My Favorite Instant Pot Recipes

instant pot gif

I’ve had the Instant Pot for a little over a year now, and it has revolutionized the way I cook. I call it the Magic Pot. It reinvigorated my interest in cooking, and I barely use the stove to cook anything anymore.

I use the IP several times a week. Hard-boiled eggs and steamed vegetables are a couple things I make in the IP on a regular basis. Steamed veggies taste so much better when cooked in the IP. My toddler can’t get enough of steamed broccoli, green beans, and cauliflower. I even converted my favorite recipes so that I can cook them in the Instant Pot.

The other thing I love to make in the IP is steel cut oats for breakfast. It is so quick to make. I used to cook steel cut oats the night before, let it sit overnight, and cook some more the next morning. Now, the whole ordeal takes less than 30 minutes in the IP, and I don’t have to babysit it while it cooks.

instant pot penne al burro recipe

Since I’m able to cook big batches of food in the IP during the weekend, we have enough leftovers to take as lunch during the week. So the IP has actually saved us money.

The best thing about the Instant Pot is that it has made cooking less stressful. I can just dump all the ingredients into it and walk away. No standing over the stove, stirring, and keeping an eye on the food.

If you haven’t already jumped on the Instant Pot train, what are you waiting for? This kitchen appliance has saved me so much time and reduced the stress of cooking. I cannot recommend it enough.

Here are my favorite Instant Pot recipes so far:

•  Beef Stew
•  Kalua Pork
•  Chicken Congee
•  Salsa Verde Shredded Chicken
•  Roast Potatoes

Check out my Pinterest board of IP recipes for more recipe recommendations.

Here’s a super easy penne al burro recipe, which I’ve adapted from a recipe I already had. It’s basically the easiest mac n cheese you’ll ever make.

instant pot penne al burro recipe

1 lb. penne rigate
2 tsp kosher salt
4 cups water
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp cream cheese (optional)
½ to 1 cup freshly grated Parmiggiano Reggiano

Place the the penne and salt in the IP and pour in the 4 cups of water. Make sure all the pasta is under water by patting the noodles down with a cooking utensil.

Cook on Manual for 4 minutes. Release pressure using the Quick Release method.

Leave the pasta water in the pot, and add all the butter into the pot. Add the cream cheese if you have it. Stir until butter (and cream cheese) has melted. Then add the Parmiggiano Reggiano. Start with ½ cup and add more to taste. Stir until the cheese has melted.

Serve and enjoy!

favorite instant pot recipes

Daytrippin’ In Bellingham, WA

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I love going down to Bellingham, WA whenever I get a chance. At first I went down only to go shopping at stores I miss like Trader Joe’s and Target. But as I got to explore the town a bit, I have totally fallen in love with it. The Dude and I went this past Saturday, and I took pictures of some of my favourite spots.

We first went to Fairhaven, a cute little part of Bellingham that’s right by the water. It’s a bit of a tourist-trap but you can’t help but enjoy its quaint old-timey atmosphere. We had lunch at Avenue Bread where they serve excellent sandwiches! Then we browsed through a great independent bookstore called Village Books.

fairhaven collage 2
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Fairhaven collage

Then we went to Downtown Bellingham. It has a really cool vibe for such a small downtown. My favourite store to visit is Digs. They specialize in modern, vintage, and cool home decor. They carry Dwell Studio bed linens and Gus furniture! Need I say more?

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A visit to Bellingham is never complete without getting a little something something from Rocket Donuts!

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Violin shop storefront window.

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Other cool downtown businesses worth checking out are Northwest Yarns, Mallard’s (for super good ice cream), and Taco Lobo (for yummy Mexican food).

California Love!

citrus

Our trip down to Los Angeles was fast and furious as usual. I always enjoy going back to the place I grew up. It seems that I never have enough time to see all my relatives and friends. This time around the Dude and I were in Los Angeles proper for only two days so we were over-ambitious in our effort to see as many people as we could. The rest of the time we spent in the desert, in Palm Springs.

The catalyst for the trip was my best friend’s son’s first birthday. It was celebrated in the traditional Korean way and there was a huge spread of festive, symbolic food set out on the head table.

birthday

One thing I always look forward to when visiting SoCal is the food! I become a glutton and try to eat as much as I can of all the foods I miss.

My favourite bakery is Europane in Pasadena. We went there twice in one day! They have the best egg salad sandwich ever. And their lemon bar is divine. We also went to Fred 62 in Los Feliz for breakfast, and I ordered the Bearded Mr. Frenchy, which is french toast coated in cornflakes. Decadently delicious.

Griffith Observatory

randy's donuts

I took the Dude out to see a couple of L.A. landmarks: The Griffith Observatory and Randy’s Donuts, both which have been used as backdrops in multiple films. The Dude, being a total nerd, really enjoyed the Observatory. I, on the other hand, enjoyed the views in spite of it being a very hazy day. We stopped by Randy’s Donuts on the way to the airport; I couldn’t leave L.A. without indulging in at least one donut (it’s one of the foods I miss the most). It was the first time I had a donut from Randy’s, and it was okay. I’ve had better elsewhere. I mainly wanted to take a picture there.

Of course, I had to do some design research during our trip. We checked out the California Design exhibit at LACMA ever so briefly (which I’ll blog about later). And we stayed at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs, which is known for their very cool decor (I’ll also devote a separate blog post on it).

ace hotel swimming pool

It goes without saying, but we definitely enjoyed the toasty sunny climate in SoCal – a nice break from rainy, gloomy Vancouver. However, a downside was that the dry atmosphere made my vision more blurry than usual so the poor Dude, who hates driving, had to steer through L.A.’s perilous streets and freeways. We managed to return to Vancouver in one piece…and with our marriage intact.

My Favourite Places to Eat in Vancouver

pear tart

There are four restaurants in Vancouver that I love to go to regularly. The food is consistently good whenever I dine at any of these establishments.

 1. Bob Likes Thai Food. The best Thai restaurant in the city. I always order the chicken fried rice. It’s one of my favourite comfort foods.

 2. Lin. The Shanghai juice pork dumplings are a must. Hands down the best Chinese restaurant in the westside. The wait staff is not very attentive, but the food is so damn good that I put up with the bad service.

 3. Salade de Fruits. When I had the pear tart for dessert, it was, ahem, an orgasmic experience (see photo above). The menu is all in French, but the servers are very helpful in translating and making recommendations. Warning: cash only.

 4. La Taqueria. Finally a joint that serves up decent tacos. And all their meat is free-range to boot. I’m so happy that they opened a second location on Cambie and Broadway, which is a lot more accessible for me.

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

perfect chocolate chip cookie

I rarely bake cookies nowadays, but when I saw this New York Times chocolate chip cookie recipe on a food blog, I knew I just had to try it out. After all, it claims to be the “perfect” chocolate chip cookie, and curiosity got the better of me. 

Most of the ingredients were easy to source, except for the chocolate chips. When I finally did find them at Whole Foods I balked at the $3.99 per 100g price tag. For 1.25 lbs. it would have cost me almost $23. I wasn’t ready to fork out that much on a recipe I never tried before, so I got regular bittersweet chocolate chips, which I also found at Whole Foods.

When it comes to following recipes, modifications are standard procedure for me. For example, I almost always cut the sugar by half. But this time I stuck to the instructions pretty faithfully. The only thing I changed were the chocolate chips, and I used cane sugar instead of regular granulated white sugar.

NY times chocolate chip cookie

It’s a pretty easy recipe to follow; the only quirk is the 24-36 hour resting period. Apparently it’s important for the dough to rest for that long so that it does its magic. Also, when you roll the dough into 3.5 oz. balls, they’re obscenely huge. I could only fit four balls into my baking pan. The size of the ball falls somewhere between a golf ball and a tennis ball. It’s ridiculously big, and I worried it would spread out into an ginormous cookie. But to my relief it didn’t.

The result? Perfection indeed. It’s the best damn chocolate chip cookie I’ve ever had. It’s also the most rich, decadent cookie I’ve probably ever eaten. But worth every crumb. I found that I couldn’t have a whole cookie in one sitting. These are substantially sized.

NY times chocolate chip cookie

The part that I enjoyed the most is the coarse sea salt that’s sprinkled on top. It’s what makes the cookie. I absolutely love the combination of salty and sweet.

I want to make this recipe again but with the fancy French chocolate chips it calls for. I’m curious to find out if they make the cookies even better.

Weekend in L.A.

The weekend trip to Los Angeles was fantastic. The 405 freeway closure turned out to be totally overhyped and didn’t affect our trip negatively at all. And you couldn’t have asked for better weather.

The Dude and I were down there for my cousin’s wedding. Got to see some relatives I haven’t seen in a while and even ran into a childhood friend whom I haven’t seen in almost 20 years.

Of course, no trip to L.A is complete without visiting my favourite eateries. I got a chance to go to one of my favourite Mexican food joints, Loteria Grill.

For breakfast one day I took the Dude to Clifton’s Cafeteria, one of the weirdest places to eat in L.A. The food isn’t bad, but the decor is something else.

There wasn’t good indoor lighting so I don’t have more photos unfortunately. Anyway, it’s best to experience Clifton’s in real person than via pictures. It cracks me up that they place desserts at the beginning and end of the cafeteria line. It’s a smart strategy I suppose. People love dessert.

Other food highlights were donuts (L.A. has the BEST donuts ever) and the best non-dairy ice cream from Scoops. I cannot leave L.A. without having at least one of each.

On the last day, we hung out with my best friend and her family. We walked down to the local farmer’s market.

The selection was awesome, and I wish the farmer’s markets in Vancouver were as big as the ones in L.A.

If only our trip to L.A. could have been longer. It’s such a fun place to visit.

Behold, the best croissants ever. EVER. I have searched high and low in Vancouver, and these are the best in flavour, texture, density, flakiness, and buttery goodness.

Baked by the chefs-in-training at PICA, which I pass by whenever I go into work at Granville Island.

Blogging more than usual these days. I guess it’s moving up my priority list.

I’m addicted to heirloom tomatoes although I don’t eat them. Wish I could, but my bladder doesn’t like it. Damn IC. I enjoy them vicariously through the Dude who loves eating the luscious fruit. Anyway, I went to the farmer’s market today to get the yummiest heirloom tomatoes, melons, and cucumber from my favourite farmer. When it comes to quality food, I don’t mind spending a bit more than usual. It’s totally worth it. And farmers need all the support they can get.

Ever since my lactose intolerance got really bad, I’ve been painfully off ice cream. When I lived in L.A. I used to treat myself to the best vegan ice cream ever at Scoops. It wasn’t sorbet. It was a soy-based gelato that was pretty darn close to the real deal. In Vancouver, I’ve been virtually deprived…until recently. I’ve modified a recipe for a creamy frozen treat that I got from Alive magazine. It tastes as good as ice cream but it has no dairy! And it’s super, super easy to make. And I always have the ingredients on hand.


Chocolate banana peanut butter frozen delight
Makes 6-7 servings

3 ripe bananas
1/2 cup of smooth natural peanut butter (I’m sure crunchy is OK too)
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 – 4 Tbsp honey (I like it with just 2)

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until it becomes a thick liquid. (You can also mash the bananas by hand using a potato masher or a fork first, then mix in the rest of the ingredients).

Prepare a muffin tin by lightly greasing it with vegetable oil. Scoop mixture into each muffin cup. Place in freezer for at least 2 hours. Then enjoy!

Ever since being diagnosed with BPS/IC, I’ve had to stop drinking coffee and tea. Not drinking the latter has been the hardest. So I’m beginning to look for alternative drinks that don’t irritate my bladder. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with basil tea. Although herbal teas do irritate people with IC, I’m testing if some particular herbs are better than others. I haven’t tested the pH level of basil tea, but I’m guessing it’s a lot better than drinking something caffeinated.

My recipe for Basil Tea.

Boil 3 cups of water. Steep two teaspoons of dried basil in the hot water for 10 minutes. Discard the herbs. Add honey to taste.

Add additional water until it’s at the strength you like. I usually add between 1-2 cups of water. Then I refrigerate to turn it into an iced tea.

Very refreshing. And kind of minty.