I Tried Acorn Squash in the Instant Pot…Yum!

Since purchasing my Instant Pot, I have tried cooking a lot of new foods I was hesitant to try before. Different varieties of squash probably being the biggest. I have learned that I don’t like Spaghetti Squash no matter how it is prepared, but love Butternut Squash (check out my soup recipe here!). Aldi has Acorn Squash on sale this week, so I thought, why not? I purchased two (for less than $1.50!), but could only fit one in the Instant Pot once I cut it in half. I was worried it would not be enough for my family of three. But it turned out that one was enough of a side for us and both my husband and son enjoyed it. So win-win!

Here is what I did:

Materials:

  • Instant Pot Trivet
  • Spoon
  • Tongs
  • Measuring Cup
  • Knife
  • Cutting board

Ingredients:

  • Acorn Squash
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbs butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Procedure:

  1. Wash Acorn Squash and remove any labels.
  2. Cut Acorn Squash in half and, using a spoon, scoop out any seeds.
  3. Place water and trivet in inner pot of IP.
  4. Place Acorn Squash side by side, cut side up on trivet.
  5. Place 1tbs butter in each half, season with salt and pepper.
  6. Close lid and seal vent. Set at Manual on High pressure for 5 minutes. NPR for 15 min.
  7. When done, careful remove from pot using tongs or a large spoon.
  8. Enjoy!

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Instant Pot Black Bean Soup

I am the only person in my house that likes Black Bean Soup. So when I make it, I don’t want a huge pot since I will be sick of it before I can finish it. Every recipe I find seems to call for dried beans and makes way too much. I wanted to see if I could make a simpler batch.

On Sunday, I made myself a small batch that portioned out perfectly for lunches during the week. Honestly, I did not plan on making this ahead of time. It was more looking in the pantry to see what I had and what I could make. I typically keep canned beans on hand and had the tomatoes and chilies just in case. Everything (except the dried cilantro) came from Aldi, so it was a cheap meal that has saved me the cost of lunches for a whole week. Win!

I will caution that I like spicy food. This has quite a kick to it. So if you follow the recipe exactly, be advised. I also did not account for the saltiness of the chips. Different brands might have different levels of salt. This is not exactly a dump soup recipe. Be aware that the same ingredients were added in stages in some places. However, it took under 30 minutes to make. It gave me enough for six servings. Plus everything came from my pantry!

My son even tried it, but it was too spicy for his tastes. You could leave out the chilies and just use tomatoes if you wanted something a little milder.

Materials:

Instant Pot 6qt Duo

Ingredients:

  • 3 12oz cans Black Beans
  • 1 10oz can Tomatoes & Green Chilies
  • 2 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Cumin
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Dried Minced Onion
  • 1 tbsp Sea Salt
  • 2 tbsp Salsa
  • 2 tbsp Dried Cilantro
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese (optional)
  • Sour Cream (optional)
  • Tortilla Chips (optional)
  • Lime Juice (optional)

Procedure:

  1. In the Instant Pot, dump chicken broth, tomatoes and green chilies, all dry seasoning except for 1 tbsp dried cilantro, and 2 of the cans of black beans together. Set on Soup for 10 minutes.
  2. When soup is done, carefully release the vent on your Instant Pot. There will be a lot of steam, so be careful not to burn yourself.
  3. Take your immersion blender and carefully blend your ingredients together. Again, be careful! This is very hot. Don’t burn yourself!
  4. Add your salsa and the last can of beans. Stir. I like the texture this adds. Also add that last tbsp of dried cilantro. I love cilantro, so the more the better for me.
  5. Serve your soup with crushed tortilla chips, cheddar cheese, and a dollop of sour cream. You could also add a squirt of lime juice if you have it. Enjoy!

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!

Aldi Cheese Pizza Hack

So full disclosure that this is not an original idea, though my own topping idea. Why have I never thought of it before, I will never know though. It really is a bit like, duh!

Recently, I joined an Almost All Aldi group on Facebook for sharing recipes and tips. It is being run by a blogger I have been following called the Mashup Mom (seriously, if you live near an Aldi, follow her and join the Group!). A question was asked in the group a couple of weeks ago about the toppings that people put on their pre-made Aldi pizzas (I think the brand is called Mamma Cozi). These are huge pizzas and already come with a variety of toppings, but apparently people kick it up a notch by adding other stuff onto it. So I thought, why not?

Now this can also be done with any pre-made pizza, but in this scenario it is all Aldi. It was raining the day I picked up my groceries and my receipt did not survive, so I can’t remember how much the uncooked pizzas cost, but I can guarantee it was less that it costs to get delivery –which we do not have! Can you believe there is no pizza delivery in my area? I can get Domino’s and Papa John’s, but as an Italian blooded girl from Jersey, that is not real pizza. There are two places to pick up pizza, but it is expensive to get a large pie with toppings. It is cheaper and so much more convenient to have pizza on hand in the fridge or even the freezer.

As I mentioned, this is a huge pizza, so the first thing you need to do is cover your oven rack in aluminum foil because it is not going to fit on a baking sheet.

Next take your pizza out of the wrappings and place directly on the rack. Next, add your toppings. I started with a five cheese pizza and added Prosciutto pieces and extra cheese. (I was going to add pineapple because pineapple on pizza is awesome despite what some may think, but realized I didn’t actually have any in my pantry).

Then we cooked it according to the directions on the box, about 18 minutes.

Yum! Definitely trying this one again. This would also be fun to do with my son and his friends the next time they have a PS4 tournament. It is cheap enough to have multiple pies, though my oven certainly isn’t big enough to cook it all at once!

What are your go to pizza toppings? Comment below to share your favorite flavor combos.

**I also want to mention that if you ever see the big flat boxes of Mamma Cozi refrigerated pizza breadsticks with sauce, pick up a couple boxes! These taste just like Little Caesar’s Crazy Bread…Hey, not all things about the chain pizza companies are bad.