Archive for Instant Pot

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

When you think about your ultimate comfort food, I’m guessing that it includes cheese. For me, it’s probably grilled cheese, or alternatively, mac and cheese. 

We all probably grew up with it; those horrible orange-coloured, cello-wrapped slices of fake cheese melty between two slices of bread, and, of course, the blue box, with that nuclear-orange-coloured packet of powdered cheese. 

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Photo credit: Jeremy Dyson

But you’re not a kid now! You’re a grown-ass adult, and you deserve a grown-ass adult mac and cheese. 

What I love so very much about this recipe (which I have now been making for ages, but never actually bothered to post) is that it makes your favourite comfort food in about the same amount of time it takes you to make a boxed mac and cheese, except that it’s homemade. 

That’s right, kids. Homemade mac and cheese in the time it would take you to make boxed. 

We owe this amazing feat to that culinary MVP, the Instant Pot. 

Yes, yes, I’m obsessed. Noted. Moving on. 

So, in addition to this mac and cheese being quick, it can also very happily become a party. 

On a regular night, if you just need to feed the kids (or yourself after the bar, no judgement), I would pair this with a nice salad. 

But if you want to party with the mac and cheese, it’s down. Make a double batch (at least) and then break out a bunch of accoutrement. Dish up big, gooey bowls of mac and cheese, and then allow people to top it as they see fit. Kinda like sundaes, but with pasta. How can that be bad? 

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Bar

Photo credit: Jeremy Dyson

Here are some topping ideas: 

  • Toasted breadcrumbs (panko is king if you can get it)
  • Cherry tomato slices
  • Chopped fresh herbs (basil would be especially good here)
  • Arugula dressed with a little olive oil and salt
  • Caramelized onions 
  • Fancy flavoured salts
  • Balsamic reduction
  • Truffle oil (for the most fanciest, grown-up-est mac and cheese)
  • Bacon bits, pulled pork or pork belly for the omnis 

Add a salad and some crusty bread, and you have a mac and cheese party! 

A quick word about cheese: obviously cheddar is traditional. I like to use a mix; gruyere is great, because it has that beautiful stringy consistency when it melts. I also like to throw a little hard cheese into the mix; a pecorino or a parmesan. They have a nice nutty flavour, and add salt as well. I will basically use whatever I have on hand, but if I’m making it to serve to a crowd, I’ll seek out some fancier cheeses. Fancier cheeses = more grownup mac and cheese. 

Finally, it’s easy to adapt this recipe to be gluten free. Because it’s not made in a traditional way with a roux, just swap out your regular pasta for gluten-free, and you’ll be golden. 

Mac and Cheese Instant Pot

Photo credit: Jeremy Dyson

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese 

(serves 2-4)

Ingredients

  • 225 g dried elbow macaroni 
  • 2 cups water 
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika 

Method

  1. Place 2 cups of water in the Instant Pot, along with the salt and the macaroni. Give it a good stir. Place lid on, seal, and set to manual pressure cooking for 4 minutes. 
  2. After the 4 minutes are up, open the seal and allow the pressure to release. 
  3. Stir in the butter, milk, and smoked paprika. Stir until the butter is melted. 
  4. Add the cheese and continue to stir until it melts. If the sauce is too thin, turn on the sauté feature on the pot and allow it to cook down until you get the desired consistency. 
  5. Serve immediately. 

 

Instant Pot Pea Soup {Vegan}

It’s so weird how some foods just take you way, way back. 

We didn’t grow up with a lot of money. My dad had a pretty blue-collar kind of job, and my mom stayed at home with us kids. We always had a roof over our heads, food on the table, and clothes on our backs. We didn’t lack for the necessities of life. 

When it came to spending on extra things, my parents had pretty clear priorities, and that money went, most often, to travel. It’s no wonder I grew up with a healthy wanderlust. Instant Pot Pea Soup Vegan

When it came to food on the dinner table, choices were pretty simple, and not super expensive. We ate a lot of meat-and-potatoes kind of dinners; your classic meat and two veg. My mom made a lot of casseroles. She did, as it turned out, get married in the 50’s. 

There are dishes that take me back to my childhood in an instant. I still earmark grilled cheese with tomato soup as one of my all-time favourite comfort foods. Mac and cheese??? Yes, please. My mom also made this meatball dish in a sweet-and-sour sauce made with pineapple and ketchup. And soup! She loved ham, and she would make a huge pot of soup with the leftovers. 

So, I don’t eat meat anymore, and it had literally been years and years since I had even thought of the vats of split pea soup my mom used to make. But recently, for some reason, I started craving it. 

This is a dish that is just perfect for this time of the year. In addition to it being hearty, thick and filling, it’s also made with really simple ingredients, and none of them really needs to be particularly fresh. It is, after all, that time of the year when we start to rely pretty heavily on root vegetables, or other produce that winters well. Dried split peas will never go bad, and they are cheap and easy to find. 

So; the inspiration is old, but the method? That’s new. 

This recipe takes just 15 minutes in the Instant Pot. There’s no soaking, no mucking about. Cut the veg, fire it in the IP, set it for 15 minutes, and at the end, you have this thick, creamy, hearty, satisfying soup that will feed you and your family for a week. 

It’s my mother’s birthday this week. She’s been gone a decade, and I still miss her. But soup? It helps. 

Vegan Instant Pot Pea Soup

Instant Pot Pea Soup {Vegan}

  • 2 cups (about 1 lb) split green peas (you can use yellow as well, I just like the green colour better)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3-4 carrots, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • a few drops of liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 8 cups vegetable stock 
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Method

  1. Turn on the Instant Pot’s sauté function, and add a tablespoon or two of oil to the pot. Add the onions, stir, and allow to cook for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir well, then add the celery and carrots. 
  2. Season with salt and pepper, then add the paprika and liquid smoke. Stir well to combine. Turn off the sauté function. 
  3. Add in the split peas, then top with the vegetable stock. Add the bay leaves on top. Stir everything well to combine. 
  4. Place the lid on the pot, and seal. Set the IP to manual pressure cook for 15 minutes. 
  5. Allow to no pressure release for an additional 15 minutes. At the end of the second 15 minutes, release the pressure and remove the lid. Stir everything well, and taste for seasoning before serving. It the soup is too thick, add additional water or stock to get it to the right consistency. 
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