Sunday, May 21, 2017

Easy Pulled Chicken - Instant Pot Recipe

This evening I made a delicious and simple dinner. We had quick and easy pulled chicken that I prepared in my Instant Pot (I have the 8-quart version). I already had barbecue sauce that I had made earlier in the week, but you can use your own personal favorite sauce. The recipe only uses 1/2 cup of sauce. I served the pulled chicken in baby romaine lettuce cups and it was absolutely delicious! This is the second time I've made it and it is awesome. You will never believe you are eating chicken breasts because the meat turns out so tender, juicy and flavorful.

Before filling the mini lettuce cups, I stirred in some shredded sharp cheddar cheese to make it extra yummy. I served my Easy Coleslaw alongside it. I actually prepared the pulled chicken last night and made the coleslaw earlier this morning, so all I had to do to get it on the table this evening was heat the pulled chicken and pull out the bowl of coleslaw. We had very heavy rain overnight and a good part of today which made the humidity crazy. It was 70 degrees this morning with 89% humidity -- yuck! I've included the link to my coleslaw recipe above and added the super easy Instant Pot recipe for the pulled chicken below as well as the recipe for the barbecue sauce immediately underneath. Feel free to use whatever sauce you like best. I like a little mixture of sweet and heat in my sauce. I snapped a quick photo below. Oh, and yes, in case you are wondering...that is a paper plate. Like I said, we kept dinner super easy tonight. Enjoy!

Easy Pulled Chicken - Instant Pot Recipe


1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 to 2-1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (or substitute boneless skinless thighs)
Dusting of ground chipotle powder (optional)
1/2 cup barbecue sauce (recipe below)
1/4 cup water


Select the "Saute" setting on your Instant Pot. When it begins to get hot, add oil to the bottom of the pot. Lightly dust the chicken breasts with chipotle powder, if desired. Place chicken in the Instant Pot and saute until lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Turn chicken breasts over and repeat on the other side. Select the "Cancel" button to stop the saute function. 

Spoon barbecue sauce over top of the chicken. Pour water into pot. Close and lock lid, making sure your silicone sealing ring is properly installed (if not, it won't be able to build pressure). Make sure the steam release button on top of the lid is pointed towards "sealing". Select the "Poultry" setting and increase the pre-selected cooking time to register 20 minutes. After the cooking is complete, allow it to "naturally release". You can safely open the lid once your float valve goes down. Using 2 forks, pull the chicken apart while in the pot until shredded and mixed with the juices. Taste for seasoning. Serve on buns or in small lettuce cups topped with shredded cheese, if desired.

Sweet & Spicy Chipotle Barbecue Sauce


1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons Swerve sweetener
1 teaspoon pure pineapple extract
2 dashes ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground cloves
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (I used Lea & Perrins original)
1 teaspoon Tamari sauce (I used San-J organic gluten free)
1-1/2 teaspoons ground mustard
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle powder, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon olive oil


Combine ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer uncovered for approximately 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Refrigerate any leftover sauce.


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Saturday Brunch on the Porch - Veggie & Bacon Pie

Greetings, I've missed all of you. Long time no see, right? I'm not sure how many of you are out there any more since I disappeared a few months ago. I will fill you in on the details as to what's been going on soon, but not today. Today I want to focus on one of my favorite blogging! And also because I know what you really want to see here is food, not hear about all of my "stuff." When I awoke this morning, I decided that today would be the today I returned to my blog. After 5 years of blogging almost daily...not doing so for these last few months has seemed like an eternity. It's a beautiful bright and sunny day here in Atlanta but unseasonably warm and humid. At least we are past the ridiculous pollen counts in the thousands though!

I decided to make a Veggie & Bacon Pie for brunch this morning and to sit out on the screened porch with the fan going to enjoy the cool morning before it got too warm. I snapped a few photos and included the easy peasy recipe below. I used the veggies I had on hand; baby spinach, red bell peppers, and Vidalia onions but you can use whatever you've got on hand. Also, you can omit the bacon or add cooked crumbled sausage instead. Enjoy!

Porch life...

He's my assistant food photographer and never far away when there's food around!

Veggie & Bacon Pie


2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
8 ounces cooked and chopped fresh baby spinach
8 large eggs
1/2 cup milk or cream
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup blanched almond flour
1/4 teaspoon salt, to taste (optional)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
8 slices cooked crumbled bacon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease or spray a 10" deep dish pie plate (I used a 9.5" fluted pie dish). 

In a non-stick skillet, saute onions and bell peppers in olive oil or butter over medium heat until softened; transfer to a small bowl and set aside. In the same skillet, saute spinach, just until wilted.  Drain and press as much liquid out of cooked spinach as possible; coarsely chop the spinach and set aside.

In a medium bowl, add eggs, cream, Parmesan, feta cheese, almond flour, and salt and pepper to taste. Beat egg mixture together. Add onions, peppers, spinach, and bacon; stir until evenly combined. Pour mixture into greased pie dish and bake for approximately 40 minutes, or until puffed and golden and eggs are set and cooked. If the center is still slightly jiggly, cook for an additional few minutes (the center usually puffs up when completely cooked). Let cool for approximately 5 minutes; cut into wedges and serve. Makes 6 servings.


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Eggplant Parmesan - Easy Low Carb

This evening I decided to make Eggplant Parmesan for dinner. Eggplant is one of my favorites and was one of my Dad's favorites as well. While I was at Sprouts yesterday, I picked up some of the most beautiful eggplants that I've seen in quite a while and they were on sale for 98 cents each, regardless of size. I bought 5 large ones; not ones that were huge around (since they can be more seedy), but more full and longer shaped. These did not have a lot of seeds and the seeds that they did have were tender and light colored (the best in my opinion). When an eggplant is too large or getting old, they are loaded with brown colored seeds that can sometimes be bitter. I like to take a strip of skin off lengthwise every inch or so, so they look striped before slicing. It allows you to still enjoy the flavor and beauty of the purple skin but it's not too much skin.

Tonight's Eggplant Parmesan was probably one of my best. I kept it very simple. As many of you that have either made it or eaten it prepared the classic way, the eggplant is typically breaded and fried before layering in a casserole. I simply sliced my eggplant in 1/2-inch thick circles, brushed it with olive oil and seasoned with a bit of sea salt, then baked it for about 25 minutes in the oven (flipping it about half way through and then brushing again with olive oil). You simply layer a single layer of eggplant sauce, cheese (mozzarella and provolone), top with more eggplant, sauce and cheese (mozzarella and Parmesan) and bake. I used one of my favorite pasta sauces; Rao's Arrabbiata sauce because it's nice and spicy and flavorful, but you can use your own personal favorite or homemade sauce if you have it handy. After it gets layered in a casserole dish, it gets baked for 20 to 30 minutes and then I allow it to sit a bit so the cheeses set up. It was amazing. This recipe made enough for 5 to 6 generous servings. I snapped a number of photos below and included the easy peasy recipe. You will never EVER miss the breading or the frying (and surely not the clean up that's required after frying eggplant on the stove...if you've ever done that before, you know what I mean). If you like eggplant, you will absolutely love this dish. Enjoy!

Eggplant Parmesan - Low Carb


3 large eggplants, cut into 1/2-inch thick round slices
1/3 cup olive oil (more, if needed)
Sea salt, to taste
1 24-ounce jar pasta sauce (I used Rao's Arrabbiata Sauce)
12-ounces (about 3 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese (more, if desired)
5 to 6 slices provolone cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Brush both sides of eggplant slices with olive oil and place on a parchment lined baking sheet or in a single layer in a nonstick roasting pan. Season with salt, to taste. Bake for 15 minutes; turn slices over, brush with additional olive oil, and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork. 

Spread about 1/2 cup of pasta sauce in the bottom of a 2 to 3 quart casserole dish. Place half of the eggplant slices on top of sauce. Top and spread each slice with a spoonful (about 1 tablespoon) of sauce. Top with half of the mozzarella cheese. Fold slices of provolone cheese in half, then half again to break into fourths. Place 1/4 slice of provolone on top of each eggplant/mozzarella mound. Top with remaining half of eggplant slices. Spoon remaining pasta sauce on top of each eggplant stack. Top with remaining half of mozzarella cheese, then with final layer of Parmesan cheese. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. If desired, run under the broiler for a few minutes to brown cheese. Allow to sit for about 10 to 15 minutes before serving so cheese can set up. 


Monday, January 23, 2017

Easy Chicken-Apple Sausage & Cabbage Stir-Fry - Easy Low Carb

This evening I made a quick and easy meal using just a few simple ingredients. I stopped by Sprouts and picked up a 1-pound package of their fresh made bulk (not links) Chicken French-Apple Sausage. They make it with ground chicken thighs, spices, applesauce and apples so it has a slight sweet flavor. I also picked up a 3-pound head of savoy cabbage (it's a bit more delicate than regular green cabbage and has a crinkly leaf). I browned the sausage in a bit of olive oil until it was golden brown and broke it up as it cooked. While it was cooking, I cored, cut up, and thinly sliced my head of cabbage and added it to the browned sausage along with some sea salt and black pepper and a few tablespoons of butter. I turned the heat up, covered the pot (no water added) and let it heat up and steam a bit to wilt the cabbage using only what moisture was left on the shredded cabbage. I uncovered it after a bit and as the cabbage cooked down I kept stirring it and turned the heat up to medium-high so it would begin browning in the butter. In the last 5 minutes I added 3 sliced green spring onions and stirred it around and then served. You'll be surprised at how much the cabbage cooks down and shrinks. It was so delicious and so simple to make. Sausage and cabbage go so well together. I snapped a quick photo below and included the easy peasy recipe. Enjoy!

Chicken-Apple Sausage & Cabbage Stir-Fry


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground bulk style sausage (I used chicken-apple sausage)
2 to 3 pound head of cabbage, cored and thinly sliced (I used savoy cabbage)
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
2 to 3 tablespoons butter (I used Kerrygold)
3 green spring onions, sliced


In a large skillet or wok, heat oil over medium heat. Add sausage and cook until browned and cooked through, breaking it up into small pieces with a spoon as it cooks. When sausage is browned and fully cooked, add shredded cabbage; cover pan and cook until cabbage begins to wilt, about 5 minutes. 

Uncover pan and stir, continuing to cook uncovered for about 5 minutes until cabbage begins to cook down. Season with salt and pepper. Add butter and increase heat to medium-high, stirring sausage and cabbage frequently until cabbage has begun to brown and cooked to desired consistency. Stir in sliced green onions and cook an additional 3 to 5 minutes.

*Note: To save time, bagged fresh coleslaw mix can be used in place of the head of cabbage. Use whatever type sausage is your favorite (Italian sausage, etc.). You could also use ground beef in place of the sausage and just season it a bit more.


Monday, January 16, 2017

Pan Seared Filet Mignon & Roasted Butternut Squash

This evening I kept dinner pretty simple. I'm still feeling a bit under the weather and don't have my usual energy back yet. Yesterday, we had picked up some beautiful filet mignon steaks to make for dinner but I didn't have the appetite or desire to make them yesterday. I'm so happy I waited until this evening because I actually enjoyed the meal. The only seasoning I used for both the steaks and the roasted butternut squash was sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. I used olive oil and butter to cook the steaks with and just olive oil to coat the squash before roasting.

To prepare the squash, I tossed 1-inch cubes of fresh butternut squash with olive oil and spread them out on a parchment lined large baking pan and then seasoned them with sea salt and black pepper. I popped them into a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes and then raised the oven temp to 425 degrees and cooked them for about another 10 minutes so they would get nice and brown and caramelized.

While the squash was in the oven, I seasoned my steaks with sea salt and black pepper on both sides. I added a couple tablespoons olive oil and couple tablespoons butter to a heavy dutch oven (you could also use an ovenproof skillet or cast iron skillet since it gets finished in the oven). I heated the oil and butter over medium-high heat and added the 1-1/2" thick steaks and cooked them for approximately 8 minutes on one side until they were nice and browned, then turned them over and cooked for about 5 minutes on the other side. I then placed them in a 425 degree oven to cook for approximately 10 minutes and turned the heat off and let them sit for about 5 minutes or so in the hot oven. They came out cooked medium to medium-well (a thin line of pink inside). I'm not crazy about rare meat but don't mind a little pink inside. Simply increase or decrease the cooking time depending on whether you like your steak more or less done and also depending on the thickness of your steaks. These steaks turned out so tender and juicy.

I snapped a couple of quick photos of tonight's meal below. Enjoy!


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Happy Sunday - Instant Pot Greek Yogurt for Breakfast

Happy Sunday!  A number of you have told me that you are anxious for my Instant Pot recipes since many of you know that I purchased one a few months ago (I have the Instant Pot IP-DUO80 model which is their largest 8-quart version). So, while I haven't written up my Instant Pot recipes yet, I do want you to know that I have used it many times and have been enjoying experimenting with it and plan to start posting them in the near future.

While I don't have this yogurt recipe ready to share with you yet, I thought that since it is what I'm having for breakfast this morning, I'd take a quick photo for you since it just happens to be Greek yogurt that I made using my Instant Pot. I've made it numerous times already and while it is easy as pie to make, it's something that you probably want to make on a day when you are hanging around the house since you need to bring the milk up to a specific temp and often tweak it to get to the right temp. It then needs to cool down to a certain temp before you add starter (fancy word for adding "already made yogurt") and then let it ferment overnight in the Instant Pot. So, while very easy to do, it kind of keeps you close by your kitchen until you get to the fermentation stage which I do for 10 hours in the Instant Pot. I've made it using organic whole milk, 2% milk, etc. and I honestly can't tell much difference between using whole or 2% milk, so I'd use whatever you prefer. So far, every time I've made it, I have made it with 1 gallon of milk because after straining the yogurt to make Greek yogurt, you lose a lot of volume. It was quite shocking to me when I realized how much whey gets strained off; literally several cups of liquid. This batch I'm eating now is made with 2% milk. I swirled a scant tablespoon of no sugar added peach preserves and then topped it with some fresh blackberries. It was delicious. I promise to post my recipe and steps soon. Check out my home made yogurt below. Enjoy!


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Happy 2017 - Saturday Night's Cheese Head Pizza

Greetings and Happy New Year! Long time, no see, right? I've really, really, REALLY missed blogging, but I took a much needed break and, like it or not...I'm back! If you contacted me and I didn't respond, I apologize because as most of my regular followers know, for the past 4-1/2 years, I have been steadfast in posting almost daily and responding to everyone promptly. 

As some of you know, this past year has been difficult for a multitude of reasons. It's been a year filled with loss, a lot of change, and a whole lot of work. No matter how much we have in front of us to do...we only have 24 hours in a single day to do it. I essentially burned myself out and was just plain exhausted, both physically and emotionally. Unfortunately, I am one of those people that rarely (if ever) says no, and I have the tendency to take on more than I should and still maintain some sense of sanity. As many of you know I lost my mother a year ago, and we also moved, which involved both selling a home and purchasing a new home and all of the projects that we had done in the new home once we got moved in. Not to mention, something that I detest immensely...MOVING! I feel like all I did every single day was work, pack, clean and try to keep my home looking like nobody lived there. There was only one little problem was....we did live there! 

As a food blogger, one of the things you understand is what havoc blogging does to your kitchen. Basically, by the time you get done cooking, photographing, writing up your recipe and your blog post...oh, and actually get the chance to eat what you looks like a bomb went off in your kitchen; a really big bomb at that. And that scenario repeats itself almost EVERY...SINGLE...DAY! I also work full time and am gone for almost 10 hours a day, so all of this goes on in my "spare time". I have to squeeze a little sleep in there as well and more often than not, never got more than about 4 hours on any given night. Throw in the little fact I also take on various other food projects...some small and some large. Regardless of how much work all of this is, for me it is a labor of love and I really enjoy it. I couldn't or wouldn't have invested this much time in this for all these years in this if I didn't. But this past year, with the addition of both selling my home and buying a new one, and all that entailed just pushed me to my limits and something had to give. But, we are now pretty well settled in and are finally beginning to feel like we don't just work here, but actually live here. 

I decided to start my first post of 2017 off with what I made for dinner this evening and what also happens to be one of my absolute favorite recipes...Cheese Head Pizza! It's one of those recipes that you can serve to all of your friends and family that aren't grain or gluten free as well because you honestly can't tell that it is grain and gluten free. I've made it so frequently now that I can usually make it and bake it and have it on the table in about 30 minutes. I topped tonight's pizza with large sandwich-sized slices of Boar's Head pepperoni, sliced yellow bell peppers and sliced fresh mini San Marzano tomatoes. I've been sick this past week with some kind of virus and am still not feeling too snappy, but tonight's pizza is about the only thing that has actually tasted good to me all week. I actually enjoyed it. I've included the recipe below and a few photos I snapped as well. Oh, and if you didn't already read between the lines...I really missed all of you and wish all of you a very happy and healthy new year! Enjoy! 

Ready for the oven...baked crust 11 minutes, then topped and baked another 10 minutes
Fresh out of the oven
CHEESE HEAD PIZZA – My Take on Fat Head Pizza


8 ounces (2 cups) shredded mozzarella (whole milk or part skim)
3 ounces brick style cream cheese
1 cup almond flour
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan (powdery style)
1/8 teaspoon salt
Dash garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 large egg
1 tablespoon olive oil (to oil hands before pressing out dough)
Desired toppings (pizza sauce, pepperoni, cooked peppers, onions, mushrooms, additional cheese, etc.)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet or pizza pan with parchment paper

Place mozzarella and cream cheese in a medium bowl. Heat cheese in microwave on high for 45 seconds; stir and heat an additional 30 to 45 seconds or until a hot melty mass of cheese is formed.

While cheese is melting in microwave, stir almond flour, Parmesan, salt, garlic powder and Italian seasoning together in a small bowl. Add flour mixture and egg to bowl of hot melted cheese. Working quickly, fold and stir mixture together with a rubber spatula until a ball of dough is formed (make sure cheese mixture is hot before adding flour and egg).   

Place ball of dough in center of parchment lined baking sheet (or on a non-stick baking sheet or pizza pan). Oil hands with olive oil (*see note/updated instructions below) and press dough out into desired shape (round, oval or rectangular) until about ¼-inch thick or pour the tablespoon of olive oil on top of the dough after placing it in the center of baking sheet and use a rubber spatula to press and spread the dough out evenly. Prick holes all over crust surface with a fork to prevent crust from bubbling up. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown (rotate pan half way through for even browning). Remove crust and top with pizza sauce, additional cheese, and any desired toppings. Bake an additional 5 to 7 minutes or until heated through. Run briefly under the broiler, if browning is desired.

*Note/Update: Rather than oiling hands with olive oil to press dough out, a much easier (and less messy) way to press it out is to pour the tablespoon of olive oil on top of the dough after placing it in the center of baking sheet and use a rubber spatula to press and spread the dough out evenly. If necessary, lightly oil the rubber spatula to keep from sticking.


Saturday, November 5, 2016

November Morning's Breakfast - Easy Low Carb

Happy first Saturday in November! This morning we awoke to temps in the 50s for a change. It finally feels like fall. The leaves are changing colors and falling and hopefully our unseasonably hot weather is behind us. We've had temps in the 80s, near 90 this past week which is entirely too hot for this time of year. The poor little trick or treaters were sweating as they ran from house to house this past Monday night. When I awoke to a chill in the air, I was actually in the mood to make a hot breakfast. Last night hubby and I went to Costco after work and picked up bags of fresh cranberries and baby brussels sprouts. So, the only logical thing to make for breakfast this morning was Brussels-Bacon & Onion Hash, a red bell pepper and spicy cheese omelet and Cranberry Pecan Twirls! It was YUMMY! I snapped a quick photo of my plate this morning. This past week I made yogurt in my Instant Pot for the second time. I've got it straining in the fridge now to make it into Greek Yogurt, The first time I made vanilla bean yogurt and this time I made just plain. It turned out great but I've decided it is definitely not a weeknight project for me and next time I will make it on the weekend.

Now that the temps are cool today, we've got one more crape myrtle to plant outside and we are done with yard work for the season. I have all winter long to ponder what to plant in the spring!  We are finally settling into the new house after 3 months. We actually have pictures on the wall and it's beginning to look and feel like home. It is still a work in progress. I thought I had the last kitchen project done a few weeks ago (or so I thought). We replaced the old white kitchen sink with a huge single bowl black cast iron sink and new faucet (my granite counters are black with silver, gray and copper flecks). Unfortunately we found the sink was cracked on one corner after it was installed, so we've got a new one on order. Check out my first November weekend breakfast. It has all my favorite things in it!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Cranberry Pecan Breakfast Twirls - NEW RECIPE!

Today I'm debuting my new recipe for Cranberry Pecan Breakfast Twirls as my guest post for Honeyville...just in time for you to add to your holiday breakfast menus. Cranberries are my favorite fall fruit flavor. I began by making my easy recipe for sugar free Cranberry Orange Coconut Sauce (I omitted the coconut for these rolls but you could leave it in if you prefer). They turned out amazing! I made a Cinnamon Vanilla Glaze (soft frosting) to top half of them with because I actually like them "as is". They go great with a big mug of coffee. They are so very easy to make. To experiment a bit, I placed the sliced unbaked rolls in a round cake pan to bake together like cinnamon rolls (where they spread and touch each other as they bake). I also placed some rolls in a muffin tin and baked them as individual rolls where you get a nice golden brown crust on all the edges, much like traditional pecan twirls. They bake taller and more uniform when baked individually in muffin cups. So, depending on which way you prefer them, you can decide what type of pan to use. To get to the recipe for these beauties, please click here:  Cranberry Pecan Breakfast Twirls.


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Sausage & Slaw - Quick and Easy Stir-Fry

This evening I made one of my favorite "fast food" meals. Sausage & Slaw that I simply stir-fry in butter or oil until the sliced Aidell's sausages are browned and the shredded cabbage and carrots (bag of fresh coleslaw mix) is wilted and still tender-crisp for texture. I also make this same dish with sliced brussels sprouts and broccoli in place of the cabbage mixture.

I simply slice and brown Aidell's Chicken Sausage Links and brown in butter or oil (I used Kerrygold butter this evening). I move the browned sausages over to a bowl while I saute a bag of fresh coleslaw mix (shredded green cabbage, red cabbage and carrots) in butter. I actually used a 2-pound bag of coleslaw mix this evening instead of the usual 1 pound bag. Once it's wilted to my satisfaction, I season it with a bit of salt and pepper and add the browned sausages back in, mix, and serve. That's all there is to it. I made it last week using fresh broccoli florets that I lightly steamed before tossing with the sausage. This evening we enjoyed it alongside some of my lightly toasted Cheese Pinwheel Rolls. It only took about 15 minutes to get this meal on the table. I snapped a couple photos below. Enjoy!

Stir-Fried Sausage & Slaw


2 to 3 tablespoons butter, divided
4 to 5 smoked sausage links, sliced diagonally into 1/4-inch slices (like Aidell's Chicken & Apple Sausage)
16-ounce bag coleslaw mix


In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter and add sliced sausage links. Cook, stirring frequently until browned on both sides, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in coleslaw mix and about 1/4 cup water; cover and cook until cabbage is tender-crisp or desired doneness, about 5 minutes. Uncover and add remaining butter and cook another minute or until all liquid is cooked off. 


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Instant Pot Chicken Lettuce Wraps - Easy Low Carb

This evening I made Southwestern Style Chicken Lettuce Wraps for dinner. They were so quick and easy to make, thanks to my Instant Pot. I typically like to use leftover rotisserie or roasted chicken instead of cooking chicken to make these, but decided to take advantage of using my Instant Pot to cook the chicken from scratch. I simply placed 4 pounds of boneless skinless chicken thighs in the bottom of my stainless pot insert, added a couple tablespoons of water, seasoned them with salt and pepper, then topped the chicken with 1 cup of Hatch Green Chili Salsa, and scattered 2 small diced jalapeno peppers and 2 sliced green onions on top. I closed the pot, hit the poultry button, adjusted the cook time and then walked away. A little over 35 minutes later, the chicken was cooked to perfection for shredding. I simply removed the chicken with a slotted spoon, placed it on a large platter and shredded it with 2 forks. I filled baby romaine lettuce leaves with the shredded chicken and topped them with Sargento's shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese, diced tomatoes and a dollop of sour cream. They were delicious and so very simple to make. If you wanted, you could season them with taco seasoning before cooking, to make easy chicken tacos. I snapped a few photos below as well as the easy peasy recipe. Enjoy!

Instant Pot Chicken Lettuce Wraps


4 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons water
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup salsa
2 small diced jalapeno peppers, optional
2 sliced green spring onions
Lettuce leaves
Desired toppings such as diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, sour cream, etc.


Place chicken thighs in bottom of Instant Pot stainless steel insert. Add water and season with salt and pepper. Spoon salsa over top of chicken. Top with jalapenos and onions. Close and lock the lid. 

Press the "Poultry" button; then press the "plus" button to increase cooking time to 28 minutes (from the preset 15 minutes). The pot will take about 5 to 10 minutes to come up to pressure as the float valve rises up, then it will begin counting down the 28 minutes cook time (it will beep when done) and automatically switch over to "Keep Warm". Press the "Keep Warm/Cancel" button to turn the pot off (or leave it on until ready to serve). Allow the pot to release pressure naturally which will take approximately 15 minutes as the float valve returns to its original recessed position; alternatively you can do a quick pressure release, if desired, by carefully following the manufacturers directions. Unlock the lid and remove. Shred with 2 forks. Fill lettuce leaves with shredded chicken and top with desired toppings.

*Note: If you have a smaller Instant Pot or a different brand of pressure cooker, your "come to pressure" time and "release pressure" times may be different. 


Monday, October 3, 2016

Cheese Pinwheel Rolls - Chewy, Doughy & Cheesy Low Carb Bread

This evening I made another batch of my Cheese Pinwheel Rolls and tweaked them slightly. They turned out great! We enjoyed them fresh and hot out of the oven along with last night's leftover Instant Pot Spicy Chicken Chili. These rolls are based on a slightly modified version of my Cheese Head Pizza Crust dough. I've increased the eggs, added baking powder and made a few other changes. You simply press or roll the dough out to an approximate 10" x 15" rectangle and scatter shredded cheese over top of the dough (I used shredded 3-Alarm Spicy Pepper Jack Cheese and Parmesan). After spreading a layer of cheese on top of the dough, you gently roll and nudge the dough with a rubber spatula on one end to begin rolling it into a log that you cut into pinwheels and lay flat on a baking sheet to bake. They turned out unbelievably good! They were flavorful and bready with the familiar chewiness found in regular bread. They can be easily be modified and you can change them up by adding other ingredients to them as well. You could easily scatter some browned ground sausage along with the shredded cheese and make Sausage Cheese Pinwheels to enjoy alongside your eggs in the morning. I may give that a try soon myself. They are super easy to make and if you lightly oil the sheet of parchment that's used to assist rolling the dough into a log it's as easy as pie to do. I hope you give these rolls a try and enjoy them as much as we did. I snapped a couple photos of tonight's Cheese Pinwheel Rolls below as well as included the recipe. Enjoy!

Fresh out of the oven
Ready to be popped into the oven for 20-25 minutes

Cheese Pinwheel Rolls


8 ounces (2 cups) shredded mozzarella (whole milk or part skim)
3 ounces brick style cream cheese
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan (powdery style), divided
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
Dash garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1/2 cup shredded cheese (sharp cheddar, Pepper Jack, etc.)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly spray a sheet of parchment paper with olive oil spray and place on counter. Line a large baking sheet with another sheet of parchment paper and set aside

Place mozzarella and cream cheese in a medium bowl. Heat cheese in microwave on high for 45 seconds; stir and heat an additional 45 seconds to 1 minute, or until a hot melted mass of cheese is formed.

While cheese is melting in microwave, combine almond flour, 1/4 cup Parmesan, salt, baking powder, garlic powder and Italian seasoning together in a small bowl. Add the flour mixture, beaten eggs, and 1 tablespoon olive oil to bowl of hot melted cheese. Quickly fold and stir mixture together with a rubber spatula until a ball of dough is formed (make sure cheese mixture is hot before adding flour and egg). If necessary, microwave for an additional 15 seconds to keep cheese pliable and melted as it is mixed together.

Place ball of dough in center of the lightly oiled parchment paper. Pour remaining tablespoon of olive oil on top of the dough and press and spread the dough out evenly into a rectangular shape about 10" x 15" using a rubber spatula (if necessary, lightly oil rubber spatula to keep it from sticking to dough). Spread or roll dough out to a rectangle about ¼-inch thick. 

Lightly scatter 1 tablespoon Parmesan over top of dough. Top evenly with shredded cheese. Begin lifting the narrower 10" end of parchment, using your rubber spatula to gently nudge the end of dough over to begin rolling. Roll the dough by steadily lifting the parchment paper as you go, rolling it into a log. Once it's completely rolled into a log, use a sharp knife to cut dough log into approximately 10 1-inch thick round pinwheels (or 12 3/4-inch thick pinwheels). Place on parchment lined (or lightly greased) baking sheet, spacing about 1 to 2 inches apart. Sprinkle lightly with remaining tablespoon of Parmesan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and done.