Instant Pot Sweet n’ Smoky BBQ Meatballs

I don’t often follow a pre-made recipe. In fact I’d say that unless I’m baking something, I basically never follow a formal recipe. Recipes are like jumping off points, inspirational guidelines, if you will.

I say this because you’ve probably seen a recipe or two already that calls for grape jelly to make those slow cooker party meatballs or lil’ smokies sausages. The recipe below also calls for grape jelly, so you might think this recipe is just more of the same that you’ve seen before. But you’d be wrong my friend.

Most of those recipes call for frozen pre-made meatballs. We’re not going to do that. Oh no. We’re going to whip up a batch of homemade meatballs and it’s going to be so easy and tasty you’re going to wonder why you ever bought those frozen ones.

(Of course, no judgement if you DO want to use frozen meatballs. You do you, boo.)

NOTE: YOU WILL NEED A FOOD PROCESSOR FOR THIS RECIPE!

ingredients:

  • 1/2lb ground hamburger
  • 1/2lb ground country style sausage (not italian!)
  • 4 slices maple or hickory bacon
  • 1-2 eggs
  • 1 jar grape jelly
  • 1-2 bottles bbq sauce (I recommend something like Sweet Baby Ray’s in an original or hickory flavor.)
  • Cardamom (about 1-2tsps)
  • Ginger (about 1-2tsps)
  • Ground Sage (1/2 TBSP plus 1/2 TBSP)
  • 1tsp Salt
  • 1tsp Black Pepper
  • 2TBSP Oil
  • 1/2 cup water.

directions:

Step 1: Prepare the meatball mixture

In a food processor, add all meats, 1 egg, cardamom, ginger, 1/2TBSP sage, salt, and black pepper. Pulse until everything is well mixed. If the mixture does not combine well enough (should be easy to scoop and roll into ball shape), add the second egg and re-mix.

Note: Go light on the cardamom, you can always add more into the sauce if you feel it’s needed. Too much cardamom can be overpowering.

Step 2: Shape meatballs and brown

Using a soup spoon, scoop mixture and shape into roughly 1 inch balls. (If you make them too big, they will need to cook longer in the IP). Heat oil in a skillet and brown meatballs, gently turning so they don’t fall apart. You do not need to cook them all the way through! Browning helps them retain some shape and keeps them from sticking together in the IP. (You can skip this step if you’re short on time. I’ve done this recipe both ways and they’ve turned out fine without pre-browning.)

Step 3: Pressure Cook

Place meatballs in IP. Add 1/2 cup water to bottom.Add in 1/2TBSP ground sage. Pour bbq sauce over meatballs. Scoop out grape jelly on the very top. DO NOT STIR/MIX!!!!
Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Allow to naturally vent for 5 minutes, then quick release the pressure.

Step 4: Thicken sauce

You MAY need to thicken the sauce if it is too thin for your liking. You can do this by removing the meatballs, and placing the IP on sauté. Allow sauce to boil in IP with the lid OFF until it thickens to your liking. For a faster method and creating a super thick sauce, remove meatballs, place IP on sauté and add a bit of dissolved cornstarch 1TBSP at a time. Stir constantly until sauce reaches desired thickness.

Step 5: Serve

Return meatballs to IP to coat in sauce. Add salt/pepper/spices to taste. Serve hot over homemade mashed potatoes, pasta, or rice!

Chicken Piccata

If you’re craving some Italian cuisine, but sick of the usual meals with tomato based sauces, then this recipe is for you! Chicken is lightly dredged in cornstarch, browned, and combined with a rich sour cream based sauce. It’s decadent and filling and is sure become one of your family’s favorites!

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 Chicken breasts
  • 16 oz sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • Shredded Italian Cheese Blend/Mozzarella
  • Cornstarch
  • Lemon Juice
  • Minced Garlic
  • Capers
  • Garlic Powder
  • Ground Sage
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Dried Basil Flakes
  • Almond Milk (or milk of choice)
  • Butter or Olive Oil
  • Pasta (or ZOODLES!)

DIRECTIONS:

Step 1: Slice chicken into thin strips

Step 2: Dredge chicken in egg/cornstarch

Step 3: Working in small batches, add 1TBSP butter/oilto a skillet and cook dredged chicken until browned and cooked through. Season liberally with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and ground sage.

Step 4: While the chicken is cooking, prepare pasta or zoodles.

Step 5: Combine sour cream and 2 TBSPS butter/oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring to incorporate. Add lemon juice 1 tablespoon at a time to taste (I like mine fairly lemony!). Add 2TBSPS minced garlic, and 1-2 TBSPS capers. Season with salt, black pepper, and basil flakes to taste. Add almond milk (or mild of choice) to thin sauce to desired consistency. If the sauce is TOO thin, add shredded cheese to thicken.

Step 6: Assemble pasta/zoodles in bowl, top with chicken, sauce, and cheese. Sprinkle additional basil/pepper over top. Serve with lemon wedges.

If you aren’t using zoodles (or even if you are) you could easily add some veggies to this, and I often do! My favorite vegetable add ins are :

  • peas
  • roasted broccoli
  • roasted red peppers
  • grilled/sautéed yellow squash/zucchini

You could also serve this over wild rice – this is a very versatile recipe!

Enjoy!
Riss

Cheesy Pepperoni Pizza Chicken

I love making this cheesy pepperoni pizza chicken for dinner! It’s a little more prep work, but results in a delicious chicken recipe that kids and adults will love. The key to this recipe is using plenty of garlic powder and Italian seasoning, and searing the chicken before finishing the dish off in the oven.

To make this you’ll need….

Ingredients

Fresh chicken breasts (as many as you want to make)

Pepperoni slices (4-8 per chicken breast)

Shredded Italian Cheese Blend or Mozzarella Cheese

Parmesan Cheese Crumbles (the powdery kind, not the slivers)

Provolone Cheese Slices

1-2 cans crushed tomatoes

Garlic Powder

Salt

Pepper

Italian Seasoning

Olive Oil

Directions

Step 1: Butterfly the chicken

You want to use fresh or completely thawed chicken breast, not frozen! If they are large, I recommend cutting them in half, before butterflying. If they are thick, I recommend using a meat mallet or a heavy pan to thin them out, after butterflying.

Step 2: Create layers

To one half of the butterflied breasts, sprinkle salt, pepper, garlic, and Italian seasoning. This will be the “bottom half”. To bottom half, sprinkle on shredded Italian blend or mozzarella cheese. Top cheese with pepperoni slices. Sprinkle on parmesan cheese and additional Italian/mozzarella. Carefully fold over the other half of the chicken breast to create top. To top, sprinkle additional salt, pepper, garlic, and Italian seasoning.

Step 3: Preheat Oven to 350F

Step 4: Sear Chicken

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, carefully add chicken breasts 1 or 2 at a time to sear. Flip once to sear opposite side. Place seared breasts in a casserole dish.

Step 5: Prepare Chicken for Baking

Once all breasts have been seared and assembled in the casserole dish, pour crushed tomatoes over top the breasts until covered. Liberally sprinkle garlic powder and italian seasoning over top. Sprinkle a moderate amount of salt and pepper over top. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes until done, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest breast reads 165F.

Step 6: Broil Cheese Topping

Once the chicken has baked through, add 1 slice of provolone cheese atop each breast and return to oven on BROIL until cheese is bubbly and browned. Remove from oven and serve hot!

Enjoy!
Riss



Bacon Butternut Squash Soup with Goat Cheese Crumbles

Bacon Butternut Squash Soup with Goat Cheese Crumbles

This is one of my absolute favorite soups to make! It’s quintessentially fall. Bacon and goat cheese MAKE this soup what it is! This soup is savory, not sweet, so if you have been shying away from butternut squash soups because they are too sweet for your taste, then THIS is the recipe you need. 🙂

As usual, I skip the process photos and hobknob to dive right into how to make this delicious dinner. Double the recipe if you have a large family or one that eats a lot (or you want leftovers!) – this recipe makes about 8 cups.

Ingredients:

1 med-large Butternut Squash (OR 4-6 cups of frozen cubed butternut squash)

16oz chicken stock or broth

1lb bacon

1/4 to 1/2 cup goat cheese crumbles

1 cups almond milk (or milk of choice)

Approx. 1Tbsp Minced garlic (or garlic powder to taste)

Approx. 1-2 Tbsps Minced ginger ( I use the squeezy kind, fresh would work too)

Approx 1-2tsps. ground sage (to taste)

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Directions:

STEP 1: Cook the squash

If you are using FRESH butternut squash:

There are several ways to cook a fresh butternut squash. My favorite way is to halve, de-seed, and roast in the oven at 400F for 40-45 mins, or until fork tender, then scrape out the flesh.

You can also peel and cube the squash first, then boil, microwave, pressure cook, or roast the cubes. I hate peeling the squash so I do it the above way.

If you are using FROZEN cubed butternut squash:

You can boil, roast, microwave, or – my favorite way – pop them in an Instant Pot for 15 minutes.

Regardlessof what method you use, step one is going to be cook the squash until it is tender and the flesh is mashable.

STEP 2: Cook Bacon

While the squash is cooking, cut the pound of bacon into small pieces. I like to use kitchen shears for this – it makes it sooo easy! Cook pieces in a skillet until CRISPY, but not burnt. Reserve a tablespoon of bacon grease to add to the soup (optional).

STEP 3: Puree the squash

Use an immersion blender or a regular countertop blender to puree the squash. Be careful of splatters because the squash will be HOT!

If you are using an immersion blender, add the chicken stock 1 cup at a time and blend until it reaches a thin, smooth, puree. Add garlic and ginger and blend one final time.

If you are using a countertop blender, add a little cooked squash and a little chicken stock to the blender cup and blend in batches until all the squash is pureed. To the last batch, add garlic and ginger.

Return squash puree to a large pot on the stovetop and set heat to medium.

STEP 4: Thin the soup.

Whisk in almond milk (or milk of choice) a little at a time until soup reaches desired consistency. If you need more than 1 cup of milk, switch to water so that the soup doesn’t get too milky. Reduce heat to low if it begins to bubble.

STEP 5: Season, Assemble, and Serve!

Add salt, pepper, and sage to taste. Add additional garlic and ginger as needed. Add bacon (and bacon grease if desired). Add goat cheese. Stir to mix and serve hot!


To add a little extra veggie power to this meal, you can also cook, puree, and blend in:

  • pumpkin
  • acorn squash
  • carrots
  • leeks

I sometimes add a little Shakeology Power Greens too! I also like to serve this soup with cornbread or pumpkin bread. #allthingsfall 🙂

Enjoy!
Riss