Pressure Cooker Old-Fashioned Rice Pudding

I absolutely love dessert, especially old-fashioned, comfort desserts, and rice pudding fits the bill of comfort food in my book. However, I don’t like having to babysit the rice to make the pudding, so I don’t often make it. That changed when I got an Instant Pot pressure cooker.




I saw a bunch of recipes on Pinterest for rice pudding, and believe me you can find just about any flavor combination you want on Pinterest, but I wanted a plain, old-fashioned rice pudding recipe. I found one at Pressure Cooking Today’s website, and it’s a keeper. I’ve made this twice, and I haven’t even had my Instant Pot for a week! The first time I made the recipe as is, with the exception of using heavy cream for half of the milk the recipe calls for, but with my family, this didn’t make nearly enough. The second time I made it, I doubled all the ingredients and extended the pressure cooking time by 1 minute. It turned out perfectly delicious.

You can use whatever kind of rice you want in this, but I used Arborio rice, the kind you use to make risotto. It gives the pudding a creamier texture

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Pressure Cooker Old-Fashioned Rice Pudding

1 cup Arborio rice

1-1/2 cups water

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups whole milk, divided (I used 1 cup heavy cream and 1 cup whole milk)

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon good vanilla

3/4 cup raisins (optional)

 

In a pressure cooking pot, combine the rice, water, and salt. Lock the lid in place, and select High Pressure and 3 minutes of cook time. When the beep sounds after pressure cooking is completed, turn off the pressure cooker, and use a natural pressure release for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, use the quick-release feature to release any remaining pressure.

Add 1-1/2 cups milk and the sugar to the rice in the pressure cooking pot, stirring to combine.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk the eggs with the remaining 1/2 cup milk and the vanilla until thoroughly combined. Add mixture to the rice in the cooking pot.

Select the sauté function and cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until the mixture starts to boil. Turn off the pressure cooker. Remove the cooking pot from the pressure cooker, and stir in the raisins if using.

Serve hot or refrigerate until chilled and serve. I let the pudding sit for 15 to 20 minutes after I added the raisins and then served, but it’s good either hot or cold.

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Pressure Cooker Beef Stew

I love quick and easy recipes given my busy work schedule. Even though I work from home, it seems like I have less time to cook a delicious meal than I did when I worked outside the house, so I’m always looking for ways to speed up the process. I’d been looking at different pressure cookers for some time but never could decide on a stovetop version or an electric cooker, but when Amazon had a deal on CyberMonday on Instant Pot pressure cookers, I decided to take the plunge and get one.

I’m so hooked on this Instant Pot, and I can’t believe it took me this long to actually get one. It really does deliver a taste that you think took all day to achieve but in the fraction of the time. The first recipe I tried was a traditional beef stew. I had a cheaper cut of beefsteak plus some leftover prime rib to use in my stew, and to be honest, you really couldn’t tell the difference between the two in the finished product as far as tenderness, although you could still tell which type of beef it was based on texture. This Instant Pot is going to be a great way to buy more inexpensive cuts of meat and still end up with a tender bite in the end, and I can’t wait to try a beef roast in this.




I looked at various recipes on Pinterest for pressure cooker beef stew, mostly to get an idea of the times each stage of cooking would take. Some recipes called for adding all ingredients at the same time to the pressure cooker, but I decided to pressure cook the beef first and add the rest of the vegetables at a later stage. If you have an Instant Pot, it has a sauté feature where you can brown your meat in the pot itself, but I like to brown meat in my cast iron skillet. I then added the browned meat to the Instant Pot and continued as the recipe says. It turned out fantastic.

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Pressure Cooker Beef Stew

2 pounds beef roast, cubed into 1-inch pieces

About 2 tablespoons flour

3 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and black pepper

8 ounces beef stock

8 ounces dry red wine (I used a Merlot)

1 pound carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 large onion, diced into medium-sized pieces

2 cups of medium-diced potatoes (about 4 to 5 potatoes)

1 teaspoon garlic powder (or to taste)

1-1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or to taste)

 

Select the sauté function on the Instant Pot, and add the olive oil. Dredge beef cubes in the flour, and sauté beef in the olive oil until browned on all sides. Salt and pepper the beef to taste as it browns. Add the beef stock and wine, and place the lid on the pot, making sure the lever is set to the pressurize setting. Using the manual button, cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Using the quick-release valve, release the built-up pressure, and remove the lid. Add the remaining ingredients to the pot. Replace the lid. Again using the manual setting, cook on high pressure for 30 minutes. Either let the pressure naturally release, or you can use the quick-release function again to release the pressure. Remove the lid and serve the stew.
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Pina Colada Cheesecake

Years ago I bought several Southern Living recipe collection cookbooks, and while I’ve found numerous recipes in them that I absolutely love, I think this cheesecake recipe is my family’s favorite. It’s creamy, easy to make, and it tastes like a trip to the tropics. My family requested this cheesecake for Thanksgiving this year instead of the usual pumpkin one I usually make, and it was a huge hit.

While this recipe is not Paleo, I did make it gluten-free as I used gluten-free graham-style cracker crumbs in the crust. You can’t tell the difference.




The key to making a good cheesecake is having ingredients at room temperature. The cream cheese and the eggs whip up easily at room temperature so you can get more air into your cheesecake batter. The one exception is the sour cream, but that is mixed in during the later stages, so I just pull that from the refrigerator when needed.

The original recipe calls for pecans in the crust, and it’s good that way, but I sometimes change it up and use macadamia nuts instead. I think it gives the cheesecake an even more tropical taste. Whichever nut you use, it will be delicious. 🙂

 

 

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Pina Colada Cheesecake

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1-3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (I used gluten-free)

3/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts (can use pecans)

1 tablespoon sugar

3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened to room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

5 large eggs, at room temperature

1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained

1 cup cream of coconut

1 cup sour cream

1/3 cup light rum

4 teaspoons coconut extract (I usually use good vanilla extract)

Glaze (Ingredients and instructions below)

Garnishes: Whipped cream and toasted coconut

 

Stir together the first 4 ingredients, and press into the bottom and halfway up the sides of a lightly greased 10-inch springform pan. Set pan aside.

Beat cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar at medium speed in a large mixing bowl for 3 minutes, or until the cream cheese is fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the crushed pineapple and the next 4 ingredients, beating until well blended. Pour the batter into the crust.

Bake the cheesecake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 75 minutes, or until the center is almost set. It will jiggle in the middle but firms up as it cools. Cool on a wire rack. Spread the glaze over top of the cooled cheesecake. Cover and chill for at least 8 hours or overnight. Garnish as desired.

 

Glaze:

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon water

1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple (plus the juice)

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

 

Stir together the cornstarch and water until smooth. In a small saucepan, combine the cornstarch mixture, crushed pineapple, 1/4 cup sugar, and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes or until the mixture is thickened and bubbly. Remove from the heat, and cool completely before glazing the cheesecake.

 

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Mom’s Dinner Rolls

We stayed home this year for Thanksgiving. Our oldest son was recovering from surgery, and my parents were traveling to Kansas to have Thanksgiving dinner with my father’s sister and brothers, so I asked my family what they wanted for dinner. These rolls were the first thing they mentioned. “We have to have Grandma’s rolls” was the request. Of course it was. I hadn’t made these rolls since we lived in our old house — and that was over 18 years ago. I’ve never had to because we go to my parents for the holidays, and Mom makes the rolls. But what’s a Mom to do when her oldest son gives her those puppy dog eyes and says please??




I’ve been following a gluten-free Paleo-style diet, but I didn’t want to tweak this recipe this time. That will be for a future baking trial when I’ve got plenty of time to play with the different flour types. Mom also used this dough recipe to make delicious cinnamon rolls, and I’ll add those instructions at the end of the post. I didn’t make the prettiest rolls by any means. They’re larger than Mom’s, but again, I haven’t made these in close to 20 years, but I was pretty happy with how they tasted, and the boys were very happy with the results. The rolls definitely didn’t last long 🙂

 

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Mom’s Dinner Rolls

1 package dry yeast (or 2-1/4 teaspoons)

1 cup lukewarm water (115 degrees Fahrenheit)

1 cup milk, scalded

6 cups all-purpose or bread flour, divided

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg beaten

 

Mix together the yeast and the warm water. Let set until the yeast begins to proof, about 5 minutes. While the yeast is proofing, scald 1 cup of milk. Let cool to room temperature.

Combine the yeast mixture and the cooled milk in a large mixing bowl. Add 3 cups of flour to the bowl, and mix until thoroughly combined.

In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar, melted butter, salt, and beaten egg. Add to the flour mixture, and mix until combined. Gradually add the remaining 3 cups of flour 1/2 cup at a time (you may not need the entire 3 cups), and knead with the bread hook on your mixer until it pulls away from the bowl.

Place the dough in a large greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled in size. When doubled in size, punch down the dough, cover the bowl, and let the dough rise again. Form dough into dinner rolls or cinnamon rolls (instructions below), and place rolls on a greased baking sheet. Let the rolls rise again for approximately 30 to 40 minutes.

Bake rolls at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 20 minutes depending on your oven. After removing the rolls from the oven, brush the tops of the rolls with butter while the rolls are still warm.

 

To Make Cinnamon Rolls:

Prepare dough as above. After the dough has risen the second time, roll out the dough in an oblong shape. On the dough, spread softened butter and sprinkle generously with a sugar/cinnamon mixture. Roll up the dough jelly-roll style, and slice into individual rolls. Place on a greased baking sheet and let rise again for 30 to 40 minutes. Bake as above. Glaze the rolls with your favorite frosting while they’re still warm.

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Paleo Banana Blueberry Muffins

I’m always looking to modify favorite recipes to a more Paleo-friendly or at least gluten-free version. My kids love it when I bake, but I admit I haven’t baked as much since switching to a Paleo-type diet. I will still occasionally bake, as I did for Thanksgiving, but I either can’t partake in what I’ve made, or if I do I pay for it later with horrid GI symptoms.




I’ve save a ton of recipes on my Pinterest site, so if you’re looking for a starting place with gluten-free and/or Paleo recipes, be sure to check out the link at the end of this post. Let’s be honest. I collect recipes, and I’ve done so my entire life. Pinterest is a huge enabler for this hobby, and I love the fact that I can find gluten-free and Paleo recipes for just about anything on Pinterest. There are some talented cooks and bakers out there who have graciously shared their creations with the world, and I for one am extremely grateful for it. I found this delicious and easy recipe on the Bakerita blog, and it has tons of terrific Paleo and gluten-free recipes. Whenever I make a Paleo or gluten-free recipe, I usually don’t tell my sons that I’ve made a modified recipe until after they’ve eaten it, so when they kept going back for more of these muffins, I knew I’d found a keeper 🙂

You could make these into mini muffins, and the recipe says it will make 36, but I made regular-sized muffins and ended up with 15 yummy treats.

 

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Paleo Banana Blueberry Muffins

 

4 ripe bananas, mashed

4 eggs

1/2 cup almond butter

4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon real vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

1-1/2 cups blueberries

 

Line a muffin tin with muffin liners, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl or mixer, combine the mashed banana, eggs, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and nut butter until thoroughly combined.

Add the coconut flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt to the wet ingredients, and mix until just combined. Fold in the blueberries.

Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, and fill each muffin cup about two-thirds full.

Bake in the preheated oven for 22 to 25 minutes (11 to 13 minutes if making mini muffins), or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Remove from the oven, and allow muffins to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Remove muffins from the pan, and let cool completely on a wire rack.

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Bacon and Potato Quiche

I needed something quick and easy to fix one weekend morning after Cody’s surgery, but I didn’t have time to run to the grocery store for any special ingredients. I stumbled across this quiche recipe on Simply Stacie’s website, and it’s definitely a keeper. I had all the ingredients on hand, so throwing it all together was a snap. It has everything in it that makes a great weekend breakfast: potatoes, bacon, cheese, and eggs.  The original recipe called for an entire package of bacon, but I only used half, and there was plenty of bacon in my opinion. My sons, of course, said next time to use the entire package. 🙂

 




You could probably make this crustless if you wanted, but since I had a couple store-bought pie crusts in the freezer, this was one way to get rid of them and make some room in the freezer. Feel free to add different ingredients to what is listed in the recipe (mushrooms and/or spinach would be awesome) or change up the spices if you don’t care for thyme. Since it’s almost Thanksgiving and my outdoor chives are dormant, I omitted the chives that the recipes calls for, but once they’re up in the spring, I plan to make this with fresh chives, which should add another layer of onion-y flavor that will be delicious. Enjoy!

 

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Bacon and Potato Quiche

 

1 refrigerated pie crust

Half a package of bacon, cut into 1/2-inch slices

1 onion, finely chopped

1 cup potatoes, cut into a small dice

1 teaspoon fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)

1-1/2 cups half and half

4 eggs

Salt and pepper

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped (optional)

 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9-inch pie plate with the refrigerated pie crust, pressing to fit. (Or use a premade frozen pastry shell like I did). Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork. Bake to 8 to 10 minutes until lightly browned. Turn down the oven temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Drain bacon pieces on a paper towel and set aside. Leave about 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings in the pan.

Add onions, potatoes, and thyme to the skillet, and cook for about 10 minutes on medium heat until the potatoes are soft, stirring occasionally.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the half and half, eggs, and salt and pepper. Set aside.

Spread the shredded cheddar cheese on the bottom of the prebaked pie shell. Top with bacon pieces and the potato mixture. Pour the egg mixture over top, and sprinkle with chopped chives if using.

Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 40 minutes or until the filling is set when you test it with a knife. Let the quiche stand for a few minutes before cutting and serving.

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Paleo Meatloaf

I love meatloaf, and so does my family, so this is one of the first recipes I tweaked when I decided to follow a Paleo diet. Before I would use bread crumbs, which now, of course, is off limits. I also used brown sugar in the topping, which is another no-no. Other than that, I really didn’t have to make a lot of changes to my normal meatloaf recipe, and when the family tried it, they said they actually liked this recipe better. I paired the meatloaf with some grilled onions and a nice tossed salad – quick and easy dinner menu.

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If you’re like me, once you decide to go Paleo, you have to change several ingredients that have been staples in your pantry. Flour is an obvious one, but you also have to look at things such as soy sauce, salad dressings, mayo, and other ingredients that contain hidden gluten. My small town of just over 3,000 people has a small, family-owned grocery store. To their credit, when they recently expanded, they did start stocking some gluten-free products – just the basics, however. I have to go to Iowa City (thank you Lucky’s Market and Hy-Vee) to find a lot of the ingredients that Paleo and gluten-free recipes call for. And they’re not cheap. Luckily, I’ve found a few places online where you can find affordable Paleo and gluten-free products. Each has it’s pros and cons. Some have fast shipping (Amazon). Some have a yearly fee but cheap prices compared to my local stores (Thrive Market), and some drop the price tag in your cart depending on how much you purchase (Jet.com). I really like Thrive. You get 30 days of free membership to see if you like the products, and I tried a bunch in those 30 days! If you’re interested, there are ways you can save even more by referring a friend to join with you. If they join, you receive$25 in Thrive cash to spend on the website however you wish: win-win!

Now for the recipe. Keep in mind that I’ve made this recipe for years, and I really don’t have exact measurements for the spices. I just go by dashes and shakes, so feel free to adjust seasonings to your family’s tastes.

 

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Paleo Meatloaf

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

1/2 cup gluten-free Panko bread crumbs (I used Ian’s gluten-free Panko)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

Couple dashes of gluten-free soy sauce (I used San-J Organic Tamari)

Organic gluten-free ketchup (I used Cucina Antica – this is good and tastes better than Heinz!)

Prepared mustard

Real maple syrup

 

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl combine the ground beef, eggs, Panko, and seasonings. Add a couple dashes of soy sauce and a couple of squirts of the ketchup. You want enough ketchup just to make the ground beef really stick together. Combine everything until thoroughly mixed.

Place meatloaf in a medium-sized baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking oil (use something Paleo friendly like olive oil or coconut oil). In the same bowl, add a couple squirts of ketchup, some mustard, and about a tablespoon of the maple syrup, and stir to combine. Taste to see if you need more of one or more ingredients. When you’re happy with the flavor, pour the sauce over the top of the meatloaf, evenly coating it.

Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 50 minutes, or until the meatloaf tests done.

 

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Pan-Seared Ahi Tuna

My son and I went to Lucky’s Market in Iowa City and found some beautiful Ahi tuna steaks. Since seafood is on the Paleo diet, I decided to try my hand at cooking these, something I’ve never done but always wanted to try.

I surfed the Internet looking at a variety of different Paleo blogs and recipes, and there’s even one that Chris Kresser included in his Paleo literature, which called for Chinese 5-spice, which sounded good, but I wanted to try something simple for my first time cooking an actual tuna steak.




I found this recipe at Paleo Hacks, and it sounded perfect for what I wanted to do. Her recipe called for poppy seeds, which I’m sure would be a tasty addition, but I decided to omit those this time. I paired our tuna steaks with roasted baby carrots and some organic greens topped with a delicious balsamic lemon vinaigrette, and we finished off the meal with fresh berries and whipped coconut cream for dessert. Not a bad way to start out our new Paleo lifestyle 🙂

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Pan-Seared Ahi Tuna

1 Ahi tuna steak

Generous dab of grass-fed ghee

Extra-virgin olive oil (optional)

Poppy seeds (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Take your tuna steak out of the refrigerator 30 minutes or so prior to cooking. Rub it with salt and pepper.

Melt the ghee in a cast iron skillet on fairly high heat. Drizzle in a little olive oil if using.

Sear the tuna steak for about 1 to 3 minutes on each side, depending how rare you want the steak to be. Remove steak from the pan, and let it sit for a minute or two before serving.

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Turmeric-Roasted Cauliflower

I love cauliflower, but usually when I buy a head, the guys get into it and eat it raw before I can do anything with it. This time, however, I wised up and bought 2 heads – one for them and one for this recipe.




I’d seen lots of roasted cauliflower recipes on Pinterest, and I modified one to our family’s tastes. I turned out pretty good, and there weren’t any leftovers, so I’d say it was a hit! I paired this with Lemon, Garlic, and Herb Salmon, and they really worked well together. I paired the two with a nice green salad – perfect Paleo meal 🙂

 

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Turmeric-Roasted Cauliflower

6 cups of cauliflower florets (1 large head)

2 to 3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

1/4 cup good olive oil

1/2 to 1 teaspoon turmeric (to your family’s taste)

Sea salt (to taste)

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

 

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick olive oil spray.

Place the cauliflower florets and the smashed garlic in a large bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil, and stir to completely coat the veggies.

In a small bowl, combine the turmeric, sea salt, and crushed red pepper flakes. Sprinkle the mixture over the cauliflower, turning to evenly coat.

Place the cauliflower on the prepared baking sheet, spreading them out evenly. Bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for about 25 minutes, or until the edges are nicely browned, and the cauliflower is tender. Serve warm.

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Lemon, Garlic, and Herb Baked Salmon

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but rest assured I’m still doing my Paleo diet! Work has kept me busy, and then there were all the garden veggies that needed to be canned or worked up (green beans, sweet corn, dill and sweet pickles, and tomatoes).




 

I do have a couple new Paleo recipes to share, though. I tried these both last night, and my family said they were hits and I could make them again. If you like salmon, this recipe is super easy to make, and it only takes a few minutes in the oven before dinner is ready. I paired this salmon dish with Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower and a nice green salad, and dinner was on the table in no-time flat.

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Lemon, Garlic, and Herb Baked Salmon

8 salmon fillets

3 ounces grass-fed butter or ghee

1 teaspoon sea salt

Zest of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped

1 garlic clove, finely minced

 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray (or use a little melted butter or ghee). Place salmon fillets skin side down in the baking dish.

Melt the butter or ghee in a small bowl in the microwave. Add the salt, herbs, and minced garlic to the butter, and stir to thoroughly combine.

Using a pastry brush, brush the melted butter mixture over each salmon fillet.

Bake fillets at 400 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through and easily flakes with a fork.

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