
When cook time is complete, very carefully, turn the vent to “venting” for quick release, and wait until all of the steam has released.
Remove the lid and discard the bay leaves. Using two forks, shred the beef into bite-sized pieces. Stir shredded beef with the juices so it can soak up all the flavor.
Assemble tacos by layering beef barbacoa on a tortilla and top with avocado, onions, tomatoes, and cilantro. Serve with a lime wedge on the side.
This Blueberry Chia Jam has now become a staple in my refrigerator. With just four simple ingredients you have a delicious and flavorful jam without excess sugar. Mix and match or combine different berries for a variety of flavor combinations.
HOW TO MAKE CHIA JAM
You might see a few variations of chia jam recipes floating around the internet, but after testing this recipe a few times, here are some tips I’ve gathered.
Simply heat frozen berries and water over low-medium heat and gently simmer for the berries to defrost and their natural sugars begin to breakdown. Avoid using high heat as the berries will not defrost evenly and the natural sugars of the berries will scorch the bottom of your pan.
Using a potato masher or the back of a fork, mash the blueberries so they burst. The jam may look still very liquidy at this point. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract, chia seeds, and sweetener, if using. The chia seeds thicken the jam as it rests and begins to cool.
MASHED VS. BLENDED
Simply leave the jam as is, mashed and chia seeds fully intact if you enjoy the texture and a chunkier jam. Or opt for a smoother consistency and pulse in a food processor or blender until you reach the desired consistency.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF WILD BLUEBERRIES
All blueberries are not alike! By nature, wild ones have a more intense flavor, deeper blue color, and 2x the antioxidants than their regular cultivated blueberries.
Ever wonder why you can only find wild blueberries in the frozen department? Wild Blueberries are frozen fresh within 24 hours of harvest when their flavor and antioxidant goodness are at their peak. In fact, tiny, potent wild ones contain less water than regular blueberries, so they freeze better than ordinary, larger blueberries.
Utilize this recipe as the base and mix and match with other berries or berry combinations. Try a mixed berry combination using blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries or go for a bold combination of a mixture of cherries and blackberries. Thinking about going tropical and using pineapple or mango? I would recommend using white chia seeds vs. black chia seeds.
ADJUST FOR SWEETNESS
This is a much lower sugar jam than those found on the grocery store shelves. Highlighting the fruits natural sugars is the star of this recipe, but an optional sweetener can be added in if desired.
HOW TO USE CHIA JAM
Use this jam anywhere you would typically use any jam or jelly. Spread on toast, top on oatmeal, or swirl into yogurt.
A few simple ingredients and you can whip up this jam in no time. Mix and match with different berries for a variety of flavors.
1 cup frozen wild blueberries 1/2 cup water 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 1/2 tablespoons chia seeds optional sweetener: 1 tablespoon maple syrup or sugar
Add frozen blueberries to a small saucepan and heat over low-medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once the berries have thawed and started to break down, use a fork or potato masher to break them down further.
Stir in vanilla extract, chia seeds, and sweetener of choice, if using. Remove from heat and allow jam to cool and thicken for about 5-10 minutes.
Spoon into a mason jar as is and store in the refrigerator. (Alternative method: Add jam to a food processor or blender and puree until desired consistency is reached. Spoon into a mason jar and store in the refrigerator.
Gearing up for picnics and barbecues this summer? Add this Green Bean Potato Salad to the menu.
One of my jobs during summers at college, I was working at this outdoor catering company, where we prepared food on-site at graduation parties, barbecues, picnics, etc. When working in catering, you have to prepare recipes in large quantities to feed the masses. One of my least favorite things to prepare is the potato salad.
Traditional potato salad is dressed with mayonnaise. That is one condiment that I just never enjoyed. Now, just imagine preparing potato salad for 100+ people at one time. The amount of mayo I had to scoop daily was unreal.
Since I don’t personally enjoy mayonnaise, I wanted to create a non-mayo based dressing for potato salad with an added twist by adding green beans and corn. Don’t be afraid to switch up a classic and bring something new to the table, like this Green Bean Potato Salad.
Why use red bliss potatoes for this Green Bean Potato Salad
Red potatoes have smooth thin skin. Its skin is edible, so it’s not necessary to peel or remove it after cooking. Like many waxy varieties, red potatoes are low in starch and won’t produce a light, fluffy texture. They are best used for boiling and roasting and work well in dishes that would benefit from a potato that holds its shape, even when sliced and diced, like for this Green Bean Potato Salad.
Health benefits of potatoes
Poor potatoes have a bad reputation in some people’s eyes. “Oh, I can’t eat potatoes because they are too starchy” Yes, potatoes are starchy because they are carbohydrates and carbohydrates give us energy. Also, there are many nutritional benefits that potatoes provide our bodies. They are high in potassium, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. When enjoyed in moderation and prepared in a healthy way, potatoes can be a nutritious addition to your diet.
Culinary term: blanching & shocking
The word blanch refers to a cooking technique in which food is briefly immersed in steam or boiling water, usually followed by shocking, which is rapidly cooling the food in an ice bath or with cold air.
When you blanch food for the right amount of time it helps maintain flavor, color, texture, and nutritional value. No one wants limp and soggy green beans.
1 pound red bliss potatoes 2 ears of corn, shucked 1 pound French green beans, cut in half 1 lemon, juiced (or 2 tablespoons lemon juice) 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 1/4 cup olive oil salt and pepper, to taste
In a large pot add potatoes. Fill with water and bring to a boil and season with salt. Cook potatoes until fork tender, about 20 minutes (depending on the size of your potatoes).
Using tongs, carefully remove the potatoes and let cool. Add corn to the boiling water. Cook for 10 minutes, or until corn is tender.
Using tongs, carefully remove the corn and let cool. Add the string beans to the boiling water. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, or until green beans are tender. Drain green beans and immediately put them in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. When cooled drain green beans and let dry.
When potatoes are cooled, dice into cubes. Cut corn off the cob. (see notes below for a tip to do this easily)
In a large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and olive oil. Add potatoes, corn, and green beans. Toss to coat.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Let the potato salad sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to let all the flavors marinate.
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