What is the Secret Sauce?
Read on to find out….
So I recently started a new hustle to bring in some bacon…err, I mean local pastured lamb…
What inevitably happened is that I got sucked in, and forgot to make dinner. Then my rabid, constantly starving, foaming-at-the-mouth teenager started barking at me for not having a hot meal ready for him whenever he wanted one. And my husband started complaining about his blood sugar. And losing weight. And I realized….when mommy/wife is working like a dog, dinners don’t get made.
Unless you’re this extremely dedicated chef, who lives to eat fine French food.
We already tried the meal delivery service route, but they tend to be either:
- meals in a jar, usually vegan because you can’t safely drop meat off on the doorstep
- ingredients to make dinner….yourself.
We did the former, until I got so sick of quinoa salads that I couldn’t look at them anymore. And the ingredient kits still take time to prepare and a lot of them are stir-fry which means you’re shackled to the stove. We buy meal-inclusive Thai kits (packaged with all necessary ingredients) from the farmers market so we know the drill, and it’s a fair amount of effort…
So I asked the hubby, “what do we do now if we want to eat”?
Take-out food is one of the best ways to create extra landfill because of all the throwaway containers. (Newsflash: only about 10% of your recycleds actually get recycled) so it’s not the best option…the better approach is to generate less waste altogether.
Eating out is expensive! Especially if you want to avoid seed oils, which many restaurants switched over to during Covid to make up for lost sales by cutting costs. Not to mention carcinogenic glyphosate in wheat, pesticides in produce, factory-farmed animals, and a long-list of other hidden toxins. So I have a very short list of GFF-approved restaurants in Austin 😧 and honestly we are tired of the same ole’ menus.
So what’s the answer?
Hint: I was not hired by anyone to write this article; the idea just occurred to me while doing dishes.
What if you could do some chopping (yeah it does take time but no more than 15 min if you have a good knife *here’s ours*) toss all the veggies, herbs, meat chunks, etc. into a black hole for 30-45 minutes, then do some yoga or lift weights or read a book while it simmers and stews, and then ladle the hearty meal into your dinner bowl? Yes, that was a long (but important) question. What do you think? Sound good?
My friends, I’m talking about the grand and mighty yet humble and affordable Instant Pot!
During Covid we amended recipes to use what we had lying around. My son, a purist chef, hated substituting green onions for yellow onions or oyster mushrooms for button mushrooms but we weren’t making extra trips to the store so that was that.
But guess what you can do now?
You can ask Artificial Intelligence (like ChatGPT) to create a recipe specifically using whatever ingredients are living in your fridge and pantry. Here’s a screenshot of how ChatGPT works. There’s a basic free version but we bought the upgraded version because we all use it now for everything 🙀.
So here’s how dinner goes:
Husband (Captain Kale): “Okay, chop it all up and I’ll do the rest.”
Then Captain Kale waves his wand in front of the computer and out comes the recipe. He doesn’t even have to ask nicely…
Okay so his job sounds easier than mine but he does have to occasionally sauté the meat or onions before throwing everything into the pot, but his time commitment is SO small that he’s actually willing to do it. 😂. Sample recipe attached at bottom, which is a variation of the one in the screenshot. We have lotsa Instant Pot recipes so check back for more…
- I still make substitutions, just because you can 😉
- soy sauce = I used coconut aminos
- sesame oil = I used avocado oil
- sugar = I used honey
- Don’t like eggplant? Swap it for something else
- Mushrooms taste good in all stews and are wildly healthy
Lamb stew, fish stew, chicken stew, vegan stew—you name it. We even made a delicious Shepherds Pie stew. For healthy, filling carbs, throw in potatoes of any kind—yummier than roasting or boiling them because they soak up the flavors of the stew. You can make a large quantity and then it’ll last for days and you can just reheat when you’re starving and busy.
To get more bang for your buck, use more potatoes (which are generally inexpensive) and whatever veggies are in season (and therefore plentiful and affordable). Then add a little meat (I love stewed lamb chunks and ground lamb) or other protein to enhance the flavor. I am not a fan of rice or pasta (covered extensively in other articles) and instead use potatoes (even better—sweet potatoes) as an accompaniment.
So this holiday season, when the world is an especially crazy place and life can be overwhelming, take good care of yourself and eat nourishing meals. I think the Instant Pot is the best way to do that and therefore the best holiday present you can give to yourself—the gift that actually keeps on giving…plus hearty warm stews are even more appealing as the weather turns cooler.
And speaking of my day hustle, I have a cheerful uplifting Etsy store full of great gifts for the holidays that include wild animals playing musical instruments and riding bikes and dogs in a hot air balloon over Paris….I’m hoping to transport you into a world of peace and harmony where everyone gets along….
A good green leafy stew with cocoa pods will give Sammy Sloth the energy to summit!
This trio is traveling to an Instant Pot sale at the Galleries Lafayette…
But back to you…What’s for dinner?Print
To create a delicious Instant Pot stew with green beans, cauliflower, mushrooms, onion, garlic, and black cod, follow these steps:
- 1 lb black cod, cut into large chunks
- 1 cup green beans, trimmed and halved
- 1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- Fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
- Sauté the Veggies: Turn your Instant Pot to the sauté setting. Add the olive oil, onions, and garlic. Sauté until the onions are translucent.
- Add Spices: Stir in paprika, thyme, cumin, salt, and pepper. Cook for another minute until the spices are fragrant.
- Combine Ingredients: Add green beans, cauliflower, and mushrooms to the pot. Stir well to combine with the spices.
- Add the Fish and Broth: Place the black cod chunks on top of the vegetables. Pour the vegetable broth over everything, ensuring not to stir so the fish remains intact on top.
- Pressure Cook: Close the lid of the Instant Pot and set the valve to sealing. Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. After cooking, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then quick-release any remaining pressure.
- Serve: Carefully open the lid and gently stir the stew. Serve hot, garnished with fresh parsley if desired.
- Be careful not to overcook the fish. The quick pressure cook time is designed to keep the fish tender.
- Adjust the spices according to your taste preferences.
- Serve over boiled or roasted potatoes. Or else you can include potatoes in recipe.
- Watch my Power Smoothie Dance!
- Don’t forget to check out the first and only card game that gets kids into veggies!
- Get the free Power Pantry eBook when you subscribe.
- I have a whole store full of cool stuff!
- Check out the Good Food Fighter comic strip.
- Get all kinds of fantastic resources to live a cleaner life.
- Here’s my son, the incomparable Chef Sizzle-Snap, making Korean Bibimbap