Saturday, June 16, 2018

Instant Pot Recipe #5: Sweet Potato

Tonight I made spaghetti in the Instant Pot (because its Saturday and I can make and puree the sauce while the kids are napping and I can add all the veggies and they won't even know it :). No one ever tells you how amazing it is when you can get BOTH of your kids to nap at the same time. Well let me tell you, its fran-freaking-tas-tic! Especially when you use the time to cook or study because I can't do either of those things if they are awake - hello anxiety. Spending all morning in the Austin heat and cooling them down in the splash pad (and a packed lunch sprinkled in between) was the best idea I've had in a while! Because both of those kids were knocked out hard while sleeping in the 73 degree house #momwin

(PS... I am normally napping with them on Saturday afternoons but today I got a free Starbucks TRIPLE mocha frappachino on my way home. I was hoping that the sugar and the caffeine would keep me from falling asleep. Now a days, if I sit for too long, I will just fall asleep wherever I am. True Story.) 

and BAM! I skipped nap this afternoon! ;)

Anyways, this post is supposed to be about sweet potatoes, not naps and mom wins. And sweet potatoes (although J won't touch them with a 10 foot pole) are the easiest go-to in the Instant Pot ever. Especially if you are trying to figure out what to cook/pack for lunch the next day. Soooo I have a craving to share with you!

When I was pregnant with Gabe I had a team that I worked with a lot in Austin so my travel was a lot lighter than most projects. This was great because when we'd get together for all day working sessions, I'd have to order us some lunch and this really let me try some new places near the office that I generally wouldn't try. For example, Jason's Deli. I always feel like I could pack my own sandwich from home if I wanted to eat there (I know, I know... they sell more than just sandwiches and even their sandwiches are better than my packed-lunch-wiches). I ordered this sweet potato MANY times and I just can't get enough of it.

So today's sweet potato recipe is brought to you by one of my all time pregnancy cravings - Jason's Deli Papa Verde Sweet Potato!

Baked sweet potato with butter,
USDA-certified organic spinach,
fresh avocado,
roasted turkey breast,
Jason’s own jalapeño ranch dressing
[obviously there is CHEESE too]



I'm just going to be 150% honest here and say that when I make this bad boy, it DOES NOT look that pretty. But it tastes almost just as good!

Constructing the sweet potato is definitely more complicated than cooking the potato itself in your Instant Pot. When I do cook something like this, Brad normally calls it "fancy"... but I just like to blend all.the.flavors! And this is great because I usually have all of the ingredients on hand.

So let's get to it, shall we?

The potato is as easy as washing it, putting some water into the bottom of the pot, inserting the trivet that comes with the Instant Pot, placing the potato inside and BAM! Cook that bad boy for like 10 minutes. If you want some in-depth potato cooking instructions and tips, A Mindful Mom has a great post on fluffy baked potatoes.

While the potato is cooking, I normally saute some spinach with garlic and seasoning. I normally have leftover chicken in the fridge, which I warm up if I am going to eat the potato once I am done making it, but I cut it up while it's still cold if I am going to pack this for lunch the next day (I have a weird thing about not wanting to eat cold food.. cold pizza anyone? not for me).

Once the potato is out, I slice it open and just dump all of the ingredients on top! First the cut up chicken, some cut up sliced cheese (I like Havarti), I drizzle some regular ranch (I am not fancy enough to attempt my own jalapeno ranch like Jason), cut up avocado and then plop the sauteed spinach on top. If you're feeling extra cheesy, add more cheese :)

Instant Pot Sweet Potato


Ingredients:
  • 1-4 Sweet Potatoes
  • 1 cup of water
Instructions:
  1. Place trivet in Instant Pot and add 1 cup water.
  2. Scrub sweet potatoes until skins are clean. Place on top of the steamer basket.
  3. Cover and place vent on lid to "Sealed".
  4. Set on "Pressure Cooke" program and set time for 12 minutes.
  5. When finished cooking, don't open lid. Allow pressure to reduce naturally, about 8-10 minutes.
  6. Remove lid and serve.
     
I like to add ingredients such as diced chicken, ranch, sauteed spinach, avocado and cheese to mine. And next time you're at Jason's Deli... I totally recommend the Papa Verde Sweet Potato. This will do while you're at home, but Jason's does it best :)

xo
Stephanie 

Monday, June 11, 2018

12 weeks!

Oh how so much can change in 12 weeks!

12 weeks ago our baby boy, Gabriel Lucas, joined our already hectic circus. He came 4.5 weeks early and all of my planning went out the window (a lesson I learned again, that children are not project plans:)!

Oh mama, how many times must you learn?
 :)

My mama jumped on a plane just a few days after Gabe arrived to rescue me from being alone as Brad had to go back to work (his *planned* paternity leave wasn't for another 5 weeks). She stayed with us for a week and Joanna had the time of her life as I adjusted to night feedings all over again. Then Brad's mama and sister drove from Florida to be with us. My MIL stayed for 3 weeks and helped us with preschool drop offs, dinner melt downs and everything in between. We just about solidified a good bedtime routine with Jo by the time she left us. Joanna also had a grand time with her!

Gabe was tiny! He was born 5lb 13oz and considered a "pre late term baby". He looked like a full term baby, without a lot of fat. We needed to wake him to feed him because he was sooo sleepy for the first month. He gained weight well and by 6 weeks he was more alert. In this first month home with Gabe, I some how managed to finish my 4th MBA class. I did have to ask for re-take on a test I completed while I was in the hospital. My professor graciously gave me a re-take to do on my own time - he agreed that having a baby early was an extenuating circumstance :|

In the first month home, there were a lot of melt downs by all...

Then the time came where all of our help went home and Brad started paternity leave. He was off work for 4 weeks and he completed soooo many projects around our house. He almost ran out of things to do! We kept up with Joanna's bedtime routine and got to spend a lot of much needed family time doing activities together. I was also cleared from my 6wk OB check up to start running again (slow and easy).

Brad and I both focused on our running, we got in a few "day dates" and we focused on reasoning with Joanna. Joanna is pretty communicative for a 2.5 year old. We really began talking to her about Gabe's needs (he is hungry all the time, he sleeps a lot, he is little, we need to be careful with him) and looking back, she really started to turn a corner in maturity. We had several melt downs along the way - but I believe that it was thanks to that focused time we got to spend as a family that I can leave the house with two kids and feel pretty confident that Joanna will listen, help and stay by my side. This does require a lot of packed FOOD, patience and being extremely flexible with our plans.

And although the last 12 weeks have been challenging in so many different ways, they have also been just what we needed... just what I needed.

When Gabe was 5 weeks old, I was given the opportunity to go back to work early to start planning a big project that was just getting started. Gabe is still home with me while I work part time and occasionally we have meetings at the office and I bring him with me. Going back to work early has helped my mental health immensely. Checking the boxes and making plans is at my core and although I was checking several boxes at home - laundry, cleaning, cooking, feeding, burping, changing diapers - it never felt completely finished. I never actually felt accomplished.

I also took what I like to call a "30 day sabbatical" and challenged myself to stay unplugged from social media. I focused on my faith, on my children, on my confidence to be a mother of two. I focused on my marriage and my husband. And somewhere along the way I found this excerpt and it really changed my perspective of planning and constantly feeling the need to start something new or to finish something old...

God wants to give us a story. Something we can look back on and say, "GOD DID THIS." And that story is found in the middle places between where we've been and where we're going, in the middle places of where we don't want to be and where His promises are revealed, in the middle places of difficult days and who God is shaping us to be.

...I'm learning that you can't rush through the middle because some things God can teach us only in the journey. And ultimately our entire lives are a journey. Beginning, middle, end. God alone sets the pace.

And in this excerpt from Melanie Shankle's daily devotional called Everyday Holy I reflected on my urge to rush through the middle places of all of my plans. I forced myself to slow down, stop comparing and enjoy my children in this precious time of their youth. 



And so I am back! After a major adjustment in the last 12 weeks. After a major reflection of myself, my children and this world. After significant gratitude toward my husband and all he does to help keep our home running smoothly and ALL the support he provides to me to chase my wildest dreams of wifey-ing, momming, running, project managing and MBAing. 


I cant say that I have it all figured out - we are taking it one day at a time over here! But I can say that my heart is SO full. It's more full than I thought it could ever be and for that I am truly grateful. I can say that I am learning to be more patient, to slow down and to speak softly with my children. I can say that I'm learning to give myself a lot of grace and I am reminding myself that my worth isn't in those boxes I check.

(PS - I also traded in my gym membership for a cleaning lady who comes twice a month. I am proud to say that I am never going back to the gym! :)


Just another wife, mama and runner (still learning domestic-like skills)!

xo
Stephanie

Monday, April 9, 2018

Instant Pot Recipe #4: Spaghetti

I am alive! And we have a new baby in our house!

Disclaimer: I've had this spaghetti blog post drafted since February (so let's just pretend that we are still in February :) but something distracted me after my week of vacation (ahem... work?), and then baby boy Ganey came 4.5 weeks early! I've got a bit of catching up to do but I have several dinners and even a dessert recipe successfully accomplished in my InstaPot :) I really do love this thing!

[Let's take a time machine back to mid-February...]

We've been in vacation mode around here this week with my parents in town from Florida and my SIL and kids in town from Panama. I have to admit that we LOVE living in Texas and we are so grateful for our career opportunities - but it just plain stinks not having cousins around. Watching Joanna this week with her cousins was just a beautiful sight that really encourages me to plant some more mommy-seeds and hope she finds "her people" that she will grow up with. I am secretly jealous of those people you meet in life who are still close with, or have stayed in touch with their childhood friends. Community is such a vital part of parenting and I'll admit that living in 3 different cities in the last 2 years hasn't helped our cause. 

Anyways, here is Joanna and her cousins Sade and Noah <3



This week, any domestication duties that I've had were mostly related to food shopping and cleaning up the kitchen. These are things that I could totally live with! Well, except for the food shopping. I've gotten a lot better in (January and February) 2018 because of my new habit to make a thorough grocery list BEFORE I go to the store :) opposed to just buying whatever I think we might need, while at the store with a toddler. The ladder generally means we are coming home with junk food. When I plan-ahead my grocery list and dinner menu (like most areas of my life), I feel way less pressure to fill up the cart with mediocre options at store. More on this topic later when life got crazy, the baby came early and I can't even remember to put Easter eggs on the grocery list and my family goes to the store 3x in one day :) ha!

HOWEVER - I realized I hadn't shared the simplest recipe to date with you guys! Having my parents here this week reminded me of how difficult parenting is and how much my parents overcame while raising 4 children in Miami, FL without either of them having completed higher education. It's astounding to think that they both arrived in this country not knowing any English and how their hard work (sometimes working 3-4 jobs combined) and determination gave fruit to all of the opportunities that were passed along to my brothers, sister and I. Spaghetti reminds me of my childhood because it was my favorite meal. I distinctively remember my father cooking half of the ground beef portion for spaghetti and half of it to make spicy chili for him and my brother. It's just one of those dishes that flood me with memories.

So although I didn't actually make spaghetti this week - we've made it a few times in the InstaPot and it has always been excellent. I will share (another) disclaimer that my daughter doesn't like chunks of tomatoes in her spaghetti. So, we take the extra step to make our own spaghetti sauce and then blend it before adding the meat and noodles. The perk to this is that I can hide TONS of veggies in the sauce - carrots, broccoli, spinach, peppers, you name it! The downfall is that it normally takes longer to saute all the veggies on the stove top, let the sauce simmer for a while, then puree it until its nice and smooth. I've learned that when I make my own sauce, I need to use more liquid. The InstaPot really does require the liquid to keep the contents nice and moist and my sauce has come out a little too thick because I just didn't have enough liquid - so I've been adding beef broth or chicken broth, I always have a recently open carton in the fridge.

I followed this recipe from The Salty Marshmallow for inspiration. Like I said, the only difference is that I made my own sauce instead of using a jar of spaghetti sauce. We also find that store-bought sauce has a lot of sugar in it. One thing that isn't so appealing to the eye is the color of my spaghetti when I make my own sauce - it's not RED! Joanna doesn't seem to mind but when I take pictures of it, I notice that the color doesn't do anything for my own appetite.

Simmering the homemade spaghetti sauce
I actually made this batch the same night that I attempted to make bone broth in my InstaPot and failed miserably because I forgot to put the sealing ring back into the lid. Ooops! But the day wasn't a total failure because Joanna ate up the spaghetti and even asked for more. Let's just say that by the end of that Sunday evening, my cooking-heart was full.

Once I get passed chopping all the veggies, sauteing and simmering them, it really is super easy to add all the ingredients to the Instant Pot. If I am working from home that day, I can add all the ingredients and then leave the house to go pickup Jo from school. Once we arrive back home, dinner is ready to serve.


Before the spaghetti sauce
Did I mention that Joanna loves spaghetti as much as I do? I mean, I really don't know WHO in this world doesn't like spaghetti.

Due to Jo's egg allergy, we buy and eat whole wheat (almost) everything. After making this recipe a few times, I learned that our cooking times generally take longer to make sure the noodles are nice and soft.

All done!
Like I said, our homemade sauce doesn't photograph well. But I but you $10 that no one in your family will even notice all the veggies that you hide in there. I generally use two cans of tomatoes, 1 small can of tomato sauce and chop up any veggies that I have on hand.

I adapted my recipe from: The Salty Marshmallow

Instant Pot Spaghetti

Ingredients:

  • 1 Pound Lean Ground Beef
  • 1/2 Teaspoon EACH Salt, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Italian Seasoning
  • 1 Pound Spaghetti Noodles 
  • 1 (24 Ounce) Jar Spaghetti Sauce (I made my own and added veggies I had on hand)
  • 36 Ounces Water, 1 1/2 Jars
  • 1 (14.5 Ounce) Can Diced Tomatoes
Instructions:
  1. Set the Instant Pot to saute' and add the ground beef.  Add the spices.  Cook the meat and seasonings, breaking the meat up until it's completely browned.  Turn the Instant Pot off. Drain any excess grease from meat if necessary.
  2. Break the spaghetti in half and place on top of meat in the Instant Pot.  Pour over the spaghetti sauce, diced tomato, and water.  Push the spaghetti down with a spoon if necessary to make sure it is completely covered in liquid.  
  3. Seal the instant pot and set it to manual mode, high pressure, 8 minutes cooking time (add more time for whole wheat pasta - I cooked for 15 min).  When the time is up, use manual quick release to open the Instant Pot.  Stir the spaghetti well.  Serve immediately.
 
We like our spaghetti with a side of garlic bread and parm cheese. That's exactly how my parents always served it when I was growing up!

xo

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Instant Pot Recipe #3: Taco Pasta

The last two weeks have been a little crazy around here (did I really expect anything different? :)) so I personally haven't been getting much use of the Instant Pot around our house. But (to my surprise) Brad has gotten into it a few times! He finally did make that Chicken Soup with Kale (actually, twice!), Arroz Con Pollo and he even tried ribs! Needless to say, someone is using this magical device and it's paying off well :)

At 7 months pregnant, my major project at work has been really taking a lot of time and effort. Between traveling to Memphis (TN), driving up to Dallas (TX) and having several work visitors here in Austin, there is no downtime at the office! Don't get me wrong, I am thoroughly enjoying the work and I am learning a lot, but it doesn't give a lot of time or balance to groom my domestication efforts during the weeknight evenings. We've had a few weeknights of surviving thriving on oven pizza and fish sticks - but what busy American family doesn't? :)

I promise we've still been serving veggies and luckily Joanna's school has an amazing chef who hides veggies in the kids meals too :)

(Brief interruption to your normally scheduled broadcast...)
 
The biggest accomplishment over the last few weeks is DAYTIME POTTY TRAINING! Who cares about how many meals I've been cooking!... my kid is wearing panties during the day and we are thriving in the decreased diaper usage. Joanna is about 2yrs and 4 months and we definitely didn't push the potty training. As much as I was ready for her to be out of diapers so we aren't changing two kids diapers during the day once her little brother arrives, I wasn't ready for the constant accidents if she wasn't ready for the underwear. But one day she woke up and said "no more diapers" (after introducing her this Toilet Time book that a friend shared). So we followed her lead and now she is panties during the day (still diapers at nap time and bedtime). She is hit and miss with communicating her bowel movements, so we keep an eye on her in the evenings when she normally goes. If she is quiet standing still, we rush her to the toilet. REGARDLESS, in our world it's all about progress (and grace!)... not perfection. So, we are proud parents over here!

(...and now we resume broadcast...)


CategoryWeeknight Meal ! 
Although this Taco Pasta isn't gourmet, it was SUPER easy to make! I will admit defeat and say that I made this on a Saturday evening, but I totally could have pulled this off during the week it was that quick! I had most of the ingredients already on hand so that was a win too. From prep to serve it was about 25 minutes (I used whole wheat pasta so I cooked it for an additional 5 minutes to make sure the pasta was done).

I normally don't drain the oil from my ground beef when I cook it, but for whatever reason it looked excessive today. So, I browned the beef and drained the oil before adding all of the other ingredients. Also, I thought I didn't have any beef broth so I used water and 1/2 package of spanish seasoning in hopes that would make up for the missing beef broth - it worked like a charm.

I plopped a dollop of whole milk greek yogurt on top of my serving and some cut up avocado and it was delicious! I also put yogurt on Joanna's (on the side) and Joanna quickly mixed all of hers in and asked for more yogurt. She ate her entire plate and even asked for more dinner! You bet it made this mama happy that my 20 minute meal was a hit <3

I wish I would have gotten some better pictures but we just jumped right into dinner and didn't stop (well, barely).


I borrowed this recipe from: FoodSchmoody 

Instant Pot Taco Pasta
Total Cook Time: 20min

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb ground beef , lean 
  • 1 oz taco seasoning  
  • 8 oz tomato sauce  
  • 2 C beef broth 
  • 8 oz small pasta (medium shells)  
  • 1.5 C shredded cheese (cheddar, mexican blend or cheddar jack) 
 
Instructions:
  1. Set Instant Pot to saute. Add the ground beef and break up as it cooks.
  2. Once ground beef is browned, stir in taco seasoning, tomato sauce, beef broth and then pasta. Cover and seal lid.
  3. Change setting to PRESSURE (manual) and adjust time to 5 minutes. It took about 3 minutes for my pot to come to pressure.
  4. Once Instant Pot beeps to show it's done, quick release. Carefully remove cover and stir. 
  5. Turn off Instant Pot. Top with cheese, put cover back on but don't seal. Allow a minute or two for cheese to start to melt. Serve with desired toppings.
We served ours with greek yogurt and avocado

I hope your family loves it as much as we did! We will definitely be making it again. I think the only complaint I heard tonight was that it didn't make enough left overs and I might have to cook tomorrow :) #winning!


xo
Chef Stephanita!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Instant Pot FAIL #1: Bone Broth

Okay, so I shouldn't be disappointed in my first #IPfail. I should have expected this! Brad and I were just discussing YESTERDAY how if I'm ever going to be one of those working moms who come home at 5pm and have dinner on the table at 6pm without the stress of cooking, I have to practice, practice, practice. I'm only good at the things I'm good at because I've had years of practice and trial and error. I cannot expect myself to be a wonderful, stress-free cook overnight! Not even with this magical new appliance of mine - the Instant Pot!

...so the next few lines that you read... this is me giving myself grace...

Because there are not possibly enough hours in the day to accomplish all.of.the.things and still enjoy the little moments.

While I was clipping inspirational quotes for my Commit30 planner inspiration board, I found this quote (as it relates to working motherhood):

"I've never seen a 50-50 day. It's not a balancing act. It's constant compromise and sacrifice."

THAT BEING SAID...

  • 2 weeks ago I started my third MBA class. I currently have an "A"! The class is only 6 weeks long.
  • Yet... I haven't run a single mile in 2 weeks (and that's okay)
  • Over the last 2 weeks (at work), we've been preparing for a major testing weekend and I've been working more hours with my team.
  • Yet... I've only cooked during the weekends. Brad has done most of the feeding-us Mon-Fri. (and that's okay)
  • The last two weekends have been full of more family activities and less "prep for the week" chores! This is a major win in my book.
I'm kinda validating my rookie-error that led to this Instant Pot Fail to the fact that I was trying to juggle too many things on Sunday afternoon when I attempted to make Bone Broth for my Chicken Soup. But aren't we (as moms) always trying to juggle "too many things" ?

So here is what I did....

I FORGOT TO PUT THE SEALING RING BACK INTO MY POT.

I didn't even think about it.

Saturday night I made a successful Lemon Chicken Thighs (which I will post about next) and then I took the ring out of the lid to wash it! I've noticed that my sealing ring has started to smell like last night's dinner. Saturday night when I was cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, I took the ring out and gave it a good wash. It was sitting on the drying rack under a mountain of other random kitchen items that were washed.

Sunday when I took my carcass out of the deep freezer, I was chopping the veggies and I was also feeding Jo some lunch (yes, we still eat fish sticks around here... just not as often... ha). Well, I was having trouble getting the carcass to fit because all of the bones were just frozen solid in a large gallon zip lock bag. So I had to "saute" some water and my carcass to get the bones to unfreeze so I can put the lid on.

We were also approaching nap time. And you know how that is! If Joanna doesn't get escorted to her room by 1pm, she usually won't fall asleep until about 2:30pm. She finds this "second wind", refuses nap and then when she finally does fall asleep, she doesn't wake up until 4-4:30pm. Then she wakes up grumpy. It's a dreadful process that we JUST went through on Saturday because we were out in Austin having fun together and we went down for nap later than normal.

So, I was juggling my carcass, Joanna's lunch and feeding myself all before that 1pm deadline. AND I FORGOT TO PUT THE SEALING RING BACK INTO MY POT

Look how beautiful my veggies and carcass were...


And I should have known something was wrong when...
  1. My pot started letting out more steam than normal, with the lid on.
  2. The little "water catcher" on the back was FULL of water, TWICE!
  3. I saw water on the floor, immediately right of the pot and the kitchen island it's sitting on.
  4. I found water all over the counter top.

But I just kept going about my 2hour count down to making Bone Broth because I was determined to take my MBA test during Joanna's nap time. And I got it done! I got an A on my test!

...and I also burned the sh*t out of that carcass and veggies. And I ended up with a pot full of bones and scorch! 

The realization that my Bone Broth is all Bones :(
The "how the heck am I going to clean this up" while dumping into the trash!
 So, what did I do next?

I texted two of my Instant Pot Sisters for a good laugh. I called my MIL for some suggestions on how to clean the gunk out of the bottom of my pot. And then I threw myself a little pitty party.

I almost didn't cook dinner at all. 

Apparently some boiled vinegar and water will start the process of removing the gunk....
Round 1 - vinegar and water
Then, took the pot to the sink and put some baking soda. It started to fizz and I started to scrape (or scour like google calls "cleaning"). I had to ask my MIL what the heck that meant too :)

Then, we went on to Round 2 of vinegar and water... and by this point I was getting hungry! And still considering giving up on actual dinner.


Round 2 - vinegar and water
PS - Joanna and I ate cereal for dinner on Friday night when Brad was working second shift at the hospital. I honestly had guilt about feeding her cereal again (this time on Sunday night) - and thats probably the primary reason why I proceeded to actually cook dinner once I got the pot cleaned! Plus, I couldn't really send "left over" cereal with Brad to work another 10hr overnight shift. I felt guilty about that too.

The happy ending is that my pot cleaned up like new and my Spaghetti dinner turned out excellent. Joanna didn't speak the entire dinner (she is usually a chatter box pointing out the things she doesn't want to eat) and she ate everything on her plate. I'll have to share that recipe with you guys later this week. But tonight, all I could do was laugh at my pot of Bones and chalk it up to a lesson learned...

DON'T FORGET TO PUT THE SEALING RING BACK INTO YOUR POT! 

:)

PPS - I will be attempting this Bone Broth for my Chicken Soup again. And this time, I won't forget the Sealing Ring :)

xo
IP Rookie Stephanita

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Instant Pot Recipe #2: Sweet Potato Chili

It's been pretty cold around here since days before New Years. Up until recently, I was beginning to believe that Austin was warmer than Dallas. But it's snowed twice in December and winter just started! Maybe it's a fluke, or global warming... but in my opinion, it's still much nicer than living in the Northeast or Midwest :| ...I'm sorry if you live in that area of the country!

The first week into the New Year has been treating us well. My primary goals for this week have been to get organized at home and at the office, and ready for my next MBA semester to begin again and that organization includes planning just about everything that I can, in order to maximize the hours of the day and stay focused. We've got a lot to do before our baby boy arrives in April and the only way I can wrap my head around it all is to write it down and make it happen. I want the weekends to be more relaxed with Joanna and I don't want her to feel like they are meant for grocery shopping and getting ready for the upcoming week - and this past fall had felt just like that. This next year is about slowing down on the weekends and having fun more. I have even tried running to the grocery store on the way home from work one night that we are going to be eating leftovers for dinner, which means a few extra hours on the weekend for new adventures with Brad and Jo in 2018.

Anyways... I love hot, soupy meals during the cold months, who doesn't? And I also love this Sweet Potato Chili recipe and I've been making it in my slow cooker for the last 2 years or so. I never knew you could put sweet potatoes in chili and have it turn out so savory and yummy. If you ventured over to the link you'll also find lots of other recipes. But Alex (the blogger in the link) has a new blog at AlexTheRealHouseMom.com she started in 2017 and I'm always checking in to see if she has any new recipes over there!

CategoryWeekend Meal
This was still much faster to cook in the InstaPot versus the slow cooker. But maybe I need to get faster at chopping veggies ;)


That's my kid snacking while we get dinner ready! ;)

For this recipe, I just followed Alex's ingredients and I attempted to adjust the time to make it in the InstantPot. I say attempted because it was extremely yummy, but my sweet potatoes almost came out like mush. The last two recipes I've made (this one and the next one I plan to share), have been a little "over cooked" and I think I need to start backing off on the time.

This recipe especially. I didn't think about it at the time, I just aimlessly followed another blogger's recipe times (like you guys are probably doing with mine? bad idea! I'm still am amateur at this!) and set the timer to 20 minutes on Pressure Setting and that was definitely way  too much because my potatoes were literally falling apart. I mean literally mushing apart. What I didn't realize at the time was that all of my ground beef was already cooked and the pressure cooking was really intended to cook the sweet potatoes and infuse all of the flavors together. That should take no time at all right? Now that I'm searching a little more I did find some alternative times which could have made this meal a weeknight meal instead of a weekend meal.


This was right before the tomatoes,
beans and broth were added
Although my potatoes were pretty mush, Brad and I ate it up like there was nothing wrong (as I spent the entire dinner rehashing what I did in the kitchen and taking mental notes for corrections next time - the cooking time below is adjusted so your potatoes don't come out like mine). That man will eat just about anything I cook and never make me feel like I shouldn't be allowed in the kitchen <3 Joanna doesn't like sweet potatoes (she is weird) so if I can recall correctly, she ate rice, broccoli and some of the meat and beans from the chili (on the side!). And that's okay with me because I have learned not to get my cooking-skills validated by my 2 year old :)

Here is the recipe.... it was pretty easy. I normally would have made this with ground turkey, but we've been eating a lot more ground beef around here lately.

Instant Pot Sweet Potato Chili


Yum!
Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • EVOO
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped 
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 can Rotel (Diced tomatoes with green chilies) Do not drain
  • 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 3 cups chicken broth


Instructions:
  1. Using the Sauté setting on your Instant Pot, preheat on normal for 1.5 minutes
  2. Sauté your ground beef with the spices and minced garlic until mostly cooked
  3. Add in chopped onion and green pepper and sauté a few minutes longer (2-3 minutes, ground beef should be fully cooked by now)
  4. Add chopped sweet potatoes, mix into ground beef and sauté for 1-2 minutes while mixing
  5. Add in rotel, black beans, broth and mix with a spoon
  6. Place the lid on, and lock it, setting the valve to sealing.
  7. Cook on manual High Pressure setting for 8 minutes, and allow the Instant Pot to release naturally (do not use the quick release lever, but let the pressure indicator lower on its own.)
  8. Switch the valve release, and remove the lid carefully.

I poured my chili over a bed of fresh spinach and topped it with cilantro and greek yogurt!

I hope you enjoy!

Steph