Thursday, January 19, 2017

Spanish Rice (Instant Pot Version)

I love Spanish rice.  I love tamales.  I love Mexican food.  I hate freezing rain.  I love it when the ice covered roads melt and the sun shines and I get to go to Costco where I can buy tamales.  

How's that for an opening line?  Today was our 7th snow day and in a month, plus six two-hour delays and those don't count the days it snowed during Christmas break and we stayed at home.  We had some nice freezing rain last night and the night before which turned our town into a skating rink.  Luckily it melted this afternoon and hopefully the kiddos can go to school tomorrow...since it's Friday AND it's already January 19th.  My kids have hardly gone to school at all this month.

Anyway...back to Spanish rice.  I bought some tamales at Costco today and we had some for dinner.  After living in New Mexico for almost 9 years I love Mexican food.  We eat it several times a week, but we don't have tamales for dinner.  Probably because I didn't realize that they sell them at Costco.

I made some Spanish rice and some quick pinto beans to go with our tamales.  I feel like using the Instant Pot is a big experiment and I should be documenting what and how I'm making in it.  The Spanish rice was a success, so here's how I made it (so I can make it again, soon).

You can make it with either brown or white rice.  I only had jasmine rice, so that's what I used, but I'll include cooking times for both.



Spanish Rice
makes about 6 1/2 c. servings


2 T. diced onion
2 T. (or more) diced bell pepper (any color)

1/2 T. olive oil
1 c. rice (I used white, see notes below for cooking time for brown rice)
1/2 c. salsa (I used my favorite quick recipe)
3/4 c. water


1.  Set Instant Pot to Saute. Cook onion and bell pepper in olive oil for 3-4 minutes. Add rice and cook for 1 minute. Add salsa and water and a little salt. Put lid on Instant Pot.

2.  Use Manual function on LOW PRESSURE for 8 minutes. Let naturally release for 10 minutes after and then manually release any leftover pressure.

**If using brown rice, increase cooking time to 22 minutes, then natural release for 10 minutes.

Recipe source:  adapted from Attainable Sustainable
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Monday, January 16, 2017

Week 399 Menu: Back to Normal this Week...I Hope

Hi friends!  This collage sums out my week last week, mostly.  We had 3 snow days and two 2-hour delayed starts.  I loved the lazy mornings, but I also started craving a schedule.  I didn't leave my house from Saturday night until Thursday morning.  Well, actually I was outside shoveling, etc. but I didn't drive anywhere until Thursday when the roads were safely cleared.  

I had a pretty good attitude about it all (thus my "come what may and love it post on instagram), but Thursday night when they called another snow delay, I started to get a little whinny.  But then I enjoyed sleeping in and making crepes for my kids (a snow day and snow delay tradition).  

Tomorrow we'll start head-on into real life with homework and after school activities and the best part is that my little guy will have preschool.  He'll be thrilled and so will I!  I'm going to clean my house.  :)  

I'm determined to do better at making dinner every night this week, which means it needs to be done or prepped before my kids get home.  

So, here's the plan:

Monday:  turkey meatball sandwiches made by my daughter (she loves them)


Wednesday:  chicken stirfry

Thursday: chicken manicotti


Saturday: french dip


All righty...what about you?  What are you making this week?  Feel free to share.  I love it when you do!  Happy Monday!


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Monday, January 9, 2017

Week 389 Menu: 2nd Week of January


Happy Monday!  Today was another snow day.  We didn't get any new snow, but it was mostly to let the snow plows try to clear the roads and parking lots so eventually the kids can go to school.  Hopefully they'll go sooner than later.  :)

I've spent the day helping kids arrange playdates, get into and out of their snow clothes, making pepperoni bread for lunch and doing a little painting on our landing and hall upstairs.

While I help my daughter make Italian potato and sausage soup for dinner, I'm posting my menu.  (We're using the Instant Pot to cook the potatoes while we get the rest of the soup prepped.  So handy!)

On to my menu:

Monday: Italian sausage and potato soup, we were going to make rosemary bread, but are running low on time, so we'll warm up some flatbread and brush it with rosemary oil and cut it in triangles instead

Tuesday: fried sausage, potatoes, peppers, onions

Wednesday:  navajo tacos

Thursday:  homemade pizza

Friday: try turkey taco quinoa skilet

Saturday:  my daughter's turn to make dinner, her choice

Sunday: Swedish meatballs, boiled potatoes, IKEA gravy, one hour rolls, green beans, salad

What about you?  What are you planning this week for dinner?  Feel free to share.  I love it when you do.

Happy Monday!  

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Sunday, January 8, 2017

Week 388 Menu: Looking Back

I actually planned my menu for this past week by writing in on my menu board in the kitchen.  I kept waiting for a "Monday" to happen, you know the day when everyone goes back to work and school and life becomes normal.  It never happened and so my menu posting didn't happen either.
Monday and Tuesday were still part of Christmas break from school and we got snow, so we just hung out at home.  My husband went out of town for a few days for work.  Wednesday was our first day back to school, but it snowed so we had a two hour delay and they get out early on Wednesday, so by the time I exercised, showered and ate lunch my kids were already starting to come home.  Thursday and Friday my 5th grader stayed home from school. I've felt a little house bound, but it's been good.  I've organized closets, donated and thrown away stuff that took up half of a room.  Saturday I spent hours returning stuff I bought before Christmas and grocery shopping.

It started snowing yesterday and so church was canceled today.  It hardly ever snows this much here in Eastern Washington.  I'm actually enjoying the extra breaks we're getting from our busy usual life.  I take one look at the snow covered road that comes up the hill to our house and am happy staying home.  

School is already cancelled for tomorrow.  I'm excited to get out wall paint and finish up some of our upstairs remodel without having to run errands or schlep kids around.  

I thought I'd look back at my menu this week.  It actually varied a bit from what I'd planned.

Monday:  we had pork tacos/salad with Instant pot black beans, homemade salsa and all the other fixings.  So yummy!  I ate it for lunch all week.

Tuesday:  leftovers

Wednesday:  parmesan chicken nuggets, baked oven fries, green beans

Thursday:  teriyaki meatballs, made quinoa and then rice in my Instant Pot for the first time

Friday:  made chicken noodle soup in my Instant Pot as an experiment.  Worked great!  Served with one hour rolls that disappeared mysteriously fast.  

Saturday:  date night with my four year old for his very late birthday dinner

Sunday:  church was canceled, so we had a late breakfast, chips and salsa and chicken BLT sandwiches for lunch and cinnamon rolls for dinner (along with whatever else we felt like eating) and lots of hot chocolate


AND, did you notice that the RECIPE INDEX on my blog is back?  Woohoo!!!  Now all my recipes can be easily accessed.  So much yumminess that I'd forgotten about!  

Alrighty...I'm going to menu plan now for this week, just in case my regular "Monday" doesn't happen.  What about you?  Was your week super crazy too?  Wild weather?  Crazy schedules?  I'm just going to roll with it.  Let's see what fun this week can bring!

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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Instant Pot Black Beans

I bought myself an Instant Pot for Christmas.  Did you get one too?  The sale on Amazon on Black Friday was too good to pass by.  I have seen posts of yummy food that has been made in an Instant Pot so I knew that it would be a good investment.  

Now that I have one of my own, I am excited to experiment more and more with it.  We made some pork tacos, Cafe Rio/Costa Vida style last night with beans, rice, cilantro ranch, homemade salsa and everything else.  I whipped up these beans to go with it and they were done (without soaking) in less than an hour.  Amazing!  I'm excited to stop buying cans of beans and using dry beans.


Feel free to add whatever ingredients you want to flavor your beans.  The basic idea is to add 1 part beans to 4 parts water and cook on high pressure for 40 minutes.  Easy peasy!  And yummy too.

Instant Pot Black Beans

  • 3 tablespoons bacon, cut in small pieces (I used the already cooked bacon bits from Costco)
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup (8 oounces) dry black beans
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  1. Using the electronic pressure cooker Saute function saute, bacon and garlic for 2 - 3 minutes.
  2. Add dry black beans, chicken broth, salt and cumin.
  3. Close the lid and cook at high pressure for 40 minutes. (It only took about five minutes to come to pressure first).
  4. Let pressure release naturally for creamier beans. For firmer beans, use the quick-release valve on the Instant Pot.
Makes about 3 cups cooked beans.

Recipe source:  adapted from NomRecipes

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