About AnniesDishList

I moved from a small kitchen to a big kitchen back to a small kitchen. And I know that a passion for cooking supersedes the space available. Recipe Tweaker / Story-Teller / Blogger

InstantPot Taco Pie

IMG_2639OK – so it’s 4pm and you need dinner on the table at 6…stress, panic, anger? go through the emotions – then make a super quick, small crowd pleasing InstantPot Taco Pie.

Here is my riff on it:

Instant Pot Taco Pie

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Amazingly Easy Dinner in an Instant

Ingredients

  • 1.25 lbs Ground Beef – I prefer 90/10 or better
  • 1 Packet Taco Seasoning – just buy it
  • 1/2 Can Drained Black Beans
  • 2 TBSP Salsa
  • 2 TBSP Red Enchilada Sauce + Generous Spoonful to top off the pie
  • 2 Cups Shredded Cheese – mix of Jack and Cheddar
  • 4 Eight Inch Flour Tortillas
  • 1 7″ Springform pan
  • Chopped Cilantro, Sour Cream, Avocados for accoutrement

Directions

  1. Heat 1.5 tbsp Olive Oil in a medium fry pan over medium/high heat
  2. Add the ground meat and cook all the way through
  3. Add the taco seasoning and 2/3 cup of water and simmer for 8 minutes
  4. Set aside
  5. Spray the inside of the springform pan with nonstick spray
  6. In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the drained black beans with 2 TBSP of salsa
  7. In a second small bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the drained black beans with 2 TBSP of the Enchilada Sauce – you can mash the beans into the sauce with a fork if desired
  8. Carefully nestle one tortilla in the pan – I found it easiest to form a flower-esque shape with the tortilla and press the center of the flower-shaped tortilla into the center of the bottom of the pan and then press it out from the center. The tortilla is bigger than the pan – just press the excess of the tortilla up the sides of the pan
  9. Add the beans & salsa mixture over the tortilla
  10. Top with 1/2 cup of the shredded cheddar / jack cheese mix
  11. Add a layer of the meat / taco seasoning mix
  12. Top that with another tortilla – be sure to press the tortilla down using the flower method. The excess tortilla can again be pressed up the side of the springform pan
  13. Layer the black beans / enchilada sauce mixture on top of that tortilla
  14. Top with a layer of 1/2 cup of the cheese mix and a layer of the meat
  15. Top that with another tortilla and press into the mixture and up the sides of the pan
  16. Add one more layer of cheese (1/2 cup) and the last of the meat
  17. Top with a final tortilla
  18. Take a generous spoonful of Enchilada sauce and smother it over the final, top tortilla
  19. Cover the pan with aluminum foil
  20. Put 1 cup of water in the bottom of the InstantPot
  21. Place the InstantPot rack in the pot and carefully place the covered springform pan on the rack
  22. Put the lid on and position the knob to ‘Sealing’
  23. Set the InstantPot to ‘High Pressure’ for 10 minutes
  24. After the cooking time is done, allow for a 5 minute natural release, then release the pressure manually
  25. Heat your oven to Broil – High
  26. Carefully remove the springform pan from the pot and place pan on a cookie sheet
  27. Remove the aluminum foil and top the Taco Pie with the final 1/2 cup of cheese
  28. Place in the oven and broil until the cheese is bubbly
  29. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes
  30. Carefully remove the springform outer from the pan and slide the pie onto a large cutting board
  31. Top with chopped cilantro and serve with offerings of sour cream, additional cilantro and hot sauce

Here are a few photos of the process for reference:

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15 Weeks. 15 Pounds. I Did It My Way.

diet, new years resolutions, recipe

Fruits, a lot of Chicken Breast, a lot of Avocado, tons of grilled veggies, a frittata here and there, a veggie burger or several

Happy New Year!

Since you asked…maybe you didn’t…maybe you wanted to…maybe only one of you asked…anyway, this is how I lost 15 pounds in the last 15 weeks of 2016.

Note: I’m not a medical professional. AND, this is just what worked for me. You gotta do you.

Note: It wasn’t a pound a week. It was more like…a 1/2 pound the first week, then 1 pound a week for the next six weeks and then 1.5lbs / week…then just 1/2lb / week.

Note: Some weeks it was zero pounds. That’s OK.

Note: I didn’t exercise. I mean, more than normal. I always get in 10k steps per day and do some treadmilling. But besides that – really nothing.

OK, enough of that. Here we go.

Wait. Last warning. It’s really boring. This was the most boring food regimen in the world. I was bored. People I know are bored of it. You’ll be bored.

Breakfast.

img_8814

FRUIT. Usually just Fruit. Strawberries or Mangos or A Banana or 1/2 a Grapefruit.

fruit. diet. strawberries.

Maybe 6 strawberries. Yes, just 6. No scientific reason to the 6 – it’s just that I don’t love strawberries and 6 was all I could take

or

Oatmeal – 1/4 cup dry, microwaved with 1/2 cup of water and a pinch of salt then drizzled with honey – no photo needed. I don’t love oatmeal – but it fills you up and the quick oats are a 2 minute deal in the microwave.

or

Scrambled Eggs

  • Two eggs scrambled with 1 tbsp of butter.
  • No milk
  • Shredded sharp cheddar

scrambled eggs, perfect scrambled eggs

Or – Liquids. just Liquids.

Pricey Green Juice or a Vega One Protein Shake

Vega One. diet. weight loss. lose 15 pounds

The Green Juice is a product of the juice bar at Equinox – spinach, kale, green apples, green grapes, ginger, fennel, cucumber, celery.

To the French Vanilla Vega One shake I added  (surprise!) 6 small frozen strawberries – you can get bags of them pretty cheap at Whole Foods – the 365 brand – water and a splash of almond milk, if I had some on hand.

Lunch. Every Day. Every damn day.

salad. lunch, weight loss, lose 15lbs, diet

  • Arugula – a healthy handful – I don’t love greens, but I do like Arugula – it’s an angry, bitter green
  • Diced chicken breast – about 1/2- 1/3 of a breast
  • Diced Cucumber – about 2 inches – I like the English/seedless cucumbers for I am lazy
  • Diced Yellow or Orange Pepper – about 1/4 of a pepper – any color would do
  • Diced Cheddar Cheese – about 1/3 inch of a 2inch x 2 inch brick – I get the organic Whole Foods cheddar because it’s pretty affordable and has a good shelf life
  • 1 TBSP Sunflower Seeds – sometimes raw, unsalted, sometimes roasted, unsalted
  • 1 TBSP Slivered Almonds – Whole Foods 365 brand
  • 1 TBSP Dried Cranberries minced – for sweetness – these are big in the fall and have a 12 month shelf life – so I bought in bulk at Gourmet Garage
  • 1 1/2 TBSP Newman’s Own Lite Italian Dressing

OR

tuna fish, tuna salad, weight loss, diet

1/2 can of White Meat Tuna in Water with stuff – sometimes Arugula, sliced cherry tomatoes, 1/2 a hard boiled egg, diced cheese, diced cucumber.

Sometimes with 1/2 an Avocado, 1 whole hard boiled egg.

Drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette – again – my go to here is the Whole Foods lite balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Dinner

Protein Plus Vegetables

Swordfish and Something – Avocado or Edamame or Baked Sweet Potato Fries

swordfish. diet. lose 15 pounds

Or, Chicken and something

chicken, zucchini, diet, lose 15 pounds

Or an Amy’s California Veggie Burger topped with cheese and a side of baked Japanese purple potato fries  – they’re just purple on the outside. But super sweet. Try ’em.

Amy's veggie burgers, diet, lose weight fast

Did I ever go out to eat? You’re wondering. Well, yes I did. I just ordered smarter and ‘on the side’ became my catch phrase. Like these grilled Baja Fish Tacos from Rosa Mexicano – I just had all the sauce on the side and mostly just ate the fish and slaw. Delish.

pescatarian. Rosa Mexicano, fish tacos

Did I ever cheat? Well, hells yes – that was the key to my success. Cheat meals. No, I didn’t schedule them – they just happened. Like this – the secret Carbonara Pizza at Nicoletta downtown.

Nicoletta, ny pizza, diet

Or these late night Potato Skins at a dive I’d rather not mention – relax, I shared them🙂

potato skins, diet, cheating

Did I ever order in? Yes I did. I just stopped lazy ordering – read – no more eggplant parmesan (OK, maybe I ordered that once) and no more Cheeseburgers..except a few. Mostly, if I ordered in it was sushi…Including Tempura – a little tempura never hurt anyone..

sushi, diet, vegetarian,

But, for the most part – my meals looked like these:

diet, new years resolutions, recipe

In no way am I saying that I lost the weight the right way. I just did what worked for me. So Happy 2017. And, remember to always do you.

Tick Tock Chop Chop: No Lettuce Salad

chop salad, no lettuce

Deliciously clean and refreshing while filling and low-cal

Let’s be honest – loose fitting sweaters, balloon tops and baggy pants are great to hide the winter weight. But, no one looks super sassy sporting these looks on a warm spring day, much less in a muumuu at the beach. Tick tock, people – It’s already April. It’ll be bikini weather before you know it!

So with summer and thus, swimsuit season, looming – it’s time to shed the January jowl, February fat and even the March mushiness.

Today I sought to create the perfectly filling chop chop salad – no lettuce included. I don’t love the lettuce.

Chop Chop! No Lettuce Salad (serves 4 as a side or 2+ as a meal)

Ingredients:

  • 1 english cucumber
  • 1 orange bell pepper -or yellow, or if you had to, red
  • 1/2 cup of shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup diced gruyere cheese
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds – no salt
  • 1 piece prosciutto
  • Ray’s Low-Fat Italian salad dressing
  • Salt & Pepper
  1. Peel about half of the cucumber – the skin of an english cucumber or hothouse cucumber is AOK to eat – but take a bit off anyway like this
low-fat salad, no lettuce salad

Just a simple peel

2. Dice the cucumber into small squares. i made 1/4 inch rounds and then cut 4 x 4 or 4×3 depending upon the slice size. Throw them in a bowl

cucumber salad

Cut rounds first. Then cut the rounds into 12-16 pieces each

cucumber dices, salad, no lettuce

Just a small simple dice

3. Do the same thing – core and dice a whole pepper. I bought two – but one was just fine. Throw the dices in the bowl with the cucumber

peppers, vegetarian salad, chopped salad

I just used the orange one…

4. Throw the shredded carrots in! I bought them already shredded since price-wise it was the same and saved me the work!

chopped salad, recipe, carrots

Carrot shreds – also filling

5. Dice up the Gruyere cheese and yes, then throw it in the bowl

gruyere cheese, chopped salad

You can save the rinds for stock – but I didn’t

chopped salad recipe, gruyere cheese

Cheese is protein – and filling

6. Mix it all up.

7. Option – take one slice of prosciutto and place it between two pieces of paper towel and microwave it on high for 1 minute

prosciutto, crispy, salad

BEFORE – The prosciutto adds salt and crunch and yum

prosciutto, crisped salad topper

AFTER: Crispy goodness

8. Portion out one serving into a bowl and top with 1 tsp of sunflower seeds and some of the crispy prosciutto

9. Top with 1 tbsp of Ken’s Steakhouse Italian dressing. Stir and enjoy

dressing, no lettuce salad

I like me some Ken’s

Chopped salad recipe

Chop Chop Salad in no time at all!

 

 

Listen, people – the clock is running. You can’t stop summer from coming and it’s time to get prepared. So Chop to it!

Pan-Fakes: Banana Oatmeal Pancakes

oatmeal banana pancakes, healthy pancakes

Looks like pancakes

Most of us have an alias that we use when say, ordering a latte at Starbuck’s or making a dinner reservation. Some may even have a fake name they use when meeting unwanted suitors out at a party or bar. Mine used to be Sylvia. I don’t know why, just was.

One of my best friend’s alias’ is Mimi Henderson – sounds like her real name, but isn’t -long story for another post. Fake-Name Mimi has two young boys and she likes to cook healthy for them. Like she made their baby food from organic-only ingredients when they were tiny little people. So, during my last visit when I went to her cupboard and found organic wheat or whole grain or something ‘pancake mix’ – I shouldn’t have been surprised. Moreover, when I prepared the ‘pancakes’ using said mix, I wasn’t surprised when the children did not enjoy them…not even one bite of a bit. They were icky, grainy, cardboardy and not like pancakes at all.

So, before my next trip to see Mimi and the boyz – I set out on a quest for a better fake pancake. And, I gotta tell you – these oatmeal, banana, healthier, non-dairy pancakes are pretty great.

Tiny Apartment Tips:

  1. Once you’ve blended and rested the batter in your KitchenAid blender, soak the pitcher immediately! The Quaker Oats get stuck to the sides and are tricky to remove.
  2. If you choose to serve with real maple syrup – please heat the syrup up – nothing worse than cold syrup on warm pancakes…even if they are fake
  3. Select perfectly ripe bananas as these will contribute to the creaminess of the pan-fakes

Pan-Fakes, The Healthy Dairy-Free Breakfast Treat (serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 2 Bananas – you want them perfectly ripe – not green, not brown

    quaker oatmeal pancakes banana pancakes

    Real Ingredients for PanFakes

  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Quaker Oats – I have this giant container of quick 1-minute oats which are perfect
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder – not the same as Baking Soda

 

Preheat a non-stick skillet over medium/low. A 10 or 12 inch All-Clad one is perfect.

  1. Put all of the ingredients in a blender. I have an awesome KitchenAid blender – powerful thing it is!
kitchenaid blender non-dairy pancakes

In a KitchenAid blender Fake stuff happens

2. Blend…Use the mix setting first to combine everything and then use the puree setting to completely breakdown the little pieces of oats. I mean if you’re gonna fake it, fake it well.

3. Once blended until creamy and lump-free, let the batter sit for 15 minutes – it thickens during this resting period

gluten free pancakes breakfast

Super Blend it!

4. After the resting time – ladle into a non-stick pan. No need for spray or oil.

5. When the fake cakes bubble and dry around the edges, flip ’em. Another benefit to these fake cakes is that the first batch is pretty.

6. Continue to cook about a minute more until done.

gluten-free pancakes recipe

Unlike real pancakes – the first batch is pretty!

7. Serve with fake butter if that’s your jam…But, I figured it was fake enough already so I smothered with real butter and pure maple syrup.

healthy pancake recipe

Of course…I served with REAL butter and syrup

 

Eating healthier isn’t usually my thing – but I do like to test out a good fake. And, the next time Sylvia goes to see her bff, Mimi Henderson, Mimi’s boyz can finally have a PanFake they’ll enjoy.

 

Chicken Breasts Too Big? Perfect Chicken Possibilities.

I do a lot of yoga…sometimes right smack in the middle of the day. Why not? It’s good to get your zen on whenever you have 75 minutes to do so.

OK - it's called a Locust

OK – it’s called a Locust

Still…I’m never going to be that perfect poser…because, anatomically, some poses just aren’t meant for those with bigger breasts. I don’t know the names…but, there’s one pose that just doesn’t look right when I do it. Laying on your stomach you lift your arms, chest and legs off of the mat. It might be called a downward chimichanga – but I’m not sure.

Anyway, I’ve noticed that those in the class with regular sized chests (C-cup or larger) don’t get as much loft…while we are lifting our chests and our backs are bowed in equal proportion to the smaller gals, our breasts may still be touching the mat. Doesn’t seem fair – we are actually working harder (think of the weight alone) and getting less satisfactory results.

So, I’m working on a Yoga for Bigger Boobies Book – stay tuned.

In the mean time, and speaking of breasts – here’s a great way to make perfect chicken breasts every time.

Tiny apartment tips:

  1. You can buy a family pack of breasts (as long as they are from a good quality brand) and individually (wrap tightly in Saran wrap and then place in ZipLoc baggie) freeze what you don’t need. I like the Fairway ones and they’re usually priced well.

    Family pack!

    Family pack!

  2. You can freeze herbs like Thyme and Rosemary for a super long time and don’t need to defrost them to use. As long as they’re still fragrant, they’re OK to use.
  3. If your (chicken) breasts are too big…you can butterfly them or even slice them into three equal cutlets

Perfectly Easy Chicken Breast (serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • 1 large chicken breast – do you need to buy organic? No, no you do not. but go ahead if that’s your thing
  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil – I’ve taken to buying the giant bottles at Fairway – not super space effective, but I transfer to my Sur La Table drizzler and keep the giant Fairway bottle out of sight
  • Photo Apr 09, 7 03 50 PMJane’s Krazy Mixed up Lemon Pepper – the flavored Jane’s are not as easy to find in NYC…I import it from Florida and have a dealer down there
  • Kosher Salt
  • 1 bay leaf OR 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 TBSP Flour (optional – but, I like it)
  • 1 little, innocent pat of butter (also optional)

1. In a large soup or stock pot (any pot with a lid and a base area large enough for the chicken to lie flat) heat the olive oil and the little pat of butter over med/high heat

perfect chicken

Yes, you can leave the butter out – but it helps the chicken brown and adds flavor

2. Place the large breast on a cutting board covered with Saran Wrap

3. Butterfly the breast – here’s a GoodHousekeeping article on how to do that – I can’t figure out how to take pix while I am butterflying and pounding chicken…but, here’s a before, during and after:

Lay breast on cutting board covered in plastic wrap

Lay breast on cutting board covered in plastic wrap

Slowly start to run knife down the side of the breast and pull back as you do

Slowly start to run knife down the side of the breast and pull back as you do

Don't cut through. This is what it will look like when you're done

Don’t cut through. This is what it will look like when you’re done

4. Place the butterflied breast between two pieces of Saran Wrap and pound it – gentle now – to about 1/2 inch thick. Don’t beat the poor thing

Just enough to make the width of the chicken uniform

Just enough to make the width of the chicken uniform

5. Generously salt and Jane’s Lemon Pepper both sides and add about 1/2 tsp of thyme leaves

Salt, Jane's Lemon Pepper and Thyme Leaves

Salt, Jane’s Lemon Pepper and Thyme Leaves

6. Dredge the breast in flour

Just a gentle dusting of flour - optional, but I like it

Just a gentle dusting of flour – optional, but I like it – and most is going to shake off

7. Place the chicken in the pot and sear on one side for about 1-2 minutes – the edges of the chicken will turn slightly white and the cooking side will brown

Sizzling….just browning - not really frying

Sizzling….just browning – not really frying

8. Flip the chicken – IF, you prefer the flavor of bay leaf over the thyme, this is where you throw in your bay

Just a little brownness…for flavor and seals in moisture

Just a little brownness…for flavor and seals in moisture

9. Reduce heat to low and cover the pot. Allow to cook undisturbed for 10 minutes

This is a terrible picture of my copper core cookware from All Clad at exactly 7:07pm

This is a terrible picture of my copper core cookware from All Clad at exactly 7:07pm

10. After 10 minutes, turn off the heat or remove completely from the heat source and leave with lid on undisturbed for another 10 minutes

11. Remove from pot, slice and serve – maybe with some chick pea and black bean salad

Perfect chicken with bean salad

Perfect chicken with bean salad

Not all breasts are created equal. I’ve accepted that my downward chimichanga (AKA Locust pose) isn’t going to look perfect and that my lift will be less than some.

Fortunately, when it comes to chicken, if your breasts are too big, you can just butterfly and pound them out. Perfect chicken breasts are always possible.