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Standards in the Ray Household

Let’s look at some Ray Standards for the Instant Pot. I rarely cook the same thing twice.  But these have been made at least twice and have been well received by adults and two kids.

Weeknight Spaghetti ::  As the title suggests, a nice weeknight meal.  Plus a good use for a pesky half pound of ground beef.  I didn’t think it’d be enough meat, but it was exactly the right amount.  I really enjoy pasta in the Instant Pot.  Not only does it become a No-Watch meal, but if cooked correctly it turns the pasta into plumpier (is that a word? screw it…) bits of goodness.  It also uses some of the fish sauce you bought for one recipe a month ago…  If you don’t have any, you could leave it out with decent results.

Mall Food at Home (aka Bourbon Chicken) Mark stops EVERY. SINGLE. time someone is waving a tiny piece of Bourbon Chicken on a toothpick.  Plus always goes back for seconds and doesn’t care if the employee recognizes him.  So I was really hopeful for this recipe.  Fine there’s no actual bourbon in it (name comes from the flavors…), I got over this fact long enough to try it.  I love chicken thighs.  I believe they kick Chicken Breasts’ ass..  Why?  They’re much cheaper, they have more flavor and do so much better in the Instant Pot than chicken breast.  But I thought the cooking time was a little long on this recipe.  So I adjusted the cooking time to 5 minutes, Natural Release for 5 minutes, and then Quick Release.  Check for doneness.  If not fully cooked, put it back on for another minute.  Serve with white rice.

Healthy Good Mornings  Before the Instant Pot, I had never tried Steel Cuts oats because of the cooking time.  Who’s got time for that shit in the morning?!  So I really wanted to try the sped up Instant Pot version.  But I struggled finding a good steel cut oats recipes.  Every one I tried didn’t taste good. Maybe this was how steel cut oats actually tasted…  I wasn’t ready to give up.  I stumbled on this one and the cup in pot method made a huge difference.  Another plus?  This recipe is a really good use of the timer function.  Set it up the night before and wake up to a warm healthy breakfast!

Pulled Pork with a Twist  I buy our pork butt from Costco.  Which means I buy about 12-16 pounds at a time.  I wrap them in smaller portions, shove them in the freezer and wait for a large hungry crowd.  This recipe was a hit.  I think in large part due to its non-traditional pulled pork flavors.  If mid summer has got you sick of normal BBQ-y pulled pork, try this one!  Don’t forget the slaw.  If you need to speed up the cooking time, cut the butt into smaller pieces.  4 big pieces will probably only take 50 minutes.  Always test if you can shred the pork easily with a fork.  If you can, try shredding it in your mixer!  Faster and way more fun.  Edit:  I’ve seen a few forum comments mention that the fat in pork butt makes it mushy when you use a mixer to shred it.  I thought mine was mushy ONLY because I added too much of the reserved liquid.  Maybe it was my mixer as the first time it was perfect, but I used forks that time.  I will say that the mixer works perfectly for shredded chicken.

Best yogurt tutorial  I go through phases with yogurt.  I really wish I loved it.  Mark also went through a longer phase with yogurt, so his phase indulged my Instant Pot curiosity phase.  This recipe was also approved by his co-workers.  It makes enough to share if you live in a house with people who go through yogurt phases…  One note: yogurt takes a long time to make.  I’m still trying to find the best time to start it…  I always use a half gallon of milk and a heaping tablespoon of Greek yogurt.

How about I share my favorite Mac n’ Cheese recipe?  Who doesn’t love a good Mac n’ Cheese?  It’s a handy back pocket recipe!  Little ones coming over?  Mac n’ Cheese!  A dish for a new neighbor?  Mac n’ Cheese!  Need something to make you feel cozy?  Mac n’ Cheese!  (Fine… Unless you can’t eat dairy, then it’s your enemy and I feel sorry for you)

Healthy-ish Mac n’ Cheese

adapted from “The Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook”

serves 6

  • 1 lb. uncooked whole-wheat macaroni (or regular. whatever is leftover in your pantry.  but whole wheat pasta cooks beautifully in the IP.  I never could get the right balance on my stove.)
  • 3 T. butter
  • 1 t. yellow mustard
  • 1 T. kosher salt
  • 1/4 t ground black pepper
  • 4 C. water
  • 1 (12 oz.) can of evaporated milk
  • 10 oz. of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 8 oz. of shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 oz. of Parmesan cheese

Note on cheese…  I’ve made this using the exact cheeses and the exact amounts.  I’ve made this with a little less and I’ve made this with Colby, mozzarella, and just a handful of Parm.  Get crazy, Folks.  The world is yours!

  1. Fill the instant pot to the 4 cup line and set to Saute.  Add butter, pasta, mustard, salt and pepper.  Give it a quick stir.  Secure the lid.
  2. Select Manual and cook at high pressure for half the time as the lowest cooking time minus one minute (A good point for ALL pasta dishes).  I do 4 minutes for regular macaroni.
  3. When finished cooking, release pressure by turning the valve.  A towel over the valve is helpful because sometimes pasta water spurts out…
  4. Check pasta.  If not tender, cook for another 2-3 minutes on Saute.
  5. If done, select Saute (I always forget that I have to hit Cancel before I hit Saute).  Add evaporated milk.  Stir well and then add cheeses by the handful.  Stir until melted.  Add another handful.  Continue until you’ve got a creamy ooey-gooey masterpiece…

And now the world is yours again!  Pour it in a 9×13 pan.  Add butter and breadcrumbs.  Broil until golden.

OR let it cool in the pan.  Put in fridge until later.  Pull it out and bring to room temp.  Bake in a 400 degree oven until warmed about 30 minutes.

I promise to share hits with you.  I’m testing a new baked beans recipe this weekend.  Bourbon and orange flavors…  If it works out and y’all will be the first to hear about it.  I like standards and what’s more standard than a solid baked bean recipe for the Summer?

I did not include my family’s all-time favorite recipe.  Not because I’m selfish, but because I tweak it a bit and I really want to include pictures.  I want to nail this one for y’all.

IP low-country seafood boil

I’m aware that this picture has nothing to do with these recipes, but what’s a blog post without a picture?  

It’s shit that’s what!  

But it’s a good reference for what can fit in one pot.  See that big bowl on the left?  All inside one pot.  The 6 quart makes a good amount of food, Folks.  I used two Instant Pots to make two servings of a Low-Country Seafood Boil (his rib recipes are really tasty).  If you look really close, you’ll see a Mac n’ Cheese in the background.