Pressure Cooker Honey Bourbon Chicken Wings

I had originally purchased some chicken wings thinking I would make some chicken stock in the Instant Pot, but when the snowstorm hit last weekend, I needed something quick to fix for my son and husband, who spent the weekend plowing snow. I came across a recipe on This Old Gal’s website, and it sounded yummy and delicious. I didn’t have any bourbon in the house, but I had some whiskey, which substituted just fine. I also discovered that the broiler on my stove wasn’t working (I rarely use it), so after pressure cooking the wings, I turned the oven up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and cooked the wings for 15 minutes (10 minutes without the glaze and an additional 5 minutes after I glazed the wings). The result was good, but the wings didn’t have the crispy texture that using the broiler would give. My youngest son had the suggestion to deep fry the wings first and then put them in the oven with the sauce for a few minutes. This would give the crispy texture we love on our wings, so I’ll try that next time. All in all, the sauce was delicious, and I’ll definitely make this again.

Pressure Cooker Honey Bourbon Chicken Wings

3/4 cup ketchup

1 tablespoon liquid smoke

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup onion, finely minced

2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced

4 to 5 pounds chicken wings

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup bourbon or whiskey

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper


Using the sauté function on your pressure cooker, sauté the ketchup, liquid smoke, brown sugar, onion, and garlic for about 5 minutes or until the sauce starts to thicken. Add the water and remaining ingredients, stirring to combine. Add the chicken wings, and stir to coat them with the sauce. Lock on the lid, making sure to close the pressure valve. Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. When the pressure cooker beeps, do a quick release to release the pressure.

Turn on the oven to broil.

Line a baking sheet with foil, and carefully remove the wings from the pressure cooker, and place them on the baking sheet. Place wings in the oven, and broil for 5 minutes on each side.

While the wings are in the oven, turn the pressure cooker back to sauté, and stir the sauce until it thickens.

After the wings have been under the broiler for 10 minutes, remove the baking sheet, and coat the wings with the thickened sauce. Place the wings back in the oven, and broil for an additional 5 minutes per side, or until the sauce and wings start to look crispy and brown.

Use any extra sauce for dipping.

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Rose Bowl Party Appetizers

Happy New Year everyone! Today my Iowa Hawkeye football team plays in the 102nd Rose Bowl in Pasadena, and while I wish my family could be there in person to watch them (hopefully!) beat Stanford, we’re having a Rose Bowl party at home instead. I decided to make things as easy as possible on the cooking side of things, since I know I’ll be too busy screaming at the television during the game, so I made several appetizers and finger foods that the gang could munch on before and during the game. Amana summer sausage, cheese and crackers, a shrimp platter and the appetizers below made to the table – who needs sunny Pasadena when you’ve got family, friends and good food together with a hard-hitting Iowa football game? 🙂

I love Chinese food, and crab rangoon is something I always look for on a Chinese buffet. I found this recipe for Crab Rangoon Crescent Cups on Pinterest, and the original recipe is on the Spend with Pennies blog. The boys went nuts over this – I think I got 2 bites lol. They’re that good. I doubled the recipe in order to have enough to go around.

crab rangoon crescent cups

crab rangoon crescent cups 2

Crab Rangoon Crescent Cups

1 package Pillsbury crescent rolls (regular size)
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 green onion, thinly sliced (I used about 2 tablespoons of finely minced red onion)
1 6-ounce can crab meat, drained
1 clove garlic, finely minced
Approximately 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, onion, garlic and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Gently fold in crab meat, and set aside.

Open crescent rolls, pinch seams together, and cut into 18 even squares.

Place crescent squares in a greased mini muffin pan, and gently press into the cups. Divide the filling between the crescent cups. Top each cup with a sprinkle of shredded mozzarella cheese.

Bake for 12 minutes, or until the cheese on top is nicely browned. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing.

Yield: 18 appetizers (I cut my dough a bit smaller and ended up with 24 appetizers per can of crescent rolls)

One of the appetizers I made I found on Noble Pig’s blog, Dill Pickle Dip. My family loves dill pickles, and who doesn’t love a good dip?

dill pickle dip

Dill Pickle Dip

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup pickle juice
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
2 cups diced pickles

In a large bowl, add cream cheese, red onion, pickle juice, garlic, Old Bay seasoning and black pepper. Combine with a hand mixer. Add the diced pickles, and continue mixing until fully combined. Refrigerate at least 3 hours and up to three days before serving. Serve with pretzels or chips.

Yield: 3 cups

I love using my Crock-Pot for appetizers. You can prepare the dishes ahead of time, and they’re ready to eat when you are. The first Crock-Pot recipe I made is Barbecue Bourbon Dogs. In my family, we grew up having these tiny hot dog appetizers for the holidays and get-togethers. It’s super easy with only three ingredients, and my family loves it. The recipe can easily be doubled or halved depending on the size of your crowd.

bbq bourbon dogs

Barbecue Bourbon Dogs

4 packages beef smokies (cocktail-sized hot dogs)
1 bottle Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Barbecue sauce
1/3 cup bourbon (or to taste)

Add the beef smokies to a large Crock-Pot. In a bowl, combine the barbecue sauce and bourbon until thoroughly mixed. Pour mixture over hot dogs. Cook on low for 4 hours, or until warmed through.

Another easy Crock-Pot appetizer is any kind of meatball. You can make any sauce you want to vary the taste or theme. I kept it easy today and used grape jelly and picante sauce. I’ve also used chili sauce and bottled barbecue sauce in place of the picante sauce, and each version is delicious. Again, you can vary the sauce amount according to how many meatballs you’re preparing.

crockpot party meatballs 2

Crock-Pot Meatballs

2 packages frozen meatballs (I used beef but you can use turkey, chicken or pork – or use homemade)
8 ounces grape jelly
8 ounces picante sauce

Add the meatballs to a large Crock-Pot. Combine the grape jelly and picante sauce until thoroughly mixed, and pour the sauce over the meatballs. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until the meatballs are completely warmed through.

Tacos are a favorite in our house, and layered taco dip is the perfect party food for a football game. It’s easy to make, and it feeds a crowd. I omitted the tomatoes and the onions in this because my youngest son has issues with tomatoes at times – plus it’s Jan. 1, and you can’t buy decent-tasting tomatoes this time of year in Iowa anyway. When it’s summertime and I have fresh cherry tomatoes in the garden, I use them to top off this appetizer.

layered taco dip

Layered Taco Dip

1 pound ground beef
8-ounce jar taco sauce (your choice of mild, medium or hot)
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
16 ounces sour cream
1-ounce package taco seasoning
1 16-ounce can refried beans
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded lettuce
1 cup diced tomatoes
2-ounce can sliced black olives, drained
2 green onions, diced

Brown the ground beef. Drain the fat, and add the taco sauce. Mix well, and set aside.

In a bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add in the sour cream and taco seasoning. Mix well.

In a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, begin layering the ingredients in this order: refried beans, cream cheese mixture, ground beef, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, black olives and onions.

Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving with chips.

Simplified Dinners:  Gluten- and Dairy-Free Made Easy

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Stuffed Mushrooms

A sleepless night had me surfing the Internet, and I stumbled on so many delicious-sounding recipes. We love stuffed mushrooms, and I found this keeper at

Sausage & Asiago Stuffed Mushrooms with Balsamic Glaze

20 large mushrooms, cleaned with damp paper towel, stem removed and saved for later use
2 links Italian sausage
1 tsp dried rosemary OR 2 tsp fresh, finely chopped
1 tsp dried fennel seed
1 onion, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces (120grams) cream cheese 
3 ounces (90grams) Asiago cheese, grated
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

In a large bowl, toss the mushrooms with the balsamic vinegar and 3 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper.  Place onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and place in a preheated 350* oven for about 30 min.  Stir once or twice.  Remove from oven.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet, over medium high heat, squeeze the sausage meat out of the casing  and cook until no longer pink, breaking it apart with the back of a spoon.  You want it fairly crumbly and in small pieces.  Stir in onions and garlic and spices, and cook a few minutes longer, until onion is softened.  (If you find that your sausage filling is too greasy, drain it on paper towel first before adding the cheese.) Remove from heat and place into a bowl, along with the cheeses (save some of the Asiago for topping).  Stir well to combine.   Take a teaspoon and fill each mushroom cap.  Sprinkle with  remaining Asiago.  Bake at 375* for about 30-40 minutes, until golden.  Can easily be doubled if feeding a large crowd.  

The next stuffed mushroom recipe I stumbled across was on for Ricotta Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms. These sound very similar to ones we had while in Des Moines, so I’m hoping to try these out very soon.

Ricotta Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

6 large mushrooms
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons finely minced onion.
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
3 Tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1 red hot chile pepper, minced (optional)
3 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
1 cup full-fat ricotta cheese
Salt and Pepper
5 Tablespoons freshly grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese
Olive oil for brushing

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Remove the stems of the mushrooms and chop them finely.

In a heavy frying pan, heat the olive oil and then add the mushrooms and onion. Cook until softened. Add the garlic and chile pepper, if using, and cook another minute or two.

Allow the mixture to cool and then add the parsley, tomatoes, and ricotta cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Lightly oil a baking sheet and place the mushroom caps cut side up. Brush the caps lightly with olive oil and then spoon the filling in.

Sprinkle with the grated cheese and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the mushrooms are tender when pierced with a knife and the tops are lightly browned.

Serve immediately.