Basic Barbecue Sauce

It happened again. I had pork I wanted to make BBQ sandwiches with, so I made my own sauce. Thought it was time to revisit this post from 2012:

I had leftover pork roast and wanted to make pulled pork barbecued sandwiches, but I couldn’t find a bottle of barbecue sauce in either my fridge or pantry. No problem. I made my own, and in …

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REVISITING THE GRAVY TRAIN

By request: Toasting flour to make low-fat gravy

HASTY TASTY MEALS KITCHEN

Encore of my low fat gravy method post:

Several have asked me about my fat-free roux method for making gravy or sauce. Traditional roux is made from browning equal amounts of fat (typically butter) and flour. Although my gravy isn’t fat-free (I finish it with a Tbsp. of butter for flavor and gloss), mine is a lot lower in fat calories. I recently made a batch of this gravy to reheat leftover cooked turkey. The turkey flavored the gravy while the gravy gently warmed the turkey. That’s a win-win!

Start by preheating a quality, heavy-duty skillet. To make one cup of gravy, add two tablespoons flour to the dry skillet over medium heat. Whisk often to cook the flour. Season the flour as desired. When the flour turns light brown and emits an aroma indicating it’s cooked, remove the skillet from the heat.

Add flour to dry, preheated skillet Add flour to dry, preheated skillet

Whisk flour often to keep it from burning. Whisk…

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HASTY TASTY STEEL-CUT OATS

I like my grains whole and my food fiber high, so I decided to try steel cut oats for my morning oatmeal. Steel cut oats take a long time to cook. There are even recipes for slow cooking them overnight so they’re ready to eat the next morning. That isn’t my idea of a Hasty Tasty Meal.

Then I read an article about pressure cooking steel cut oats. I’ve been a pressure cooker enthusiast since the early 1970s, so this article got my attention. Now I eat steel cut oats for breakfast, and my oatmeal cooks in minutes. From start to finish, my oatmeal is ready in half the time it would take to cook stovetop, and I don’t have to stand over the pot and stir.

Here’s my recipe for a single bowl of oatmeal. (Note: Do NOT use the directions on the box of steel

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cut oats. You need only a 1:3 oats/water ratio when cooking under pressure because steam is trapped and there’s no evaporation.)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup steel cut oats
  • 3/4 cup water
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup water for the pressure cooker

Directions:

  1. Add 1 cup water to the pressure cooker pot.
  2. In a microwave-oven-safe bowl (my old Corelle works just fine), combine steel cut oats, water, and salt. 
  3. Place bowl on a rack or trivet (Most pressure cookers have either a trivet or steaming basket accessory you can use to keep the bowl above the water)
  4. According to your manufacturer’s instructions, close the lid and bring to pressure. After it reaches pressure, lower heat just to maintain pressure and time for 7 minutes. (If using an electric model, select 7 minutes on the timer)
  5. Allow pressure to drop naturally for 5 minutes.
  6. Quick-release remaining pressure according to your pot’s manufacturer’s instructions, carefully remove the lid, and then lift the bowl from inside the pot (I use silicone mittens for this as the bowl will be hot).
  7. Stir the oatmeal until thickened. 
  8. Sweeten as desired. Enjoy!

To make 4 servings, use the pressure cooker pot and combine 1 cup oats with 3 cups water. Add 1/4 tsp. salt. Also, add a teaspoon of butter, if desired. Follow the same time and pressure as for one serving. Stir and then serve directly from the pot. Makes 4 one-cup servings.

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Turkey leftovers? No problem!

For the holidays, I’m recapping some of our favorite turkey leftover recipes. Remember, it’s easy to shred leftover meat in the Vitamix. I use shredded leftover turkey to make turkey sa…

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Green Beans and Mushrooms

For a quick side dish, snap and string green beans while the water heats in your pressure cooker. Better yet, buy a package of ready-to-cook green beans. Toss them in with a package of cleaned, sliced mushrooms, and you’re minutes away from a delicious vegetable dish.

RECIPE

Green beans and mushrooms under pressure

Serves 4 — 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh green beans, washed and trimmed. 
  • 1 pound fresh sliced and cleaned white mushrooms
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed or grated
  • ½ tsp. Kosher salt or pink Himalayan salt
  • ¼ tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • (optional: ¼ cup chopped onion and ¼ cup chopped sweet pepper)

Directions:

  1. Add water to the pressure cooker and preheat.
  2. Add beans and mushrooms to the pot.
  3. Cover the beans and mushrooms with the garlic, salt, and pepper. (Add chopped onion and pepper if desired)
  4. Secure lid to pressure cooker. Bring to pressure.
  5. Cook two minutes, remove from heat, and immediately quick-release pressure (Be careful! The steam can burn).
  6. Using a slotted spoon, move the beans and mushrooms dish to a serving bowl. Serve immediately.

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Product Test: Electric Air Fryer

I resisted purchasing an air fryer for about two years. While friends, acquaintances, and infomercials assured me I would use one, I resisted. We don’t eat a lot of deep-fried foods, so why bother?

But curiosity overcame my objections and I purchased one, a GoWise USA 3.7 quart model. Then I began my tests.

First, I picked up fresh catfish fillets at my local Publix. I washed my new electric air fryer according to the instructions and sprayed Pam in the basket. After dipping the catfish in egg and then a light coating of flour/cornstarch, I placed the fillets in the basket of my electric air fryer. I selected the Fish setting for 20 minutes. After 10 minutes, I gently turned each fillet to ensure even browning. My husband and I enjoyed catfish fillets that tasted deep-fried! So far, so good.

Next, I cooked a frozen hash brown patty on the Fries setting for 6 minutes, turning the patty after 5 minutes. Perfect! Better than any fast-food breakfast hash brown patty because it wasn’t greasy.

I cooked frozen, breaded veal cutlets (from Omaha Steaks) on the Chicken setting for 20 minutes (again, turning at the halfway point) for veal Parmigiana. As good as any restaurant!

Frozen french fries were the best, and took only 15 minutes for shoestring-size fries. After about 8 minutes, I shook the basket to expose all sides evenly. Better than our favorite burger chain because there’s no grease!

Finally, I tried kale. I’ve always wanted to try making kale chips but just didn’t feel like heating up the oven. The electric air fryer acts as a mini-convection oven, and will make any vegetable into a chip with nothing more than a spray of Pam. Kale chips took 20 minutes at 320 degrees. It doesn’t cook a lot at a time, but that’s no problem since I’m the only one in my household willing to eat kale chips.😉

According to Harlan Fowler, author of the GoWise USA Air Fryer Cookbook, regular bacon cooks well–very crisp, but it leaves a puddle of rendered fat in the pan. (Not a bad thing if you need rendered bacon fat for a recipe, but messy for cleanup). Yet the instructions state to avoid greasy foods like sausage (and bacon qualifies), so I won’t be trying bacon in my air fryer. 

 

 I have more testing to do, but I already know this purchase will work for me. The electric air fryer is a welcome addition to our kitchen. 

 

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Weeknight Roast Chicken

I previously posted an oven chicken recipe to make your own rotisserie chicken without a rotisserie. I’ll show you an alternative to that recipe using the pressure cooker.

Note: If you eat the skin of a chicken, you’ll want to brown it first using either the broiler or a large skillet. I skin chicken before eating it because skin is loaded with saturated fat, so browning isn’t an issue for us.

RECIPE

Hasty Tasty Roast Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole fryer, approx. 3 lbs.
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp. dried thyme
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp. onion powder
  • 3 cups liquid (water, stock, broth)

Directions:

  1. Rub whole chicken with the olive oil.
  2. Combine all spices and rub into the chicken. If possible, loosen the skin and rub the seasonings directly onto the meat.
  3. Add liquid to bottom of a pressure cooker pot. Place a rack in the bottom to prevent the chicken from resting directly on the pot.
  4. Secure lid to pressure cooker and bring to pressure. Cook for 20 minutes. If using an electric pressure cooker, select the Poultry setting for 20 minutes. (If chicken is frozen, you’ll need to add 10 minutes)
  5. Remove from heat (or hit “cancel” on the Keep Warm button) and quick-release pressure.
  6. Carefully open cooker. Use a meat thermometer inserted at the thigh to check for doneness. The chicken’s internal temperature should be at least 160°F (residual cooking will bring it to about 170°F).
  7. Using tongs or meat forks, move the chicken to a carving platter or large bowl or platter. Tent with aluminum foil and let the chicken rest for 5-10 minutes.
  8. Carve and serve.

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BONUS: Don’t discard the cooking liquid. It’s rich in flavor. Strain and use to make a quick gravy. Save in the refrigerator or freezer for later use. Or strain, return liquid to the pressure cooker, and cook vegetables in it. 

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