Monday, January 22, 2018

Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana


Zuppa toscana is a broad-based term meaning "soup in the style of Tuscany".  This is a copycat recipe similar to the recipe used at the Olive Garden restaurant. Made with Italian sausage, potatoes, heavy cream, kale, and other savory ingredients, it's just one of those soup recipes that you'll hold onto so you can make again and again.


- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 1 lb. ground Italian sausage
- 1 cup diced sweet onion
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 5 medium/large russet potatoes, diced into about 1/4-inch thick pieces
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
- 4 to 6 cups chopped fresh kale, stems removed
- 1 cup heavy cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded, for garnish, optional

Turn the Instant Pot to Sauté mode. When it reads "hot", add olive oil. Add sausage and brown it for about 5 minutes, stirring and chopping up the sausage the whole time. Add the diced onion, garlic, and oregano. Combine and stir occasionally for about 2 minutes. Add 2 cups of the chicken broth to deglaze the pot, scraping the bottom for any sausage pieces that might be stuck to it. Add the potatoes and the remaining 4 cups of chicken broth. Close the lid, cancel Sauté mode and set to Manual (High Pressure) for 5 minutes. After cooking cycle ends, allow a 10 minute Natural Pressure Release. After 10 minutes, manually release the steam (using a towel to cover vent). Once steam is released, open lid and add kale. Stir well. Cover and let cook through and soften for about 3 minutes. Stir in heavy cream and sprinkle in salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve and enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.

"Vivere una vita bella. (Live a beautiful life.)" - Anonymous

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Brown-Butter Lobster Bisque


I found an amazing recipe for lobster bisque! However, the recipe called for about six more ingredients and two more steps for the cooking process. I knew I could make the recipe a lot simpler; so no matter what your cooking level is, anyone could make and enjoy this amazing, creamy, bisque! 


- 3 fresh lobster tails
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbs unsalted butter
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 cup parsnip, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1/2 tsp. creole seasoning, optional (for a little kick)
- 1 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 bay leaf
- 32 oz. seafood stock
- 1 cup cooked rice or quinoa
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- cilantro and/or chives for a garnish

In a large dutch oven, boil enough water to cover lobster tails. Add salt, and once water comes to a boil, submerse lobster tails and let cook for around 6 minutes. Remove and place the lobster tails directly in an ice bath to stop the cooking. Once cooled, remove the lobster meat, chop into bite-sized pieces, and set aside. 

Spill water out of the dutch oven and add the butter. Cook butter over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it has melted and turned a rich golden-brown color. Add onions, garlic, parsnip, and celery. Turning heat to medium-high, cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender. Add creole, Old Bay, white wine, and bay leaf. Cook for another 5 minutes. Add seafood stock and rice. Stir until heated through. Remove bay leaf. In batches, transfer soup to a blender. Remove center piece from lid so steam can escape. Using a towel to cover the lid, blend soup mixture until smooth. Repeat until all soup is blended. Pour blended soup back into the dutch oven and add heavy cream. Cook until heated through. Ladle soup in shallow bowls and add lobster meat. Garnish with cilantro or chives and enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here

"A Sunday well spent brings a week of content." - Anonymous 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Instant Pot Honey Sesame Chicken


No need for takeout when you have an Instant Pot. With an Instant Pot, your meal is done and ready to enjoy before delivery of any takeout food could reach your home. This honey sesame chicken is very flavorful, so easy to make, and tastes like it came from one of your favorite restaurants. 


- 4 large (about 2 lbs) boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into small cubes
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1 Tbs vegetable oil (or olive oil)
- 1/2 cup diced yellow onion
- 2 tsp. minced garlic
- 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 2 tsp. sesame oil
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 Tbs cornstarch
- 3 Tbs water
- 2 scallions, white and green parts, chopped small
- Cooked rice and steamed broccoli, for serving, if desired
- Chopped scallions and sesame seeds for garnish

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Select Sauté to preheat the Instant Pot. Add oil, onions, garlic, and chicken to the pot. Sauté about 3 minutes, stirring often. Stir in soy sauce, ketchup, and red pepper flakes. Lock lid in place and select High Pressure with 3 minutes cook time.

When cook time ends, turn off the Instant Pot. Use a quick release to vent steam. After valve drops, carefully remove lid. Stir in sesame oil and honey. In a small bowl, whisk cornstarch and water until smooth. Add to the Instant Pot and select Sauté/Simmer, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens. Stir in scallions and serve over rice with steamed broccoli, if desired. Garnish with fresh scallions, if desired, and sesame seeds. Enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.

"Your best teacher is your last mistake." - Anonymous

Creamy Caribbean Sweet Potato Soup


There's nothing like a hot bowl of soup on those cold winter days where you just can't seem to get warm. You'll want to dive in to this sumptuous creamy bowl of heaven and not come out until every last drop of soup is devoured! This sweet potato soup with a coconut cream lime drizzle makes you forget about the cold by keeping you warm and happy. Grab a spoon!


- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 1/3 cup chopped shallots
- 2 Tbs finely chopped lemongrass or lemongrass paste
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 Tbs minced garlic
- 5 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 12 cups chopped sweet potatoes (about 6 or 7 large potatoes)
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper, optional
- 1, 15 oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
- 3 Tbs lime juice (from 2 limes), divided
- toasted sliced almonds
- fresh cilantro

Heal oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add shallots, lemongrass, ginger, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until softened. Add broth, sweet potatoes, salt, turmeric, pepper, and red pepper. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and let cook until potatoes are tender.

Skim 1/4 cup thickened coconut cream from top of coconut milk. Add two tablespoons of lime juice and whisk. Set aside. Whisk together remaining coconut milk with remaining one tablespoon lime juice. Stir into soup.

When potatoes are tender, place soup (in batches) into a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape). Secure lid, and cover opening with a towel. Puree each batch until smooth. Pour into bowls and drizzle with reserved coconut mixture. Top with almonds and cilantro. Enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.

"During these cold winter months, we all need 
a little Vitamin Sea." - Me 

Friday, January 12, 2018

Slow Cooker Italian Sausage Cheese Tortellini Soup


If you're a stickler for keeping your New Year's Resolution of dieting and eating salads everyday, this recipe is not for you. This recipe are for those who love to indulge every once in awhile by eating something so good, so cheesy, so fulfilling, it feels like you're sinning. If you become addicted to this, don't blame me. A total hit by everyone who's has tasted the mouth-watering flavor of this soup. You will be tempted to have five bowls. Don't do it! Save some for the next day. :) 


- 1 lb. ground Italian sausage (mild)
- 1, 32 oz. container chicken broth
- 2, 14 oz. cans petite diced tomatoes
- 2, 10.75 oz. cans of tomato soup
- 2, 8 oz. containers chive and onion cream cheese spread
- 1, 20 oz. package refrigerated cheese tortellini, uncooked

In a large skillet, brown sausage over medium-high heat. Transfer sausage to a crock pot. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, and tomato soup. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours. Stir in cream cheese spread and tortellini. Cook on high for about 30 minutes, until tortellini is cooked. Spoon into a bowl and devour! Enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.

"Sometimes you just have to indulge." - Anonymous