Red Beans and Rice with Sausage – Instant Pot

And the obsession continues……….I still absolutely LOVE my Instant Pot and was surfing Pinterest to find something new to try since my youngest son came to the table for dinner and said “Gosh Mom, how many times a week are we going to have Spaghetti?”  I would normally take offense to such criticism but he was right…..I had made it at least once a week since I got my Instant Pot and although my hubby and I could eat it even more often, it was time to try and find something new.  So, what does every other self-respecting person do?  We turn to Pinterest……..I surfed and read and surfed and read and as the day turned to night (just kidding) I found several recipes and the heavens opened up and the angels sang – or was that the song on the radio?  Well, either way, there were a few things that spoke to me:

  1.  No pre-soaking the beans (which would require forethought on my part)
  2.  Dinner in under an hour and a half -Can I get an Amen???
  3. Cajun flavors – One of my hubby’s favorite cuisines!!

I know some are shaking their heads right now and saying “dinner in under an hour and half??  Is she crazy – that’s a LONG time!”  Yes, but consider this…..Traditional red beans and rice takes ALL day to cook, yes I am crazy, and while this is cooking in the Instant Pot, all I have to do is cook the rice on the stove…..The rest of that time can be spent watching the latest episode of Fixer Upper or better yet, the Food Network.  Sounds like a match made in heaven to me!

You start with the “Holy Trinity”of Cajun cooking and the dried beans with a few spices and that’s it……..Seriously, that’s it.

IMG_2408

If you hear nothing else, hear this……Do NOT put the sausage in the Instant Pot!  One of the recipes that I read, the blogger said the first time she added the sausage at the beginning and the consistency was “hinky” (that is a technical cooking term, I swear).  So, her solution was to cook the beans for 28 minutes, do a quick release, add the meat and re-seal the pot and cook for an additional 15 minutes.  This sounded reasonable to me and I tried it and even when adding the meat later on in the cook cycle, it came out still VERY hinky.  My solution is to use the Instant Pot on the Saute mode before you put the vegetables in and brown the sausage.  Remove it and set aside.  When you add the veggies and water,  stir to mix and scrape the bottom of the pot to get all of the yummy browned bits mixed in with your holy trinity and beans.

This recipe, once I tweeked it, has made my monthly rotation and my family couldn’t be happier…..Especially my hubby!!!!  Food is love and that makes me so happy!!!

Here is a bowl of that Cajun dreamy yummy bowl of goodness…..

IMG_2410

The recipe:

  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 bell pepper diced
  • 3 celery stalks diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 pound dry red kidney beans
  • 1 tsp salt or more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper (optional)
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme or ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 2 leaves bay
  • 7 cups water
  • 1 pound andouille sausage cut into thin slices (I have also used smoked sausage and it is just as good)
  • 10 cups cooked rice

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients, except for sausage and rice to the Instant Pot.
  2. Place the lid on, lock it, and set to manual high pressure for 40 minutes.
  3. At the end of the 40 minutes use a natural release.
  4. When the Instant Pot is fully depressurized the pin will fall, and you can remove the lid.
  5. Add the sausage, place the lid back on and let it sit for about 10 minutes.  (This will allow the sausage to soak up the flavors and for it to thicken slightly. .
  6. Serve the bean mixture over a cup of cooked rice.

Enjoy!!!!

Be safe out there and be kind to each other!!!!

Janet

 

Note:  This post contains affiliate links 🙂

“Pa-Sketti” (Spaghetti) in the Instant Pot

Do you remember the days when your kids couldn’t pronounce certain words or made up an entirely different name for something??  It’s been a long time for us but these are a few that I will never forget:

Spaghetti – “Pa-Sketti” (hence this post)

Remote Control – “Mocha Matrol”

Pacifier – “Na-Nee”

Grandma and Grandpa – “Meemom and Deedad” (which is Mommy and Daddy backwards, and we still call them that to this day!!!)

This brings me to one of my families and my favorite weeknight quick and super delicious dinners!  “Pa-sketti!!!!”  (ok…ok…Spaghetti in the Instant Pot)

I started with one recipe and through trial and error (I assure you that my family didn’t hate the experiment involved in coming to this AMAZING recipe) I created this.  It is SOOOOO yummy!!!!!!

But first, a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Make sure the seal is closed completely!  During one of my many tries the seal on my Instant Pot  wasn’t completely closed.  It sounded like a small hiss but it was noticeable enough for both my husband and I to hear it.  Once we heard it we made sure that it was then completely closed but when that “trial” was done, the pasta was definitely al-dente…….which is normally good but this was a little too al-dente for our taste.
  • Every Instant Pot is different so try yours with this timing and adjust accordingly! (8 minutes was perfect for us – assuming the seal was completely closed)
  • We like things spicy so in case you don’t then you might want to either omit the red pepper completely or scale it down a bit….totally your call!
  • Sometimes the noodles “clump” together, so to avoid that as much as possible (small clumps are semi-normal) make sure you break the pasta in half before you place it in the Instant Pot in a crisscross pattern instead of just adding them in one big pile.

(Insert loud dramatic music here)  HERE IT IS!!!!

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb Italian sausage
  • 1 tsp of EACH:  salt, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound of spaghetti noodles
  • 1 24 oz. jar spaghetti sauce (I use store bought because I am just that lazy)
  • 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 36 oz. of water (1 1/2 jars full)
  • 6 oz. of red wine (optional)

1.) Set the Instant Pot to saute and add the meat.  Add the seasonings to the meat and cook the meat and seasonings, breaking up the meat until it’s brown.

2.) Turn the Instant Pot off and drain any excess grease if necessary.

3.)  Break the spaghetti in half and place on top of the meat.  Pour over the spaghetti sauce, canned diced tomatoes, water and wine.  Using a wooden spoon, push the noodles down to make sure that they are completely covered in liquid.

4.) Seal the Instant Pot (see tip above) completely and set it to manual mode, HIGH pressure, with 8 minutes of cooking time.

5.)  When the time is up, use the manual quick release to open the Instant Pot.  Stir well.  (It might seem a little liquidly at this point but let it sit for a minute or so and it was tighten up)  Serve immediately.

As I said in the beginning, I have made this several times and here are a few things that I have served with it and MOST have been a hit:

  • Garlic bread
  • Cesar salad (store bought, already chopped and includes the croutons and dressing)
  • Green salad – same as above but served with my own vinaigrette
  • Roasted green beans (recipe to follow)
  • Brussel sprouts (recipe to follow – the majority of my family does NOT like Brussel Sprouts but I do and my middle son does too….Give this recipe a try and I bet I can make you a believer!!)

I hope you enjoy!!!

Be safe out there and be kind to each other!!!!!

 

 

 

The Top 5 Worst Relationship Advice Given To Me About Love

Have you ever noticed that when you are either on your very first “barely hit puberty” crush, your tenth boyfriend/girlfriend 2 years out of college or your third marriage that the “experts” have ALL of the answers??  Yea, me too!  I do not even remotely pretend to have all of the answers, but in my 35-ish years of relationship experience, I have learned a LOT.

I asked my husband and one of my sons what do they automatically think of when being asked for relationship advice and this is SOME of what they came up with…….Some I couldn’t publish because I am trying to keep a semi- G-rated blog here.  In fairness, I did laugh pretty hard at what they said but I attribute that to having a sense of humor that was severely stunted in growth by getting married VERY young and raising 3 boys and having been married a few times.  Essentially my sense of humor can be equated to an 8-13 year old boy mixed in with a nifty side of post menopausal wicked and there you go…..If Bart Simpson and Betty White had a baby – BAM!  That would be my sense of humor spirit baby 🙂

So, let’s get to it.  Here is my list of the TOP 5 worst relationship advice I have ever gotten…..

1.) Don’t go to bed angry –  Sometimes in my world that has seemed like such a tall order…..don’t go to bed angry….but what if (fill in the blank with whatever irks you to no end) that happened and I want to be angry?????  Going to bed angry is what you might choose in the moment and if so, that’s your choice but it seems a bit unfair when your significant other is left with a feeling of being inadequate or sad, so instead of just not going to bed angry, be angry if you want to be BUT the advice given by a couple that has been married 76 years is, it shouldn’t  matter how angry or sad you are, you don’t have to say anything but you always, always touch toes. It’s just a little reminder that I’m here and I still love you no matter what…….

2.) Love is blind – There are a lot of people who would argue this is true for those involved in the relationship but the truth is that those AROUND the relationship are not blind.  They don’t have a “dog in the hunt” so to speak so carefully and methodically  consider their input.  Consider that if nobody likes your partner, there may be good reasons for it. So if your loved ones have lots of reservations, don’t get defensive but listen to why they feel that way and then make up your mind.

3.) Don’t play games  – Really???  Oh yes, yes I say, do play games!!!!  Probably not the kind that you may be thinking but how about a good old fashioned game of Monopoly, or Cards Against Humanity, or the best yet “What do you meme“…..When you play a real game with someone you get a chance to observe how they  behaves under stress, whether they’re honest, how they handle those embarrassing topics, and how they handle defeat.

4.) For women – “go for the strong silent type” – While that theory may work when we want to binge watch The Bachelor or in my case The Food Network but research finds constant communication is the key to a lasting relationship. Don’t just talk about if you want to have kids—discuss how you will raise them. Talk about money—how you plan to afford things and when you want to retire. Then, once you’re married, communicate when you’re happy and unhappy, what feels good and what doesn’t, what turns you on and off. Don’t just talk about “surface” things, say what is there and do it with love 🙂 If the conversation doesn’t go the way you want it to, then touch toes……..At the end of all of this the sentiment is still the same “I love you no matter what”

5.) Don’t hang wallpaper together – I always found this advice rather odd….I thought it meant to literally not hang wallpaper together but then I realized that it meant, can you do the crazy hard things together and still laugh?  To me that is the TRUE mark of a great relationship…the fact of the matter is we all have to do the most mundane and sometimes not so pleasant things in our lives but if you can find someone who makes you laugh then you are golden!!!!!  The flip side is be sure that you find the same things funny or at least relatively close……If he thinks a whoopee cushion is funny and you don’t, it certainly won’t get funnier for you 30 years from now. I promise…….

So,now that I have gone over what I think is bad advice, let’s talk about what is my go to top 5 best advice that I would give anyone in a new relationship:

1.) Live -Live your truth.  Whatever or wherever or with or without someone or whatever else you can think of, just do you!!!!!  Just do you!!!!!  Some of the best 3 words in the English language is just do you……

2.) Laugh – ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS have a sense of humor (yes even a Bart Simpson/Betty White sense of humor works)  I have told my husband many times “make me laugh and you have me at HELLO”.

3.)Love – Simply said, love hard love often.  I don’t know if anyone else has had this experience but the older we get the faster things go…..we don’t know when our first day of something or last day will be so just love hard and love often and most importantly, LEAVE NOTHING UNSAID…….

4.) Eat – Food is love.  It really is just that simple.  Let me say it again….Food is love.  Feed your soul and feed your body.  Those 2 ideas are not mutually exclusive of each other either….Read my post “Fredericksburg – Our Way” and you will see how we were feeding our souls by getting out of town and away from work and also feeding our bodies by having the BEST hamburger in Texas at The Pig Pen in Albert TX.    Food is love……

5.) Everything in between – I know it sounds corny to some but embrace everything that is “in between”.  Is it annoying sometimes that you come home to dishes in the sink or dog hair everywhere, laundry not done, or dinner not cooked but I go back to rule #3 and love what is there for you because tomorrow may be very different…..and it could be in a great way or a not so great way….You choose!

Be safe out there and be kind to each other!!!!

Fredericksburg Texas – Our Way

It had been a rough couple of weeks with work crisis’s, local and national tragedies, family issues, etc… when Scott innocently  said “how about we go to Fredericksburg in a few weeks for the weekend”…….Admittedly my husband is very thoughtful (Shhhhh…don’t tell anyone!!.  I would not want to ruin his image) but I was immediately suspicious………..

With just a few keystrokes it became clear to me what his ulterior motive was 🙂

Garrison Brothers small bottle release and party!!!!!

Garrison Brothers is a Bourbon Distillery in Hye Texas and my husband swears by their bourbon.  I do not like Bourbon (I know, GASP!) but we have figured out that a weekend getaway to Fredericksburg works for both of use because we go the wineries for me and the distillery’s for him and at the end of the day, we both are adequately “relaxed”(translation – buzzed), we get to enjoy good food and we always find a little something to take home with us.

Take a look at our most recent purchase….A farmhouse style clock that we proudly displayed above our bar cart.  It’s 5 o”clock somewhere!!

IMG_2392

Purchased at EWay Furniture Store on Main Street in Fredericksburg

I immediately texted some friends of ours who LOVE wine too and a plan was hatched.  We spent 3 days there, including 4 hours of drive time each way;  the weekend was packed with many different varieties of wine, bourbon, rum and great food but here are a few favorites from the weekend:

There is one place that deserves a special mention – I had mentioned to Scott on the drive down to Fredericksburg that I had been craving a really good burger – NOT the fast food kind, but an all beef patty topped with cheese (lots and lots of gooey cheese), onion and pickle and everything else that is good in this world……so, as we were nearing the point where we needed food to absorb all of the alcohol – I mean as we were getting hungry we asked one of the distillers where could we get a good burger and he simply said “The Pig Pen”.  It is a simple food trailer parked on the lawn of the Albert Dance Hall but their food is anything but simple.  I ordered a burger (DUH!) and what came out was nothing short of a masterpiece!!!  It was an all beef patty that had the most amazing salt crust on it and it was HUGE!  It was topped with the freshest lettuce, onion and homemade pickles and cheese and when I bit into it the juices ran down onto my hands – it was PURE NIRVANA – so much so that we went back the next day and ordered another one.  The owner said he specialty is pork and Scott had a pulled pork sandwich that was glazed with BBQ sauce that we combined with Garrison Brothers Bourbon…….Can you imagine???

Seriously, if you hear nothing else, hear this – go to Albert TX and more importantly, the Pig Pen food truck and order the burger – you are welcome!!!!

PicMonkey Collage

Alas, all good things must come to an end and we are home.  After I get done mourning not having a longer weekend, I will settle back into the daily grind we call “work” and will dream of a day in the very near future where we will be able to get away again to my heaven away from home.

Be safe out there and be kind to each other!!!!

What is this??

I’m back!!!!  I started this blog in June of 2017 but quickly got CRAZY busy and haven’t held up to my end of the bargain but in the last several months and more recently the last couple of weeks, I have found inspiration again so buckle up!!!  Grab some popcorn and your sense of humor and let’s ride the rollercoaster of 2018 together…..

So……….apparently I have been living under a rock and haven’t been privy to this new craze called the “Instant Pot“…..well, not exactly living under a rock but been busy with weddings, graduations, the holidays, retirements, birthdays, etc….I know, I know not an excuse to NOT know about the Instant Pot but it’s the best I got 🙂

My co-workers have been sharing their wins  (and a few losses) with their new “mega cool, WAY fast cooking machine” that is inexplicable, yet possesses some kind of super power that defies gravity (maybe not, but sounded good) and time.

Honestly, the testimonial that sold this pressure cooker to me was the
“amazing lemon piccata we made last night” one….You will learn over the next couple of months that I am OBSESSED with anything lemon and I LOVE chicken…..so much so that I am fairly certain that my hubby rolls his eyes and thinks “again???” when he sees me pull out the chicken but rest assured he is a smart man and wouldn’t externally show the sheer despair :))))

Side note……My hubby and I are taking a cooking class this week and the theme is “red meat basics”…..think he is trying to tell me something????   Yea, yea I know….and I get the hint loud and clear 🙂

With all of this said, I just hit the “complete order” on Amazon for my new Instant Pot and of course it will be shipped with Prime (the real hero in my world) and I should receive it by Friday.  I am excited to share how this goes!!

Welcome to 2018!!!!!!!

DISCLAIMER
There are affiliate links in this blog so if you click on them and make a purchase, then yes, I make a little moo-lah on the side 🙂  Thank you!!!

 

 

 

Hash House a Go Go….

http://www.hashhouseagogo.com

I could end the blog here and those that have been there would get it but don’t worry, I won’t :))))

I rarely read reviews on yelp, yellow pages, or the like because I believe that there are many  types of reviewers but I will give you my TOP 3……I absolutely take friends and family’s advice on places to go but in the end, I would rather make up my own mind………Which “reviewer” are you?

1.) “1st reviewer”  –  never, never, never trust the 1st 2 reviews of ANYTHING!!!!!  Places/things/restaurants need reviews to get patrons but until somebody other than the “1st reviewer” goes they can’t get REAL reviews.  So, without a doubt the 1st 2 reviews for a new place HAS to be their mom/grandma or aunt…….

“We arrived and were instantly greeted by this handsome man who looks just like his mom, uhhhh….. I mean he was just handsome.  We ordered the sushi served table side and when it arrived there was broken glass all over it. I thought it was slightly odd but the broken glass added a crunchy texture to the otherwise brilliantly prepared raw fish by my handsome son….I mean by Beauregard”

2.)  The “ex” reviewer – This reviewer doesn’t care anything about the ambiance, food or anything else, they just want their “ex-boyfriend/girlfriend” to know that they are happy without them……

“The sushi was average at best but what made this place amazing was my other half got down on one knee in front of everyone else there (despite the fact that it was only our 2nd date) and sang Bruno Mar’s song “I think I want to marry you”….Some said that they heard dogs howling but I am certain they are just jealous that I was the center of attention……Would maybe go back…..”

3.) The “nothing is ever going to be right” reviewer…….We all have at least one of these family members or friends in our lives.  You may not openly admit it but you know you do……

“I went to my son’s restaurant last night and despite the fact that I loaned him almost 20 thousand dollars for this risky (never going to work restaurant) the parking was terrible!!!!!  We couldn’t park in the front space because of some silly handicap law but thankfully we got the space right next to it…..we still had to walk further to the door, but we made it inside.  We weren’t greeted in the first 2 seconds but were seated fairly quickly at the chef’s table. (The server said something about my son wanting to make sure no one heard me.  Well I’m pretty sure he said that my son wanted me to be close to him so that he could hear me but whatever)  The fish was raw and the rice was sticky….there was something green and grassy tasting and I could swear that the table behind us said it was “seaweed” but I am sure that my son wouldn’t serve that……I raised him better than that”

There are many more types but I am about to violate my promise to myself to not be long-winded so with all of that said, I will leave you with my review and you can decide which kind of reviewer I am 🙂

I have heard that Hash House A Go Go is normally VERY busy so we went today (Friday) at around 10:30am (after we picked Jeremy up from work) and there were a few people in there but we basically had the area we were in to ourselves.  I ordered the chicken and waffles with fried leeks (and maybe a house mimosa – C’Mon – you know you are into day drinking too).  Scott ordered the 2 egg breakfast with a pancake and Jeremy ordered the grilled cheese.  To say that the portions are HUGE is an understatement….They literally could feed a family of 5 but the chicken and waffle was REALLY REALLY good!!  The chicken has to be soaked in buttermilk because it was moist and yet crispy at the same time and the waffles were crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside…..fluffy pillows of goodness…..the syrup was pure maple goodness and the bacon….well what can I say?  Bacon makes everything better…..long story short?  I would absolutely recommend this restaurant if you haven’t eaten in approximately 5 days and even if you have….It is WELL worth the time!!!!