Quick Instant Pot Corn Chowder

Quick Instant Pot Corn Chowder

You know when you think you’re grabbing the paprika but you grab the cayenne by mistake, dump a whole spoonful into the pot, stir it up, and then read the label? Anyone? 

I didn’t think so. But, um, it totally happened when I was first testing this soup. Maybe you have had a similar experience, but if you haven’t, let me spell it out for you: 

S.P.I.C.Y. 

At least thats what happened with this particular mistake. HA! 

But, I made it through that bowl of extra spicy soup and thought, hey, when you taste past the cayenne this is pretty dang good. Once your mouth stops burning and all. (I love spicy food, but this just was a bit too much, something even a half cup of heavy cream stirred in didn’t calm). 

Quick Instant Pot Corn Chowder
Quick Instant Pot Corn Chowder

Assuming you can read the labels on your spice jars, this corn chowder is the stuff summer evenings are made of. At least it is for me, because it reminds me of sitting on the back patio at my mom’s house as a kid, slurping on corn chowder while the sun ducks down behind the mountains and the day’s heat finally gives way to a cool evening breeze. (Hi Mom, maybe you should send me that recipe?!) 

This version is lighter that the one of my childhood (and most chowders, really) — forgoing flour and bacon, it is full of fresh corn flavor and has creaminess from yukon gold potatoes and a splash of the good stuff (half and half). And really, when it’s this hot of a summer, light is what it’s alllll about. 

Quick Instant Pot Corn Chowder

Quick Instant Pot Corn Chowder

Published July 5, 2018 by
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Serves: 4   |    Active Time: 20 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 1/2 large white onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 2 medium yukon gold potatoes, diced
  • 16 ounces frozen corn kernels, thawed, reserve 2 tablespoons for topping
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, minced plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1-3 dashes of cayenne, to taste
  • Dash of paprika for garnish
  • Optional: shredded cheddar cheese for garnish

  • Directions:

    1. Heat coconut oil in the bottom of an Instant Pot (affiliate link!) on the sauté setting. Add the diced onion, minced garlic, carrot, and bell pepper until the onions are transparent.
    2. Add potatoes, corn kernels, 2 tablespoons minced parsley, salt, pepper, bay leaf, thyme, and broth. Place lid on Instant Pot and turn to the Soup setting, setting the timer to 4 minutes with the vent in the sealed position.
    3. After the timer goes off, release the pressure. Remove the thyme and bay leaf. Using an immersion blender (like this one (affiliate link!)) purée the soup, leaving a few chunks according to you preference. Stir in the half and half, and add cayenne to taste.
    4. Serve soup hot in bowls, topped with a fresh fresh corn kernels, a dash of paprika, minced parsley, and optionally, shredded cheddar.

    No-Noodle Lasagna

    No-Noodle Lasagna

    The first lasagna recipe I published on this blog called for twenty ingredients. TWENTY! That is not a typo. (I'm embarrassed to even link to that recipe, oh how much I've learned since 2015!)

    Lasagna is one of those things that just has a lot of components, but I was on a mission with this one: Simplify. Because some weeks, even just having twenty ingredients on your shopping list is stressful. Right??

    This version has less than half that number of ingredients. That said, it still needs to bake for 50 minutes, so if you are trying to serve this on a weeknight, doing all the prep ahead of time will help you out.

    No-Noodle Lasagna
    No-Noodle Lasagna

    This one is about the essentials:

    • A good marinara sauce. I used store bought, but you can also use this 20-minute recipe. I'm all for homemade but some times you have to cut yourself a break! 
    • Ricotta cheese. Any excuse to use ricotta cheese is welcome, if you ask me. But it's also the creamy layer in lasagna, and arguably the best part. 
    • Mozzarella! You might be thinking, two different kinds of cheese? Yes! (And a third, if you keep reading). Mozzarella adds the gooey, stringy cheese texture to the top of the casserole. And that third cheese? Parmesan, which I mostly added for good measure, and also it's flavor.
    • Meat. In this case, Italian Sausage. I love the flavor of hot Italian sausage, but you could easily use ground beef if you prefer. Many chefs choose to mix the two, in fact, but again simple was the name of the game here.
    • Noodles -- but in this case, actually eggplant sliced thin and used in place of noodles. Eggplant goes so well with lasagna flavors. Bring on the veggies!

    What is not essential to lasagna is the spinach layer, but I added it in because if I'm going to be cooking a lasagna, I may as well cover all of my bases instead of also making a side salad. 

    No-Noodle Lasagna
    No-Noodle Lasagna

    No-Noodle Lasagna

    Published July 12, 2018 by
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    Serves: 8   |    Active Time: 90 minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cups marinara sauce (choose one that has basil or garlic, or make your own )
  • 1-2 eggplants (1 large or 2 medium)
  • 16 ounces ricotta
  • 16 ounces hot Italian sausage, ground
  • 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan, plus more for serving
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Optional: minced parsley for garnish

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 450°F, and slice eggplants in thin, long strips — about 1/4-inch thick. Spread slices out in a single layer on a sheet pan, and brush with olive oil. Place in oven and roast for 20 minutes, until eggplant begins to soften.
    2. Meanwhile, brown sausage in a skillet over medium heat. Once cooked, set aside.
    3. Place thawed spinach in a strainer, and squeeze out as much extra water as possible.
    4. Make the lasagna: spread 1/2 cup sauce in the bottom of a 9x16-inch baking dish. Arrange half of the eggplant strips as “noodles” in a single layer. Spread ricotta cheese over eggplant, and then top with sausage crumbles. Next, spread the spinach in a layer. Spread 1/2 cup sauce over top, and then layer the remaining eggplant in a second layer. Top with another 1/2 cup of sauce, and then top with shredded mozzarella and 1/2 cup parmesan.
    5. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F, and bake lasagna covered for 25 minutes, and then uncovered for 25 minutes.
    6. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, and then top with minced parsley. Slice and serve. Top with parmesan if desired.

    Roasted Trout with Lemon & Rosemary

    Pan Roasted Trout with Lemon & Rosemary

    My first (and maybe my last?) fishing pole was a Mickey Mouse fishing pole.

    With a conviction to teach his daughter where food came from, my dad took me fishing when I was young. I remember catching a fish just once, but remember at least several meals while camping that my dad had caught on a hook.

    In Colorado our fishing access is limited to creeks and reservoirs (there are a few lakes, but they are tiny). It seems it is always trout, though I really know nothing about fishing, so I could be wrong. But what I know is that many a meal was served to me as a kid, where a whole trout was seasoned and roasted. I struggled to learned how to separate the meat from the bones in one fell swoop, usually picking them out one by one. 

    i know that seeing the whole fish is off putting to some— I don’t blame you. But to me, it’s part of the experience. It says something about that dish; makes it feel “more,” like maybe your dad caught the fish himself.

    Pan Roasted Trout with Lemon & Rosemary
    Pan Roasted Trout with Lemon & Rosemary

    Fresh, trout can have a quite mild flavor. It’s meat is flakey and delicate, and pairs well with a spritz of lemon, a side of potatoes, and fresh herbs. 

    It feels like a hallmark of summer to me: a sign that the creeks are gushing and full of life, a part of camping season, and best enjoyed with other fresh summer finds, like rosemary. 

    Pan Roasted Trout with Lemon & Rosemary

    Roasted Trout with Lemon & Rosemary

    Published June 26, 2018 by
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    Yields: 2-4   |    Active Time: 45 minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 2 whole trout, dedressed 
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 springs rosemary 
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 3 cups diced red potatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss diced potatoes and minced garlic in olive oil. Spread out on a sheet pan, and sprinkle with half of the salt and pepper. Then, bake for 30 minutes, until potatoes are just starting to turn golden on the outside.
    2. Meanwhile, season each fish with the remaining salt & pepper. Then, place half of the lemon slices and 1 sprig of rosemary in the cavity of each fish. If desired, tie the fish closed with twine.
    3. After the potatoes have cooked for 30 minutes, push them to either side of the baking sheet to make room for the fish. Place each fish on the pan, and return pan to oven for 20 minutes, or until meat is opaque and easily flakes when pricked with a fork. Potatoes should also be tender all the way through when pricked with a fork. Serve hot.