BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE! Though we are past the Christmas season, that catchy Christmas song lyric has held true the last few weeks! People throughout the US have been fighting a losing battle with frigid subzero temperatures and dealing with ice, snow, frozen water fountains, water pipes and the like!
However there is a surefire way to make anyone’s cold day a little less miserable, and that is WARM and HEARTY food!
A hot and hardy soup or hot dish is the perfect way to warm you from the inside out! With this year’s kitchen-gadget-must-have, the “Instant Pot”, you can make a great family dinner in (you guessed it!) an instant!
Here are a few dairy product filled recipes that are both Instant pot friendly and crowd pleasing!
Instant Pot Ham & Potato Soup-
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 a small yellow onion, diced
2 Tbsp. real bacon bits
2 lbs. Yukon Gold and/or red potatoes, cut into chunks (peel if desired)
8 whole garlic gloves
32 oz. box of chicken broth
Dash of cayenne
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary (can substitute 1.5-2 tsp dried)
Sea salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
8 oz. brick cream cheese, softened and cut into chunks
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
1 cup cooked diced ham
Additional bacon bits, green onions, parsley, or chives for garnish (optional)
- Sauté onion in butter until soft using the sauté function on the Instant Pot, stirring frequently to avoid burning, then add bacon bits and sauté another 30 seconds or so. Hit keep warm/cancel, then add in potato chunks, garlic, chicken broth, cayenne, rosemary, sea salt, and pepper.
- Seal your Instant Pot and set it to cook on high pressure on manual for five minutes. When time is up, quick release the steam. Remove lid, set the Instant Pot to keep warm, and mash potatoes & garlic to desired consistency with a potato masher.
- Stir in cream cheese and cheddar until completely melted and well incorporated into soup. Stir in ham until heated through. Add additional salt, pepper, and/or cayenne to taste, then serve your hot ham & potato soup topped with additional bacon bits and green onions, parsley, or chives (optional).
Copycat Olive Garden Soup-
1lb Italian Sausage (use spicy to make it more like the original)
6 slices bacon, cooked and cut into 1″ pieces (see note about using raw bacon)
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
32 ounces chicken broth
2 cups water
4 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
3-4 cups spinach, chopped (can substitute kale like the original recipe)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Parmesan cheese (garnish)
- Place sausage, onion, garlic, and red pepper into the instant pot. Sautee the meat, constantly stirring until browned.*If using raw bacon, cut it into 1″ pieces and add it to the pot with the sausage to cook. When meat is browned, turn off the instant pot by pressing cancel.
- Add bacon, (if not added already) chicken broth, water, potatoes, salt and pepper to the pot and mix well. Place the lid on the pot, seal and close the steam release. Set the instant pot to manual, high pressure for 5 minutes. Once the instant pot cycle is finished, quick release the steam.
- Open the pot and check the soup. If it is boiling, let the soup rest, uncovered until it is no longer boiling. Add spinach and heavy whipping cream and stir to combine.
- Serve topped with Parmesan cheese. Serves 4-6
Instant Pot Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo-
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
- 2 tbsp. salted butter
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 C heavy cream
- 2 C chicken broth
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 pinch of ground nutmeg
- 8 oz. dry fettuccini noodles
- 1/2 C parmesan cheese, shredded
- Fresh basil
- Press sauté button on Instant Pot and heat olive oil until display reads “HOT”. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and place in the pot to brown. Cook 2 minutes per side just until lightly browned, but not cooked all the way through, remove from pot and place on a plate.
- Melt butter in the pot and stir in minced garlic. Cook for less than 1 minute, stirring constantly until fragrant and pour in cream.
Bring cream and garlic to a simmer while scraping the bottom of the pot with a spatula to release the browned bits from cooking the chicken. Simmer sauce for 2 minutes until just slightly thickened and pour in chicken broth, salt and nutmeg.
- Break dry noodles in half and place into the pot, followed by the browned chicken breasts.
Cover Instant Pot and set it to cook at High Pressure for 8 minutes.
4. When time is up, allow Instant Pot to naturally release pressure– about 8 minutes.
Remove chicken and slice if desired before returning to the pot. Stir in cheese and fresh chopped basil before serving.
Instant Pot Vanilla Yogurt-
2 quarts milk (not ultra-pasteurized)
2 tablespoons plain yogurt (with live cultures) to use as a starter
¼ cup sugar (optional)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
- Add milk to the pot of the Instant Pot pressure cooker. Press “Yogurt” button, then press “Adjust” until screen reads “Boil”. Place lid on pot and turn pressure valve to the sealing position. Every five minutes or so during the boil cycle, remove lid and whisk milk to promote even heating. After whisking, check the temperature with an instant-read thermometer. Temperature must reach 180°F and stay there for a few minutes. The boiling cycle takes about 25 minutes. After boiling cycle finishes, the display will read “Yogt”. If needed, repeat boiling cycle or use the ‘sauté’ function until milk reaches 180°F.
- Turn Instant Pot off and remove pot from pressure cooker and set in a cold water bath, whisking until temperature drops to 110°F. (You can also do this at room temperature instead of the water bath, it will just take longer.) Remove 1 cup of milk and whisk together with the 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt in a small bowl. Add mixture to the pot and whisk until combined. Add sugar and vanilla, if desired.
- Return pot to pressure cooker and lock lid in place. Press “Yogurt” button and set desired incubation time. 8 hours minimum, up to 10 hours for a thicker yogurt. Make sure that the “normal” indicator is on, not “low”. The time on the display will count up during the incubation time. Do not open the lid during this time. (It does not matter which position the pressure release valve is in during this step.) At the end of the incubation time, remove pot from the pressure cooker and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 8 hours. Do not stir. For thicker, Greek yogurt, strain yogurt in a fine mesh sieve or a cheesecloth-lined colander set over a large bowl in the refrigerator for a few hours until desired thickness is reached.
(Be sure to save some of your homemade yogurt to use as a starter for your next batch of yogurt. (It can be frozen. Just thaw it in the fridge before using.)
Soon you will have your own arsenal of go-to dinner time recipes! Support your local dairy farmers by making meals made with plenty of wholesome and nutritious dairy products!! And remember-: “If you’re not the one cooking, stay out of the way and compliment the chef!” -Michael Strahan