Food Hack: Chinese Five Spice Powder

This is a quick post for today, I just wanted to share one of my absolute favorite spices and two ways I use it: Chinese Five Spice Powder. This spice mix is usually a combination of white pepper, cinnamon, fennel, star anise, and clove. The first time I had it was actually while attending a conference at a Disney resort. They had made truffles and topped it with the spice. The combination with chocolate was so good I have looked for it as a dessert every year at the conference since then. Unfortunately, I have not seen it.

When I first started experimenting with Instant Pot cooking, I tried making Chinese Spareribs. That recipe was an epic failure which has not been attempted again, but one of the ingredients was Chinese Five Spice Powder. I could not find the blend anywhere in stores here in Southern Maryland. I probably could have found it at the Asian grocery, but one night it just popped up as a suggested Amazon purchase (is’t the algorithm scary?!). So now that I had this ingredient and it’s initial purpose was a bust, I needed to find another use for it. I remembered the treat I had at Disney and decided to try something:

We were hosting a dinner party and one of the guests brought yummy brownies from BJs. I decided to try to kick them up a notch. I added the spice blend from my pantry to the brownies and oh my goodness were they good. It reminded me of Mexican Chocolate which has a dash of cinnamon or chili added to it. It was so good, I plan on making other chocolate desserts using the spice. I think cookies will be my next experiment. Maybe something like a snickerdoodle, only chocolate.

I also tried my spice expirament for something more savory. For Thanksgiving, we hosted my in-laws and one of them is keto. Well, guess what spice is keto-friendly? I have been trying to convince my in-laws to the benefit of the Instant Pot. So I made my Instant Pot Acorn Squash recipe (which is my top post on NQSH!) but I made it a little different by adding some Chinese Five Spice Powder to it. My father-in-law can be picky when it comes to food, but he loved it. It smelled like fall and tasted just as yummy.

If you have any other ideas for using this spice (other than the ribs), I would love to hear about them! Post your suggestions in the comments.

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Spinach Artichoke Fondue in the Instant Pot

My husband requested I make a Spinach Artichoke dip as my next recipe post. Unfortunately, I have been very sick with this crud that is going around. So I was not able to make and test this recipe before Super Bowl Sunday, but better late then never! This is not the usual dip, it is more of a fondue because it is loaded with cheese. It is so gooey, but so yummy!

Materials:

Ingredients:

    10oz Fresh Spinach
    8oz Cream Cheese
    8oz Gouda Cheese, cubed
    1.5 cups Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
    1/2 cup Chicken Stock
    1tsp minced Garlic
    1/4 tsp Sea Salt
    1tbsp olive oil

Procedure:

  1. Turn Instant Pot to Sauté. Add Olive Oil and Garlic. Be careful not to burn the Garlic.
  2. Add rinsed spinach to pot. Keep tossing with the garlic and oil. This may seem like a lot, but the spinach will start to wilt and shrink down in the pot.
  3. When spinach has wilted down (about 1min), add broth and salt. Toss the spinach.
  4. Add cream cheese and stir.
  5. Add Gouda and stir.
  6. Place lid on IP and close the vent. Switch to Pressure Cook on High on Manual for 3 minutes. QPR.
  7. Add mozzarella and stir. If too watery, add more cheese. Please note that it will thicken as it cools.
  8. Serve with bread, tortilla chips, or pita chips. This would also be wonderful served in a bread bowl.

Maryland Crab Soup in the Instant Pot

It has been really cold the past few days. Plus our household has come down with the crud. So it is a perfect day for soup. Last week I had Maryland Crab Soup for lunch while out at a restaurant. It cost me $19 for a bowl with a side of hush puppies. I thought I could definitely make it for cheaper than that. Read More »

My Hack for the Perfect “Cook at Home” Ribs

My son and I both have a foible when it comes to food…we don’t like meat on the bone. So that means no chicken wings for us. We do make an exception for ribs, but they have to be fall off the bone ribs, which means we very rarely eat ribs. I have tried making ribs in the Instant Pot before and we thought they were okay, but not perfect. Then I bought a package of pre-cooked LLoyd’s ribs at BJs. At first I didn’t realize that they were pre-cooked. So I had planned on making them in the IP. I admit that I was flying a bit by the seat of my pants on how to cook them. I settled on ten minutes on high pressure. They were good but not perfect. I thought that the only way too cook the ribs was going to have to be the oven. That is until I decided to give the IP one more shot. Read More »

Angel Food Cake in the Instant Pot

I have made several cheesecakes in my instant pot. However, once it came to posting pictures here, I always decided not to because while they have tasted very good…I am not a good cake decorator, let’s put it that way. The other night I wanted a quick desert, but already had something taking up the oven. So I wondered if I could make something like a cake in the IP. So I made an angel food cake and my son declared it to be one of the best things he has eaten that I made. Here is what I did…Read More »