Instant Pot Magic: Old-Fashioned Oatmeal with Fresh Blueberries

As far as I’m concerned, an “Instant Pot” might also be called an “Impatient Pot.” For the person who likes to cook everything on the “high” burner of the stove, then an “Instant Pot” is the perfect kitchen appliance. Get the “Instant Pot” settings programmed and hit “Start.” Then leave the appliance alone and go on to another task. It doesn’t matter, as the “Instant Pot” regulates the temperature and pressure automatically. The recipe finishes cooking and the “Instant Pot” turns off. Yeah! No more burnt pots. I’ve tried cooking a variety of dishes in my brand new “Instant Pot.” And to the doubters who questioned if you could cook oatmeal in an Instant Pot, today I’m giving it a try.

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Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Lemon and Garlic

This recipe is quickly becoming my favorite way to prepare cauliflower. Whenever I make “Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Lemon and Garlic,” my husband and I eat the entire cauliflower head in one sitting. And the last time, my husband ate the entire dish himself, leaving me with nothing. Well, I did say, “help yourself,” but I didn’t intend for him to eat the cauliflower in it’s entirety. My favorite Lebanese restaurant, Serops, offers a menu item which I absolutely love, “Fried Cauliflower.” It has has a subtle lemon and garlic flavor. I have been trying to figure out how they make the dish. These “Cauliflower Steaks,” surprisingly, have the same flavor and taste. I think I’ve got it. This dish is delicious — and very healthy!

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Louisiana-Style Hummus with Roasted Red Pepper

Here’s a Louisiana-style rendition of a favorite Middle Eastern dip, “Hummus.” It tastes just as good as any purchased hummus and this recipe has a nice kick. The “surprise” ingredient in the recipe is white beans. Red bell peppers and yogurt may also surprise. Put them together — along with tahini, garlic and lemon juice — and you have a festive dip.

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Aunt Gaye’s Fresh Blueberry Streusel Pie

Here is another absolutely delicious way to use fresh blueberries. I asked Aunt Gaye, who lives in Birmingham, Alabama, for recommendations on using blueberries since I had such a large summer crop. (Aunt Gaye is a great cook.) In a second she replied that she indeed had a favorite blueberry recipe: “Fresh Blueberry Streusel Pie.” She promised to mail me the recipe. Mail. Isn’t that great? Everybody likes to get mail. On the down side, now I had to wait several days for the recipe. Well, the recipe arrived as promised and I made the pie. Aunt Gaye showed off her cooking talents again, this is another winning recipe. The pie really highlights the fresh blueberry flavor. The crunchy streusel topping also sets the blueberries off, too.

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Let’s Make Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Floats

What is this? These are an old-fashioned ice cream floats which I have named, “Green Swamp Floats.” We are getting to the end of summer — Labor Day is coming up. Let’s celebrate by making “Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Floats.” Sipping an ice cream float in the afternoon used to be a summertime treat when I was growing up. It satisfied one’s sweet tooth and quenched the thirst on those hot summer days. And an ice cream float was so, so easy to make — really just two ingredients — coke and ice cream. When company came for an extended visit, these were sure to be on the agenda. So let’s make a traditional ice cream float using Barq’s Root Beer and also some surprises.

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Let’s Cook Something New: Stuffed Hatch Chili Peppers

My husband recently brought a new type of chili pepper home from the grocery store. I love to cook with new foods and so this gave me a chance to learn about Hatch chili peppers. I learned that these medium-size peppers are grown exclusively in New Mexico. They ripen in August and September and thus are available for only a few months in the fall. The peppers have a “bite” but they are not as hot as a jalapeno pepper. They have thick flesh and can be broiled to remove the skin. These chili peppers are large enough to easily be stuffed for an entrée dish and have a pleasing, chili pepper flavor. So, let’s make “Stuffed Hatch Chili Peppers” with these delightful peppers. I made two “fillings”: ground beef and also shrimp with corn and cheese. Recipes are included for both.

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Savory Zucchini Omelet

Zucchini for breakfast?? When life brings you zucchini, there are all kinds of ways to enjoy this vegetable. Last year I planted several unique varieties of zucchini. One was called a “globe” zucchini which is shaped like a globe as the name implies. To use the “globe” zucchini, I made a very tasty and fluffy “Zucchini Omelet.” This year, I adapted the recipe to make another “Savory Zucchini Omelet” using an ordinary zucchini. Hey, anything to add vegetables into the mix. The zucchini tasted just right when included in the omelet.

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A Small Batch: Pickled Cherry Pepper Poppers

These cherry peppers are the stars of my backyard garden this summer. They were my “new vegetable variety” which I planted in my garden and these novelty peppers stole the show. They made red color bursts throughout my garden growing better than any other pepper. And the next question is, “What do you do with cherry peppers?” My husband remembers eating pickled cherry peppers on salad bars. These little peppers are served whole; you eat the seeds and all. That was the best idea I could think of too, and so I made “pickled peppers.”

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Cajun Deviled Eggplant with Shrimp

“Deviled Eggplant with Shrimp” is one of those classic Louisiana entrees which I just love. It is full of the flavor of fresh vegetables and eggplant and the dish is just a little spicy. Add in shrimp and now we’re cooking. The casserole has been around for years with many variations and goes by several other names such as “Eggplant Supreme” and “Eggplant Seafood Casserole.” I liked the title, “Deviled Eggplant with Shrimp,” because, in my onion, it characterizes the cuisine of Louisiana — well-seasoned, just a little on the edge with “hot” and memorable. Has anyone else noticed that their grocery bill receipts have skyrocketed? With eggplant is season, now is the time to save money and cook with these seasonable vegetables.

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Let’s Get Grillin’ — Inside; with Steak and Hot Pepper Kebabs

I love to grill, smoke foods and barbeque — but getting the backyard grill going is alot of effort for just two people. And this Louisiana summer seems to be full of mosquitoes; humidity, heat and unpredictable afternoon thunderstorms. I purchased a little Chefman Grill plus Panini Press appliance last year thinking that this kitchen gadget mighty be the ultimate solution for grilling. Unfortunately, it became “just another kitchen appliance.” But when a neighborhood grocery store ran a Fourth of July special price on ribeye steaks — I couldn’t resist. I purchased several steaks and made delicious “Steak and Hot Pepper Kebobs” including the last of the peppers from my summer garden.

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