0 Game Day Root Beer Chili - Pressure, Stove & Slow Cooker

Football season is in full swing and this hearty Game Day Chili, which normally has beer, is family friendly, using our favorite Root Beer.

Root beer lends a mildly sweet taste that compliments the spices that are commonly found in a traditional chili. This recipe also tones down some of the spiciness of the chili to appeal to kids of all ages. I found it to be in the 'medium' heat range, and you can play around with the amounts of spices and different types of chili peppers to suit your taste.

This is a great basic chili recipe that you can adjust to meet your taste. Even though the meat is browned, the beans and tomatoes are cooked, heating the chili allows ALL the flavors to blend, fuse, or 'marry' into the meat, beans, and tomatoes.

When slow cooking or using a Dutch oven, the longer you simmer, the better the flavor will be. With pressure cooking, the pressure forces the flavors to quickly go through all the ingredients, giving your chili an all day flavor in a much, much shorter time.

Liquid - Avoiding the BURN Notice
When pressure cooking, it is important to have enough liquid to be able to turn the liquid into steam, which helps create pressure. "Liquid" can be any thin, watery substance: water, broth, beer, wine or soda. Tomato juice, milk, butter, cream soups and sauces - anything with food solids, flour, or dairy cannot be counted as a liquid.

If there is not enough liquid, pressure will not be achieved. You may get burned, scorched food on the bottom of your pot. If this happens, you will need to scrape the burned food off, add more liquid, and try cooking your chili again.

Water, broth, beer, wine, carbonated drinks can be counted as liquid, as long as you have enough for your recipe and size of pressure cooker. 6 quart pressure cookers need at least 1 cup of liquid and 8 quart pressure cookers need 1.5-2 cups minimum. If you find after cooking that you have too much liquid in your recipe, you can use the saute or browning setting to help reduce it down to the consistency that you like, or make adjustments to your liquids in your recipe for next time.

Many of the original recipes that I researched called for beer, Guiness, or a medium ale. I wanted this to be a family friendly dish, so I subbed it with Root Beer. You can use beer if you wish, but keep in mind that all of the alcohol doesn't cook out, especially if you use the pressure cooker method.

Tip: "Mise en place(MEEZ ahn plahs), or French for "Putting in place."
When you start, get all of your ingredients out, cut your veggies and measure your spices.
This will allow you to quickly put your chili together and not miss any ingredients.

Tip: Chop & Freeze 
Chopping your onions and peppers ahead of time, measuring and freezing them in baggies are a great time saver! You can dump these into your chili with no thawing necessary.

Tip: Freeze Tomato Paste
Measure tablespoon sized dollops of tomato paste on a plastic lined tray. Freeze completely, and transfer to a freezer baggie. Label and date. No more wasting cans of tomato paste. Tomato paste also comes in a squeeze tube, which is super easy to measure and use.


Forgot the Root Beer.

Be right back.

This chili starts with a basic mix of lean ground hamburger and sausage. I use this combo when making my Marvelous Meatballs, as the sausage not only gives flavor to the ground beef, the fat from the sausage gives it a softer texture.

The nice thing about using ground sausage is that you can choose your heat level.

Jimmy Dean sausage comes in Regular, Hot, Sage, Chorizo, Country Mild and Italian flavors. I chose the Regular for this chili. My goal was to have the heat level in the middle range to please a variety of tastes.

Put both your *lean ground beef (or turkey) and sausage into your pressure cooker, Dutch oven or deep skillet. Brown on the saute+more setting, or over medium-high heat.

(*Lean ground beef is important in this recipe. If you use a fattier ground beef, you will end up with a puddle of oil on top of your chili. If you do use a fattier ground beef, you will want to drain it after browning it. You can pour your meat into a sieve or use paper towels to mop up the extra grease.)

I love using this flat metal pancake spatula that I've had for years. It does a great job of chopping up the meat as you are cooking.

You can also use this tool which works wonders for chopping up meat in your pot, especially if your pot is enameled, ceramic, or non stick.

This recipe calls for bacon bits. You can cut up 6-8 pieces of raw bacon (with kitchen scissors) and brown it along with the sausage/ground beef, or you can use ready-to-use bacon.

After browning your meat, add your chopped onions. Cook and stir till softened.

Choosing Peppers
Kids and I like our dishes mild - oldest son and hubby like spicy HOT. Fortunately, you can adjust the heat of this dish by choosing your peppers, sausage, and and by how much chili powder you use.

How hot is a pepper? Generally, the shorter the pepper is, the hotter it is. 

No Heat - Bell, Red, Banana, Pimento 
Mild - Pepperoncini, Anaheim, Santa Fe, Poblano, Ancho
Medium - Jalapeno, Serrano, Fresno, Mirasol
Hot - Tabasco, Cayenne, Aji
Scorching - Thai, Chiltepin, Jamaican Hot, Habanero, Scotch Bonnet, Ghost Pepper

Stir in your chopped red and green peppers, and garlic.

Choose your peppers according to the heat level you want. Today, I'm using Red & Green peppers, and a Poblano or Anaheim pepper, which are mild. 

Toss in your seasonings. Stir and cook until you can smell all the wonderful aromas.  

Spices are often called, "aromatics" and when the hot oils hit the spice, it really brings out a more intense, deeper flavor. It is worth the extra 1-2 minutes that it takes to "bloom" the spices.

At this point, you may see dark brown, stuck on bits of food on the bottom of the pan. This is the "fond" or good stuff that enhances the flavor of your chili.

You will need to scrape these cooked bits off to help your cooker get to pressure and to prevent further burning that can lead to a burnt taste.

To help make it easier to remove the cooked on bits, move some of the cooked meat to the side. exposing the bottom of your pan and slooooooowly pour a little bit of your liquid (Root Beer) into the pot. It will sizzle and steam, so be careful.

Once it stops steaming, pour the rest of your liquid in and give it a good stir, scraping off any remaining stuck on bits of food.

This is called "deglazing" your pot.

Pour in your diced tomatoes, and for pressure cooking, do not stir - we do not want any of the tomatoes to touch the bottom of the pot, as it can burn, scorch and prevent your pressure cooker from coming to pressure.

Choosing Beans
Kidney beans are large and maroon in color. They are hearty and take well to spices, and are well suited for making chili.
Pinto beans are pinkish and turn brown when cooked. They are a staple in most Mexican recipes.
Great Northen Beans are a white bean, with a mild taste that are perfect for a White Chicken Chili recipe.

I'm using canned chili beans for quick prep and short cooking time. Bush's Best has a line of chili beans in sauce, which truly enrich and add flavor to the chili. I chose the Mixed Chili Beans in Mild Chili Sauce. If you can only find canned beans without the sauce, you will need to drain them for best flavor.

Pour in your choice of canned chili beans, sauce and all. No stirring.

Last, put your tomato paste on top.

Again, do not stir.

Tomato paste will give your chili a bright tomato taste.

Lock the lid for pressure cooking, set for HIGH pressure, and time for 8 minutes.

For stove top, simmer over low heat for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Slow cooker, 4 hours on High or 8 hours on Low.

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Game Day Root Beer Chili
adapted from Tailgate Chili on Allrecipes.com

1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
1 pound Regular/Italian ground sausage (use Hot variety for a spicier chili)
6-8 slices of raw bacon, cut
          *or* use 1-2 Tablespoons of ready to use bacon bits
1 small yellow onion, chopped (2/3 cup)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 Green Bell pepper, seeded and chopped (chop/freeze the rest)
1/2 Red Bell pepper, seeded and chopped (chop/freeze the rest)
1/2 Anaheim/Poblano pepper, seeded and chopped (chop/freeze the rest
          *can use a Jalapeno or Serrano pepper for more heat*
2 Tablespoons of dark chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (increase to 1/2-1 teaspoon for spicier chili)
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika powder
1 (12oz) can of Root Beer (use med ale or Guinness beer for adult chili)
2 teaspoons of beef bouillon or Better than Boullion
          *or* 1 1/2 cups of beef broth (omit if using stove top/slow cooker method)
1 1/2 cups water (omit if using beef broth, stove top or slow cooker method)
1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes with juice - do not drain
2 cans of Bush's Best Chili Beans in Mild Sauce - do not drain (use spicy sauce for hot chili)
1 teaspoon Tabasco hot pepper sauce *omit for kiddos/mild chili
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (or fish sauce)
1 teaspoon brown sugar
3 Tablespoons tomato paste (half of a 6oz can. Freeze the rest)

Pressure Cooker
1. Put ground beef and sausage into pot. (Add chopped raw bacon, if using)
    Select Saute or browning. Chop the meat as it cooks, until it resembles bite sized pieces.
2. Add chopped onions and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Stir in minced garlic.
4. Add chopped peppers and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Add your spices: chili, oregano, cumin, basil, salt, pepper, cayenne, and paprika. Stir and cook till you can smell the aroma, about 1-2 minutes.
6. Deglaze your pot by moving the meat mixture to the side and slowly adding your root beer. Scrape off all the browned bits off the bottom of the pot.
     Do not stir from this point on. Dump the ingredients, but no stirring!
7. In this order: dump in your broth (or bouillon & water), diced tomatoes, cans of chili beans, hot pepper sauce (if using), Worcestershire, brown sugar and tomato paste. Sprinkle bacon bits on top.
8. Cover, lock lid and close pressure valve (set to sealing).
9. Choose HIGH pressure and timer for 8 minutes.
10. When cooking time finishes, allow a 10 minute natural release.
Open the valve to release any remaining pressure, stir and enjoy. (if you want a thicker chili, saute/brown for a couple of minutes, stirring continuously.)
Serve with  shredded cheese, sour cream, tortilla or corn chips (ie. Fritos)
Serves 6-8

20-30 min prep
10 min to pressure
 8 min cook time
10 min natural release

*This recipe should *not* be doubled for a 6 quart pressure cooker, but can be doubled for an 8 or 10 quart. Double the ingredients, but not the cook time.
Filling your pressure cooker more than 2/3rd full can result in foam/liquid clogging your pressure valve and may prevent your cooker from coming to pressure.

Stove Top
Follow steps 1-5, using a large, heavy bottom pot.
Add Root Beer, beef bouillon (no water or beef broth), diced tomatoes, chili beans, pepper & Worcestershire sauces, brown sugar, tomato paste, and bacon bits, if using. Stir to blend well.
Cover and simmer over low heat for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. The longer the chili simmers, the better it will taste.
Remove from heat, stir, serve and enjoy.

Slow Cooker
Follow steps 1-5, using a large skillet over medium-high heat on the stove.
Add Root Beer to deglaze the pot and scrape off any cooked bits on the bottom of the skillet.
Add mixture to a slow cooker.
Add beef bouillon (no water or beef broth), diced tomatoes, chili beans, pepper & Worcestershire sauces, brown sugar, tomato paste, and bacon bits, if using. Stir to blend well.
Cover, and cook on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours.
Stir and serve.


0 Frozen Boneless Turkey Breast in an Hour!

Would you believe that you can cook a frozen, nearly 3 pound turkey breast, in an hour?

If you have a pressure cooker, this is definitely doable!

I saw this on sale at our local grocery store and it intrigued me...

Oven Ready! No Thawing! Boneless Turkey Breast with gravy packet!

Jennie-O Oven Ready Boneless Turkey Breast

For the last 8 years, I have been making my Herb Roasted Turkey Breast, a family favorite that everyone looks forward to eating - perfectly seasoned with herbs, lemon, garlic, with moist, tender slices of turkey each and every time.

The problem with cooking most turkey is that it is frozen....and you need to thaw it out over a couple of days in the fridge. For every 5 pounds, you need 24 hours to thaw, so a 10-15 pound turkey can take 3 days to thaw!!

Another problem is that on Thanksgiving, my oven is usually taken up with baking dressing or dinner rolls, so cooking this in my pressure cooker will definitely help.

Let's see how this works out. I'm using a frozen, boneless chicken formula that a member of the Instant Pot Facebook Community shared for boneless chicken breasts.

High pressure, 1 minute per ounce, 10-15 min natural release.

A natural release is the time the food sits in the pressure cooker AFTER the cook time. A FULL NPR is when the silver float valve drops and you can safely open your pressure cooker.

The package says 2.75 pounds, but I should have weighed it with my OXO scale to make sure. This translates to 44 oz, so 44 minutes and a full natural release (about 15 minutes) is what I used. The package says to cook in the oven for 1 hour and 40 minutes, so if this can save me time and oven space, I'm sold!

The turkey breast is fully seasoned, and I set it on the trivet that comes with the pressure cooker, and added 2 cups of water. I probably could use less, as the turkey release another cup...

Here's what it looked liked after a full NPR (natural pressure release). Smells great!

Checked the temp at the thickest part with my digital thermometer and it read 167°F - fully cooked!

You want the temp to be in the 160°-165°F range, but this meat was not dry at all...

Slice the turkey against the grain, to avoid shredding and get perfect slices. I cannot believe how incredibly moist this turkey breast is!

Cover your turkey breast with aluminum foil to let it rest, retain the heat and stay moist while you make the gravy.

I reserved 3/4 cup of the broth and dumped the frozen packet of gravy into the pot.

Set it on saute - high and stirred it with my favorite flat whisk. Perfect for getting every nook and cranny of the pot and getting a smooth gravy or sauce.

Paired with Creamy Pressure Cooked Mashed Potatoes, this will be a very quick and easy dinner!

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Pressure Cook Frozen Boneless Turkey Breast
1 FROZEN* seasoned boneless turkey breast, remove gravy packet and the plastic shrink wrap 
     (I used Jennie-O Oven Ready - 2.75 pounds or 44 oz)
     If using a roast, keep the twine on the meat.
2 cups water - don't use broth, as it will make your gravy salty when using the gravy packet
Trivet or steam rack

1. Put 2 cups of water into the pressure cooker liner.
2. Set the trivet or steamer rack inside the pot.
3. Place the frozen turkey breast directly on the rack.
4. Close the pressure cooker and close the pressure valve or set on 'sealing.'
5. Select HIGH pressure and set the cook time according to the weight on the package.
     1 minute for every ounce
     (for my turkey breast, that is 44 minutes)
     *See below for THAWED cooking time
6. When cook time is finished, allow the pressure to come down naturally (a full NPR), about 15 min.
The silver pin or float valve will drop on its own and you can open your pressure cooker.
7. Test the turkey with a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the turkey. It should read at least 160°F. If less than 160°F, you will want to put it back in your pressure cooker for another 2-3 minutes.
8.. Using 2 flat spatulas, remove the turkey breast and set it on a carving board.
9. Cover the turkey with aluminum foil, to rest and retain the heat. The temp of your meat will go up another 5°F.

10, Remove all but 3/4 cup of the broth from the pot.
11, Dump in the frozen packet of gravy. Stir to dissolve.
12. Set your pressure cooker on browning or saute, and stir till thickened, about 3-5 minutes.

Slice your turkey breast along the grain and serve with hot gravy.

*If you are using a boneless THAWED turkey breast, use a 10 min per pound cooking time with a 10-15 min natural release.



0 Gingerbread Waffles & Buttermilk Syrup

A thick, crisp, light and fluffy Belgian waffle, drenched in syrup, gets a makeover with spices and buttermilk syrup. Buttermilk Waffles are a weekend favorite, as you can fill each square with the perfect amount of syrup,  just right for each bite.

With the holidays around the corner, I looked for a spiced waffle and this Gingerbread Waffle recipe from King Arthur Flour fits the bill. The buttermilk syrup is just right, adding a sweet touch and compliments the spices.

WaringPro Waffle Maker

Granted, I don't have all the ingredients to make these festive waffles, but there are some substitutions you can use.

For instance, the recipe calls for sour cream and molasses. I used homemade yogurt, which works just as well as sour cream, adding a slight tang and providing moisture to the batter.  You can also use soured milk (lemon juice + milk) or buttermilk as a substitute. If you make your own yogurt, you can use whey as an acid to sour the milk.

Molasses is something that I have on hand for making soft gingerbread men cookies, but I don't use it year round for anything else. To me, it has a very strong taste. You can use brown sugar (dark or light), dark corn syrup, or even maple syrup as a substitute for molasses. I opted to use brown sugar.

Buttermilk syrup is soooooo good. It is sweet, slightly tangy, and made with pure vanilla extract, I think it would be great to bottle and give as gifts. It's fantastic as a pancake/waffle syrup, sauce, or ice cream topping.

I have Saco buttermilk powder on hand for making bread, biscuits, pancakes and waffles, but it was easier to make soured milk.

Soured milk is made by putting 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (you can use white vinegar) into a measuring cup and filling the measuring cup up to 3/4 cup line. Let the milk sit for a few minutes and it will begin to curdle and sour. It's a great substitute for buttermilk in many recipes: Waffles, Flaky Biscuits, etc)

Heat the sugar, buttermilk (soured milk) and butter in a heavy bottom 3 quart sauce pan. Using this size of pan is important, as the syrup will double in size while heating. A thick, heavy bottom pan will help keep the mixture from burning.

You will want to stir it constantly, to keep the bubbling under control.  A flat whisk is a great tool for this. After it reaches a boil, cook it only for 5 minutes, then remove it from the stove. Wait till the bubbling subsides and add the baking soda and pure vanilla extract.

The baking soda gives the syrup a foamy, airy texture and the extract will give it a lovely vanilla flavor.

TIPS: Use a large pot. The syrup will foam, bubble and double in size. Stirring constantly helps keep the bubbling under control.
          Do not cook it for very long. If you cook it longer, it will become darker and more like a caramel candy. It will also set firmer and not be as syrup-y if cooked longer. It will become more chewy.
          Do not walk away. Stir it and stir it constantly. If you walk away, it will double in size and possibly overflow, creating a big, sticky mess.
This Anchor Hocking 10 oz glass pitcher is perfect for serving and pouring hot, lovely, syrup...

Gingerbread Waffles
Adapted from King Arthur Flour

2 cups all purpose flour (can use a mix of whole white wheat and all purpose flours)
2 Tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground powdered ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
4 large eggs
6 Tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 cup milk
1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
3 Tablespoons brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup or dark corn syrup

Preheat your waffle maker.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.
In another separate bowl, mix together eggs, melted butter, milk, yogurt and brown sugar.
Pour the milk/egg mixture into the flour/spice mixture, stirring until just combined.
A few lumps is o.k.
Ladle about 3/4 cup batter into your waffle maker and cook according to your waffle maker directions.
Makes about 5-6 Belgian style waffles.

Can make ahead and store in freezer bags.
Reheat by putting your waffles in the toaster.


Buttermilk Syrup
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup butter milk -or- 1 tablespoon lemon juice and enough milk to make 3/4 cup. Let sit 5 minutes.
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a heavy 3 qt saucepan, melt the butter. Add sugar and buttermilk (or soured milk).
Stir to dissolve.
Over medium heat, allow mixture to come to a rolling boil, stirring constantly for 5 minutes.
Remove saucepan from heat. Wait for bubbles to subside.
Add baking soda - stir vigorously, as it will foam.
Add vanilla extract.
Serve warm over pancakes, waffles, cake or ice cream.

Refrigerate up to 2 weeks. Reheat to serve.


0 Vanilla Spice Pear Butter - Pressure Cooker & IP Canning Instructions

Vanilla spiced pear butter - is really pear "sauce" that is reduced down to a jam-like texture. This Pear Butter is sweet, bright and citrus-y, with notes of pure vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. It is a perfect spread for toast, muffins, or stirred into your morning oatmeal, homemade yogurt, or as an ice cream topping, very much like you would use Apple Butter.

Using a pressure cooker greatly reduces the cooking time to soften the pears and using the Saute or browning setting helps reduce your pears into a wonderful, thick, jam-like sauce.

It is sweet, so feel free to adjust the amount of sugar in this recipe to your desired taste. I am canning this pear butter, and sugar contributes to the color and shelf life of the butter. It also freezes well and makes a nice gift for a family member, neighbor, or friend.

I am using Anjou pears that happened to be on sale, but you can also use Bartlett pears.

Peel, cut in half, and use a melon ball scoop to core the seeds out.

A paring knife works well in removing the stem and the blossom end (bottom) of the pear.

Slice the pear into wedges and put them inside your pressure cooker pot.

Ad your orange juice, lemon juice, zest, spices and sugar.

Using a citrus zester is a great way to add a flavor boost to any dish. A wooden citrus reamer will help you juice the orange or lemon.

Cover your pressure cooker and lock it. I LOVE using this ceramic non-stick pot for pressure cooking! It's great for any foods that may stick, apple butter, rice, mac N cheese, etc.

Set it for HIGH pressure, and time it for 15 minutes. When the cook time has ended, allow the pressure cooker to release naturally for 15 minutes. Open the pressure valve.

This smells amazing and reminds me of fall....

An immersion blender is super handy to puree the fruit directly in the pot, without dirtying another dish. You can use a potato masher or a stand blender.

Use the Saute or browning setting of your pressure cooker to help reduce the sauce. Stir often to prevent sticking, or use a ceramic non-stick liner to help reduce sticking and burning. If your browning setting is cooking your sauce too hot, choose a slow cooker setting if you have one.

You will know it is thick enough when it mounds on a spoon, or when a dollop is put onto a chilled plate, it sets up and is not runny.


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Vanilla Spice Pear Butter
(inspired by this recipe and Ball Blue Book Guide to Canning)

7 pounds ripe pears; about 20 med pears (Bartlett or Anjou), peeled, cored and sliced
1/4 cup water
3 Tablespoons Orange juice
3 Tablespoons Lemon juice
1 Tablespoon zest (orange or lemon)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
4 cups granulated sugar

Put peeled, cored and sliced pears into the pressure cooker.
Add water, juices, zest, vanilla extract, spices and sugar.
Close the pressure cooker lid and set the valve to Sealing.
Use High pressure, time for 15 minutes.
When cook time finishes, allow pressure cooker to release naturally for 10 minutes. (NPR)
Open pressure valve to release any remaining steam.
Use an immersion blender, potato masher, or stand blender to puree the pears.
Saute Low, or use browning setting to cook and reduce the sauce to desired thickness.
(With the IP, you will need to re-set SAUTE every 30 minutes, so set a kitchen timer)
Can use keep warm setting (about 145°F) to help thicken.
As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking and bubbling.
Test thickness by putting a small spoonful on a chilled plate.

20 min to prep pears
10 min to prep butter
10 min to get to pressure
up to 2 hours of saute to thicken

Makes approximately 7-8 cups.
Keep covered in the refrigerator, 1-3 weeks.
Freeze in freezer safe containers, up to 3 months.
Water bath or Steam can, up to two years shelf life.

Canning Your Pear Butter

This recipe made 7 half pint jars of Pear Butter. I was able to fit seven, 8 oz wide mouth jars in my 6 quart Instant Pot, when set on a trivet. The tops of the jars must be level with the top of your pressure cooker pot, to make sure the lid closes correctly.

IMPORTANTIf you are new to canning or Steam Canning with an Instant Pot (which does NOT use pressure), please check out the following posts first. There are important guidelines to follow and ensure safe canning.

If you do not want to use the steam canning method, you can water bath can your Pear Butter. You can see how water bath canning is used for Jalapeno Jelly, here.

Safe Steam Canning Rules
Safe Steam Canning with Your Instant Pot 

Video: Removing jars from the IP. You can hear the seal "pop."

Canning Pear Butter in Instant Pot

yield approximately 7-8 cups, or 4 pints
Ingredients & Equipment
Instant Pot
Hot Pear Butter, made as directed above
4 pint jars or 8 half pint jars with lids and rings
3 1/2 cups water, in the IP pot liner (at least level with the trivet)
Canning funnel
Plastic knife
Clean, damp paper towel
Jar lifter, tongs, or silicone gloves
Wire cooling rack

1. Clean jars with hot, soapy water and rinse well. Keep hot until ready to use.
2. Using a canning funnel, ladle hot Pear Butter into each jar, leaving 1/4" head space.
3. Remove any air bubbles with a plastic knife.
4. Remove funnel, and using a clean, damp paper towel, wipe the jar rims clean.
5. Place new canning lid onto the jar and secure with canning ring, turning it finger tip tight.
6. Put jars onto the trivet, inside the IP. (Make sure you have water in the IP!)
    If stacking a second layer, off-set the jar to sit over two jars - not directly on top of the jar.
7. Cover with the IP lid and lock.
8. Remove the pressure valve. (This is important!)
9. Push the STEAM button.
10. When a full stream of steam comes out of the valve AND the float pin comes up, begin the timing process, according to your altitude on the chart below:

0-1,000 feet = 10 minutes
1,001-3,000 feet = 15 minutes
3,001 - 6,000 feet = 20 minutes
6,001 - 8,000 feet = 25 minutes
8,001 - 10,000 feet = 30 minutes

After the processing time is up, turn off the IP or unplug it.
When the float pin drops, carefully open the lid, keeping steam away from your face.

Using tongs or silicone gloves, remove each jar carefully to a wire cooling rack.
Do not disturb for at least 12 hours.
If any jars do not seal, immediately put into the fridge to enjoy.

Label, date and store sealed jars in a cool, dark place for up to one year.


0 One Pot Sweet & Sour Meatballs with Rice - Pot In Pot Pressure Cooking

A perfect blend of sweet, tangy, with the slight crunch of red and green peppers, this super easy pot-in-pot meal with fluffy rice can be made together, at the same time, in your pressure cooker, saving you a couple of pots, pans and time!

"Pot in Pot" or PIP cooking, is food placed in a separate (oven safe) bowl or dish and not directly set on the bottom of the pressure cooking pot. Instead, it is set on a trivet, (stainless steel steam rack) over some water.

The benefits of PIP cooking are that food doesn't stick or scorch on the bottom of the pot, and you can cook multiple foods with similar cook times, in separate dishes.

Pots to Use
Glass, silicone and ceramic oven safe pots hold in heat and foods take longer to cook, so I prefer to use stainless steel or aluminum for PIP cooking. You can find a variety of bowls online that are 7" in diameter that will fit well in a 6 quart pressure cooker pot. Your local Asian Market is a great source for small cooking pots and strainers!

IKEA has a 8" stainless steel bowl that fits in the 6qt pot, but is 3.5" tall and when stacked on top of the steamer basket, it was taller than the pot. When stacking 2 pots, you can use a trivet or wood chopsticks in between the layers. There is a stackable pot with locking handles that you can use. You can line your cheesecake pan or push pan with aluminum foil, to create a leak-proof bowl, like I did for this recipe.

Some examples of PIP cooking are Apple Pie Bread Pudding, Orange Curd (can use this recipe for Lemon or Lime curd as well), and Chocolate Cheesecake,

This particular recipe is using 2 'pots' or rather, one pot and one steamer basket. For cooking multiple kinds of foods at the same time, it's best to use foods that have similar cook times.


You can use pre-cooked meatballs, but making your own from scratch only takes 10 minutes and is very simple. You can even make a large batch of meatballs in your pressure cooker and freeze for later use in your favorite recipes.

Lean ground beef, bread crumbs, onion powder, garlic, salt and pepper.

Kitchen Tip: For bread crumbs, I'll take a frozen slice of bread (usually the crust) and put it into the food processor. You can also use crushed saltine crackers, but if you do, you will want to reduce or omit the salt in the recipe.

I like to add some fresh grated ginger to my meatballs for a more Asian inspired flavor. 

Kitchen Tip: I peel my ginger root and keep it in the freezer. Take out your frozen ginger root, use a microplane grater/zester, and you have instant fresh ginger.  Once you've used fresh ginger in a recipe, you'll never go back to the powdered stuff. Try it.

Mix well, using a fork or your hands.

Me? Touch raw meat? Nope. I use plastic disposable gloves for that.

Use a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop to portion your meatballs. You can even take the extra step and roll the balls of meat between your hands for perfectly smooth, round meatballs. One pound of lean ground beef will make 18 meatballs.

Water goes into the pressure cooker, then a lotus style steamer basket inside the pot. If you have a similar insert with drainage holes, feel free to use it.

Place your meatballs in a single layer, directly on top of the steamer basket.


I am using Calrose rice, a short grain rice. You will want to check out this site for cook times using other types of rice. You will want to keep your rice cook time as close as you can to the meatball cook time, which is 5 minutes. With the Calrose rice, I used 6 minutes with a 10 min NPR. The meatballs and rice were both cooked perfectly.

For the rice, you will want to rinse your rice. Why?

It will be less sticky.

Put the rice in a metal strainer and set it over a bowl.

Fill with cool water, swish the rice with your fingertips, and lift the strainer to drain.

Do this 3-4 times, or until the water is clear.

To cook the rice, I wanted to use what I had on hand, a 7" Fat Daddio's push pan. A push pan has a removable bottom, which is perfect for removing a cake, cheesecake or lasagne, but not so great for making rice, as all the liquid would leak out. Fat Daddio's makes a 7" pan that has a solid bottom. It is only 3" tall, so it should fit along with the lotus steamer basket.  

I turned my push pan into a sealed pot by wrapping a single sheet of aluminum foil around the disk and setting it inside the push pan.

Put the rinsed rice in your prepared pan. Set it on top of your meatballs. Cover the rice with water.

You don't need to cover the rice with foil.

*It is important to make sure that your pan, when stacked, is not taller than the pot. 

While your meatballs and rice are cooking, cut your red/green peppers and prepare your sauce.

I like to cut the peppers into 1" bite sized squares.


Stir together your brown sugar, cornstarch, water, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and pineapple juice.

After cooking, remove your rice and meatballs. Cover to keep rice and meat to keep warm.
(I stick both in the microwave).

Drain the excess water from the pot. (Meatball juice)

Add your sauce, pineapple and cut peppers.

Use saute/normal - or the browning setting, and stir for a few minutes, until thickened.

Add your meatballs. Doesn't it look great?

 Serve hot, over your perfect, fluffy rice. Enjoy!

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One Pot Sweet & Sour Meatballs with Rice
adapted from KimmyD on Allrecipes.com

Meatballs - you can use frozen pre-cooked or make your own, cook and freeze.
1 pound lean ground beef
1 egg
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs (or crushed saltine crackers)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder (or 1/2 cup small onion, diced)
1 clove of garlic, pressed or minced (I love my garlic press!)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger (or 1/8 teaspoon powdered ginger)
1 Tablespoon milk

Mix together with a fork or by hand. Shape into 18 meatballs or use a 2T. cookie scoop.

Pour 1 cup of water into the pressure cooker.
Set a lotus or similar steamer basket into the pot.
Place your meatballs in a single layer.

1 1/2 cups Calrose or similar short grain rice, rinsed well
1 3/4 cups water

Put rice and water in a food safe stainless steel pot and set it on top of the meatballs.

Put the pressure cooker lid on your cooker, and close the pressure valve or set it to Sealing.

Set it for HIGH pressure and 6 minutes.

When cooking time is finished, use a 10 minute natural release (NPR) by setting a timer.

After the NPR, open your pressure valve and release any remaining steam.

Remove the rice, meatballs, cover and set aside.

While your meat & rice are cooking, prepare your sauce and cut your peppers.
Mix together:
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
8 oz can pineapple chunks & juice
3 Tablespoons of cornstarch
1/4 cup rice vinegar (or use distilled white vinegar, or apple cider vinegar)

Pour mixture into the pressure cooker. Set it on Browning or Saute (normal). Add:

1/2 red pepper, cored, membrane/seeds removed, cut into 1" pieces
1/2 green pepper, cored, membrane/seeds removed, cut into 1" pieces

Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until sauce has thickened.
Add meatballs, stir to coat.

Serve your Sweet & Sour Meatballs over your cooked rice.



0 One Pan Chocolate Cake with Hot Fudge Sauce

A rich chocolate cake that makes its own hot fudge sauce, all in one pan?

Sign me up!

Even better, you can make this using one bowl and no special equipment.

My neighbor made this several years ago, and it was interesting.... make up the batter, and pour hot water on top??


I tell you, this is a magical thing. I read somewhere that this sinfully rich dessert was a big hit in the '60's and there used to be a box mix that is not available anymore. It's time to resurrect this dessert, as it is so simple, easy, and delicious!

In a bowl, stir together your sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.

Dump in your wet ingredients: milk, melted butter, and vanilla extract.

Mix it till smooth and spread it into an UNgreased 9" square pan.

The batter really looks like a brownie batter - but without the eggs...

You can use the same bowl for the next step.

Mix in your sugars, cocoa, and sprinkle it right on top, in an even layer over the wet batter.

Then, pour HOT water directly on top of the dry sugar mixture. DO NOT STIR.

I can't tell you, as a baker, how hard it was to resist stirring this all in! It looked so strange to see a layer of water on top of the batter while I was putting it in the oven...

35 minutes later, this is what I got.

Hmmmm.... looks like brownies.... smells like brownies... let's take a spoonful...

Squee !!!  The hot fudge is on the bottom! Perfectly cooked chocolate cake on top!

I'm beyond excited...

Let's put a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream on top, shall we?

Oh, and definitely scoop some hot fudge to drizzle on top!

Oh my. Very rich. Very good. It really needed that scoop of ice cream on top -


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Chocolate Cake with Hot Fudge Sauce
from Hershey's

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dry Layer:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/4 cups HOT water (heat your water, then measure)

1. Heat oven to 350°F.
2. Batter: In a medium bowl, mix together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.
3. Pour in milk, melted butter, and vanilla.
4. Stir until smooth.
5. Spread batter into UNgreased 9" baking pan.
6. Dry Layer: Mix granulated sugar and brown sugar along with the cocoa.
7. Sprinkle on top of the wet batter in an even layer.
8. Pour HOT water over the top. DO NOT STIR.
9. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until center is almost set (not jiggly).
10. Remove from oven; let sit for 15 minutes before diving in!

Scoop into dessert dishes, spooning fudge sauce over the cake.
Can serve with a scoop of ice cream or whipped topping.

Makes 9 servings.

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