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Where to Eat in the Twin Cities While Visiting for the Super Bowl

January 29, 2018
Where to Eat in the Twin Cities While Visiting for the Super Bowl

Wondering where to eat in the Twin Cities while visiting for the Super Bowl? You’re not alone. If you’re here for the sport thing, there are a million sports bars in Minneapolis, St. Paul and the surrounding suburbs that make up the Twin Cities. Sports bars with walls of TVs to catch all the pre-game excitement of Super Bowl LII. However, there’s more to dining than buffalo wings and jalapeño poppers.

Or in the words of our very own Prince:

…But I’m here to tell you, there’s something else….

If this is your first time to these Midwest cities you probably won’t know where to go to get a good meal at a decent price. And there are so many great places that you won’t hear about hanging with sports fans at the US Bank Stadium or the MOA (that’s what the locals call the Mall of America). 

Of course, you’ll need to cross the river for the ones I’m about to tell you about. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great places to eat in Minneapolis, I just can’t think of any I’d want to brave the crowds and traffic for. Come over to St. Paul, we have parking!

Where to Eat in the Twin Cities While Visiting for the Super Bowl

The Commodore

79 Wester Avenue

St. Paul, MN 55102

651-330-5999

The Commodore Bar is where all the hep cats hang out. Originally where people like F. Scott Fitzgerald got their booze on during Prohibition when folks were forced to drink in the speakeasy located in the basement. The bar has been renovated several times in the last 100 years but always retains its stunning beauty and local charm. The food is excellent.  Nothing on the menu will disappoint and the wait staff is exceptional. If you want to step back in time and experience real glamour, check out the Commodore.

W. A. Frost

374 Selby Avenue

St. Paul, MN 55102

651-224-5715

W. A. Frost is owned by the same folks as the Commodore so the prices are similar and the food offerings are similar American cuisine and of course, the service is stellar. The difference is the ambiance. Both are lovely, just have completely different vibes. Jeans are perfectly acceptable, but you wouldn’t stick out in a cocktail dress or suit either. W. A. Frost is just a short walk up Western Avenue from The Commodore. If you really want to fit in with the locals do some bar hopping in sub-zero temps. That’s what F. Scott did.

The Lexington

1096 Grand Avenue

St. Paul, MN

55105

651-289-4990

The Lexington is another former Speakeasy. Originally built in the thirties and remodeled just last year, it has long been a neighborhood place to be and be seen. Enjoy an Old Fashioned at the bar while waiting for your table. The food is supper club staples like popovers, Steak Diane, and their signature pot pie. Just want a little nibble before the big game, try their relish tray, it is to-die-for. 

Looking for something a little less glamorous? How about these fine establishments:

The Nook

492 Hamline Avenue S.

St. Paul, MN 55116

651-698-4347

The Nook is another neighborhood bar. It’s family friendly and is famous for its Juicy Lucy – as featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives with Guy Feiri. It’s right across the street from where Joe Mauer and Paul Molitor went to school. If you aren’t too stuffed from the great burgers, head downstairs for a little bowling. It doesn’t get more Minnesotan than The Nook.

Groveland Tap

1834 St. Clair Avenue

St. Paul, MN

55105

651-699-5058

Another neighborhood joint to visit when you want a beer and a burger. Known for their onion rings and cheese curds you might feel like you’re in heaven or at the State Fair. Nope, just Mac/Groveland. Large beer selection and they’ve just added a decent wine selection.

Tiffany’s

2051 Ford Parkway

St. Paul, MN 55116

651-699-4747

Another neighborhood bar where you’ll find plenty of great beer and good pub grub. Be warned, the folks at Tiffany’s are Packers fans… Not really sure what else there is to say.

As a Minnesotan, and mostly as a St. Paulite, I don’t venuture out of my comfort zone. I’ve been visiting these six establishments since before it was legal for me to drink. If you know of any that belong on this list, be sure to leave a link and possibly your review in the comment section.

Blogging Dumb Shit I Do Food Minnesota Recipes Things I Really Like Winter

Big Mac Hot Dish with Noodles

January 27, 2018

Earlier I posted a recipe for Big Mac Hot Dish, but because I was concerned about my use of Tater Tots in the recipe I also a Big Mac Hot Dish with Noodles using elbow noodles instead of the tots. Initially I did not want to use noodles, it just seemed like a weird combination of flavors – pickles, cheese, tomatoes – to have with pasta. Still, I was concerned the tots might get soggy and I knew the pasta would come together better and probably look better on a plate. 

Turns out, both are super tasty and super easy. Here is the recipe for Big Mac Hot Dish with Noodles.

Big Mac Hot Dish with Noodles

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef

1 medium yellow onion – chopped

Half a box elbow noodles cooked al dente and drained

1/2 cup diced tomatoes – drained

1/2 cup diced pickles – drained

10 oz Velveeta – cubed for easy melting

1/2 cup milk or half and half

1/4 cup Thousand Island dressing

Putting it all together:

Cook the elbow noodles according to the package so they are al dente. 

After dicing the pickles press them between several layers of paper towel to remove as much liquid as possible.

While the pasta is cooking brown the ground beef with the chopped onion, cook thoroughly and drain. Turn the burner down to medium and add the tomatoes and pickles, mix well.

Slowly add the Velveeta and milk and stir while it melts. Add the Thousand Island dressing and mix well. If your mixture is too thick you can add more milk.

The pasta will absorb the liquid so you’ll want this to be a little less thick.

Fold in the pasta and place mixture in casserole dish and bake covered for 20 minutes at 350°F.

 

Serve and enjoy!

Dumb Shit I Do Food Minnesota Recipes Things I Really Like Winter

Big Mac Hot Dish

January 27, 2018
Big Mac Hot Dish, Big Mac Casserole

If you’re looking for comfort food, this Big Mac Hot Dish is just the thing on a cold winter day. Seriously, it’s really tasty and super easy to make. 

I grew up on Tang and Pop Tarts, going to McDonald’s was a rare thing in my family and quite a treat when it did happen. The only reason to go to McDonald’s back then was the Big Mac. This was before McRib, Chicken Tenders, McNuggets, etc.

Back then – mid 70s – you had the choice of a hamburger, cheese burger and the brand new two all beef patties special sauce lettuce cheese pickles onions on a sesame seed bun – Big Mac. It was divine. 

Now that I’m older, more responsible and more health conscious, when I do go to McDonald’s I order a chicken sandwich and don’t eat the bun. It’s not nearly as much fun so I don’t go often.

Today, I was craving a Big Mac. Mostly I wanted the pickle bite with the special sauce, and cheese. I didn’t want to go to the Golden Arches because I’m really trying to use what I have in my fridge – creatively – so I figured I’d try a Big Mac Hot Dish.

It turned out wonderfully if I do say so myself. Actually I was surprised at how good it is. I didn’t want to make a casserole with pasta. I really wanted to keep it as close to a Big Mac as I could. The problem with that is it would basically be a Big Mac in the blender, and I didn’t want that. So, instead of the pasta I used Tater Tots and OMG it’s awesome.

After I made this I Googled to see if this was a thing. Apparently it is but it uses lettuce and crescent roll dough, and sesame seeds. So, technically this is not really a Big Mac because I left those things out and added the potato, however, I think this is a superior hot dish because it’s like having fries with it – which is the only way to have a Big Mac. 

This is the most retro casserole or hot dish you could imagine. It oozes the 70s and it is super!

Big Mac Hot Dish

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef

1 medium yellow onion – chopped

1 cup Tater Tots (I used the smaller crispy ones)

1/2 cup diced tomatoes – drained

1/2 cup diced pickles – drained

8 oz Velveeta – cubed for easy melting

1/2 cup milk or half and half

1/4 cup Thousand Island dressing

Putting it all together:

Cook the Tater Tots according the package. I wanted them crisp because I was fearful they might make the dish soggy. 

While the tots are cooking brown the ground beef with the chopped onion until cooked thoroughly and drain. Turn the burner down to medium and add the tomatoes and pickles, mix well.

Big Mac Casserole

A note about the pickles, I drained them and then pressed them between paper towels to take out as much of the liquid as possible. 

diced pickles

Slowly add the Velveeta and milk and stir while it melts. Add the Thousand Island dressing and mix well. If your mixture is too thick you can add more milk, but you don’t want it runny, it’s okay if it’s a little on the thick side.

Big Mac Casserole Recipe

Fold in the tots and place mixture in casserole dish and bake covered for 20 minutes at 350°F. Remove the cover for the last 10 minutes or so if you want it to brown up any exposed tots. 

Big Mac Hot Dish Recipe

 

Serve and enjoy.

I didn’t think to put a garnish on the dish, but some shredded lettuce sprinkled on top would probably work really nicely and make it more Big Mac ish. You could even put a few sesame seeds on top of the lettuce. I thought about putting some hash browns on top in a very thin layer – mostly for the crunch and color, but that seemed like overkill with the tots so I skipped it. Cheese didn’t seem right either. A little bacon might be good too, it’s just not my thing. 

Because I was concerned the tots might get soggy I also made a variation with elbow noodles instead of the tots. I added more cheese to this variation so it was more of a Big Mac & Cheese Hot Dish instead. I’ll post that recipe next. 

If you have any ideas for garnish or sides please let me know in the comments. 

 

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Food Recipes Things I Really Like Winter

Baked Reuben Dip

January 21, 2018
Baked Reuben Dip

I’ve been making this Baked Reuben Dip for ever. I got the original recipe from my ex brother in law some 25 years ago. Originally the recipe called for sliced Buddig roast beef, and it was fine. However, I have found that using roast beef from the deli makes for a much better dip.

The original recipe, at least as I learned it, was for the Crock Pot, one of those mini ones. And again, it’s great, but it takes forever and keeping it warm for hours at a time makes a nasty mess. Baking it in the oven creates a better dip that is more appealing.

This is one of those recipes that has an awful lot of wiggle room. It has three main ingredients – cheese, meat and sauerkraut – in equal parts that can be adjusted based on how much you need. In my house my son wolfs it down before anyone else can get to it so I usually make a lot.

I’m using weight as a measurement but you can use volume too. This would translate to about a cup of each ingredient.

Baked Reuben Dip

Baked Reuben Dip

8 oz roast beef – sliced and chopped

8 oz Swiss cheese – grated

8 oz sauerkraut – drained and chopped

1/4 – 1/2 cup Thousand Island dressing

In a mixing bowl mix together all ingredients. Use more or less of the Thousand Island dressing depending on how “dippy” you want it to be. Place in oven safe casserole dish and bake in a 350°F oven for 35 minutes or until bubbly and beautiful.

Serve with Gardetto’s rye chips or those little pumpernickel breads you see in the bakery section of your grocery store. I prefer the rye chips because they’re the perfect size, but Ritz crackers or melba toast works well too. 

If you have any leftovers it can be used for making Reuben Balls or simple spread on a toasted baguette for a quick and simple Reuben sandwich. 

Enjoy

Food Recipes Things I Really Like

The Best Reuben Balls Recipe

January 21, 2018
the best reuben balls recipe

This is the best Rueben Balls recipe you will find, and these are the best balls you will ever put in your mouth. 

Not hyperbole.

Recently I made Baked Reuben Dip as part of a Vikings Game Day Appetizer series (Go Vikes and Skol!!) and had half a jar of sauerkraut leftover. Because no one eats just sauerkraut I wanted to do something to use it up instead of letting it die a slow death at the back of the fridge. 

After doing a very quick Google search looking for appetizer recipes with sauerkraut, it dawned on me that there isn’t a lot you can do with sauerkraut, especially in an appetizer. 

However, it would seem that shaping sauerkraut into a ball and deep frying it is a thing. All of the recipes I saw used ham or sausage for their sauerkraut balls, that sounded kinda disgusting to me so I decided to try my hand at a Reuben Ball. Because really, that’s the only way I like to eat sauerkraut.

I don’t deep fry. Not because of the calories or that it’s bad for you, but because I don’t want to burn the house down. 

I do however, bake shit that tastes better fried.

I have a feeling that these Reuben Balls, the best balls you’ll ever put in your mouth, might be even better if they were deep fried. But, I’ll never know because of my fear of frying.

The best Reuben balls recipe

The Best Reuben Balls Recipe

(the best balls you’ll put in your mouth)

1 package (7 oz) sliced roast beef – chopped

1 1/2 cups sauerkraut – drained and chopped

1 cup grated Jarlsberg cheese (Swiss would work well too, this is just what I had on hand)

2 green onions – chopped (include the greens)

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup crushed Gardetto’s Special Request Roasted Garlic Rye Chips

1/2 cup Gardetto’s Special Request Roasted Garlic Rye Chips

 

It’s important to drain your sauerkraut as much as possible. You can put them in a strainer and push with a spoon to get the water out. After that I pressed them into paper towel to get the rest of the water out. Crush the rye chips by placing them in a zip loc bag and rolling with a rolling pin or place them in a bowl and use a cup or drinking glass to crush them. Use a food processor or Magic Bullet to process the other 1/2 cup of rye chips to roll your balls in.

Mix roast beef, cheese, sauerkraut, onion, crushed rye chips and egg together in a bowl until well incorporated. Shape mixture into golf ball size balls and roll in the processed rye chips until covered. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. No need to grease.

Bake in a 375°F oven for 20 minutes.

Serve with Thousand Island dressing, it makes a perfect dip for these tasty balls.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Blogging Dumb Shit I Do Food How Did We Survive? Minnesota Recipes Things I Really Like

I Made This – Pizza and Wine!

January 16, 2018

I can’t believe I made this – pizza and wine! And by ‘made this’, I mean I made everything in this image by myself and from scratch.

I made the wine and I made the pizza.

I made the dough – I let it rise, punched it down and shaped it into pizza crust.  I made the sauce, from tomatoes I canned last summer and I chopped the veggies and cooked the sausage. I put it all together and cooked it in my oven. 

I made the wine. I fermented the grape juice (I did not grow, crush or stomp on the grapes, but I did research their origin for the style and taste I was looking for). I cleared and stabilized the wine and I bottled it all by myself. 

FYI, my wine has a fraction of the sulfites and no added sugars or preservatives than store-bought wine – so it’s much healthier.

It took about 4 months for the wine (most of that is aging), and 2 hours for the pizza (most of that is waiting for the dough to rise). 

So why did I do this?

Good question. I did this because I — wondered what would happen if — I made a meal completely from scratch (ok, maybe not 100% completely, but close), and I was tired of frozen pizza, take out and eating stuff filled with preservatives and all the other stuff.

Plus, since I have been making wine – which is all about the yeast – I thought why not make some pizza. I used to have a fear of making anything with yeast, but since I’ve been making my own wine, beer, cider, root beer and even kombucha, I figured it was a silly fear.

In fact, it turns out I have many fears about cooking. 

Each fall I can many of the veggies from my garden. Usually tomatoes, beans, carrots etc. I follow the directions for canning and I store everything in a cool, dark basement, and yet when I open a jar of pickles, tomato sauce or dilly beans I wonder if I’ll get botulism. 

I suspect I am not the only one with this fear.

I Made This – Pizza and Wine!

Pizza crust:

4 cups bread flour

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 package yeast

2 tablespoons olive oil

1.5 cups water at 110°

Mix dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Using a stand mixer is easiest but a hand mixer will work. You can also use a food processor, but I don’t have one and don’t really know what settings to use. I suspect there are some directions that come with it.

Slowly add the water and oil to the dry mixture and mix until it is all incorporated. Remove from the mixing bowl and knead on a lightly floured surface. Shape into a ball and place in a greased bowl and cover. Place in a warm area and rise until doubled, about an hour. 

After dough has risen cut into quarters and let rest for at least 10 minutes. 

Shape on cookie sheet or pizza stone and add your toppings.

I Made This Pizza and Wine

Pizza Sauce:

I used my own canned tomato sauce with garlic, basil, oregano and onions, but you can use tomato paste, water and add herbs to taste. Canned tomato sauce will also work. I threw in an extra can of diced tomatoes because I didn’t have any crushed tomatoes. I added about 2 tablespoons of sugar to the tomato sauce to cut the acid taste and then I boiled it down to thicken it up.

Toppings:

Thinly sliced green pepper, sliced black olives, sliced mushrooms, sliced red onions, mozzarella cheese. 

Cook in a 425° oven for 10-12 minutes. 

Enjoy!

So I made this pizza and wine, because it turns out the stuff I make is much better than the same stuff from a box or the freezer.

What have you made?

 

 

Blogging Food Recipes Things I Really Like Winter

Instant Pot Pea Soup with Lentils in 9 minutes

January 11, 2018
Instant Pot Pea Soup with Lentils in 9 minutes

Here’s another quick and easy recipe for your new pressure cooker – Instant Pot Pea Soup with Lentils in 9 minutes. Yep, 9 minutes to make a hearty, protein rich soup that would normally take an hour or so on the stove top.

Nothing brings back warm memories than pea soup. Growing up we had this for dinner at least once a month during the winter months. In Minnesota that’s half the year. My brother and I hated pea soup – probably because of the name and the way it looked. It wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I actually started liking it. It was probably no surprise that I liked it at that point because I am a better cook than my mother.

I make pea soup every year after Christmas. I usually have so much ham leftover I can also make my Instant Pot Ham and Wild Rice Soup (I really need to get an additional Instant Pot for that much leftovers. 

If you didn’t get an Instant Pot for Christmas you can get one here, this is the one I have – Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker – but they’re all great. It’s so much more than a pressure cooker. It is also a slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, sauté, yogurt maker and warmer. I’m pretty sure it can walk the dog.

This Instant Pot Pea Soup with Lentils in 9 minutes recipe is super simple, super easy, and super forgiving. If you don’t like some of the ingredients, just eliminate them or put something else in. 

Instant Pot Pea Soup with Lentils in 9 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag split peas rinsed – any color
  • 1 bag lentils rinsed
  • 1 onion
  • 4 stalks celery
  • 4 carrots
  • 4 cups diced ham
  • 8 cups water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Tobasco or Melinda’s Hot Pepper Sauce to taste (Optional)
  • Sour Cream for garnish

Putting it all together:

I start with a mirepoix (diced veggies – usually carrots, onions and celery) and toss it in the Instant Pot and hit the sauté setting for about 3-4 minutes. I just want to sweat the veggies a little. 

mirepoix

Rinse peas and lentils until the water runs clear. I never used to do this, I figured it had been rinsed at the plant, but I’ve found it makes a superior soup if you rinse the dried peas.  From there I throw in both bags of peas and lentils and pour in the water and secure the cover.

Use the manual setting and set for 9 minutes on high pressure. Make sure the pressure valve is in the closed position. It takes my instant pot 15 mintues or so to pressurize and seal and then start cooking. 

(Apparently, I forgot to take anymore pictures of the process…duh)

Do a slow release of pressure – basically don’t open the valve. When it’s depressurized open the lid and stir your soup. 

This is when I add the diced ham. I used to just throw it all in the pot and cook the hell out of the ham and that was a mistake. The ham has been cooked so all you need to do is warm it up. And it will warm up enough in the hot soup. 

Serve in bowls and top with a dollop of sour cream. Don’t skip the sour cream, it adds an amazing flavor to the soup and makes it even creamier. 

Instant Pot Pea Soup with Lentils in 9 minutes

Tips:

After the soup has cooled enough I usually freeze 2/3rds of it in individual servings. I freeze them in Ziploc bags because they’re easy to store in the Freezer but you can use plastic containers too. Whatever works. 

My daughter does not like pea soup so it usually takes me a year to finish this huge batch. Be sure to mark your container with the name and date. I play hard and fast with sell by dates and use by dates, but you’ll still want to know what it is and when you froze it. 

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Dumb Shit I Do Food Minnesota Recipes Things I Really Like Winter

Instant Pot Ham and Wild Rice Soup

January 3, 2018
Instant Pot Ham and Wild Rice Soup

Happy New Year! This year I’m starting off with an Instant Pot ham a wild rice soup recipe. I make all kinds of soups during the holidays. Usually because there are so many leftovers from the holiday meals, but also because it’s so damn cold. Currently it’s about -14°. That’s Minnesota, and that’s why we make things like Tater Tot Hot Dish. It’s also probably why we drink.

Anyway, Ham and Wild Rice Soup is a staple around the holidays. As any good Minnesotan knows, the best ham and wild rice soup comes from Byerly’s and this recipe relies heavily on their recipe which you can find here. I love this soup so hard, but it’s got a lot more salt than I can tolerate so I have made some adjustments to the original. I use a ton more onion, no chicken brother (because I didn’t look at the recipe when I made it, and didn’t have any), and possibly more sherry than it calls for. It’s a forgiving recipe that can easily be tailored to your tastes. 

Here is my altered version of this recipe with instructions for the Instant Pot:

Instant Pot Ham and Wild Rice Soup

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons flour

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 chopped carrots

1/2 cup diced celery

3 cups wild rice prepared (I used leftover wild rice from Christmas dinner, it had water chestnuts and mushrooms in it which I think added some lovely flavor and texture)

2 cups chopped ham

A couple of handfuls of slivered almonds

1 cup half and half

1/2 cup (ish) dry sherry

Water

Putting it all together:

Make a mirepoix with the onions, celery and carrots using the sauté setting on the Instant Pot. Don’t let them brown, you just want to bring out the flavor of each ingredient. 

mirepoix

Add the ham, wild rice and enough water to cover the ingredients. 

instantpot ham wild rice soup recipe

Set the Instant Pot on manual high pressure for 5 minutes and let cook.

Do a quick pressure release and when safe to open add your almonds, flour, half and half and sherry. I simply mixed the flour with the half and half but you could mix it with the sherry too or mix all of them together. You may need to add additional water or if you prefer chicken broth.

Cook using the sauté setting until the soup has thickened to your liking. 

Ham and wild rice soup

That’s it! Serve with the leftover rolls and you’ve got a scrumptious meal for these fridgid days.

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Blogging Dumb Shit I Do Food Recipes Things I Really Like

Corned Beef and Cabbage – InstantPot vs Crockpot

March 13, 2017
corned beef and cabbage instantpot vs crockpot

This week’s smackdown is Corned Beef and Cabbage – InstantPot vs Crockpot. I love my InstantPot, I also love my Crockpot. Both are essential kitchen tools for any level of cook. My father gave me a Crockpot when I moved into my first apartment. It was a tiny little thing, big enough to make some dip in I suppose, but I made tiny little chilis and soups in it. It had no settings, you just plugged it in and it was going. The lid was plastic and has long been chewed up by one of the many pups over the years. My father got me lots of Crockpots, I’m not really sure why, but I have several, and I love each and every one of them. The one I use most however, is the one that belonged to my father. 

My dad died before InstantPot was a thing, however I am sure he would have taken to it like a fish to water. He loved using the pressure cooker, loved to explain how the stovetop version worked and was practically giddy whenever sharing the story of his mother blowing one up in the kitchen when he was a child. 

I also love Corned Beef and Cabbage. I love the saltiness of the beef, the sort of soggy yet firm texture of the cabbage. Growing up we always had it on St. Patrick’s Day and it was one of my favorite meals, even if it stank up the house.

Mostly, I love how easy the meal is to prepare. The problem with Corned Beef and Cabbage in the Crockpot (and I really don’t know any other method to prepare it) is that it takes a fair amount of forethought. You can’t just throw together a corned beef and cabbage on the fly, you need 5 or 6 hours. 

I figured there must be a faster way, and the InstantPot seemed like a surefire way to achieve a quick corned beef and cabbage. I Googled around for recipes, actually just cooking settings, and only found ones that were actually rather complicated. In all of the InstantPot recipes for corned beef and cabbage that I found it was always a two step process — cook the corned beef first, remove it from the pot, cook the cabbage.

Sure, we’re down from 6 hours to about an hour, I just really wanted something as easy as my Instant Pot Shrimp Alfredo recipe or my Cheesy Smoked Sausage Hotdish recipe. Both of those recipes take less than twenty minutes to prepare and cook, I was hoping for something similar.

And I never found it so I thought I’d just wing it. And then I though why not do a smackdown between the two? So I did. I prepared two meals using the same recipe.

Corned Beef and Cabbage – InstantPot vs Crockpot

1 Corned beef – rinsed and fat side down (I don’t know if this makes a difference)

1 Cabbage – cut into wedges and placed in vessel

1 Spice packet – many people throw these away and make their own, but that seems silly to me. Throw that packet it!

4 Carrots – sliced

I skipped the potatoes, actually, I never put potatoes in my corned beef and cabbage, is that really something people do?

I added all ingredients to each cooker and set their respective settings. For the InstantPot I set it for 55 minutes on high pressure and I used the slow release method. For the Crockpot I set it on high for 6 hours and forgot about it.

*I stopped taking photos of food inside the InstantPot, it doesn’t look appealing and serves no purpose. 

The Results

Corned Beef

Both tasted great, and they tasted the same. Both were tender and juicy. I couldn’t tell any difference between the two except for color. The InstantPot corned beef was darker. That could have just been a variation of the beef, and no reflection on the cooking. I used two different brands of beef and one had noticeably more fat. It did not change the way it tasted.

Cabbage

The cabbage also came out about the same in each vessel. This actually surprised me. I figured with 55 minutes of cooking at high pressure I might just end up with mush. That didn’t happen. The cabbage pretty much kept it’s shape. The cabbage was also a little darker in the InstantPot. 

Carrots

Here’s where there was a noticeable difference. The carrots in the InstantPot were pretty mushy. They didn’t disintegrate but they were working hard to hold their shape. The carrots from the Crockpot were actually still firm, yet tender. They also retained their individual flavor, whereas the carrots in the InstantPot just tasted like the cabbage. 

While I love the ease of making corned beef and cabbage in the InstantPot, it isn’t something I’ll probably do in the future unless I’m pressed for time. There’s something about a crockpot full of corned beef and cabbage, stinking up the house, that really makes it special.

Speaking of stinking up the house – the InstantPot was no less stinky, it just didn’t go on for so long. However, the silicon ring inside the lid of the InstantPot soaked up all those flavors. This is quite common for anything you make in the InstantPot, so it might be handy to have several on hand. 

All in all, either way works great, the InstantPot version is perfect if you have a hankering for corned beef and cabbage while driving home after a long day at work. While the Crockpot is probably better if this is a Saturday or Sunday meal extravaganza.

If you’ve had success with corned beef and cabbage in the InstantPot, I’d love to hear about it, please share in the comments.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Dumb Shit I Do Food Recipes Things I Really Like

The Best Instant Pot Chili Recipe

January 29, 2017
The Best Instant Pot Chili Recipe

If you’re looking for the best Instant Pot Chili recipe, then you’ve come to the right place. Disclaimer – this is not an authentic chili, this a chili recipe that your kids, and picky mother, will eat. If you throw it on top of some spaghetti noodles you’d have a pretty decent Cincinnati chili, but that’s weird so…  

I make a killer authentic chili too, but that takes a bit more planning and specific ingredients like a nice cut of beef instead of ground beef. This chili, the best Instant Pot Chili, is something you can make with whatever is in your pantry. It is an incredibly forgiving recipe. I used ground beef but you could use ground turkey, ground chicken, diced chicken or skip the meat completely and make it vegetarian. Whatever floats your boat!

I’m listing amounts of ingredients for posterity, use however much you prefer. I love celery and I throw a ton of it in this recipe (it gives the daughter something to do since she has to pick it all out), I also like a lot of garlic and cumin. I eyeball things, rarely measure, and I suspect most of you do the same. 

If you don’t have an Instant Pot yet you can get one here. Seriously, what are you waiting for, get your shit together and get one of these incredible time saving devices! I have the Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker, 6Qt/1000W which is about $105, but they make a less expensive version too. The standard Instant Pot IP-LUX60 V3 Programmable Electric Pressure Cooker, 6Qt, 1000W (updated model) is only $79. The only difference between the two is the one I have makes yogurt. The other difference is that the $79 version is back ordered for 2-3 months while the 7 in 1 version is in stock. Wow.

The Best Instant Pot Chili Recipe

What you will need:

1 lb ground beef

3 cups chopped celery

2/3rd cups diced onion (I prefer white onion, but I only had yellow on hand)

4 cans beans (or more or less. I used mild chili beans, kidney beans and pinto beans because that’s what was in the pantry)

2 cans tomato sauce

1 can diced tomato

1 can sweet corn (drained)

Cumin, salt and pepper, chili powder to taste 

5 Hershey’s Kisses (or a small handful of chocolate chips or whatever you have on hand)

Brown the onions and ground beef in the Instant Pot on sauté. Drain fat and return to Instant Pot. Or just use the glass lid for the Instant Pot
to cover and drain. 

Dump all your ingredients into the Instant Pot, give it a stir and set the pressure cooker to Chili, or set it manually for 30 minutes at high pressure. 

Make sure the pressure valve is closed. I really can’t stress how important it is that this is closed. If you leave it open the Instant Pot will not pressurize and you will have just wasted a good 30 minutes, and will need to start over. Don’t ask how I know this.

 

Food Minnesota Minnesota Nice Recipes Things I Really Like Winter

Tater Tot Hot Dish with Mushroom Risotto

January 10, 2017
Tater Tot Hot Dish with Mushroom Risotto

This recipe, Tater Tot Hot Dish with Mushroom Risotto, is a variation of the Authentic Minnesota Tater Tot Hot Dish. Like all great flukes it happened because I didn’t read the recipe carefully and ended up with way too much liquid so I had to find a way to make it less soggy. I had a bag of Alessi Risotto with Mushrooms so I quickly cooked it up and added it to the mixture. 

You’ll notice I said mixture. Oops. Another mistake. I mixed all of the ingredients instead of layering them. 

Even though I am an authentic Minnesotan, I did not grow up on Tater Tot Hot Dish. I did date a guy whose mom made it (and he raved about) but that was as close to it as I got until I made it last year.

OMG it is delicious! And it’s perfect for cold weather. I have not tried it in the InstantPot because I just don’t think the Tater Tots would do well in it. They really need to get crisped up in the oven.

You can see the original recipe here.

Tater Tot Hot Dish with Mushroom Risotto

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1 lb ground beef, browned

2 can Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup

2 can vegetables (I used corn and peas because I didn’t have two cans of either one of them)

1 packaged prepared Alessi risotto with mushrooms, or any packaged rice with mushrooms

While the oven is preheating, brown the ground beef (seasoning to taste as you cook) and drain off the grease.

In a mixing bowl combine soup, ground beef, drained vegetables and risotto. Mix well. Place mixture in baking dish or casserole.

Arrange tater tots on top of mixture.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

Top with your favorite variety of shredded cheese as you serve.

That’s it! This is a great hot dish for a winter day when you have to go out and shovel snow. Goes well with any boxed white wine.