Monday, October 3, 2016

Pressure Cooker Shredded Taco Chicken

This may look a little plain on the outside, but when you take a bite....WOW! Get ready for a flavor explosion! My new kitchen toy has not made it off the counter yet. I'm still in love with my pressure cooker and can't wait to keep trying new recipes out. I had a great "lesson learned" moment when I was fixing the chicken. There is a valve that you pop out and clean and pop back in. I must have not had it seated 100% properly as there was a little steam the point it didn't ruin the chicken but the bottom of the pan was not a pretty sight. There was no water left in the pan at all when I raised the lid! I've gotten so comfortable cooking with this I walked off and didn't check it. Lesson of the day: If this happens to you, baking soda (left to soak) and a wooden kitchen utensil will remove the cooked on mess from a non stick surface without ruining it. In spite of a brief moment of drama, the chicken tasted absolutely delicious!

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup water
1/4 cup dried onions
1 pack chicken taco seasoning
1-2 tsps. minced garlic

Soft tortilla shells (we found some net 5 carbs)
3 colored peppers, deseeded and sliced
1 large onion, sliced
Shredded cheese
Sour cream
 Pour one cup water in inner pot. Place chicken breasts inside pot.
 Evenly sprinkle seasoning on top of chicken.
 Sprinkle dried onions and garlic on top of seasoning. I used the dehydrated onions I put up this year.
Put the lid in the locked position. Set the pressure button to CLOSE. Press the COOK button and set the time to thirty minutes. The zeros will rotate until the cooker gets to the right pressure. Once the time runs out, the cooker will move to KEEP WARM. At this point, CAREFULLY RELEASE THE STEAM by moving the button to the RELEASE POSITION allowing a few short bursts and then moving it to that position to dispel the rest of the steam. I can't express the safety issue enough. The lid and steam and HOT, HOT, HOT! Be very careful when releasing the pressure. Once all steam is released, and only then, you will be able to move the lid to the UNLOCK position.
Using my PC mix and chop tool, I shredded the chicken. I moved it to a separate pan, even though this tool is non-stick pot friendly, due to my little oopsie.
You can roll up whatever you'd like into your soft tacos. My preference is sauteed peppers and onions, World Table Roasted Salsa Verde and shredded cheese inside and a little sour cream on the outside. (You can I went back for seconds in this picture!)

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Farmer's Pork Chops

This Farmer's Pork Chop recipe from Paula Deen's The Lady and Sons Savannah Country Cookbook is one I've had forever and a day is and old family favorite. The flavor of the pork chops baked on top of the potatoes and onions....mmmmm! mmmmm! It is simply Comfort Food at its best.  Now mind you, I haven't fixed it in a long time as we have been modifying our diet to eat a lot healthier. I'm proud to say Andy is totally out of the woods and I've added some good recipes back into the menu with a few stipulations. Regardless of how good it tastes, we do not eat the whole pan and back off on the quantity of potatoes, rice, etc. Offset the "bad" by adding more broccoli or green beans for example, as a side.

There is a little more effort required in fixing this, but it's still easy.  (It's also on the menu tonight!!) The recipe calls for eight pork chops and potatoes to serve eight people. As you see, when I worked on this dish last, I had five chops as they were pretty big. I also added more onion and reduced the potato count. This does make a lot of food, so modify as necessary but keep the white sauce amount the same.

4-5 bone in 1/2" thick pork chops 
4 medium-large potatoes
1  large sweet onion
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. Lawry's Seasoned salt
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup vegetable oil
White Sauce (Prepare first)

1 stick butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups milk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large pan, melt stick of butter and set off the heat. Quickly stir in the flour and add salt and pepper to taste. Place back on the stove eye after butter and flour are mixed well. Slowly add in milk a little at a time until well blended. Keep whisking so that you don't get any lumps! Remove from heat.
Using your mandolin slicer, thinly slice potatoes and onions. In a large greased casserole dish, alternate layers of potatoes and onions and lightly season each layer. Evenly cover with the white sauce. Place in oven uncovered and bake for 15 minutes.
 Mix flour and seasoned salt in a pan and coat both sides of all the chops. Lightly brown both sides of the chops on both sides. Don't cook them completely through. If the potatoes are done, lay them on top. If they are still baking in the oven, set the chops on a plate and add as soon as you take them out.
Once all chops are browned, place dish back in the oven and let them finish baking for 45 to 60 minutes. The sauce will be nice and bubbly and the potatoes will be fork tender.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Pressure Cooker Pulled Chicken

For the majority of my adult life, I have been scared to death of using a pressure cooker/canner. A few years ago I let that fear go and bought a pressure canner to put up green beans Andy raised in our garden and haven't looked back.

I've gotten in the habit of living with Andy's extremely early work schedule since I've been off this summer. So what is on TV before four in the morning? A little news but mostly infomercials. Normally we ignore that type of thing unless it has something to do with cooking. Then we change the channel before we can get the offered doubled for just the cost of shipping and handling and a 30-day no questions asked guarantee.

Last year I was relating this particular cooking gadget to Vince the day after a sleepless night. He was telling me how EVERYONE at the Cali plant had one of these pressure cookers and absolutely loved cooking and canning tuna with them. He had me sold on this being a necessity in my kitchen. An electric version that was a lot smaller than the stovetop version I used to can green beans was starting to show up on my horizon. Being the procrastinator I am when it comes to ordering stuff off the internet (not wanting to sit in front of the computer after being there all day), I put it off for another day.

As luck would have it, they started appearing in stores. Momma's birthday money gift to me put the 8QT. cooker on my counter and it's not been moved since. (options are 6, 8 & 10QT for this brand) I didn't get the extra bonus for ordering from the internet (whatever gadget that would have been) but let's say the experimenting has begun and I love, love, love cooking with it.

The cooker has a recipe book included, but I got this for simplicity so I'm testing the timing on dishes you can put on the table fast with very little effort. The first two things I fixed were not photographed as I was a little skeptical and I hate that because they both turned out AWESOME!!! For time on two three pound partially frozen whole chickens: 38 minutes once pressure was reached. Did I mention you can brown the meat with this thing? Seriously!! There is no reason to not cook with this thing around. Ziti and meatballs? 8 cooking minutes and you just dump ingredients in the pot.
 With pressure cooking comes steam. Be sure to attach the condensation collector on the back of the device! Read the owner's manual!!! There's a lot of important information in there. Safety first!!

Place five boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the inner pot.
Add 1-1/2 cups of barbecue sauce and 3/4 cups of water. I recommend using tongs to position chicken so that some of the barbecue sauce/water gets under the chicken. Also, use plastic/silicone tools so you don't scratch the surface of the inner pot.
 Put lid on top by lining up with UNLOCK and sliding counter-clockwise to the LOCK position.
 Slide the button on top to CLOSE so the cooker can start building pressure.
 Select COOK and push the button until you get to thirty minutes.
The zeros will rotate until pressure is built up. Then the timer will start counting down.
 While your chicken is cooking, fry up some hoe cakes. I've been using cooking spray instead of frying in oil and we like them so much better and they are not as greasy. Hopefully they are slightly healthier???
 The cooker will flip over to KEEP WARM/CANCEL automatically when the timer runs down.
 CAREFULLY give the button a few quick flicks to start releasing some pressure. Then flip it over to the RELEASE position to let the pressure completely release. THE LID AND STEAM ARE VERY HOT!!
Be careful you don't get burned by the steam. Once the steam is dispelled; you will hear a valve drop. After you hear that, you will be able to move the lid to the UNLOCK position. If the lid doesn't move, it's because there is still pressure. This is a safety feature.
 The chicken will be cooked and the sauce will look a little juicy.
 I chose to remove the chicken breasts to a pan to shred.
You can do it inside the pot but I didn't want to scratch up the inside.
Return the chicken to the pot and mix in the barbecue sauce until all is coated throughly. I added another 1/2 cup of sauce and put the lid back on with it still set to keep warm.

If you make a sandwich with the hoe cakes; use a slotted spoon to remove some of the juice. If you're eating open faced on hoe cakes, spoon on the chicken and some of the sauce.