Loaded “Baked Potato” Soup – Pressure Cooker

I am on Day 5 of my new eating plan and I have been researching different recipes that are “on plan”. Tonight I got home late, hubby wasn’t feeling well and I hadn’t marinated the chicken for the recipe I wanted to make. I was desperate to find a recipe that I had all the ingredients on hand and I found one on Sandy’s Kitchen Adventures and knew I had everything except the chives (no biggie in this household!).

Lately I’ve been experimenting with adapting recipes to utilize my Electric Pressure Cooker instead of stove top, baking or even crock potting. Why? Because sometimes I forget to put dinner in the crock pot. Sometimes I just want to dirty up one pot. Sometimes I just want dinner to be done in less than 30 minutes (prep included!). My hubby will want credit for this aparatus entering into the Clark Household. It was my Christmas present year before last. Thanks honey!

So, here is my adaptation of Desinie Dunn Rushing’s recipe using the pressure cooker!

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Loaded “Baked Potato” Soup – Pressure Cooker

Serves 4
Ingredients:
3  12oz. packages frozen cauliflower,  or 2 medium heads of fresh cauliflower. (3 Greens per serving)
4 cups chicken broth (1 Condiments per serving)
8 wedges laughing cow light garlic and herb (1 Healthy Fat per serving)
Sea Salt to taste
1/2 tsp pepper (1/8 Condiment per serving)
2 tbsp or 0.5 oz 2% reduced fat cheddar cheese (can be used as an additional 2 oz or 1/8  Lean each serving)
4 tsp of Turkey Bacon bits (1/3 Condiment each serving)
Directions:
If using fresh remove the leaves and thick core from the cauliflower and break apart the florets. Add the cauliflower and stock to the pot. Set pot to HIGH PRESSURE for 5 minutes. If using frozen cauliflower set timer for 1 extra minute.
Quick release the pressure and  remove the lid. Add the Laughing Cow cheese, salt and pepper. Use a stick blender directly in the pot (remember when I said I like to just dirty up one pot?!) or dump it all in a blender and blend for about 30 seconds or until smooth. Serve with cheddar cheese, bacon bits, and optional chives.
1/8 Lean, 3 Greens, 1 1/2 Condiments and 1 Healthy Fat per serving. Makes 4 servings

 

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Pressure Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

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Who doesn’t love a warm and comforting soup in the fall?! Today was one of the chilliest days since the end of summer and when I saw a friend post this recipe from 77 Easy Recipes on Facebook this morning I knew chicken noodle soup was in line for dinner tonight! Being a Weight Watcher there was no way I could afford to make that exact recipe so I came up with my own non creamy version. Now, if you don’t have rotisserie chicken you can cook your chicken ahead of time on the saute function in your pressure cooker or bake in the oven.

One of my biggest complaints since I began this journey is trying to figure out how to make my food more flavorful without the calories or need for expensive fresh herbs on hand. Enter essential oils! I have been using my Young Living essential oils for 3 years now in many applications around my home and in my life but rarely in the kitchen. I’m completely obsessed with using my Dill Vitality Essential Oil for my cucumber salad! I decided to try my Thyme Vitality in this recipe and it didn’t disappoint. It totally bumped up the flavor!

I am doing everything I can to eat clean so this is a rare occassion that I have pasta, it could be made without it and you’ll save 1 smartpoint per serving. If you like a creamier soup you could add a can of cream of chicken soup that will add 1 smartpoint per serving. Keep in mind canned soups add a lot of sodium and other questionable ingredients so I don’t recommend it.

I am new to the pressure cooker lifestyle and think there is likely a way to cook the egg noodles in the pressure cooker but I took the safe route and boiled them on the stove. I do know that the noodles will turn to mush if you put them in the pressure cooker from the start. I’ll update this recipe when I try adding the noodles after the 10 minute broth session.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes on high pressure

Servings: 6-8

Smartpoints: 3pts for 8 servings, 4pts for 6 servings

Ingredients

1T. Butter

1 large yellow onion chopped

4 celery stalks sliced

2 carrots peeled and sliced

1tsp salt

4-6 garlic cloves (though I always use more!)

2 32oz. chicken broth/stock cartons

½ tsp. pepper

3 drops Young Living Vitality Thyme Essential Oil

1/2 tsp. dried thyme (mostly for looks!)

1 ½ cups cooked rotisserie chicken chopped

6oz. egg noodles cooked

On sauté function melt butter, then add onion, celery and carrots and salt. Cook until softened then add garlic. Cooked until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add broth, dried thyme and pepper. Change function to high pressure and set time for 10 minutes. Quick release then add thyme essential oil, chicken and cooked egg noodles. Mix up and serve!

 

Perfectly Paleo Pizza Egg Cups

Honestly, one of the things about the paleo lifestyle that I miss the most is pizza. It’s the perfect food, it’s portable, cheesy, crunchy and just plain yummy. However, it’s just not a food that fits into my new healthy lifestyle. This recipe is in our regular rotation now because it tastes just like pizza! Seriously.

As a full time working mom I have time constraints in the morning. We have been making egg cups for about 6 months now and they are such a huge time saver! You can mix and match ingredients to your liking without really ruining it. We’ve lined the muffin tins with strips of bacon baked halfway then filled them with veggies and poured the eggs in and baked them.

Here is my version of the Paleo Pizza Egg Cups, inspired by Stupid Easy Paleo .  I know what you’re thinking, the broccoli sounds weird. Trust me, you don’t even taste it in there. My kids didn’t even notice! This is a sneaky way to get some extra veggies in painlessly. The sausage is totally optional, but is a great way to bump up the protein content.

Perfectly Paleo Pizza Egg Cups

Ingredients

  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms
  • ½ cup sweet onion chopped
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 3-4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup cooked broccoli chopped
  • 1/3 cup sliced black olives
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp coconut or almond milk
  • 1 tbsp Wildtree pizza seasoning*
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1/2lb italian sausage (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350F. I use silicone liners like these  on a cookie shee. Grease them lightly with coconut oil. You can also use a 12 cup muffin tray with or without liners. Set aside.
  • In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt the coconut oil, add the onions and mushrooms, cooking and stirring until the moisture is drawn out and the mushrooms begin to brown slightly, about 8 minutes. Add the broccoli and black olives to pan, stir to combine then shut off the heat and put aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the milk, pizza seasoning, salt and pepper.
  • Spoon the veggie mixture and sausage evenly into the muffin liners until they are about ⅔ full. Spoon approximately 1/2-1 teaspoon of the tomato paste on top of the veggies and spread it. Don’t obsess about eveness.
  • Now, pour the egg mixture evenly into the muffin liners until it’s about ¾ full.
  • Bake the egg muffins for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out cleanly.

Notes

*If you don’t have Wildtree pizza seasoning, use 1 tsp garlic powder + ¼ tsp dried basil + ¼ tsp dried oregano.

For the Love of Condiments

My entire life I have had a love affair with condiments. In fact, I probably I have more condiments in my fridge than actual food at any given time. Dressings, dips, sauces, syrups, spices, 8 kinds of mustards (sweet, hot, sweet and hot, honey, yellow, dijon, whole grain, spicy brown. My hubby doesn’t even like mustard!). You name it. I have it.

Condiments are so versatile and liven up any kind of food (or non-food… I’d probably eat cardboard dipped in ranch dressing!). So while we’re on the subject of ranch dressing let’s just cut to the chase. I’m obsessed. I mean, who isn’t? (My husband, the weirdo!) I LOVE this Best Ranch Dressing EVER recipe from Alanna over at Planks Love & Guacamole. I throw in whatever spices I feel like (or have) to change it up a bit. I put this on salads and use as a dip with just about anything. Our kids go nuts over it! This keeps in the fridge for about 2 weeks but ours is usually gone before the week is up.

Now, my second obsession is mayo (yet another one my husband could care less about! I’m beginning to think he’s not human). Most store bought mayonaises have soybean and vegetable oils that are unhealthy for us (yes, even the olive oil ones! They contain more “other ingredients” than olive oil anyway). I adore this recipe from Melissa Hartwig over at whole30. http://whole30.com/2014/05/mayo/. I have to say that the first time I tried to make my own mayo I nearly gave up because I had 2 batches that wouldn’t emulsify, one in my ninja blender and the other with my $5 hand blender. Anyone that knows me, knows that I hate to waste food (how do you think I got to 321lbs in the first place?!?). Third time was the charm when I used my giant food processor which I despise cleaning because it takes up half my dishwasher with all it’s pieces and parts.

Enter the Cuisinart hand blender which can be found here (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ARQVKUG/ref=sr_ph?ie=UTF8&qid=1431371103&sr=1&keywords=cuisinart+hand+blender). This magical device (which I chose red because it was the cheapest color, shocking it wasn’t purple I know! Yes I am THAT cheap that I will save $4 for a color I really could care less about.) is absolutely the answer to my mayo and ranch prayers. I can quickly make a batch in less than 5 minutes and have the device and cup in the dishwasher that takes up no more space than 2 pint glasses. Thank you very much Cuisinart!*

You know that song “You Are My Sunshine”? Well you’ll be singing it as you are tasting Melissa Joulwan’s Sunshine Sauce (http://theclothesmakethegirl.com/2009/07/21/sunshine-sauce/) from the Well Fed cookbook again. Because we don’t consume legumes (which includes peanuts, read more about why here http://whole9life.com/2012/09/the-legume-manifesto/ ) and I can’t get enough peanut sauce EVER this made a fantastic doppleganger. This is another one that our kids went nutso over and can be eaten with practically any protein or veggies. I made this sauce this week for paleo pad thai with spaghetti squash and the hubby completely missed that there weren’t actual noodles!

Ingredients and final product for the Sunshine Sauce. I made a double batch this time like a smart mama!

Another family favorite (and all 3 kid approved!) paleo condiments is BBQ sauce. We love the one from the Well Fed 2 cookbook from Melissa Jouwan (do you see a pattern here? I’m in LOVE with these cookbooks! http://www.amazon.com/dp/0989487504/?tag=googhydr-20&hvadid=31590901637&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=15808111151404178955&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_2fhr80a3zl_e) You’ll have to go here to get a copy to get this recipe but this one is pretty yummy too! http://xinesbattleofherbulge.com/2014/01/21/bbq-sauce-recipe/

Making your own condiments can be a time consuming and messy job, but the taste alone makes it worth the hard work. I think if you really took the time to read the labels on the store bought variety you’d be shocked at the sugar and sodium content alone. Don’t even get me started on the hidden MSG (and it says NO MSG on the front of the label. Shame on these companies!) I will NEVER buy ranch or mayo again after knowing what fresh homemade tastes like. After making it weekly for 5 months it literally takes me minutes with minor clean up (thanks again Cuisinart!) Knowing that I’m giving my family whole, fresh foods is so much more important than the quick fixes at the grocery store. You can do it, I promise!

* I was not compensated for my review and all my opinions are my own.

Paleo Chocolate Chili, it’s orgasmic!

Since starting Whole30 at the beginning of the year we have found many new favorites that are compliant (dairy, sugar, legume, grain, soy and alcohol free). One of the first to go into the Whole30 hall of fame in our household is Melissa Joulwan’s Chocolate Chili recipe. I couldn’t imagine reinventing the wheel with this one so I’m sharing hers. Her cookbooks Well Fed and Well Fed 2 are some of our favorite cookbooks for both Whole30 and Paleo diets. I haven’t made a recipe in them that we haven’t completely went nuts over. The sunshine sauce and grilled chicken thighs are heavenly!
Now, back to the chili. When Melissa describes this dish as rich, mellow and deep she is not overexagerating one bit. It really does remind me of mole. I haven’t missed a bean yet with this chili! This was made with turkey but you can switch it and mix it up with any kind of ground meet you choose or have on hand. The spice factor isn’t too hot (unless you use the wrong kind of chili powder like my poor hubby did one time! oops) I would consider it a mild+ on the scale of mild to hot+. Our kids eat it with no issues.
We frequently make double batches so we can have it for a meal then eat off of it for the week. You can also freeze one batch or in single servings for ease. I also like to make the seasoning mix ahead of time in bags to make it even easier!
Chocolate Chili

Prep 20 min | Cook 2-3 hours | Serves 6-8

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons coconut oil

2 medium onions, diced (about 2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, minced (about 4 teaspoons)
2 pounds ground beef
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1 can (14.5 ounces) fire-roasted, chopped tomatoes
1 can (14.5 ounces) beef broth
1 cup water

Directions:

1. Heat a large, deep pot over medium-high heat, then add the coconut oil. When the oil is melted, add onions, stir with a wooden spoon and cook until they’re translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and as soon as it’s fragrant, about 30 seconds, crumble the ground meat into the pan with your hands, mixing with the wooden spoon to combine. Continue to cook the meat, stirring often, until it’s no longer pink.

2. In a small bowl, crush the oregano between your palms to release its flavor, then add the chili powder, cumin, cocoa, allspice, and salt. Combine with a fork, then add to the pot, stirring like you mean it. Add tomato paste and stir until combined, about 2 minutes.

3. Add the tomatoes with their juice, beef broth, and water to the pot. Stir well. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat so the chili enjoys a gentle simmer. Simmer uncovered for at least two hours. Do not skimp on the simmer! Serve in deep bowls with big spoons.

Variations:
Try a meat combo by mixing ground beef with ground turkey, pork, or bison.
Make a double batch and freeze half so you have chili-on-demand.
Top with sliced olives, diced onions, and/or avocado slices.