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Cooking with Janet Zimmerman's Super-Easy Instant Pot Cookbook


Smithy
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Over on the Camping, Princess Style topic I've been reporting on recipes I've tried from @JAZ's latest cookbook, Super Easy Instant Pot Cookbook: Quick Prep, One-Pot, 5-Ingredient, 30-Minute Recipes (eG-friendly Amazon.com link). Questions and comments have come up, and at least two people have suggested that a new topic on the subject be started...so here it is!

 

First of all, I should note that I've been cooking from a Review copy given to me for free in exchange for maybe writing a review on Amazon. There is no obligation for that review, but I got the opportunity to do so in exchange for an advance peek. Second of all, I'll admit that I'm not entirely unbiased. Janet is, after all, one of our Managers; her partner / sous chef / usual cleaner-up / object of charming book dedications is our Executive Director, @Dave the Cook. That said, I wouldn't be writing about this book if I didn't enjoy it. I hope others will join me.

 

The premise of the book is that all its recipes can be done with 5 ingredients (plus the usual salt, pepper, oil...) in a half hour or less. Its idea is to simplify and speed up getting good food to the table; it also aims to demystify the Instant Pot for anyone who wonders about it, or who has one and is still befuddled by it. (My husband's daughter is such a person.) The book begins with explanations of the pot's functions and some basic troubleshooting steps. It also lists basic pantry items to keep on hand for best use of the book. It advises, without hesitation, to start with sliced ingredients from the produce or frozen food section, or canned ingredients. This part nearly always trips me up, simply because I usually buy fresh ingredients (and too much of 'em) and then have to prep them. For that reason, my timing is almost always more than 30 minutes. On the other hand, I'm only feeding one other person and I'm rarely in a rush. If I'm too rushed, I can't follow a recipe anyway!

 

So far I've tried a handful of the recipes and I'll write about them here, with links back to the original posts if it seems appropriate. I've been hampered by generally not having an electrical connection and being unwilling to start a generator for the sake of using the IP. I've also been somewhat hampered by having only a 3-quart pot with us. The recipes are written for 5-quart or larger pots. The book notes that recipes can always be doubled but halving them can be tricky, and I've found that to be true sometimes. The book gives guidance on how to go about cutting the recipe down, but some experimentation is needed.

 

So, for the first recipe: so far, this is my favorite: Pimento Cheese Quiche. I decided to make a full batch of custard but only cook half of it. I think it was a wise idea, for two reasons: the quiche would likely have been too thick if I'd used the whole batch in that 3-quart pot, and it would certainly have been too much for the two of us. Besides, I tried a variation with the remainders and used chorizo for a Tex-Mex spin. The custard is the same either way, and only the inclusions change. For the Pimento Cheese version one uses pimentos (of course) and cheddar cheese. I wrote more about the recipe here. (The photo is the same in that post as well as this one.)

 

20220408_220434.jpg

 

Delicious!

 

I am such a frightful cookbook collector that I generally figure it's a win if I find even one recipe I'll go back to again and again. This is it. There may be others in the book, but this by itself makes the book a keeper for me. Next time I have company overnight, I'll have access to my larger Instant Pots...and this will be breakfast.

 

So...anyone else want to play? Ask questions?

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I have ordered a copy but the delivery date is May 13th, and that's with Prime!  They must be waiting for the book to reach their warehouses.  I am definitely going to be playing along!

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Just to be clear, not all the recipes can be done in 30 minutes, and some require more ingredients. The premise of the book was that there are several ways to make it easier and faster to cook in the Instant Pot or other multi-cooker, and we tried to take advantage of all of them. So any given recipe will hit at least one of several categories -- quick prep (5 minutes or less); 5 ingredients or fewer; under 30 minutes; or "one-pot" -- where you get a complete meal using only the Instant Pot. Some hit more than one category, but all are pretty easy, and I don't think any require more than 10 ingredients. But thanks, Nancy, for starting the topic, and if anyone has questions, I'll try to answer them.

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@JAZ I have a question about the Lazy Lasagna recipe (it’s motivating me to get over my irrational fear of my InstaPot) — are the noodles referenced fresh or the Barillia style no need to cook ones? 
 

Also, what exactly are “petite tenders” of beef? Stew cuts? Tenderloin cut into small pieces? 
 

Thank you in advance. 

Edited by MetsFan5 (log)
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I will get a copy and try to play along, but it will be at least a couple of weeks due to guests visiting and other obligations. I have only used my IP twice in the 2 years I've had it. Like @MetsFan5I seem to have an irrational fear. Not really fear, but no room for it on the counter, so it gets stuck away--out of sight, out of mind.

 

But Pimento Cheese Quiche has me so intrigued! I had no idea you could make a quiche in an IP!

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Deb

Liberty, MO

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@Maison Rustique, glad you'll be playing along! Depending on your visitors, you may find the quiche recipe a gratifying and satisfying breakfast option. 

 

Another thing to consider for your visitors is the Chorizo Chili, if you like that sort of thing. This is hands-down one of the easiest recipes I've tried so far. Onion, garlic, fire-roasted tomatoes, Mexican chorizo, pinto beans. Seasonings. Garnish if you wish; broth to loosen it if you wish. This is a case where I had no canned pintos but had used the IP to cook pintos earlier in anticipation of trying recipes. (I still have cooked pintos, and cooked garbanzos, waiting their turn.) This photo collage is from my post in the Camping, Princess Style topic when I tried it for the first time.

 

20220411_222744.jpg

 

This dish is so easy it almost cooks itself. The lower-left photo shows it after the pressure cooking; I adjusted slightly with broth to make it a bit runnier, and that shows up a bit in the lower-right photo.

 

My one cautionary note is that the quality of this dish (and of most recipes I've tried) is very dependent on the quality of the ingredients. When there are few ingredients, poor quality has nowhere to hide. This chili was quite good, and we'd used good stuff...but in truth, it was a bit too spicy for us because the chorizo was VERY spicy. When I try it again I'll use a milder chorizo, or if necessary mix ground burger or pork in with it. We tamed the heat with sour cream although I didn't include that photo. Avocado / guacamole would have worked if we'd had any.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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4 minutes ago, Smithy said:

@Maison Rustique, glad you'll be playing along! Depending on your visitors, you may find the quiche recipe a gratifying and satisfying breakfast option. 

 

Another thing to consider for your visitors is the Chorizo Chili, if you like that sort of thing. This is hands-down one of the easiest recipes I've tried so far. Onion, garlic, fire-roasted tomatoes, Mexican chorizo, pinto beans. Seasonings. Garnish if you wish; broth to loosen it if you wish. This is a case where I had no canned pintos but had used the IP to cook pintos earlier in anticipation of trying recipes. (I still have cooked pintos, and cooked garbanzos, waiting their turn.) This photo collage is from my post in the Camping, Princess Style topic when I tried it for the first time.

 

20220411_222744.jpg

 

This dish is so easy it almost cooks itself. The lower-left photo shows it after the pressure cooking; I adjusted slightly with broth to make it a bit runnier, and that shows up a bit in the lower-right photo.

 

My one cautionary note is that the quality of this dish (and of most recipes I've tried) is very dependent on the quality of the ingredients. When there are few ingredients, poor quality has nowhere to hide. This chili was quite good, and we'd used good stuff...but in truth, it was a bit too spicy for us because the chorizo was VERY spicy. When I try it again I'll use a milder chorizo, or if necessary mix ground burger or pork in with it. We tamed the heat with sour cream although I didn't include that photo. Avocado / guacamole would have worked if we'd had any.

Completely agree on ingredients. I'm a real Rancho Gordo fan, so you almost never find canned beans here. I need to get better about cooking up various varieties ahead of time. And we both have tender tongues so I tend to look for mild versions of anything that says spicy. For some reason, Kansas City folks have become heat-seekers--the hotter, the better. I have learned to ask the server or seller about heat level before just assuming what "medium" heat might actually be.

 

Have your book in my cart now and will order as soon as I settle on a couple of other things I need. Thank you for all your help!

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Deb

Liberty, MO

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i have the book.

 

paperback .

 

I like it .

 

I read a lot of cookbooks 

 

that's how I know .

 

a good addition to a small iPot library .

 

you dont need many iPot books .

 

this one is a keeper.

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4 hours ago, MetsFan5 said:

@JAZ I have a question about the Lazy Lasagna recipe (it’s motivating me to get over my irrational fear of my InstaPot) — are the noodles referenced fresh or the Barillia style no need to cook ones? 
 

Also, what exactly are “petite tenders” of beef? Stew cuts? Tenderloin cut into small pieces? 
 

Thank you in advance. 

 

Sorry that wasn't clear in the lasagna recipe. I used the regular lasagna noodles that you're supposed to boil first -- they stand up to the cooking time. 

 

And where we live (not sure of the nomenclature elsewhere), petit tenders or mock tenders are slices one of the muscles that makes up the chuck. They're nice for pressure cooking because like any chuck or shoulder cut, they become more tender upon cooking and don't dry out. Since they're cut from one muscle, you don't end up with a lot of fat and sinew to dispose of after cooking. Here's a little more information: https://www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com/cuts/cut/2452/chuck-tender-steak. I'm sure Dave will weigh in if I got anything wrong. 

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@JAZ thanks for clarifying! I can be a bit…simple minded when it comes to following recipes. So to confirm, you use dried lasagna noodles and they get cooked during the process of making the dish; they don’t need to be cooked prior to making the lasagna? 
Also thanks for the link regarding the cut of beef. I get what I should ask for in my region! 

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18 minutes ago, MetsFan5 said:

@JAZ thanks for clarifying! I can be a bit…simple minded when it comes to following recipes. So to confirm, you use dried lasagna noodles and they get cooked during the process of making the dish; they don’t need to be cooked prior to making the lasagna? 
Also thanks for the link regarding the cut of beef. I get what I should ask for in my region! 

 

Right -- just break the dried noodles up and add them so they cook with all the other ingredients.

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@JAZ 

 

thank you for your ref. to that cut of meat .

 

I always think its worth it to 

 

Know your Cuts of Meat 

 

w the central tendon , I though it might be Blade 

 

114511652_7-BoneChuckRoast_psd.jpeg.ce6295a05d07b70133557f25a6eb285e.jpeg

 

this is the 7-bone , a chuck ref. that's easy for me to remember 

 

Blade is over on the left , the oblong ' cut ' w a tendon right down the

 

middle .   fantastic , once you easily deal w the tendon

 

the cut you refer to might be the muscle on the right 

 

w a thinner tendon in the middle.

 

thanks ! I learned something .

 

eventually  Ill get back on the Meat Trails 

 

and find that cut !

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I too got this book for review purposes and I like it a lot.  

 

The mock tender is also known (maybe was also known) as a Jewish Filet.  Many years ago when I lived across the bay, there was a local market and the butcher always had Jewish Filets on offer in the meat case.  Used to make them a lot but I can't remember how I made them!  I never see that cut any more under any name.  Coscto has been featuring prime grade Eye of Round roasts a lot lately.  Not sure why that has suddenly become one of their main prime offerings.

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Mark

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@mgaretz

 

very interesting re your experience w

 

mock tender 

 

meat now above the price level for

 

many people  Costco if looking for something to sell.

 

EoR  was a cut my mother made

 

I think grilled , possibly on a grill at the time 

 

we enjoyed it

 

w outdoor eating accompaniments 

 

the knife that cut it was sharp

 

etc

 

but  , it really lacks flavor

 

which of course you can add

 

in your own fashion

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1 hour ago, rotuts said:

@JAZ 

 

thank you for your ref. to that cut of meat .

 

I always think its worth it to 

 

Know your Cuts of Meat 

 

w the central tendon , I though it might be Blade 

 

114511652_7-BoneChuckRoast_psd.jpeg.ce6295a05d07b70133557f25a6eb285e.jpeg

 

this is the 7-bone , a chuck ref. that's easy for me to remember 

 

Blade is over on the left , the oblong ' cut ' w a tendon right down the

 

middle .   fantastic , once you easily deal w the tendon

 

the cut you refer to might be the muscle on the right 

 

w a thinner tendon in the middle.

 

thanks ! I learned something .

 

eventually  Ill get back on the Meat Trails 

 

and find that cut !

 

So close, @rotuts! The mock tender is the supraspinatus muscle, and is on the same side as the blade roast, but on the other side of the flange that creates the "7" in "7-bone."

 

Here's a great illustration from the folks at Texas A&M (and a site I think everyone interested in meat should bookmark, https://meat.tamu.edu/ansc-307/

 

 

Beef Chuck 7-Bone Steak

Beef Chuck 7-Bone Steak

Muscles

 

1. M. triceps brachii

2. M. infraspinatus

3. M. supraspinatus

4. M. subscapularis

5. M. serratus ventralis thoracis

6. M. rhomboideus thoracis

7. M. semispinalis thoracis

 

To understand part of why it's called a mock tender, it helps to think three dimensionally. If you can imagine several 7-bones stacked into a single primal cut, the supraspinatus is revealed as a more-or-less conical chunk of meat about 15 inches long. It runs from the shoulder blade to the front leg; on humans, it comprises part of the rotator cuff. 

 

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Dave Scantland
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Eat more chicken skin.

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4 hours ago, Maison Rustique said:

I had no idea you could make a quiche in an IP!

 

You can, because the InstantPot gets hot enough to set the custard (you can do cheesecake, too). But you need to keep in mind that any quiche made in a pressure cooker is going to be crustless. Even if you blind-baked a crust, it's not going to stay crisp.

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Dave Scantland
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Eat more chicken skin.

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2 hours ago, Dave the Cook said:

 

You can, because the InstantPot gets hot enough to set the custard (you can do cheesecake, too). But you need to keep in mind that any quiche made in a pressure cooker is going to be crustless. Even if you blind-baked a crust, it's not going to stay crisp.

 

Dave, thanks for that note. I didn't think to mention it because I usually make quiche without a crust anyway. I wonder whether a satisfactorily crisp crust could be developed / invented / found by you creative types. As I remember them, the crusts in cheesecakes I've made in the IP have been quite nice. A standard cheesecake crust would be too sweet for quiche, but perhaps use a cracker crust and leave out the sugar? It might be a starting point.

 

The cheesecakes I've made in the IP are this New York Cheesecake from @Tropicalsenior and this Muffuletta Cheesecake that @Shelby put us onto several years ago. The second one uses butter crackers as the crumb base.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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23 minutes ago, Smithy said:

 

The cheesecakes I've made in the IP are this New York Cheesecake from @Tropicalsenior and this Muffuletta Cheesecake that @Shelby put us onto several years ago. The second one uses butter crackers as the crumb base.

IP, or not...and I don't have one...that Muffuletta Cheesecake sounds wonderful.  I am going to make one.  

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Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

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9 minutes ago, TdeV said:

I'm going to make one too. 😋 And I've ordered JAZ's newest cookbook.

 

If you ordered yours from Amazon, when will you be getting it?  I ask because Amazon Canada is not delivering mine until at least May 13.

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7 minutes ago, ElsieD said:

 

If you ordered yours from Amazon, when will you be getting it?  I ask because Amazon Canada is not delivering mine until at least May 13.

I have a friend who has an IP and she was slated to bring it to our now defunct library cookbook group.  Then covid hit.  I've written to her, asking if she would find a way to demonstrate it to me.

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Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

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Oh definitely try the Muffuletta cheesecake.  It really is a keeper recipe.

 

I just ordered this cookbook from Amazon and it's supposed to be here tomorrow--maybe the quickness is due to the hugs Amazon warehouse that was built and is like 30 minutes from our house.  I've been getting things a LOT faster than I used to.  Anyway, I'm excited!!!  A bit off topic, I also have the dessert cookbook that Janet wrote that I have GOT to dive into...life keeps getting in the way...but SOON I promise.  Does anyone else have it?  We should make a separate topic if so.

 

 

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