InstantPot Chili-Lime Chicken


I bought myself an InstantPot after Christmas. I held out as long as I could. I started a new job and I needed to cook more efficiently on the weekends. As appealing as a slow cooker can be, I cannot leave the house with something running. Nor can I go to sleep with anything running, like the dryer. Or anything!  So, I took the plunge. Game.Changer.

I read the included brochures with trepidation. I was having pangs of buyers remorse, and was looking for a reason to return it. As my daughter said, “Idiots use it every day. Of course you can too.” Such affirmation!

I started small. Boiling water. I actually had some trouble with this. Then on to hardboiled eggs. Those eggs turned out to be the best I have ever boiled. They peeled perfectly. Easy to peel hard-boiled eggs is something I have struggled with, if we are confessing our troubles. I felt my confidence building. Onward to more complex recipes.

So, Mr. Google directed me to some great recipes. This chili-lime chicken dish is absolutely easy and delicious. Perfect for the next step. You can even cook the chicken frozen! The only trick is to fillet the breasts so they are not more than an inch thick. You can them freeze them and use them when you need them. I did it! You can too. The trick to pressure cooking/InstantPot cooking is making sure there is enough liquid. I recommend sticking to a recipe from a reliable source. Ease you way into this method of cooking.

Tonight I made jasmine rice in the InstantPot to serve with the chicken. The recipe was in the book from the manufacturer. It was so simple. The rice was perfectly sticky. Three cups of rice, three cups of water and 4 minutes of cooking time and 10 minutes of natural release. Done! I covered the rice in a glass bowl and started cooking the chicken in a cleaned InstantPot insert. I also served roasted brussels sprouts. It wasn’t the most colorful meal but it tasted great.

You can make this chicken and use it in tacos, salads or anything else you think of, for another night You can prepare this while you’re cleaning the dinner dishes. It’s that simple and quick.


2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 medium (or large) sized limes*

1 1/2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1/2 tsp liquid smoke

If the chicken breasts are more than one inch thick, fillet them, You can do this ahead of time and then freeze them. Make sure when you freeze them, you stack them two-by- two, so they will fit in the InstantPot if you plan on using them frozen.

In a small bowl I mix all the dry seasonings. I like to use about 1/2 cup of water, or broth in the pot. Liquid is important. When it heats up, the steam locks the InstantPot and the pressure builds, cooking everything.

Pour in the water/broth and the liquid smoke into the InstantPot. Place chicken in pot. Space them evenly. Them can overlap with no problems. Sprinkle the garlic over the chicken, and then the bowl of spices. Give it a slight stir if you can.

Secure the lid on pot and cook at high pressure for 6 minutes. I always use the MANUAL button. When finished let it rest for 5 minutes while the pressure naturally releases. Then you move the value to release the steam. Shut off the InstantPot and unplug it. I use a kitchen towel to do this. If you’re not sure if the chicken is done, an instant read thermometer should read the internal temperature at least 165 degrees.

Take the chicken out and shred it on a plate or in a bowl. Return the chicken to the pan and toss it around in the juices. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.


If you are using chicken breasts that are about an inch thick, and frozen, you can cook them for 12 minutes. Really! What a time saver!

*I found that limes sometimes don’t make my grocery list. I bought a box of packets of True Lime. I just added the lime powder to the other dry seasonings. It was fantastic!

If you are uncertain about buying one, see if you can borrow a friend’s or cook with a friend. I’ve made braised lamb shanks, short ribs, ribs and several soups in the InstantPot. It helps with weekend cooking and weeknight meal planning.

Happy Eating!

Here’s the original recipe. I often find it helpful to read the comments section for ideas.

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup (Panera Copycat)

It’s well documented that I love soup. It’s always soup season in my house. When I saw this posted by Heather Webber I hit “print” immediately. Let’s not pretend this soup is healthy. I compensate by adding more carrots and chicken. That’s all I got. I suggest you make it one day and serve it the next. This soup tastes good the day you make it, but it is soooooo much better the second. It becomes thick, yet smooth. It’s great for lunches, too. Transports well. It won’t slosh all over the place. Thin soups are difficult to eat without spilling. I need an adult bib. Or a Tide stain stick remover.

The original recipe calls for coconut oil. I prefer a good olive oil. It also lists a red onion as an ingredient. I never remember to buy one. A regular old yellow onion works great. I always add more onion to soups than called for.  I love to sauté onions. My theory is the more, the merrier. For this recipe I dice up my carrots on the small side. I like them to fit right into spoon. I use large chunks of chicken. It just seems right to have the chicken hanging off the spoon. I rarely have enough leftover chicken for this soup and resort to buying a roaster chicken. Anything to speed up the cooking process, right? Do yourself a favor and buy a cooked roaster chicken. They make great sandwiches for lunch, or in addition to the soup.

Let’s make soup. You will love this some dark, snowy night when you don’t feel like cooking. Warm soup, warm heart…..or something like that. For the vegetable counters out there, serve with a salad. Alright?

1 tsp. olive oil

1 large yellow onion

1 cup diced (small) carrots

1 tsp. dried marjoram

2 tablespoon flour

1 package Near East Long Grain & Wild Rice with Flavor Packet

4 cups low sodium chicken broth

3 cups water

3/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 milk

1 generous cup of cooked and shredded chicken

salt to taste

1/4 tsp. black pepper

Heat olive oil in a large pot over a medium heat. Ad the onions and carrots and cook until softened. There should be a candle with this scent. Eau de l’oignon. Oui?

Add dried marjoram, flour, and seasoning packet from the rice. Stir to combine. The flour will help thicken the soup. At this point you will ask yourself, “I’m going to eat this?” Not just yet.

Add rice, chicken broth, and water. Bring to a boil. Cover, and lower to a simmer. Let this potion cook for 15 minutes.

I pour the milk and cream into a glass Pyrex measuring cup and microwave it to take off the chill. The original recipe calls to heat in a pan. I’d rather just place that measuring cup in the dishwasher than wash a pan. Just me? I’ve even done it without warming the dairy liquids. No one died.

Stir in the shredded chicken. Cook about 30 minutes or until the rice is cooked. Stir occasionally. Simmer on a low heat. You want to avoid this bubbling over onto your stove. Advice from my “friend”.

Season with pepper. I think the seasoning packet has enough salt in it eventhough it makes a lot of soup! I like to  have a hunk of french bread or baguette to dip in my soup. Sit back and enjoy. Make a cup of tea and grab a book, Your night is winding down!


If you’re interested in finding a new author, please check out Heather’s books



Chicken and Zucchini Noodle Caprese


This dish is made with sautéed bite-sized chicken thighs and grape tomatoes cooked with spiralized zucchini, fresh mozzarella and basil. Do I have your attention yet? It’s obviously low-carb as well. This comes together in a little over 30 minutes and is delicious.

You are familiar with most of the ingredients, right? The spiralized zucchini is somewhat new, at least to me. Why, yes, you can buy a machine to spiral cut the zucchini. But honestly, do you need something else to fit into the back of a cabinet? I’m looking at you breadmaker and panini grill. Most grocery stores have many diferent spiralized veggies. They cost way too much, but they are convenient and fun! I especially love the riced veggies, like sweet potatoes. But that’s a conversation for another day. Those bad boys play in the freezer until you need them. The spiralized veggies have a much shorter shelf life so buy them when you will be using them.

Let’s make dinner!

16 ounce package of spiral cut zucchini

1/2-1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast or thighs, cut in 1/2 inch cubes

kosher salt


1/4 tsp. dried oregano

olive oil

3 garlic cloves chopped

1 onion, cut in thin slices

3/4 lb grape tomatoes, cut in half

pinch crushed red pepper flakes

1 tbsp. chopped fresh basil

1 package of spiralized zucchini

2 oz. fresh mini mozzarella balls, cut in half

You can play around with the portion of ingredients. If you don’t like garlic, you can omit it. Same goes for the mozzarella. I strongly suggest you use all the ingredients. If you don’t have crushed red pepper flakes, don’t sweat it. I like a little more chicken. I don’t like to use part of a package and put the rest in the freezer. It will never be used. It just gets pushed to the back until a power outage and then it gets tossed.

Before you start heating pans and getting out serving dishes, cut up the chicken. It takes longer than you think. Put it in a bowl and set it aside. Same for your onions and garlic. You can wait on the mozzarella if you don’t want to dirty another bowl. That is added at the very end.

Season the chicken with 1/2 tsp salt, pepper and oregano. I confess to using Lawry’s seasoned salt more often than regular salt and pepper.

The recipe calls for a non-stick pan. I don’t like them. I have a couple of heavy bottomed pans that I prefer. Any pan can be used, just watch the heat. Heat the pan before you add the oil. Toss a sprinkle or two of water in the hot pan. If the water rolls, and evaporates, it’s ready for the oil. I don’t measure my olive oil but you need enough to lightly coat the pan. Let the olive oil heat up before you add the chicken. It takes a couple of seconds. Add the chicken and cook. Let it sit for a couple of minutes to brown. If you keep stirring, the chicken won’t have the wonderful brown color. Just watch to make sure it doesn’t burn. You can lower or raise the heat as needed. You can cook in batches if you are using more chicken. I often double the recipe for my family. Stir it to cook on all sides. When it’s no longer pink inside, put cooked chicken in a clean bowl.

I love cooked onions. The original recipe called for only garlic. I think the onion adds another dimension. Add more oil to your pan and add the onions. I cut my peeled onion in half from root to top, and then cut thin slices If the bottom of the pan has browned from the chicken, just cook the onions on a lower heat, adding a little more olive oil. This brown will add to “sauce” the liquid from the zucchini and tomatoes. When the onions are soft, add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. You want them to release some liquid so the garlic doesn’t burn. If there isn’t much liquid being released you can add the zucchini right away. If you think you need more oil, add a little. Add the package of zucchini and raise the heat. Break the zucchini up with a spoon or fork. Stir it occasionally so it all cooks evenly. The zucchini does cook down. This should take anywhere from 5-10 minutes. Add the crushed pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. When the zucchini is cooked, add the chicken back in to the skillet and finish cooking. Add the basil. Let those flavors meld together. Add the mozzarella when you’re ready to serve. To add some carbs just call the spiral cut zucchini, zucchini noodles. You’re welcome.


Here is the original recipe.

Roasted Chicken Provencal on rice….that’s nice!



Bless the New York Times Food Section. There are so many recipes that are simple and delicious. Recipes that don’t call for bizarre ingredients that you will NEVER use again. Recipes that don’t require odd pans that will collect dust from lack of use. This is one of those recipes. I start judging a recipe by the individual ingredients. Do I like the ingredient flavors on their own? This has lemon, garlic and shallots with vermouth. Yes. Yes. Yes…..and YES! Then I look at the cooking method. You put the ingredients in a pan and roast them. No browning. You can do this! Now I won’t lie; it takes about 1 ½ hours from start to devour. It takes a bit to assemble, but none of the steps are difficult.  Let’s cook.

8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

2 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. ground black pepper

½ cup of all-purpose flour

3 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. herbes de Provence

2 lemons, quartered

10 cloves garlic, peeled and kept whole

6 medium –size shallots, peeled and halved

2/3 cup dry vermouth or white wine


Step 1

Heat oven to 400 degrees. It’s important to make sure your oven is really this temperature. I always use an oven thermometer. You need this heat to crisp up the chicken skins. So, oven temperature. Check. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Put the flour in a shallow pan or bowl. Lightly dredge the chicken in the flour, on both sides. Shake off the excess flour.

Step 2

Swirl the oil in a large roasting pan, and place the floured chicken in it. I didn’t measure the oil. I eyeballed it. Season the chicken with the herbes de Provence. Arrange the lemon, garlic cloves and shallots around the chicken. Tuck them here. Tuck them there. Tuck them, tuck them everywhere. Add the vermouth to the pan. Step back. Just imagine how this will smell in a short time.

Step 3

Put the pan in the oven and roast for about 30 minutes. Baste it with the pan juices. If you find there isn’t much pan juice, add a little more vermouth or chicken stock. You want the pan juices to go half-way up the chicken. You don’t want it submerged, but immersed. The skins need to be dry to crisp up. Continue roasting for another 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is very crisp and the meat cooked through.

Step 4

Serve in this on a bed of rice with a side of salad. Eat it slowly and enjoy the mellowed, softened flavors of garlic, shallots and lemons. So easy. So delicious! Enjoy!


Here’s the original recipe.

Note: I’ve made it with white wine and it is preferred by some of the family. The vermouth had a strong after taste for some.


Chicken with Peppers, Onions and Cashews – Comfort by the bowl!


This is my idea of comfort food. The onions and peppers are cooked tender so they are almost sweet and create a delicious pan sauce to coat the chicken and rice. The chicken is browned in the same pan and picks up the caramelized bits. The cashews soften as they warm. I serve this on piping hot white rice, in a bowl. It’s such a quick and easy meal that usually provides at least one leftover bowl to enjoy. When the kids were all younger and living at home, I made this often. Everything you need in one bowl! I even made this several times when we lost power since it’s so easy to cook on the stovetop by lantern!

The beauty of this “recipe” is there is no recipe. I use some skinless, boneless chicken breasts. Life is too short to fight with chicken skin and bones. Splurge! I usually use a mixture of one each of red and yellow pepper. This is not a recipe for green peppers. They are too strong flavored and will overpower the dish.

Let’s cook!

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut in approximately one inch pieces

2 red peppers or 1 red and 1 orange or yellow pepper, sliced thin

1 large onion (or more if you wish!)

olive oil



roasted cashews (salted or not, it’s up to you!)

The beauty of this dish is you can use as much or as little of an ingredient. I used three chicken breasts for the two of us because I knew I would get another meal or so out of this one. That’s my kind of planning! Use more onion if you LOVE onions. It’s about cooking what you like to eat.

Cut the top off the peppers and rinse them after pulling out the core and seeds. Slice the peppers in half, long ways. Then slice the pepper halves into thin pieces. They will cook faster if they are thin. If you don’t have the knife skills to slice thin, they will still taste delicious. Put peppers in bowl. Cut the onion from root to tip. Peel off skin from each half. Put the flat side down on a cutting board and slice your onions thinly. It’s so easy to cut them when they are not rolling around! Put onions in bowl with peppers.

Heat a large skillet to medium high. Once a drop of water rolls around and evaporates, the pan is ready to be coated with olive oil. When the oil I is shimmering it’s time to add the onions and peppers to the pan. Sauté them until they start to brown and soften. Season them gently with salt. It helps draw out the water. Once they are cooked as golden and soft as you like, transfer them to a clean bowl. It’s important to season as you cook. You don’t want to add too much salt or pepper at the end, so adding a little as you cook helps control the amount of salt you use.


Put a little more olive oil in the pan and add about 1/3 of the chicken. Sprinkle the chicken with a few pinches of salt. You want to let them brown. Don’t keep stirring them. Once the bottom of the chicken pieces are browned, then flip them. You want the chicken cooked through.


This takes a while since I like to do small batches so the chicken browns and not steams. I usually start the rice when I start cooking the chicken. Once this batch is browned, put it in a clean bowl and toss more chicken into the pan. Make sure you use clean bowls and spoons/spatulas as you cook. You don’t want to contaminate cooked food with a spoon used with raw chicken. Once all the chicken is cooked, add the peppers and onions back in and to finish cooking. Add the cashews into the pan and let cook for a few minutes. Cut into a piece of chicken to make sure it’s done.


Serve the chicken and peppers, onions and cashews over rice.


There’s a little pan sauce that coats the rice. It’s filling and very flavorful with only a few ingredients. |

Chicken Marbella-ous or how to keep loving’ the 1980’s

Chicken Marbella

I’ve been told this is a classic chicken party dish from the 1980’s. I was kinda busy in the 1980’s. I graduated from college, got married, started having beautiful babies, and was trying to blend two strong families together. We moved and stopped trying so hard. The beautiful babies continued for a decade. Like most newlyweds I cooked what my mother cooked. I started to venture off a little bit, and even had in my possession since the 1980’s, the Silver Palate cookbook with this recipe. I just never saw it. I usually looked at the baking sessions since I thought I had cooking down. WRONG!

The original recipe calls for 2 small chickens to be cut up. I found an easier and a wee bit healthier approach to this dish. I buy the boneless, skinless chicken thighs. I use about 5-6 pounds when I make this for a crowd. When I say “crowd” I mean about 8-10 people. You can increase the ingredients proportionately for a larger crowd. The chicken still tastes delicious and is less fatty. You can use a mix of chicken pieces. Whatever you heart desires. The magic is in the sauce.

5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs or a mix of chicken pieces.

Cloves from ½ head of garlic, peeled and finely pureed

2 tbsp. dried oregano

Kosher salt and ground pepper to taste

¼ cup red wine vinegar – I have also successfully used balsamic.

¼ cup olive oil

½ cup pitted prunes

½ cup large pitted green olives, cut in half

¼ cup capers with a bit of juice

3 bay leaves

¼ cup brown sugar

½ cup white wine

2 tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped

In a large bowl combine garlic, oregano, salt and pepper to taste, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers with caper juice, and bay leaves. Do NOT add in the white and brown sugar. That fun happens later. Add the chicken pieces and coat completely with the marinade. Cover with foil or plastic wrap and let marinate, refrigerated, several hours or overnight. I usually do this the night before. Oh the glorious smell you will be treated to when you take off the cover.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange chicken in single layers in one or two large, shallow baking pans and spoon the marinade over it evenly. Sprinkle brown sugar over the chicken pieces and pour white wine around them.

Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, uncovered, basting frequently with the pan juices. Chicken is done when the juices run clear, not pink. Just stick a sharp knife in the thickest piece to test.

With a slotted spoon, move the chicken, prunes, and capers to a serving platter. Pour some of the pan juices over the chicken and sprinkle generously with parsley. Serve remaining juices in a gravy boat.

I like to serve this with noodles or rice to absorb the juice. But do as you wish. We both know you will!  Don’t tell anyone there are prunes in this dish. I’ve seen some very funny faces when I divulge this. If you have any leftovers, they will taste even better the next day.


Here is the original recipe 

Cutlet out! lol


Chicken Cutlets with Quick Pan Sauce

This is a quick and delicious meal that looks elegant but is perfect for a weeknight meal. I serve it with Crispy Smashed Potatoes and steamed broccoli. It’s very quiet when the family eats this meal. Very.Quiet.

The original recipe calls for chicken cutlets, but I like to use skinless, boneless chicken thighs. Chicken thighs are more flavorful than cutlets. You can often buy these thighs on sale. Buy several packages. Remove any extra fat, pound them to uniform thickness and toss them in the freezer. You can use these for a delicious Chicken Parmesan as well.

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs

salt and pepper

2 tbsp. olive oil

3 tbsp. butter

½ cut white wine

½ cup water or chicken stock

¼ chopped fresh parsley, or freeze-dried parsley, plus 2 tbsp. for garnish

1 lemon, juiced

Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Put the flour on a plate or shallow bowl next to the stove. Put the chicken between plastic wrap and pound with a heavy pan, until the chicken is uniform in thickness.

Place chicken on a cookie sheet and season with salt and pepper.

Put oil and 2 tbsp. butter in a large skillet over the medium-high heat. When the butter has melted, dredge the chicken, one piece at a time, through the flour, shaking off any excess. Place chicken in hot pan, repeating the dredging with the next piece of chicken. Work in batches to avoid crowding the pan. Throw out any remaining flour.

Cook the chicken for about 3-4 minutes on one side before turning the chicken over. You want to brown both sides of the chicken. Once the second side has browned, remove the chicken from the hot pan and place it in an oven safe pan. You can check for doneness by cutting into a piece. If it’s still pink, cook it a little longer on the stovetop.

Once all pieces have been cooked on the stovetop, place the chicken in the oven while you make the pan sauce. This will keep the chicken warm and finish cooking any pieces that may not be quite done.

Add the wine to the skillet, keeping the heat at medium-high. Let the wine reduce by half, while you scrape the brown flavorful bits from the bottom and sides of pan. Add the water or chicken broth and continue to stir until the liquid has thickened slightly and reduces a bit more. Add a tablespoon of butter to the skillet and swirl the pan around until the butter is melted. Add the parsley. Turn off the heat. The first time I made this I measured exactly. You don’t really have to. I like to make extra sauce so I eyeball it. You can do this when you cook, not bake. Taste as you go along. You can add salt or more water if need be.

Remove the chicken from the oven. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, squeezing the lemon juice over the chicken. Sprinkle with additional parsley for garnish if you’d like.

This is a perfect recipe if you’re cooking for yourself or for a group. You can play with the sauce ingredient amounts.The leftovers are delicious too, so make extra!

The original recipe is Mark Bittman’s. Here is the recipe with thorough directions and variations.