Pressure Cooker Recipes 6

Pressure Cooker recipes: Peggy Under Pressure

I bookmarked this site, but forget which recipe led me there. This site is a blog by a woman who got excited about electric pressure cookers in 2009. It doesn’t look like she is updating the site very often (or at all) here in 2018, still, there are a few recipes that I’d like to try. (There are a few sponsored links but no irritating ads.)

I got a kick out of reading her “About Peggy and Me” page. It begins: “I brought home a digital electric pressure cooker sometime in 2009. And I’ve been obsessed with it since. Come on, I even gave it a name! I named her Peggy!!! Yes, it’s a she!!!”

The author goes on to say how she used to be afraid of pressure cookers. And how much she hated that constant rattling of the valve on older pressure cookers. Electric pressure cookers are quiet – except “the part where I turn the valve to exhaust the hot pressure, that’s my favorite part! Choo-choo!!!”. I agree with her on all points.

She writes a good blog – it is worth a visit. The recipes I’d like to try are below.

Peggy Under Pressure

Italian Sausage Three Bean Chili. She made this chili to go with a grilled cheese sandwich.The chili recipe calls for dry, non-pre-soaked pinto, kidney, and black beans, with a cooking time of 75 minutes, quick release (sounds too long to me). She added a comment that you can use canned beans and only cook the chili 15-20 minutes. I’d like to try this because of the rest of the ingredients: Italian sausage, onions, celery, corn, serrano chilies, garlic, basil, oregano, can of beer, chicken stock, tomatoes, and tomato sauce. I’d probably pre-soak the beans and cook for maybe 20-30 minutes, slow-release.

Mexican Pork Posole. This recipe calls for hominy (canned), poblanos, fresh hot green peppers, onions, Mexican oregano, enchilada sauce, and pork (or chicken breast). It cooks a whole hour, I think canned hominy would stand up to this long cooking time. (I once tried to cook dry hominy, pre-soaked, but it takes forever to cook, so I assume the author used canned hominy.) The pork is “rump meat”, but my handy inexpensive pork loin would probably work. (I consulted a couple of my references, and an hour seems too long to pressure cook pork in 1 1/2 inch cubes.)

Chicken Parmigiana Italia. This looks like a great recipe for boneless chicken breasts! I make a similar stove-top dish, but the chicken is sometimes dry. Her words: “It makes chicken breasts unbelievable soft, juicy and tender without running the risk of it becoming dry and flavorless”. We have discovered the same thing – that the pressure cooker makes chicken moist and tender, and never dry. For Chicken Parmigiana Italia, the chicken breasts are coated with a flour mixture and browned in a pan, then pressure-cooked in marinara sauce (and cheese) for 8-10 minutes, slow release.

Coconut Rice Pudding. I know I’d love this, but it makes a ton and I doubt my dining partner would like it. Plus it has tons of calories. I can save this as a “dream” recipe. Here are the ingredients: arborio rice, coconut milk, almond milk, cinnamon sticks, cloves, a vanilla bean, orange zest strips, and sweetened condensed milk. Just 15 minutes under pressure and you have dessert!

Pressure Cooker Recipes 5

Pressure Cooker recipes: Instant Pot®

Note the “®” in the link above: this site is written by the makers of the Instant Pot® – this is a commercial web site. What is nice about this fact is that there are no little annoying video ads from other businesses. The site has good information on how to use a pressure cooker and lots of recipes.

I like the “about Instant Brands, Inc.” section of this web site – it is friendly and casual. Instant Brands Inc. was founded in 2009 by a team of Canadian technology veterans. Now they have added more appliances to their line: an immersion circulator sous vide, blenders, and multicookers without pressure. Sous vide interests me as a scientific experiment. It reminds me of the constant temperature water baths I used in a lab. Just think, I could put a steak in a plastic bag in one of those laboratory water baths set at 49˚ C for a day or two and see what happens. Hey, the Instant Pot Sous Vide circulator is less than a hundred dollars! Guess I could try one someday.

An instant pot is a multi-cooker: a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, warmer, and sometimes more, such as canning/sterilization and yogurt. The control panel for an instant pot contains all of those functions, plus settings for each. One version of Instant Pot has blue tooth capabilities. I do not have an instant pot, I have an electric pressure cooker. It has only six functions: low pressure, high pressure, brown,  saute, simmer, and warm. Still, I can do about everything in my electric pressure cooker that I could do in an Instant Pot, except for canning/sterilizing and making yogurt.

Instant Pot® is a brand name, but several other manufacturers make appliances that have similar multi-functions. Often, these multi-functioned appliances are also referred to as “instant pots”. I advise anyone interested in purchasing a multicooker to read online reviews. I haven’t used an Instant Pot®, so I can’t contrast/compare them with my electric pressure cooker. I have set up multicookers at our Lyons Gardening Club Chile Cook-off, and the control panels can be confusing to a non-owner.

I am not likely to purchase an instant pot. I already have a rice cooker as a stand alone appliance. If I want to cook rice and a stew or beans at the same time, I am glad I have both appliances. Instant pots also function as a slow cooker, again, I already own a slow cooker.

I clicked on the Instant Pot® “resources” section. I find a good description on how to get started with an electric pressure cooker. The “initial test run, water test” caught my eye. To familiarize a novice with an electric pressure cooker, they suggest making a trial run with just water: put 3 cups of water in your pressure cooker and run for 2 minutes, then use quick or natural release. This test allows the new user to figure out exactly how to use the device, what to expect, and make sure they have it set up correctly.

The site has other useful sections, such as terminology, how a pressure cooker works, glossary of terms, and downloadable recipe booklets, and downloadable cooking time tables.

All in all, Instant Pot® is an informative site that is easy to navigate.

Instant Pot®

The link above takes you to the recipe section of the site. It has a convenient search function on the very first page. You have the option to enter up to 4 search fields at one time: meal (breakfast, lunch, etc.), cuisine, diet, and recipe (any term you want). Be aware that this will pull up recipes for devices other than a pressure cooker, for instance, a blender. Besides the search option, there are photos of dishes that you can browse through and click to find the recipe. There are 24 recipe photos per page and 28 pages, so that’s 672 recipes! The recipes are largely modern American in style, and often call for convenience or branded products, such as Progresso™ beef broth, Frank’s RedHot® Cayenne Pepper Sauce, Old El Paso™ chicken taco seasoning mix, frozen hash browns, etc.

Chicken and Dumplings drew my attention, until I read all of the ingredients – I don’t like refrigerator biscuits. The recipe pressure cooks the chicken, vegetable and broth mixture a mere 2 minutes (quick release). Then, the biscuits are added. If I made this dish, I would make my own biscuits.

Tuscan Chicken and Rice cooks for 10 minutes, natural release for 5 minutes, then quick release. The ingredients include boneless chicken thighs, basil pesto, artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and white rice. The rice is cooked with all the other ingredients under pressure.

Pepperoncini Beef Roast calls for boneless beef chuck roast, pepperoncini peppers, ranch dressing mix, and au jus gravy mix. It’s a 45 minute pressure cook, 10 minutes slow release, then quick release. This recipe illustrates the reliance of convenience foods in many of the recipes on this site. I do like the idea of pepperoncinis and beef in a stew, so if I try this recipe, I’ll modify the ranch dressing and au jus gravy mixes.

Cheesy Chicken Taco Soup is a Pillsbury recipe. The ingredients include boneless chicken breasts, black beans, corn, salsa, cheese, and cilantro.

There are also lots of recipes for desserts.

Pressure Cooker Recipes 4

Pressure Cooker recipes: Kitchn

Who or what is The Kitchn? “The Kitchn is a website founded in 2005 by Maxwell Ryan and Sara Kate Gillingham”. The Kitchn describes itself as “a daily food magazine on the Web celebrating life in the kitchen through home cooking and kitchen intelligence.” Currently the Kitchn is “written by a small, steady team of freelance writers”. They do not accept recipes from unsolicited freelance submissions (people like you and me). This gives a professional consistency to the site (and the recipes).

I enjoy the site. It is an excellent reference for pressure cooker recipes. (Yes, there are ads. Oh well.)

I found the Kitchn page titled “23 Cooking Lessons and Recipes for Your Electric Pressure Cooker” a couple years ago. This list shows the breadth of coverage for pressure cooking on the site

  1. Chicken Stock
  2. Potatoes
  3. Beans
  4. Lentils
  5. Steel Cut Oatmeal
  6. Rice
  7. Chicken Tikka Masala
  8. Meatloaf
  9. Chicken Curry
  10. Potato Risotto
  11. Sweet and Spicy Braised Cabbage
  12. Ethiopian-style Spinach and Lentil Soup
  13. Beef and Porcini Mushroom Stew
  14. Rice Pudding
  15. 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Cooking Eggs in the Pressure Cooker
  16. The Simple Trick That Makes Meat Cooked in the Pressure Cooker Even Better
  17. 5 Times the Pressure Cooker Saved Monday Morning
  18. You Made These 4 Things in Your Pressure Cooker — Now Use Them for Breakfast
  19. Electric or Stovetop Pressure Cooker: Which Is Right for Me?
  20. What’s the Difference Between Natural Release and Rapid Release for Pressure Cookers?
  21. 4 Simple Tips for Converting a Slow-Cooker Recipe to a Pressure Cooker
  22. 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Using an Electric Pressure Cooker
  23. Stainless Steel vs. Aluminum vs. Nonstick: Which Pressure Cooker Material Is Right for You?

The Kitchn pressure cooking section is a great reference. I am currently studying how to cook white beans in the pressure cooker, consulting #3 in the list above as well as other references, and will provide a link when my new post is completed.

(There are even tutorials and recipes, 50-plus, at this link.)

The Kitchn

To find all of the pressure cooker recipes on this site, go to the Kitchn and enter “pressure cooker” as the search term. Or, click on this link. At the time of writing this post, 134 pressure cooker recipes or articles showed up.

Below are some I’d like to try, or that are just interesting!

Instant Pot Weeknight Chicken and Rice Burrito Bowls This recipe calls for boneless chicken thighs, to which you add black beans, white rice, salsa, corn, onions and spices. Ten minutes quick release. Serve in bowls with cheese and cilantro. My only complaint is that I like to use brown rice – for better nutrition. Brown rice might take too long to cook in this chicken and rice dish, so the chicken and beans might get mushy.

30-Minute Pressure-Cooker Cacciatore Chicken You can start with frozen bone-in chicken drumsticks, add stock and tomatoes and spices, and have dinner ready in 30 minutes. It takes only 5 minutes less time if you use fresh chicken drumsticks. I see this as a good reason to keep frozen chicken drumsticks in the freezer! And the seasonings could be changed to adapt it to a lot of other recipes.

Vanilla Extract Never would have thought of making vanilla extract in the pressure cooker!

Chili Someday I’ll try making chili in the pressure cooker. This recipe calls for hamburger and overnight-soaked dry kidney beans. The total prep and cooking time is about an hour.

Barbacoa is a shredded beef dish made with chipotle chiles in adobe sauce. The article includes a link to a recipe for pink pickled onions.

Kacchi Lamb Dum Biryani is a dish made with lamb chunks, basmati rice, yogurt, lots of spices and garnishes. It is a hyderabadi-style dish and is often cooked during Ramadan. Hyderabadi cuisine is an amalgamation of Asian, Turkish, and Arabic cuisines.

Potato Risotto with potatoes, arborio rice, onions, and thyme.

Pressure Cooker Recipes 3

Pressure Cooker recipes: Pressure Cooking Today

I bookmarked this site a year or so ago and then forgot about it. I open the link today and find another very good site for pressure cooker users. The author is a woman named Barbara who states “I started Pressure Cooking Today to share my love of pressure cooking and challenge myself to create and share fabulous new recipes”.

The “tips” section links to articles on the benefits of pressure cooking; gift guides; how to use pressure cookers, both in general and brand specific; how to convert a conventional recipe to a pressure cooker recipe; and how to get a pan out of a pressure cooker (for instance, when you place a cake pan in a pressure cooker).

Recipes? There are a lot. Most are written by the site’s author (if not, the guest writer is introduced), and she includes a discussion of the recipe.

Ads, ads, ads. But I am getting used to this fact of life on the internet.

Pressure Cooking Today

The recipes below are ones I might like to try and/or cover the scope of the recipes on this site.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes. I decide to make these for our Thanksgiving dinner! Hopefully they work. The Pressure Cooking Today recipe is this:

Peel and quarter 6 russet potatoes. Add one cup of water to the pressure cooker pot, then place a trivet or steamer basket in the pot. Add the potatoes. Cook for 5 minutes on high pressure, fast release, and check the potatoes. If they are not fork-tender, repeat this step and check after “a few minutes”. (they are essentially steamed)

p.s. these worked out great!

Pressure Perfect by Lorna Sass (my book) calls for 3 pounds peeled russets cut in one-inch chunks, add one cup water, pressure cook on high pressure for 8 minutes, check for done-ness, and pressure cooking a few more minutes if necessary. (She does not mention a trivet.)

At this point, both authors state to put the potatoes through a ricer (I do have one of these) or food mill or use a potato masher (have one of these too). Then, add melted butter and warmed milk or cream.

My family tradition is to add butter and milk and cheese and mash with a portable mixer. I never warm the milk or melt the butter, and I also add cheddar cheese and some sour cream. I am going to stick to my tradition, and mixer-mash the potatoes right in the pressure cooker pot. Then, I can cover them with a lid and turn the pot to “warm”. That way, I lessen the burden on my crowded stove top, which will be full of pots and pans making gravy and cooking peas and beans for our Thanksgiving dinner.

Let’s hope this works!

Conclusion: Perfect results!

Country-Style Barbecue Pork Ribs. I often find country-style pork ribs on sale. This boneless cut of meat is often very fatty. Barbara states “Cooking them in the pressure cooker helps melt away the fat and leaves fork tender meat”. The ribs are cooked in a sauce of crushed pineapple, ketchup, onions, dry mustard, and fresh ginger.

Bone-In Beef Short Ribs. I tried these, and although the recipe worked, I don’t like the beef short ribs I get in my local stores. Too much bone, too much fat, too little meat. The meat is sort of tough and the flavor is not stupendous.

Lemon Cranberry Breakfast Farro. Someone else has discovered farro! I covered it in my grains posts series.

Frozen, boneless chicken breasts. Forgot to thaw something for dinner? No problem – just put a couple boneless breasts in the pressure cooker, cook on high for one minute, and you have thawed chicken breasts, just lightly cooked on the very outside and ready to be diced for recipes. Need an idea for dinner using said breasts? Try one of these pressure cooker recipes: Chicken Bacon Penne Pasta in a Garlic Cream Sauce, Honey Sesame Chicken, Chicken Enchilada Pasta (Rotel tomatoes, enchilada sauce, rotini pasta, lots of cheese, and the rotini is cooked directly in the sauce). And these are just a few of her suggestions.

Pressure Cooker Mongolian Beef. This recipe calls for flank steak, fresh ginger and garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar, and green onions. It’s “a pressure cooker version of PF Changs popular beef dish”.

Boneless Pork Chops. This recipe is like the “no-peek” beef dish that I used to make, often in a slow cooker, with mushrooms and a packet of dried onion soup mix. The thickness of the pork chops is discussed, which is helpful to me. There are other pork chop recipes too on this site.

Also browse this site’s soup and dessert categories, if you are interested.

Pressure Cooker Recipes 2

Pressure Cooker recipes: pressure cooker recipes

I remember from way back when it was solely a gathering of recipes contributed by cooks who also happened to be on the internet at the time. The web was mostly educational and personal sites back then, although it was changing rapidly. According to Wilipedia, “ was founded in 1997 after co-founder Hunt had trouble finding his favorite cookie recipe on the Internet.” The first domain name was actually “”, but it quickly expanded to all foods and the name changed to And became commercial, both onsite and as a print magazine. In 2006 allrecipes was sold to Reader’s Digest, and in 2012 it became part of the Meredith Corporation.

I went to the Way Back machine and found this stored web visit that shows how looked then: 1997 That’s how I remember it! Back in the day.

Today I find the 2018 site, well, a little overwhelming. The pressure cooker page loads slowly on my slow connection – especially the photos, and the loading page keeps appending the recipes at the bottom. Good and bad photos of the cooked dishes. Ads pop up everywhere, videos are annoying and distracting, and icons beg to be clicked on. (I’m just here for the facts, the recipes. But I digress to my bent towards of non-commercialism.)

Still, this site has a wealth of recipes. There are hundreds of pressure cooker recipes, all contributed by ordinary folk who are usually identified by a clickable link. Many have their own websites (like me).

The thing about the website is that there is no underlying theme for the style of recipes, except maybe “American style”. What I mean is, on, the recipes are written by a handful of professional cooks. And on, there are fewer recipes, most have an international flair, and the photos are amazing, as compared to the site.

The second pressure cooker recipe website I am covering is:

Note: When you are searching for a pressure cooker from the above link, you need to specify “pressure cooker” or “instant pot” when you search, or you get a conglomeration of pressure and non-pressure recipes.

The recipe I want to try from is Chicken with Duck Sauce. We really like the way chicken in the pressure cooker comes out juicy but done. This recipe calls for a whole chicken, cut up. I decide to use less chicken: just two, bone-in chicken breasts. Will the amount of liquid in the dish and the cooking time need to be varied? I don’t think so, so I will go ahead with the 1/4 cup wine plus 1/4 cup broth that is suggested for a whole chicken, and go with the instructions “cook on high pressure 8 minutes, or until done” (quick release). I make a full recipe of the duck sauce.

First, I brown the seasoned chicken breasts directly inside the electric pressure cooker. Advantage: no separate stove-top skillet to wash. Disadvantage: I have to peer over the rim of the deep pot and reach down with a fork to turn them, and it splatters all over my hand. Can I skip the browning step altogether? No, un-browned chicken would look pale on the serving dish.

I add the water and wine and close the cooker. It comes to high pressure quickly because there is so little water and food in it. After 8 minutes, I check the chicken breasts. One is up to 160˚, but one is only at 120˚. So I take one out, and leave the other in for another 2 minutes. It is done, 160˚.

I was kind of wondering why the recipe instructions state: “cook on high pressure 8 minutes, or until done”. I mean, it’s not like stove-top simmering or oven-baking chicken when it takes just a second or two to check if it’s done. No, you have to release the pressure, check the chicken, then decide to cook a little longer. With this particular recipe – very little liquid and quick release – this “checking” step took only a couple minutes start to finish. So it worked. When cooking large amounts of food, like when I cook a batch of beans, it can take 10-20 minutes to check for done-ness and get the cooker back up to pressure.

I made the whole amount of duck sauce even though I was only cooking two pieces of chicken, and was glad I did. Some of it pooled over into my hot side dish of freekeh and broccoli and it tasted great. I used fresh ginger, and I strongly recommend it if you have some around. The sauce was simply delicious, almost sweet and sour. We both liked it.

Below, I am sharing several more recipes from the collection. Some I am interested in trying, some demonstrate cooking methods, all demonstrate the scope of recipes the site includes.

Instapot Salsa Chicken. This calls for frozen chicken breasts – and they are added without thawing to the pot. This could be a real boon for those times we walk in the door ready to eat and nothing is thawed for dinner. (We live 6 miles from a small town so going out is not always convenient.) I almost always have frozen chicken breasts on hand. So, I could put them in the pot, add salsa and a couple other ingredients, and pressure cook for 15 minutes. A healthy dinner in 15 minutes! Instructions for beginning with thawed chicken breasts are given.

Double Bean and Ham Soup begins with non-soaked dry navy beans, and therefore will nicely season those beans. I find it odd that the recipe also calls for a can of pork and beans. What’s the point of cooking from scratch if you add such a processed canned product?

Messy Lasagna. Ingredients are ground beef, tomato sauce, spinach, ricotta, mozzarella, and more. The pasta is bow ties. Pressure Cooker Lasagna calls for no-boil noodles and goat cheese and more.

Pressure Cooker Bone-In Pork Chops, Baked Potatoes, and Carrots is interesting because you put the potatoes and carrots in a steamer basket inside the pressure cooker instead of down in the liquid.

Beef Brisket with Chipotle Tomatillo Sauce calls for medium pressure for 1 hour 15 minutes. I think this is silly, why not high pressure for less time?, this might be a good idea. Slow release, too.

Olive oil pressure-cooked whole roasted chicken. Nice spices, very little liquid. The cooking time is 16-20 minutes with quick release. The whole chicken is removed from the pressure cooker and browned under an oven broiler. The cooking liquid is made into a gravy for mashed potatoes.

Spicy Pressure Cooker Short Ribs are cooked in a spicy sauce that includes – cola! The pressure cooker should be a good tool for cooking short ribs, a tasty meat that needs a long cooking time. The site includes other short rib recipes too. Note: I tried these, the flavoring was good, but the ribs disappointing. The kind I get at the market are simply too fatty, with very little meat. And they are not even cheap. I think I will give up on beef short ribs!

Mexican Beef and Vegetable Stew is an example of how to cook a quick beef stew in the pressure cooker. The meat is browned and then pressure-cooked for 10 minutes, slow release. The the potatoes and carrots are added and it is cooked for 15 minutes, quick release.

In general, the site has many versions of recipes for pot roast, pulled pork, stews, carnitas, barbecued pork, and chilis. It is a good resource for ideas.

Hardboiled Eggs in the pressure cooker take about the same amount of time, but the claim is that they will always be easy to peel.

Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake This cheesecake is rich with cream cheese, semi-sweet chocolate and cocoa, whipping cream, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and chocolate cookie crumbs. It’s pressure cooked for 45 minutes in a springform pan on a trivet.

Copycat V-8 Juice! Boy, that would be fun. You start with fresh vegetables. If I had a garden, I would probably try this project. It’s processed in a “pressure canner”, not a pressure cooker. I used to have a very old pressure canner, but it’s gone off somewhere, so I’d have to purchase a new one to try this V-8 juice. According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, electric pressure cookers are not recommended for canning tasks. Pressure canners are usually taller and bigger than electric pressure cookers, and can hold four or more quart-size jars standing upright. These canning cookers get up to higher temperatures than the electric type. The NCHFP has not tested whether or not electric pressure cookers get up to and sustain a high enough temperature to kill all the bacteria.


grains hot cereal

I just ate a fantastic grain breakfast. How did I do it? Yesterday afternoon, I went to my pantry and selected four grains. How did I choose them? Well, I wanted something with big grains and crunchy, and something small and flavorful too. I chose kamut, einkorn (farro), and millet. I poured them into a pan (no measuring!) and added water to cover by about an inch. A little salt. I simmered until the grains were done, adding more water once or twice. Then I added a little old fashioned oatmeal, to sort of bind them all together. Cooked a few minutes, added sultans, covered, and took off the heat. Left there until morning.

Morning comes. I warm up my mixture. Delicious!! This needs no sugar at all, just a little milk (and the sultans!). Yum. I thinks my mixture is a lot better than the 7-grain cereal  blend that I have purchased for years. The flavors stand out and the grains are pleasantly chewy.

Cereal for breakfast is especially good after months of eggs. We spent months successfully losing weight on a low-carb diet, but I for one missed my grains. Now I am using these whole grains that I studied, knowing they are full of nutrients, fiber, and even protein. The ones I chose have a relatively low glycemic index. No blood sugar spikes like eating sugary muffins.

I don’t even have to look up recipes to use my favorite grains. Besides the morning cereal, a week ago I added teff flour to muffins just based on my own knowledge. They were delicious.

I have learned that I like grains that are in one piece, like wheat berries. I know that whole grains can be “whole”, as in, in one piece, or lightly processed, like bulgur and cracked freekeh, which are treated just enough to change the texture but not too much to remove all of the fiber and attached nutrients. Grains can be processed into flour and still be considered “whole grain”. I know that a product called grain might be a grass, like wheat, or a seed, like millet. I have learned enough to use my own knowledge to choose and cook grains, but I have some great references on hand, my own charts, my own weblinks, and Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way by Lorna Sass.

But I am “pausing” on my grain posts. Time to get on to my pressure cooker and other interests.

Quick summary (mainly for me!):

I still have spelt, oats, quinoa, chia, and rye to cover. Also, I realized in Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way that oats and corn and hominy and more are considered whole grains too. I’ll try to get to all of them eventually. So far, I have covered:


Pressure cooker recipes 1

November 2018. Winter is creeping in on Colorado. It’s time again for hearty stews and soups. Back in January 2017, I started a draft of this post “Electric pressure cooker recipes”, and now it’s time to finally finish it!

I have been using pressure cookers since the 1970s, when I got my first stove top version. (See my 250 Cookbook post, the Presto Pressure Cooker Recipe Book.) About 4 years ago I got an electric pressure cooker, sometimes called an “instant pot”. I tend to neglect it since I store it down in the basement. So, I carried it upstairs for convenient storage.

The focus of this series of posts is to find lots of pressure cooker recipes, test one from each website, and then keep all my references and notes in one convenient spot. I want to become very comfortable using my pressure cooker with foods from beans to grains to meats to vegetables.

I am not going to discuss how to use a pressure cooker in this section. But for myself, I wanted a good reference book on pressure cooking, and I chose Pressure Perfect by Lorna Sass. (I bought the e-book.) I learned about Lorna Sass while working on my Grains posts, and purchased and reviewed her book Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way. I made a good choice with Pressure Perfect – I love the book!

The first website I am covering is:

Serious Eats

The Serious Eats Team has put together a page of 29 Pressure Cooker Recipes for Quicker, Easier Dinners. I became “acquainted” with one of this team, J. Kenji López-Alt, when listening to a podcast. After listening, I bought the hard copy of his 2015 book, The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science. (This book is past my 250 cookbooks era.) It’s a fascinating, scientific-style cookbook that totally appeals to me. The Food Lab book is huge and comprehensive and has lots of great photos.

The pressure cooker recipes on the Serious Eats site range from traditional beef stew to chicken stew with lentils to Thai green chicken curry to black beans with chorizo to French onion soup to beef barley soup to Texas style chile con carne to rissotto to tomato sauce and chicken stock. Interesting flavors from Asia and India and America and Mexico and more are often woven into the same recipe. No borders in the cooking of the Food Lab Team!

I like that the pressure cooker recipes on this site that call for black beans have you add the dry beans directly to the pot. A recipe with pinto beans calls for them to be soaked overnight, then added directly to the pot. A recipe for chick peas calls for canned beans. Why do I have a preference for adding dry beans directly to the pot? Because it lends a lot more flavor than adding precooked or canned beans, and it saves the cook (me!) from having to plan a meal by soaking the beans the day before.

What I don’t like about the Serious Eats site are a couple of irritating ads: one keeps showing a video that distracts my eyes.

The first recipe I want to try is 30-Minute Pressure Cooker Chicken With Chickpeas, Tomatoes, and Chorizo. This recipe was created by J. Kenji López-Alt. He writes about the development of the recipe on another page. He states that, as per my own preference, he tried dried garbanzos first, but it took so long for them to cook that he used canned garbanzos first. Gosh, I love his photos! I could learn more than cooking from J. Kenji López-Alt!

I gather ingredients for this dish. I can’t find fire roasted tomatoes at the market, so I will use a can of Cento peeled Italian tomatoes. The chorizo is supposed to be the type that can be cut into chunks; I can only find ground fresh chorizo and a 3 ounce package of dried, cured chorizo precut into thin slices. (I added a small amount of the ground chorizo, cooked, and the entire package of cured chorizo, chopped into small pieces.) I do have smoked Spanish paprika in my spice rack. Garbanzos? I cooked dry garbanzo beans in my pressure cooker and stored portions in my freezer, so I will use those, but I don’t have quite enough so I will supplement with one 14-ounce can of garbanzos (chick peas). I have my own homemade chicken stock. For the chicken, Kenji may be able to cut one into serving pieces quickly, but not me – I choose packaged thighs and drumsticks.


Yes, my pressure cooked chicken with chickpeas, tomatoes, and chorizo was wonderful. Even my husband liked it a lot. He thought the chicken was cooked to perfection, juicy and tender. He even ate the garbanzos. I thought the flavoring perfect. I advise anyone trying this recipe to be sure to use smoked paprika. Yes, the chorizo lent great flavor and heat, but what sets this dish apart is the smoky flavor of the paprika. One whole tablespoon – don’t skimp!

I will try more recipes from this Serious Eats site. They keep adding pressure cooker recipes: the first time I visited the site there were 15, now there are 29. So keep checking back.

(Aside: I use one of the Food Labs pizza doughs when we make our outdoor pizza cooker.)

Cookbooks: Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way

Traveling through the web searching for information on millet for the Grains section of my blog, I came across this book by a woman called Lorna Sass: Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way. Just who is this woman? I preview parts of the cookbook and decide that I must have it. Shall I purchase Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way as an e-book or hard copy? My thoughts follow. First, let’s meet Lorna Sass, then I’ll ramble about e-books.

Lorna Sass

I learned about Lorna Sass while reading the Whole Grains Council section on millet. She is one of their culinary advisors, as listed on this web page. Whole Grains Council (WGC) has a bio page for Lorna Sass, where I learn that she is a widely published food writer and an award-winning cookbook author. I follow their link to her website and read more of her biography. Sass begins her bio with “my mom was a good cook, and a very adventurous one” and that she “grew up with a relaxed sense of cooking good food”. She did not begin her career as a food writer, no, she graduated from Columbia University with a PhD in medieval literature. During her studies, serendipity led her to a 1390 book of recipes from the royal household of Richard II. Aha! A woman after my own heart – she checked out the book and started cooking the recipes!

She did not stop with just cooking the recipes. She wrote To the King’s Taste and three other books on the history of cooking. Quote from her website: “During the 70s, I gave lectures and taught workshops on the history of gastronomy all around the country.”

And then, Sass became interested in pressure cooking when in the 1980s her “mom brought a pressure cooker back from India and started turning out delicious soups and stews in 15 minutes”. Four pressure cooking books resulted! She calls Pressure Perfect her definitive word on the subject. I too became interested in pressure cooking, but in the 1970s. (Presto Pressure Cooker Recipe Book, a 250 Cookbooks blog post.)

Sass also notes that she was a vegetarian for “about a decade”. As you might guess by now, that led to another four cookbooks. She also mentions her love of travel and photography. (Her Facebook page has some great photos.)

I enjoyed learning about one more great cook who is fascinated by food, likes to try new things, steers toward whole grains and home cooked meals, and writes cookbooks. Sass has a presence on Facebook and a blog. More about her story is found on her WordPress “about” page.

Hard copy or e-Book?

All of my current cookbooks are hard copy publications. I like sitting in a comfy chair and perusing recipes and stories and photos of food. I like writing notes in the books or inserting hand-written post-its to mark ideas and suggestions. Can I really sit down with a book that is on my iPad or computer instead of paper? There is something about turning the pages of a printed, paper book that is comforting.

E-books might work for me, though. I could access an e-book from my phone, my iPad, and my computer. I could be in a store and look up a recipe so I know what I need to by. Or, I could sit in a chair with the iPad or my MacBookPro and swipe through the pages. Or, I could sit here at my desk with a big screen and all my stuff around me, with access to all of my databases and writings and notes.

And, I could have the e-book immediately. No waiting. No waste of paper, no book to find space for on a shelf. The e-book costs less than the printed book. I don’t have to travel to a brick and mortar store and maybe not find it (or pay a lot). I won’t have a lot of packaging to recycle from an online purchase shipment.

All these things considered, plus with a choice to try something new, I decide to try this cookbook as an e-book. The download is quick and voilá, it is on my computer.

How do I like using the e-book?

I have read e-books on occasion, but not a lot, so I need to get familiar with the functions. I’m using the Kindle app on all my devices. So, I start playing around with all of them. I find that I can add a note anywhere in the book. The notes I add on my computer version are synched with both my iPhone and iPad versions, and visa versa. This is very useful!

I like being able to search for a word (e.g., an ingredient) and go directly to that page.

I think I will like this method of using cookbooks. Especially for this cookbook, which is mostly information and recipes – no photos.

How do I like Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way?

Wow. I really like this book. If I had found it sooner, I probably would not have started the Grains section of my blog.

Sass begins with “what is a whole grain”. I am always going on about whole grains when talking to friends and family, and I like having this reference at the ready so I can keep my facts straight. “A kernel of grain is comprised of three edible parts: the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. Some grains have a fourth part – the hull or husk – which is an inedible protective covering.” And “In order to qualify as a whole grain, a kernel must have all three parts intact.” If a grain is processed into pieces, like wheat into bulgur, or any grain into flour, the processed grain must have the same nutrition profile as the kernel to be called “whole grain”, according to USDA guidelines and the Whole Grains Council. Look for the word “whole” in labels of grain products.

In a whole grain, the bran contains dietary fiber, B vitamins, and trace minerals. The germ contains vitamins B and E, essential fatty acids, phytochemicals, and unsaturated lipids. Here is a direct quote from Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way: “The germ is located at one end of the kernel near where the kernel connects to the stalk, since it is just under the bran, if the bran is removed, so is the germ.” The endosperm is the largest portion of the kernel, and contains starch and protein and B vitamins.

Some of the grains she covers are seeds or pseudocereals. For instance, quinoa, amaranth, and millet are not members of the grain family in botanical terms, but are commonly referred to as grains because they are cooked like them and have similar nutritional profiles. I’ve run into this definition before while studying grains for my Grains section of my blog.

Sass methodically studied how to cook each grain. Just like a scientist! She has a section titled “In my kitchen laboratory”. Her kitchen experiments included pre-soaking the grain (or not); putting the grain in boiling water or starting with the grain in cold water and then bringing to a boil; toasting before cooking; adding salt early or late; letting a grain stand covered after cooking; pressure cooking; and adding oil (or not).

Because of all of her cooking trials, I find Sass’s cooking instructions for each grain easy to follow, full of excellent suggestions, and so far, perfect for each grain I’ve tried.

Sass talks about cooking grains in large batches to create your own “grain bank”. Most grains store well in the freezer, and can be frozen in small portions for last minute use. I learned about this method when I wrote my Grains post on kamut from the Food Storage Moms website.

For each grain, Sass tells us what sort of foods they go well with in a compatible foods and flavors section. For instance, amaranth is compatible with savory ingredients such as butter, olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, oregano, corn, sesame seeds, and fresh ginger, and sweet ingredients such as honey, vanilla, chocolate, cinnamon, banana, and winter squash.

The recipes are all at the end of the book. This is nice in an e-book, because when she mentions the recipe in the text of a grain’s section, it is hyperlinked directly to the recipe.

The “further reading” chapter at the end of the book is wonderful. One link I found that I really like is the USDA Food Composition Databases website. I put it in my browser’s tool bar so I can easily find the nutrition profile of just about any food.

At the very end is a hyperlinked index. This may not be as necessary as in the print version, since you can always do a word search in an e-book.

The only drawbacks to this book is that it was published in 2006, so some of the information might be outdated, and that it does not have photos of grains.

I am happy with my decision to buy the e-book, and I am totally happy that I found and now own Lorna Sass’s Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way.

Grains: Millet

“Which grain was first farmed nearly 10,000 years ago? Which grain was revered as one of five sacred crops in ancient China? Which grain is mentioned in the Old Testament, the writings of Herodotus, and the journals of Marco Polo? The answer is millet!”

Thus reads the package of Bob’s Red Mill whole grain hulled millet that I hold in my hands. The millet is small and round and sort of yellow-tan in color. I want to learn more about this ancient grain!

Millet is the generic name for a group of small-seeded grasses. The most prominent types of millet are finger, pearl, foxtail, proso, and little millet. One less popular type called great millet is actually sorghum bicolor. White and black fonios are related to millet, as I learned while writing my post on fonio. Millet grows well in hot and dry climates and has a short growing season. According to Wikipedia, 97% of the world’s millet is produced in developing countries in Asia and Africa. Millet is “whole” because it includes the bran, germ, and endosperm. It is also gluten free.

The Experience Life website states “Like quinoa and amaranth, millet is actually a seed, but it’s classified as a grain in cookbooks because that’s the way it’s most often prepared.”

Millet was a “Grain of the Month” on the Oldways Whole Grain Council website. It’s thought that before rice, millet was the staple grain in Asia. Today, in India, millet is used to make the flat bread roti, a staple flat bread. In Africa, millet is generally cooked as a porridge. And, it is used to make beer.

I continue to prowl the web for information on millet, and stumble on this book: Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way, by Lorna Sass. Wow! Lorna Sass covers all of the grains I have covered in this blog. I decide I must have this book – so I order it. And I have so much to say about it, that I will have to make my comments a separate blog post. (I bought the Kindle version, so I can immediately read what Lorna Sass knows about millet.)

I learn from Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way that In the US, proso is the most common millet. And what is it used for here? Birdseed! Health food stores began selling millet for people, and then gluten-free diets increased its popularity. Now millet is pretty easy to find in many types of markets, as well as online.

Bob’s Red Mill has a good blog entry that is a comparison of four grains: millet, quinoa, barley, and amaranth. I also like an entry The World’s Healthiest Foods: “Although millet is most often associated as the main ingredient in bird seed, it is not just ‘for the birds.’ Creamy like mashed potatoes or fluffy like rice, millet is a delicious grain that can accompany many types of food. As with most grains, millet is available in markets throughout the year.” An Encyclopedia Britannica article has wonderful photos and also illustrations that show how grains are milled.

I did find one caution about consumption of large amounts of millet. Some types of millet contain goitrogens. What are these? They are substances that suppress thyroid activity and can lead to goiters, or enlargement of the thyroid gland. (Reference: The Healthy Home Economist.) Why It Matters What Type of Millet You Eat is a fun to read article by Chris Masterjohn, PhD. He explains that proso millet is okay – and from what he found out from Bob’s Red Mill and what I found out from Lorna Sass, proso millet is the type of millet we are most likely to obtain in the United States.

Bob’s Red Mill millet, probably proso millet:

milletMillet compared to medium grain brown rice:

millet compared to brown rice


1/4 cup of dry millet (55 grams) has 210 calories, 3 grams fiber, 5 grams protein, 8% iron, 12% niacin, 8% vitamin B6, 8% folate, 8% riboflavin, 14% thiamin, 40% manganese, 14% phosphorus, 4% zinc, and 15% magnesium.

The glycemic index values for millet range from 45 to 71, depending on the type of millet and how much the grain is processed.

The World’s Healthiest Foods discusses other health benefits of millet.


water time simmering
1 cup millet 2 cups 20 minutes

The above instructions are from the Bob’s Red Mill package. Lorna Sass, in her book “Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way”, recommends three ways to cook millet:

Fluffy: Toast 1 cup millet for 4-6 minutes in a dry pan over medium heat, until it begins popping and emits a toasty aroma. Off heat, carefully add 2 ¼ cups boiling water, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 tablespoon butter. Cover and simmer 13-18 minutes until most of the water is absorbed, then let stand 10 minutes. Fluff up before serving. Use like you would rice.

Sticky: Don’t toast the millet. Put 1 cup millet in a pan with 2 ¾ cups water and 1/4 teaspoon salt, simmer for 13-18 minutes, then let stand 10 minutes. Sticky millet can be molded in croquettes and patties or pressed into a pan.

Creamy: Start with millet “grits”, or make your own by grinding 1 cup millet in a spice grinder, 1/2 cup at a time, into a coarse meal. Bring 5 cups water (with 1/4 teaspoon salt) to a boil, then gradually whisk in the ground millet. Cover, lower heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for 15 to 30 minutes until grits are tender (the length of time depends in the size of the grits and the altitude). Creamy millet is good as a breakfast porridge, or it can be used like polenta.

I cooked millet according to Sass’s “fluffy” directions. I had it simmering gently: each time I peeked, it was obviously at a boil, but the lid wasn’t bumping like crazy. At my altitude of 5300 feet, it took 23 minutes for all the water to be absorbed. After a few minutes left standing off heat, it fluffed up nicely with a fork:

fluffy cooked milletI think it is beautiful! It tastes a tiny bit like corn, and not all the seeds cooked evenly, giving it just about the perfect amount of crunch. (“Crunch” is an important factor in my food tasting!)


Millet can be used like rice, as a porridge, like mashed potatoes, and in many other dishes. It kind of depends on how you cook it. The “fluffy” way would work great under a spicy sauce or in a tabouleh style salad. The flavor is pleasant and not dominating. Actually, I think it would be great with some Mexican flavors, and served along with beans as a side for enchiladas and the like.

Here are examples of recipes from “Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way”.

  • Millet Pie with Spinach and Feta
  • Millet with Buttermilk and Chives
  • Millet with Gingered Beets and Orange

Oldways Whole Grain Council site

Food Network

Grains: Teff

Teff is a tiny grain from Africa. I learn from the Bob’s Red Mill package that it is the smallest grain in the world, and “It has long been an important food for Highland Ethiopians, who use it to make everything from bread to beer.” It is one of the ancient grains, it is a grass, and it is gluten free. Teff comes in black, brown, and ivory varieties. It is sold as the whole grain and as flour.

Oldways Grain Council has become one of my favorite grains websites, so I direct my browser there. The information (and quote) in this paragraph is gleaned from that site. Teff kernels are 1/150 the size of wheat kernels. The word “teff” comes from teffa, meaning “lost” in Amharic, an Ethiopian language. The scientific name for teff is Eragrostis tef. Why do I mention this? Because eragrostis is the genus “lovegrass”, and I like that name. Teff is easy to grow: a handful of seeds sows a large area, it grows in wet and dry conditions, and can be cultivated from sea level to 10,000 feet. Teff is nutritious, with a high protein and calcium content. “It’s been estimated that Ethiopians get about two-thirds of their dietary protein from teff. Many of Ethiopia’s famed long-distance runners attribute their energy and health to teff.”

Teff is championed in the US by Wayne Carlson, much as is kamut by Bob Quinn and fonio by Pierre Thiam. Carlson’s company website is The Teff Company. The company produces the teff under the brand name Maskal Teff. Carlson first became interested in teff while living in Ethiopia during the early 1970s. Here is a direct quote from the website: “He lived as a guest of the local farming community, and found the farmers eager to show their crops. Wayne became devoted to the local food, and soon discovered that while the farmers had a wide variety of crops, they preferred to grow and eat teff.” The Teff Company found Idaho to have an ideal climate for growing teff.

A 2016 New York Times article states that the Ethiopian government prohibits its farmers from exporting teff in order to keep teff affordable in Ethiopia. This comes from the lesson learned from quinoa, originally a staple in the diets of many South Americans but now unaffordable by many locals. (I discussed this briefly in my post on fonio.) The Ethiopian government would like to make black, brown, and ivory teff varieties protected brands, much like Ethiopian coffees. The NY Times article also states that teff is high in protein and iron, has more calcium and vitamin C than “almost any other grain”, and much of its fiber is a resistant starch that might improve blood sugar levels.

Teff kernels cook up like a porridge, according to the websites I visited. I might get more use out of this grain if I buy the flour and incorporate it into breads. But let’s see first if I even like the taste!

The whole teff I purchased from Bob’s red mill is brown. And, it is about the size of poppy seeds.


Teff compared to medium grain brown rice.

teff and brown rice


1/4 cup of dry teff (50 grams) has 180 calories, 4 grams fiber, 7 grams protein, 10% daily calcium, 20 % iron, 10% vitamin B6, 6% thiamine, 10% zinc, and 25% magnesium. (Note that the NY Times article stated teff has a significant amount of vitamin C, but that claim is not supported by other nutrition sources.)

The glycemic index is reported as 74 (Teff: Nutrient Composition and Health Benefits by Kaleab Baye). (Anything under 55 is pretty good for a grain.)

Teff is gluten-free, an important consideration for those on gluten free diets.

Teff is a whole grain.


water time simmering time standing notes
1 cup teff 4 cups 20 minutes about 10 minutes let stand until all liquid is absorbed

The above cooking time is for brown teff. Check the package instructions if you find one of the other varieties of teff.

I cooked 1/4 cup of Bob’s Red Mill brown teff and it yielded 3/4 cup cooked. The kernels never get real soggy, and when cooked, sort of have the texture of poppy seeds.

I liked the taste! Slightly sweet, definitely not bitter, a bit earthy, and pleasing. The texture – like poppy seeds – is unusual, but not necessarily bad. I think I’d like to try keff mixed with oatmeal and other grains as a breakfast cereal.

Cooked teff:

cooked teff


Teff is a natural for hot breakfast cereal, perhaps mixed with other grains for variety. I made the “Teff Porridge with Dates and Honey”, a recipe on the Bob’s Red Mill package, and it was delicious. For that recipe, the dry teff is toasted in the cooking pan and then the water is added. It’s simmered for 10 minutes, then the dates and honey and cloves (I used cinnamon) are stirred in and the mixture cooked until thick and yummy.

In Ethiopia, teff is used to make traditional injera bread. Injera bread is often used as a bowl for stews, kind of like a wrap or flatbread.

Links to recipes using teff are below. The first group are recipes for injera, and the next two groups are the Teff Company and Bob’s Red Mill sample recipes. Note that injera is made from teff flour. Indeed, at least of half of the recipes in all the links below call for teff flour.

Injera, or Ethiopian Flatbread (the linked sites might be explored for more general teff recipes)

The Teff Company

  • sweets and quick breads
  • stuffed peppers
  • African stews
  • mixed with roasted vegetables
  • lentil curry and vegetable stew
  • goat cheese and vegetable quiche
  • many more!

Bob’s Red Mill

  • Teff Stew with onions, garlic, spices, zucchini,yellow summer squash, and garbanzo beans (on the package)
  • Corn Quiche in Teff Crust
  • Injera bread
  • Ethiopian Lentil Stew
  • quick breads, cookies, puddings, cakes, waffles

teff package