What’s for Dinner? — Instant Pot Lobster

As promised, here is the update on what we had for Easter Dinner– Lobster!

Did you know that Aldi sells frozen lobster tails? It is usually a special, but my Aldi seems to always have them in stock. They sell two to a package for $12.99. So I can basically serve a lobster dinner to the three of us for less than going to Red Lobster or Outback. We used to get away cheap, but my son has been expanding his food repertoire and that now includes things like sushi and lobster.

The best part about having an Instant Pot is that it means you can cook things from frozen with no thawing. So here is what I did:

Materials:

Ingredients:

  • 6 Lobster Tails (frozen)
  • 1 cup water
  • Old Bay (optional)
  • Lemon (optional)
  • Butter (optional)

Procedure:

  1. Place 1 cup water in the Instant Pot. If adding Old Bay, do so now.
  2. Place rack in the bottom of the Instant Pot.
  3. Place three lobster tails on the rack, shell side down.
  4. Place steamer basket on top of lobsters.
  5. Add three more lobster tails to the steamer basket.
  6. Close lid and vent. Set Instant Pot on Manual on High Heat for 3 minutes.
  7. When time is up, Quick Release so as not to over cook.
  8. Serve with butter and lemon. Enjoy!

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Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs

Another holiday is upon us and of course I found a way to use my instant pot to its best advantage…Easter Eggs! Of course before we could do any coloring, I needed to cook the dozen eggs. What would I do without this wonderful kitchen tool?

Now, some may say that you could easily make the eggs on the stovetop instead of using the IP, but honestly, they haven’t seen me cook. I have tried the stove and they don’t always come out right. My husband tried the hack of using the over and a muffin tin, but then your eggs get this brown burnish tinge to them that doesn’t play well with coloring your eggs. I have never had any problems using the IP. So here is what I did…

Materials:

Ingredients:

  • One dozen eggs
  • Water
  • Ice

Procedure:

  1. Pour one cup water into your Instant Pot .
  2. Insert steamer rack and basket.
  3. Place eggs in basket. –if you are using less than a dozen eggs, you can use the insert dividers or tinfoil to keep the eggs from moving around too much.
  4. Put the lid on the Instant Pot and close the vent. Set on Manual on high heat for five minutes.
  5. Let natural pressure release for five minutes, then quick release the rest. You may want to use a towel to turn the vent, it will be hot!
  6. Prepare a bowl with water and ice. You need enough that it will completely cover your eggs.
  7. Using tongs, move eggs carefully into the bowl containing the ice water. —Be careful not to drop the eggs into the ice bath. I did that and an egg broke.
  8. When eggs are cool, use your favorite coloring kit or eat them as is.

Of course, coloring eggs is a great small “c” activity that can be done with the whole family. My son had a friend over today and I have to say that even teenagers can still have fun coloring eggs (Dad helped too!).

I plan to use the Instant Pot a lot this weekend as I prep food for the holiday. I picked up both a roast and lobster tails from Aldi, so I haven’t decided which will grace our table on Sunday. I am leaning towards tails on Saturday and roast on Sunday. What are you planning on making?

Instant Pot Corned Beef and Cabbage

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Growing up, it was a tradition that St. Patrick’s Day meant corned beef and cabbage. I have been trying for over twenty years to duplicate the texture and flavor of my mom’s traditional dish. I have tried slow cookers, the oven, and the stovetop; but none of it has come out with that falling apart texture or buttery flavorful cabbage. So I did a test run with the Instant Pot.

I have to admit, I did my research beforehand and was shocked to see that people were saying it takes 90 minutes in the IP. However, I saw it in multiple places so there had to be something to it. Worse-case scenario, I was down a couple bucks for the price of the meat. This is a two-part IP recipe since if you put everything in the pot at once, your cabbage will basically be non-existent. When the 90min countdown was done, I was nervous that we would be eating McD’s instead for dinner. However, when step two was complete, I have to admit things were looking good.

Good is an understatement! This was the best corned beef and cabbage that I have ever had (sorry, Mom!). So if you want to duplicate it, here is what I did:

Materials:

6qt Instant Pot

• Cutting board

• Knife

• Measuring cup

Ingredients:

  • 2lb Corned beef with seasonings
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • Five small white potatoes, halved
  • Small cabbage, quartered
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup baby carrots

Procedure:

  1. Place corned beef in Instant Pot with chicken broth and seasoning.
  2. Set IP to Manual, high-heat, for 90 minutes. NPR
  3. Add cabbage, carrots, and potatoes. Top with butter.
  4. Set IP to Manual, high-heat, for 5 minutes. NPR
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Creativity means not just doing things the way they have always been done. I love updating family favorites using modern techniques or tools. Do you have any family traditions that you have put a new spin on?

Small Wins Equal Big Change

So if you remember, a couple of weeks ago, I posted about how much I love the service Betterment. Last week I decided to activate my Acorns account. It is still early to compare the two, but I am impressed by both of them. Mainly it is because once I set it up, I basically didn’t have to do anything other than sit back and relax.

The concept being used here is similar to Shawn Achor’s 20 Second principle from the Happiness Advantage. In this principle, you are setting things up in advance that will help to make good habits easier. The idea is that if you have to exert more than 20 seconds of energy to do something, you won’t do it. So make it easier on yourself to get started by using automation. In my above example, I have automated building a nest egg through the two micro investing services. Both invest my funds for me and rebalance when needed. I have Betterment set up to deposit every payday. My acorns account monitors my credit cards and bank account to deposit the rounded up change from all my transactions and invest every $5 it collects. This past week, it deposited over $12 from the rounded up change on my purchases. By not having to think about it, I am able to build a good savings habit to help protect my finances for those rainy days.

Another way to save money is using grocery lists when shopping. This is another way that I automate things to make it easier. I have an Amazon Alexa Dot right in my kitchen. When we are either out of something or running low, I just tell Alexa to add it to the grocery list. Then when I am in the store, I just pull up my list. This helps to curb the impulse buy instinct when you can’t remember what you need from the store. I keep saying that I wish I had an Alexa for my car so I could add things while driving, and I just found out that my husband’s car has Alexa built into it…hmmm…the possibilities.


The 20 second principle can also be applied to your time management. I plan out my work outfits the night before by using Alexa to check the weather for the next day. Then I pull the items I plan on wearing and hang them on my mirror. This way I am not rushing in the morning to find something to wear. In the morning, I set a timer on Alexa so I know when I need to start hustling with my hair or makeup. This gives me time to make my lunch and my coffee…again, ways to save some cash.

So what can you do to help build happy healthy habits to keep you on track? Have you used the 20 second principle?

Hack your Kitchen: Cooking Bacon

My family loves bacon, but I don’t love frying it. Honestly, I need to stay far far away from a frying pan for my own safety as well for the safety of others. So I was so thankful to find this hack on how to cook it not only because it avoids the frying pan, but also because I can cook more and faster. The trick is to use your oven instead of the stovetop.

Materials:

  • Baking sheet
  • Tongs
  • Aluminum foil
  • Paper towels
  • Plate
  • Knife

Ingredients:

  • Bacon

Procedure:

  1. Preheat your oven to 410.
  2. Layer a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  3. Next, layer your bacon strips on top of the aluminum. I like to cut my slab of bacon in half because it makes the strips more manageable.
  4. Place in oven for ten minutes. Depending on how crispy you like your bacon, you might need to add some more minutes, but be careful not to burn. I like my bacon extra crispy, so usually add three more minutes. My husband and son prefer theirs at the ten minute mark. –I am out numbered!
  5. Using tongs, transfer your bacon to a paper towel layered plate and cover with more paper. This will help soak up the grease.
  6. Enjoy!