Chicken noodle soup is the quintessential comfort food, especially when you’re under the weather. But why pay for sodium-laden canned soup when you can make your own? For this batch of soup, I used the Instant Pot. The recipe is good for any pressure cooker. If you modify it for the slow cooker, don’t use frozen ingredients.
Hasty Tasty Chicken Noodle Soup
Makes 4 one-cup servings
I make my own chicken stock and store it in the freezer. I also keep a supply of frozen skinless, boneless chicken breasts and thighs. Using a few pantry and crisper items, I can pull out a jar of stock and a thigh and have delicious chicken noodle soup ready in an hour.
- 1 tsp. cooking oil
- ½ cup diced onion
- ½ cup diced carrot
- ½ cup diced celery
- ¼ cup diced bell pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt (I use Kosher or pink Himalayan)
- ½ teaspoon pepper (I use Mrs. Dash garlic and herb)
- 1 frozen boneless skinless chicken thigh
- 1 pint chicken broth or stock (mine is frozen, but thawed will work)
- 1 pint water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 serving pot-sized linguine
- Preheat the pot (on the Instant Pot use the sauté button). Add oil when the pot is hot.
- Sauté onions, celery, carrots, and pepper for two minutes. Stir frequently.
- Add salt and pepper. Turn off heat.
- Add the water. Using a wooden spoon, deglaze the pot of fond left on the bottom.
- Add the chicken, chicken stock, and bay leaf.
- Seal lid and bring to pressure, either by using the manual setting for 30 minutes or the soup setting, which on my Instant Pot defaults to 30 minutes.
- When time is up, turn off cooker and allow pressure to drop on its own (approximately 15 minutes).
- Carefully open cooker. Using a long handled utensil, break apart the chicken and stir soup.
- Add the linguine, cover pot, and allow residual heat to cook the pasta through (approximately ten minutes)
- Remove bay leaf and serve. (If you have fresh herbs, add them before serving)
Ratatouille, or a veggie stew of Provence, is versatile and delicious. Originally French, it gets its flavors from Herbes de Provence, a distinctive blend of dried herbs that typically include savory, lavender, marjoram, fennel or tarragon, oregano, thyme, and rosemary .
I’m still playing around with pressure cooker recipes, and this dish is ideal for HASTY TASTY MEALS UNDER PRESSURE (my work-in-progress). It’s also great for meat-free Mondays (or whatever day you want to go vegetarian). When I make ratatouille early in the week, I divide it into batches for weeknight meals. I add chicken and noodles for a chicken veggie stew, or broth and cannellini beans for a quick pasta fazool. I serve it as a stew over rice or puree it as a sauce and serve over pasta with fresh-grated Parmesan cheese.
Note: For my readers who live in higher elevations, keep in mind my elevation here in Florida is about 100 feet. You will need to add cooking time if you live above 2000 feet.
Yield: 8 cups
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small eggplant, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 medium zucchini, sliced in ½” pieces
- 1 cup crimini or white mushrooms, sliced
- 1 28-oz. can tomato puree
- 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 6-oz can tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp. dried Herbes de Provence
- 1 tsp. Kosher salt
- Fresh cracked pepper to taste
- (optional) fresh basil
- Heat olive oil in pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat.
- Add onions, peppers, and celery. Saute 2-3 minutes.
- Add garlic and Herbes de Provence. Stir until fragrant.
- Add eggplant, carrots, and zucchini. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add all other ingredients except optional fresh basil. Close cooker lid and bring to pressure.
- When pressure is reached, lower heat but maintain pressure. Cook for five minutes (electric models set for eight minutes).
- Remove from heat. Allow pressure to drop on its own. (May take up to 25 minutes)
- Carefully open cooker and ladle contents over bowls of rice or pasta, if desired. Garnish with a fresh sprig of basil.
Ratatouille stores well up to three days in the refrigerator. It freezes well and keeps for 4-6 months in the freezer.
We love chili around our house, any variety. Beef or turkey, with or without beans, with or without pasta, with or without corn, Cincinnati-style or Tex-Mex chili, mild or mouth-blistering, we’ll eat it. I like to make chili with a cooked-all-day flavor that takes only an hour. It can be done! All you need is a pressure cooker.
I’m currently at work on my new cookbook, HASTY TASTY MEALS UNDER PRESSURE, experimenting with all our favorites using a pressure cooker. Mine is twenty years old, and has all the safety features missing from earlier models. But newer cookers are available now, including the electric models that have push-button selections and timers. I haven’t tried one yet, but my friend swears by hers.
Here is my latest version of chili using the pressure cooker method. You certainly can use canned chili beans and cut the cooking time, but cooking from dried gives me more control over my ingredients. However, I use canned corn if fresh is out of season (after rinsing and draining).
Don’t want to use a pressure cooker? No problem. Adapt the recipe for your slow cooker and cook on Low for 6 hours, or until beans are tender.
Hasty Tasty Chili
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1 pound ground lean meat or turkey
- 1 pound dried pinto beans (I make an assortment of pinto beans, black beans, kidney beans, and red or pink beans)
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tablespoon chili seasoning (I use Bloemer‘s brand)
- 1 10 oz. can Rotel® diced tomatoes and green chilies (Pick your heat level)
- 1 16 oz. can tomato sauce
- 1 15 oz. can whole kernel corn or 2 cups fresh corn kernels (Optional)
- 1 bay leaf
- 32 oz. filtered water (or replace some of the water with a bottle or can of beer)
- Kosher salt
- Spray inside of a six-quart/liter pressure cooker pot with cooking spray. Preheat over medium.
- Add meat, stirring occasionally to brown. When meat starts browning, add the onions and garlic.
- Stir in chili seasoning.
- After rinsing and inspecting dried beans for any debris, spread the beans over the browned meat mixture.
- Cover the beans with the contents of the can of corn (optional). Add the filtered water and bay leaf (be sure beans are completely covered with liquid).
- Close pressure cooker, increase heat to medium/high, and watch closely for it to reach pressure. When pressure valve jiggles, lower heat to the lowest setting possible while maintaining pressure. (Most models emit a low hiss when at correct pressure. If your cooker makes a lot of noise, lower the heat)
- Once cooker reaches pressure, time for 40 minutes.*
- Remove from heat and allow pressure to drop on its own, approximately ten minutes.
- Carefully open the cooker (watch that steam!) and check beans for tenderness. They should be a bit firm at this point. Add the contents of the cans of Rotel and tomato sauce. Stir, close cooker, and bring back to pressure.
- Cook an additional 10 minutes under pressure. After pressure drops on its own for 10 minutes, release pressure and open the cooker.
- Test for seasoning and add salt to taste. Stir and serve with your choice of toppings.
*Pressure cookers vary by model. You may need more time if your cooker is 10 psi instead of 15 psi. As you use your cooker, you’ll learn to judge its cooking time. Just remember, it’s easy to quick-release pressure, check your food, and then return to pressure for additional cooking time. Also, the new electric cookers take the guesswork out of timing.
(For my readers who live in higher elevations, keep in mind my elevation here in Florida is about 100 feet. You will need to add cooking time if you live above 2000 feet.)
I love French onion soup, but most in my family don’t. I needed a smaller portion so I developed this simple recipe that yields about two bowls (1 quart).
Keep in mind French onion soup is about onions. You need little else, but you do need onions. Even for two servings, I use four onions because I want the flavor and texture. I slow-cook the recipe for convenience, but it requires little simmering time once the onions are done. The flavors intensify in cooking sliced onions in butter. The rest is about turning rich, delicious onions into soup.
French Onion Soup for Two
• 4 medium onions
• ½ stick unsalted butter
• 1 tsp. Kosher salt
• ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
• 16-20 ounces stock (beef or poultry—homemade is best, but get reduced sodium if you buy ready-made stock)
• 1 sprig fresh Rosemary
• ¼ cup white wine
• ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese (or your choice)
1. Peel, halve, and thinly slice onions using a knife, food processor, or mandolin.
2. Melt butter in a two-quart pan over low heat.
3. Add onions, salt, pepper, and Rosemary to melted butter and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions turn a golden color.
4. Deglaze the bottom of the pan with the wine and a wooden spoon.
5. Carefully pour in the pint of stock, cover, and cook at least twenty minutes or until heated through (or you may transfer to a slow cooker and heat on lowest setting two-three hours).
6. Divide between two large soup bowls and immediately top each serving with the cheese. Allow the cheese to melt (tent with foil for about five minutes).
7. Serve with French bread or a baguette.
1. Melt unsalted butter.
2. Cook onions over low heat, stirring occasionally.
3. Add 1/4 cup white wine.
4. Deglaze pan.
5. Add stock and stir.
6. Simmer until soup is heated through.
7. Top with cheese and serve.
Butternut squash has vitamin A, vitamin C and beta-carotene . It is a good source of vitamin B6, potassium, manganese, and magnesium. I realize butternut squash is healthful, but it was a hard sell to my family. I finally developed a recipe even they will eat. I know by putting a southwest spin on a dish, my family will eat almost anything. Including my newest recipe, Southwestern Butternut Squash Soup. Enjoy!
• 1½ pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into equal size chunks
• 1 Tbsp. safflower oil (or spray generously with Pam®)
• ½ cup onion, sliced
• ¼ cup sweet pepper, chopped (I used an orange pepper to preserve that lovely orange color)
• 1 tsp. Kosher salt or pink Himalayan salt
• 1 Tbsp. Chili seasoning mix (I use Bloemer’s brand)
• 1 quart vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
• 1 Tbsp. lime or lemon juice
• (optional) Cilantro for garnish
• (optional) sour cream for garnish
1. Heat the oil in the bottom of a 4 quart pot.
2. Add onions and peppers. Cook for 1 minute over medium heat.
3. Add squash to the pot. Salt.
4. Reduce heat to low, cover, and steam until squash is fork-tender* (approximately 30 minutes)
5. Remove from heat. Stir in half of the stock and deglaze the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula.
6. Ladle the squash into a Vitamix (or food processor). Puree until smooth. Don’t overfill container. If necessary, process in batches.
7. Return squash puree to the pot, add the chili seasoning mix1, and stir.
8. Return the pot to medium heat and add the remaining stock. Cook until heated through, stirring occasionally to combine. For a thicker soup, simmer until soup reduces.
9. Remove pot from heat. Stir in the lime juice and serve with a sour cream and cilantro garnish with tortilla chips on the side.
Kick up the heat level by adding a seeded and thinly sliced jalapeño pepper garnish.
1Vitamix users: During the pureeing of the squash, add the chili seasoning. Then to rinse the container, Add the rest of the stock to the container, run just enough to remove the stuck on squash, then pour into the pot.
*If your cookware isn’t waterless, add one cup of the vegetable stock to steam the squash.
Pasta e Fagioli
Not only is pasta e fagioli hasty and tasty, it’s inexpensive and healthful. Also known as pasta fazool, this dish provides plenty of protein and fiber because it contains beans, vegetables, and whole wheat pasta. The tomatoes and Italian seasonings give it great flavor. Try this dish for your next meat-free meal.
PASTA E FAGIOLI
- 1 14 oz. can chicken broth
- 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
- 1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning spice
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
- 1 15½ oz. can cannellini or navy beans, rinsed and drained
- ½ cup frozen seasoning blend (Chopped onion, celery, bell pepper, parsley)
- ½ cup whole wheat elbow macaroni
- ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
- (Optional: ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped or torn, for garnish)
In a 2 quart saucepan, heat the broth over medium heat. Stir in garlic, seasoning blend, Italian spices, tomato sauce and paste. Bring to a low boil.
Add beans, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add macaroni, cover and simmer for 7 additional minutes.
Remove pan from heat, stir, and check macaroni. Should be cooked al dente.
Sprinkle each serving generously with the Parmesan cheese and garnish with fresh basil, if desired.
Yield: 3 servings
©2011 Cheryl Norman, Recipes for Recovery
About four years ago, I posted my recipe for jambalaya. I updated it for the July fourth holiday. This time I used Johnsonville Andouille Sausage for a more traditional flavor. Since today’s high temperature is expected to be 97°, I’m cooking indoors in my air conditioned kitchen. Too hot for grilling today!
Jambalaya In A Jiffy
Makes 6 servings or 10 side-dish servings
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped celery
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ pound Andouille flavored smoked sausage (cut in 1″ chunks)
1 cup uncooked brown rice (White rice will overcook)
1 10-oz can diced tomatoes and green chilies
2 cups broth or stock
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
Cajun Seasonings to taste
Hot sauce (optional)
1 Bay leaf
½ pound frozen shrimp, cleaned and de-tailed
Heat the oil in the bottom of a 6 quart (or 6 Liter) pressure cooker over medium high heat. Sauté rice to brown, then add onion, celery, garlic, and sausage. Stir often until rice is browned, about 2 minutes. Add all other ingredients except the shrimp. Stir to mix.
Secure the lid to the pressure cooker and bring to pressure according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Cook under pressure 15 minutes, then remove from heat. Allow pressure to drop on its own for 10 minutes.
Release pressure according to the manufacturer’s instructions then remove the lid. Caution: steam will be very hot! Fluff rice with a fork. Stir in frozen shrimp then return pan to medium heat. Cook just until the shrimp are pink (about 5 minutes). Remove bay leaf and serve!
This is a healthful, high-fiber dish you can enjoy hot and again in leftovers, such as jambalaya burritos.
♫ Son of a gun gonna have big fun on the bayou! ♪