Hasty Tasty Potato Salad

NOTE: I recently revised my method after trying This Old Gal’s method. If you aren’t familiar with This Old Gal, check out her blog at https://thisoldgal.com. The author Jill Selkowitz calls herself an old gal, but she is younger than I, incidentally. 😉  Although my recipe differs, I’ve adopted her method of cooking potatoes and eggs simultaneously. It’s a real game changer in making potato salad. Thanks, Jill!

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My mother-in-law Rachel taught me how to make tasty potato salad. The only changes I’ve made is in using a pressure cooker for the potatoes and eggs.  Here are the step-by-step instructions for her recipe. Try it for your next potluck dinner or picnic.

RECIPE

Hasty Tasty Potato Salad

Ingredients:

  • 6 large potatoes
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 onion, chopped (sweet onion is best)
  • 4 ribs celery, chopped
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • Pepper to taste
  • Paprika for garnish (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Cut potatoes into quarters or 2″ sections. No need to peel. Place in a steaming basket or trivet over 1 cup water in a pressure cooker. Place the 4 eggs on top the potatoes.
  2. Secure lid to pressure cooker and cook for 5 minutes stovetop or 6 minutes electric.* Allow pressure to drop on its own for 5 minutes before releasing.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare dressing in a large bowl by whisking together mayonnaise, mustard, salt, sugar, and apple cider vinegar.
  4. Dice the celery and onions.
  5. Carefully release remaining pressure and open pressure cooker.
  6. Remove eggs from pot and place in cold water.
  7. Carefully remove cooked potatoes from the pot and remove peels (they’ll slip off easily). Cube potatoes and add them to the dressing. Gently toss.
  8. Peel and chop or slice eggs. Gently toss with the potatoes, onions, and celery.
  9. Sprinkle with pepper and paprika, cover, and refrigerate. (Flavors are best if potato salad is made a day ahead)

*Electric pressure cookers do not reach the pressure levels of stovetop pressure cookers, so you need to adjust the time for many recipes.

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Converting Recipes for Pressure Cooking

Thousands of people received an electric programmable pressure cooker for gifts during the holidays, or purchased one during the black Friday sales. Dozens of social media groups offer recipe exchanges and tips. One frequent question that I see on a daily basis is “How do I convert my slow cooker recipe for the _________(insert brand name of electric pressure cooker)?”

As a veteran pressure cooker cook, I feel qualified to address this question. I hope my recommendations help you. Here’s an example: A favorite slow cooker recipe of ours is slow cooker chili, based on Hurst’s HamBeens brand Slow Cooker Chili. I substitute ground turkey for the beef and Rotel for the diced tomatoes. I also use 1 quart chicken broth and 3 pints water instead of using all water, but otherwise I follow the recipe on the package.
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First I turned on the pot and browned the onion and turkey. Then I added all other ingredients and sealed the pot. I cooked the recipe on high pressure for 40 minutes, followed by natural release. The beans were tender yet not too mushy, and the chili was delicious. However, the finished product was a little soupy for our preference.
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However, it’s always better to err on the side of caution (that is, too much liquid) when cooking dried beans. Also, reheating the leftover chili evaporated any excess moisture. Therefore, the only conversion I suggest is cooking time. Each pot differs in buttons and settings, so you’ll have to consult your own manufacturer’s manual or website to know how to set high pressure for 40 minutes.

Where did I get the 40 minutes? I consulted the cooking chart for dried beans (without soaking) and used that time. Since beans take the longest cooking time, that’s what you should choose. If you’re a Crockpot veteran, you already know there’s a range of cooking time when slow cooking. There’s also a range with pressure cooking, so if I tell you 40 minutes and someone else tells you an hour, cook for the minimum time. It’s easy to check for doneness and bring the pot back to pressure to add cooking time. The contents are already hot, which means your pot returns to pressure quickly. 
Note: If you’re using a stovetop pressure cooker, reduce cooking time to 35 minutes followed by natural release. The electric models take a tad longer to cook.
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Safety first. The new cookers are the safest yet, but you have to follow the rules. Don’t overfill (2/3 pot for most dishes, 1/2 pot for bean dishes) and always use liquid. Even the shortest cooking time requires a minimum amount of liquid to reach pressure. Read your manual. If instructions are missing, either visit the manufacturer’s site or contact them.

Final word of advice: Cook! Don’t leave your new cooker in a box in a closet. Use it. Experience is the best teacher. Also, join a group or two on Facebook and read through their posts. You’ll find answers to your questions, and you’ll learn there is no one way to cook a dish. 

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Filed under beans, Chili and Stew, Healthful Eating, kitchen equipment

Easier Mashed Potatoes

You can buy already made mashed potatoes, frozen mashed potatoes, or–Heaven forbid!–instant dry potatoes. But why would you when it’s easy and inexpensive to make your own? 

Before you bail on this post with mumblings about peeling potatoes, keep reading. I have a trick (well…actually I learned it watching Martha Stewart’s Cooking School on PBS) for skipping the potato-peeling chore. Unlike Martha, I use a pressure cooker, and that speeds up the process even more.

Here is my step-by-step instructions for easier mashed (or however you like ’em) potatoes:

  1. Pour one cup water into the pot of your pressure cooker (or whatever is the minimum liquid for your particular model).
  2. Place a rack or steamer basket over the water.
  3. Cut your (unpeeled) potatoes into 1/8ths or equal size pieces and place the pieces on the rack or in the basket.
  4. Secure the lid and bring to pressure. Cook on High for 10 minutes.
  5. Quick-release the pressure, carefully remove the lid, and open the cooker. Stand clear of the steam as it’s dangerously hot.
  6. Remove the potatoes and peel. The skins on cooked potatoes lifts off easily and quickly! What a labor saver.
  7. Mash or prepare as desired, adding your ingredients of choice.

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Potatoes steamed over water instead of boiling in water retain more natural flavor and nutrients. This means less added salt or fat.

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Filed under cooking, Healthful Eating, kitchen equipment, potatoes, Vegetables

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 …

Source: Basic Barbecue Sauce

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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 5 minutes. (If using an electric model, select 8* minutes on the timer)
  5. Allow pressure to drop naturally (approximately 15 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.

For creamier grits, cook 12-15 minutes under pressure. Allow pressure to drop on its own. It’s not faster than traditional methods, but it’s easier because you don’t have to babysit the pan. 

*The pressure is slightly higher in stovetop pressure cookers, which is why I suggest a longer cook time for electric models.

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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…

Source: Turkey leftovers? No problem!

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