Posted in Book Lovers Community

Instant Pot Hunter’s Minestrone


Several years ago Greg and I fell in love with Tyler Florence’s “Hunter’s Minestrone”. Since learning how to use my Instant Pot, I have been having fun adapting my favorite recipes for my new toy. This one was fun but a bit tricky to adapt because of the pasta in the original recipe and the overall volume of ingredients. We played with it until we found something that seemed to work for our Instant Pot.



3/4 pound loose sweet Italian pork sausage
Extra-virgin olive oil

8 fresh sage leaves
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 sprig fresh thyme
3 large cloves of garlic minced
2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
2 celery ribs, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped

1 (28-ounce) can crushed plum tomatoes
1 bay leaf
2 quarts chicken stock
1/2 cup of pearl barley (not instant)

1 (15-ounce) can cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 bunch fresh parsley leaves, finely minced

Coarsely ground black pepper

Note: We buy our Italian pork sausage in links. If you do the same, cut open the casing, remove the meat, and discard the casing. 


  1. Press SAUTE  on the Instant Pot. (If it is not set to high, adjust it.)
  2. Saute the sausage in olive oil until it is just starting to brown
  3. Stir in the sage leaves, rosemary, thyme and garlic.
  4. Stir in the carrots, celery, and onion.
  5. Allow the ingredients to get coated and warm.
  6. Press CANCEL.
  7. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, chicken stock, and barley.
  8. Press MANUAL and set it to 20 minutes.
  9. After the cooking is done, use the NATURAL RELEASE for 10 minutes.
  10. After 10 minutes, press CANCEL.
  11. Use the QUICK RELEASE for the rest of the pressure release.
  12. Open the Instant Pot and stir in the cannelloni beans and parsley.
  13. Allow the beans a few minutes in the soup to warm up.
  14. Season with salt and pepper and serve.


Posted in Book Lovers Community

Hawaiian Style Instant Pot Pork Shoulder

This is a play on a traditional “Hawaiian Kalua Pig” recipe. Essentially we are taking a tough and economical cut of pork, rubbing good flavor into it, and then letting the pressure do its magic. This pork shoulder will fall into gorgeous pieces that can be dressed with the sauce included in this recipe (and served over mash potatoes) or your favorite bbq sauce and served on rolls/buns.

3 1/2 lb boneless pork shoulder
5 slices of bacon, chopped into 1/2″ squares
5 peeled cloves of garlic

1 T Brown Sugar
2 tsp of a Hawaiian style or smoky salt (just use sea salt if that is all you have on hand)
1/2 tsp Coriander (ground)
1/2 tsp Ginger (powdered)
1/4 tsp chili powder

3″ slice of ginger, chopped finely
1 Medium Onion, chopped
1 can of crushed pineapple (juice and fruit)
3/4 c water

1. Cut the garlic cloves into slices (about 2-3 slices per clove).
2. Cut garlic slice sized slits in the pork.
3. Insert garlic cloves into the slits.
4. Mix the rub together.
5. Coat the pork with the rub.
6. Press SAUTE  on the Instant Pot. (If it is not set to high, adjust it.)
7. Saute the bacon until it is darkened but still chewy.
8. Press CANCEL.
9. Place the pork shoulder on top of the bacon.
10. Pour all of the sauce ingredients over the pork.
11. Close and secure the lid.
12. Press MANUAL. (If it does not default to high, adjust it.)
13. Use the + button to set your time to 90 minutes.
14. Press CANCEL.
15. Use the NATURAL RELEASE function. It will take about 15-20 minutes.
16. Remove the pork and shred with two forks.
17. Serve over mashed potatoes with the sauce in the pot or however else you like your pulled pork.


In this photo, I garnished mine with a mango salsa similar to this.


Posted in Book Lovers Community

Baked Potato Instant Pot Soup

1 lb bacon, diced

3 stalks of celery, sliced
1 large onion, small dice
1 clove of garlic, minced

5 lbs potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 T season salt (I use Lawry’s)
1 tsp black pepper
4 c chicken or vegetable stock

1 cup heavy cream
½ c whole milk

Garnish: sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, diced green onion, bacon crumbles, croutons

  1. Chop bacon into small bits
  2. Fry the bacon in the Instant Pot on “SAUTE” on “HIGH
  3. Add onion, garlic, and celery to fried bacon and bacon grease, saute for 2-3 minutes
  5. Add season salt and black pepper, stir to combine
  6. Add potatoes and stock to instant pot, stirring to coat
  7. Secure lid and set to MANUAL for 5 minutes.
  8. When the Instant Pot is done cooking, press CANCEL.
  9. Use the QUICK RELEASE.
  10. When the release is complete, open the lid and use a potato masher or fork to break the potatoes up. 
  11. Stir in cream and milk. Feel free to add more of either to taste. 

    OPTIONAL: at this point I use an immersion blender to puree my soup into a velvety texture. 

  12. Serve with the garnishes.


Posted in Book Lovers Community

Instant Pot Risotto


As a foodie, I know that there are certain dishes which are worth the fussing. Risotto is certainly one of them. Made very slowly with lots of attention, it is one of my favorite dishes to cook and serve. Always impressive, it seems to reflect the labor of love that went into making it special. When I heard that you could make risotto in the Instant Pot, I was skeptical to say the least.

Being so new to the Instant Pot world, I am specifically looking for recipes that will teach me about the nuances of pressure cooking technique so that I can convert my favorite recipes into pressure cooking recipes. Some recipes are more easily adapted than others. Some dishes can be adapted but do loose a little something. For weekday meals, I am ok with that. Risotto is one of those recipes. This is not what I would call “company risotto” but “Busy Mom Weeknight Risotto.” Understanding that, I am impressed with how this worked out.


I studied several recipes online to get inspiration on how I could convert my favorite Mark Bittman: How To Cook Everything risotto milanese recipe to the Instant Pot. Like it suggests in his cookbook, I have added some of my favorite finishing touches. My instructions are based on my version of the Instant Pot

(Just in case you are wondering, that is Pistachio Pesto Butter on the steak. It is our variation of Aaron McCargo’s recipe.)

How To Cook Everything Inspired Instant Pot Risotto

Primary Ingredients:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Generous Pinch of salt
2 shallots, chopped finely (you can substitute a medium onion)
2  cups Italian Arborio rice (I use Trader Joe’s)
Pinch of saffron (adjust this to taste)
1/2 cup dry Italian white wine
4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade

Finishing Ingredients
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup of peas
3 T chopped fresh basil

More parmesan cheese as garnish


  1. Mise En Place (put everything in place): Risotto on the stove and in the Instant Pot requires a well prepared space. Don’t start cooking until you have everything prepped.

  2. Press “Saute” on your Instant Pot. Use the Adjust button to set it to “medium” if necessary.

  3. Add 4 tablespoons of the butter to the warming pot and let it melt.

  4. Add the shallots and sprinkle the salt. When the butter is mostly melted, add your shallots and the salt and cook until translucent (about 3 minutes).

  5. Add the rice. When the onions are glistening, add the rice and stir it around for about 2-3 minutes until beautifully coated. (In this step we are toasting or waking up the rice so that it can correctly absorb the cooking liquid. We want it coated but crunchy.)

  6. Add the saffron and the wine to the pot. Stir to incorporate and then let it cook for 1-2 minutes until the rice has absorbed a fair amount of the wine.

  7. Press cancel on the Instant Pot.

  8. Add the stock. Pour all of the stock into the pot, close and secure the lid. Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 6 minutes. (If your Instant Pot doesn’t default to HIGH pressure, adjust it to high.) It will likely take about 10 minutes to come up to pressure. Then it will cook for 6 minutes.

  9. Quick Release. When your Instant Pot beeps that it is done cooking, turn the release valve to VENT (“Quick Release”). Remember, steam will come pouring out of the valve, so keep your hands clear. It will take 3-5 minutes to vent the steam and pressure. When it is done, open the lid.

  10. Finish the Risotto. When you remove your lid, there is likely to be a puddle of cooking liquid on top of your rice. Stir that in and then assess whether or not it is too moist or too dry for your taste. If it is too moist, set your Instant Pot to SAUTE for another minute or two, stirring the whole time. If it is too dry, stir in another ¼ c of chicken stock or water, repeating until you get the texture you desire. Keep in mind that adding the finishing butter and cheese will also help it set up, so don’t over cook. Press CANCEL on the Instant Pot.
  11. Add the finishes. When the rice is at the texture you desire, stir in your finishing ingredients. In this recipe that means stirring in the butter, cheese, peas, and basil.

  12. Plate your risotto. Garnish with parmesan if desired.


Posted in Book Lovers Community

Chicken Tikka Masala


I am brand new to the Instant Pot family! A friend blessed us with this one during the Black Friday sales and we have really enjoyed playing with it. We are foodies and so many of the things that other people like to make in the Instant Pot we prefer to make on the stove top where we can control the process a little more. However, the Instant Pot has opened up a whole new world of pressure cooking to us that is very exciting.

Something that we do not usually make because it takes too long in the slow cooker is Chicken Tikka Masala. We love a good curry, however, and so this was a dish that we had to try. After reading a number of recipes on the internet, we combined them with what we know about flavor and developed this recipe to our taste. About one hour prep and cook time total, it wasn’t a fast dinner but it certainly was an easy and tasty one that we would not have otherwise made.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp Garam Marsala
2 tsp ground coriander
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes (with juice)
1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
½ cup chicken broth
1 cup canned coconut milk
Juice of 1 lemon

Crushed pineapple
Coconut flakes
Cashew Bits
Chopped fresh basil

-Serve over rice-

We made our jasmine rice according to the directions in the Instant Pot recipe book before starting this recipe. 

Pressure cooked the chicken in sauce:
1. Select saute on your Instant Pot and turn to high heat.
2. Once pot is hot add olive oil, ginger, onion, and garlic.
3. Cook stirring until onion is translucent (about 2-3 minutes)
4. Select cancel; add all of the spices to the onion mixture scraping the bottom to form a paste.
5. Stir in tomatoes
6. Place chicken on top.
7. Pour chicken broth on top.
8. Secure the lid.
9. Select manual and cook on high pressure for 7 minutes. *Keep in mind that it will take several minutes for the Instant Pot to come up to pressure. Plan for about 15 minutes.

Once cooking is complete:
1. Use a quick release.
2. Remove the lid, remove the chicken and chop the chicken.
3. Return chicken chunks to the Instant Pot.
4. Select saute and simmer for another 4-5 minutes.
5. Stir in coconut milk and lemon juice.

When the sauce has thickened, serve over a bowl of rice and add toppings.