Instant Pot Coconut Rice

Instant Pot Coconut Rice

Soggy, strangely sweet, and topped with bland tofu, my first experience with coconut rice was terrible. It was also my first experience with tofu, and that probably didn’t help. Being seven years old didn’t really lean in my favor, either. I remember picking at my bowl and barely eating, even though the rule in our family was “you eat this now or you go hungry.” 

I eventually learned to like tofu, but managed to steered clear of coconut rice for twenty years, traumatized by that experience. So, I’m not really sure what possessed me one day in February when I decided to make my own coconut rice. I shocked myself further when, halfway through the first bowl I thought, needs more coconut, and served myself seconds. 

Instant Pot Coconut Rice
Instant Pot Coconut Rice

It turns out, I love coconut rice. That first sample was far too long ago for me to remember what was wrong with it. But, now I find myself on quite the coconut rice kick — it’s the perfect side for Thai dishes. 

All you need is rice, water, coconut milk and a sprinkle of salt. I find that the salt is necessary because it keeps it savory rather than sweet. In other applications, maybe you would want to swing more sweet and in that case you could skip the salt.

Of course, cooking it in an Instant Pot (affiliate link) is also key, which is the only way I cook rice because it’s fool proof and SO EASY. (I’m a home cook that tends to get distracted, or maybe just tried to juggle too many things at once. Cooking rice on the stove is a gamble: Will she burn it this time? But cooking rice in the Instant Pot is right on the mark every time, no matter how many other things I’m trying to do.)

Instant Pot Coconut Rice goes wonderfully with this Thai Basil Beef, or any stir fry, really.

Instant Pot Coconut Rice

Instant Pot Coconut Rice

Published April 24, 2018 by
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Serves: 6   |    Total Time: 20 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 2 cups jasmine rice 
  • 1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1-2 pinches salt 
  • 1/4 cup toasted coconut
  • Minced cilantro or green onions for garnish

Directions:

  1. Add rice, coconut milk, water, and salt to Instant Pot (affiliate link!) and set to Rice setting with the vent turned to the sealed position. Timer should be set for 12 minutes.
  2. When timer goes off, open vent to release pressure. Serve hot topped with minced cilantro/green onions and/or toasted coconut.

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Slow Cooker Chili con Carne

Chile con Carne
Slow Cooker Chili con Carne

It is 5am but I have given up on sleep. I awoke from a nightmare at 4am, and have been up since. Writing this post seemed like the thing to do when I finally gave up on sleeping, because in the quiet it's easy to write, and because the warmth of my own kitchen was exactly the comfort I needed in that moment. It is a bit to early to eat Chili con Carne, so I'm drinking coffee as I write this instead, and it'll do. 

I knew it was a dream, because I wasn't me, and I didn't know the people I was with. Still, it was vivid. I drove down the highway, with a passenger--a man- in the seat to my right, and two people in the back. I saw it as it happened, some twenty cars ahead of me: a collision. And then before I even had time to blink an eye, the car in front of me had halted. It seemed bigger than it had before. Is that possible? Either way, the vehicle in front of us was closer to my windshield than felt possible, and even though I was already braking it was too late. I felt myself flying forward, now in slow motion, and wondered for a split second if the airbags would go off, and what they would feel like. 

I woke then, with a start. My heart racing, panic in my breath, and a scream in my throat. For a few minutes, I could still picture it perfectly, and wondered their fate. But I knew. It seemed an odd dream to me: I had no idea who the people were, and for the life of me I couldn't remember the beginning of the dream, the part that gave some context. I hardly ever remember my dreams, once a year at most. 

And there I was, back in my own room, under the covers (which were much too warm), with no sounds but the wind lapping the window and my own elevated heart rate. I rolled over and checked the time: 4am. I knew I wouldn't be able to get back to sleep, but I tried anyways. For an hour I laid there, thinking first of the dream and then letting my mind wander. It stumbled straight to this chili con carne. Perhaps it was just the growing anxiety that I needed to write this post and was procrastinating, or perhaps I was seeking comfort. The kitchen--cooking- has always been comfort to me. And what is more comforting that a steaming bowl of spicy stew? Plus, my tummy rumbled.

My mind hovered there for several minutes: guajillo chilis aren't very spicy but they have solid flavor, especially when turned into a sauce. This particular slow cooked chili con carne also calls for a tablespoon of cocoa powder--something my roommate was skeptical of- but it lends a smooth, rich note that you wouldn't otherwise get. There's no taste of chocolate, just an added richness that provides the chilis with a backdrop. 

Sauce aside this stew is simple, and exactly what it sounds like. Meat in chili sauce. You put beef chuck in your Instant Pot/Slow Cooker (affiliate link), and you add the sauce. That's it! I also like to add some red kidney beans, but this is completely optional (skip them for Paleo). And since the stew is so simple, it gives you time and room to play with toppings. Fresh cilantro, avocado, slices of lime, or minced red onion. Cheese is pretty good too (duh). 

Slow Cooker Chili con Carne
Slow Cooker Chili con Carne

Slow Cooker Chili con Carne

Published January 9, 2018 by
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Serves: 6   |    Total Time: 12.5 hrs



Ingredients:

  • 4 dried guajillo chiles (find them in the ethnic food isle, or online here (affiliate link))
  • 3 cups broth (beef or chicken)
  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional, adds spice)
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper 
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice 
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice 
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil 
  • 2 pounds beef chuck, cubed
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • Optional: 1 14-ounce can red kidney beans, strained and rinsed (skip for Paleo-friendly)
  • For serving: cilantro, red onion, avocado, limes

Directions:

  1. Heat a skillet over medium heat, and toast the chiles until they are fragrant. Then, carefully remove the stems and place the chiles in a blender jar along with the broth, chipotle chiles, chili powder, optional cayenne, salt, black pepper, can of tomatoes, cumin, oregano, coriander, allspice, cocoa powder, and lime juice. Blender until smooth, and set aside.
  2. Set your Instant Pot or Slow Cooker to the Sauté setting, and heat the coconut oil. Once it glistens, add the beef chuck, browning the pieces on all sides (about 3 minutes each side). Add the onion and garlic, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until fragrant. (Note: if your slow cooker does not have this setting, use a skillet on the stove over medium heat, and then transfer meat, garlic and onions to your slow cooker).
  3. Pour sauce into slow cooker over meat, and add two bay leaves. Add red kidney beans at this time if using. Stir and then secure lid on pot. Set to medium heat and cook for 12 hours.
  4. When ready to serve, garnish with cilantro, red onion, and lime wedges.

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One-Pot Beef & Broccoli

One-Pot Beef & Broccoli

I have been freakin' lazy when it comes to dinner lately. Everything from the garden in one pot? Suuuure. Stop at the store to get something that goes together? Naaah. 

This usually happens when I’m feeling uninspired, and this time was no exception. As soon as I started day dreaming about an Asian-style beef and broccoli, I was on my feet and headed to the grocery store. I guess I've just been in a take-out style meal sort of mood (like this Thai Basil Chicken), so this meal fits right in. 

Still, this one is a one-pot wonder, apt for a lazy mood.

One-Pot Beef & Broccoli
One-Pot Beef & Broccoli

Cashew Chicken was my go-to at Chinese restaurants as a kid, but I think if I had given Beef & Broccoli a shot, I would've loved it. Broccoli was one of my favorite vegetables… but I wasn’t as fond of steak... It required too much chewing for a fast eater like me! I still do not usually opt for steak over other choices unless it’s really good — there is one local restaurant where I know the steak is always tender, and I’ll order it there - but in this dish, steak works well. I use a sirloin, which is a tender cut, and you can even find it pre-cut which is even better.

This Asian-style dish hits the spot. It quick to throw together, and that's about all I've been wanting to commit to lately! A perfect weeknight family meal. 

One-Pot Beef & Broccoli

One-Pot Beef & Broccoli

Published August 24, 2017 by
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Serves: 4   |    Total Time: 30 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 1 pound sirloin steak
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 5 cloves minced garlic 
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger 
  • Optional: 3-5 minced Thai chiles (5 if you like your food spicy, less if you do not)
  • 3 cups broccoli florets

  • For the sauce:
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup 
  • 1 teaspoons arrowroot starch or corn starch
  • 1/4 cup beef broth

Directions:

  1. Slice sirloin against the grain into bite-sized pieces. Heat coconut oil in a wok over medium heat, and swirl in pan. Once melted, add the steak. Cook for 3 minutes, and then add the minced garlic, minced ginger, and Thai chiles. Stir.
  2. Cut the broccoli into bite sized pieces, and add to wok. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until broccoli is bright green.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together ingredients for sauce. Pour into wok, and stir to coat everything. Bring sauce to a simmer. Cook for several minutes, until sauce begins to thicken and steak is cooked to desired doneness.
  4. Serve hot on its own or over cauliflower or regular rice.

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