spanish-style chicken and couscous


  • 4 (12-ounce) bone-in split chicken breasts, trimmed
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped fine
  • 4 ounces Spanish style chorizo, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups couscous
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 3 TBSP minced fresh parsley

NOTE: We use boneless skinless thighs because that’s what we stock up on. We also didn’t have chorizo on hand, so we made do with bacon and smoked paprika (close enough for Covid)


  1. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Using highest sauté or browning function, heat oil in multicooker for 5 minutes (or until just smoking). Place half of chicken, skin side down, in multicooker and cook until browned, 5 to 7 minutes; transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining chicken; transfer to plate.
  2. Add bell pepper, chorizo and ¼ teaspoon salt to fat left in multicooker and cook until bell pepper is softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and saffron and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth, scraping up any browned bits. Nestle chicken, skin side up, into multicooker, adding any accumulated juices.
  3. To pressure cook*: Lock lid in place and close pressure release valve. Select high pressure cook function and cook for 17 minutes. (If using Instant Pot, decrease cooking time to 9 minutes.) Turn off multicooker and quick-release pressure. Carefully remove lid, allowing steam to escape away from you.
  4. Transfer chicken to serving dish and discard skin, if desired. Tent with aluminum foil and let rest while preparing couscous.
  5. Stir couscous, peas and lemon juice into multicooker, cover and let sit until couscous is tender, about 5 minutes. Add parsley and fluff couscous gently with a fork to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with chicken

* To slow cook: Lock lid in place and open pressure release valve. Select low slow cook function and cook until chicken registers 160 degrees, 1 to 2 hours. (If using Instant Pot, select high slow cook function.) Turn off multicooker and carefully remove lid, allowing steam to escape away from you.

nutritional information

yield: 4-6 servings
time: 2 hours 40 minutes
source: America’s Test Kitchen, Multicooker Perfection, p.60

basic meat sauce


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled plum tomatoes with juice


  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook until softened, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Add beef and cook, breaking up with a spoon until no longer pink, 4 to 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes and juice, breaking up tomatoes. Simmer over medium heat until thickened and saucy, 45 to 60 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

nutritional information

yield: 5 cups
time: about an hour

instapot chicken ‘carnitas’

  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1 TBSP oregano
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup | 60 ml orange juice (or pineapple juice)
  • 1/4 cup | 60 ml lime juice
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or breasts)
  • 1 TBSP corn starch


  1. Add the olive oil to the Instant Pot. Press the “Sauté” button. Once the oil is warm add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is fragrant and soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for another minute.
  2. Mix the cumin, oregano, salt, pepper and chili powder together.
  3. Stir in the orange juice, lime juice, chicken stock and spice blend. Mix to combine. Add the chicken to the pot and stir to coat.
  4. Press the “Keep Warm/Cancel” button to stop the sauté function. Secure the lid and make sure the steam valve is closed. Press ‘Manual’ and set the timer to 8 minutes.
  5. After the time is up the Instant Pot will automatically switch the keep warm. Let it keep warm for 10 minutes before releasing the steam valve.
  6. Remove the lid of the instant pot. Transfer the chicken to another container and shred with forks.
  7. Turn the Instant Pot to saute and bring the juices to a boil. Reduce by half.
  8. Stir cornstarch with cold water to make a slurry. Once combined, pour into sauce reduction and stir quickly to combine. Remove promptly and pour over shredded chicken.

Adapted from A Saucy Kitchen

easy classic shrimp and grits


  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock/broth divided
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter divided
  • 3/4 cup stone-ground grits
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded
  • 4 strips bacon
  • 1 lb. jumbo shrimp peeled and deveined
  • kosher salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • thinly sliced green onions for garnish (optional)


  • Bring 2 cups of the chicken broth, the milk (2 cups), 3 tablespoons of the butter, and a pinch of salt to a gentle boil in a medium sized pot. Add the grits and whisk together. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until grits are fully cooked, soft, and creamy, whisking again every 5 minutes or so.
  • Meanwhile, cook the 4 bacon strips until crispy in a nonstick or cast iron skillet. Set aside on a paper towel lined plate. Once cool, chop into small pieces.
  • Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease from the skillet.
  • Rinse the shrimp with cold water and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper. Cook in the bacon grease until only just cooked- about 2 minutes per side.
  • Add the remaining tablespoon of butter and 1/2 cup of chicken broth to the shrimp and stir until melted and broth is heated.
  • When grits are finished cooking, remove from heat and stir in the cheese (1 cup) until melted.
  • Serve the shrimp mixture over the grits, making sure to spoon some of the liquid from the skillet over the grits, and sprinkle with the bacon pieces and sliced green onions. Serve immediately.

nutritional information

Calories: 610; Fat: 36g (sat 19g); Protein: 40g; Cholesterol: 372mg; Sodium: 1,892mg; Fiber: 1g; Carbohydrates: 30g (7g sugars)
yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 bowl)
time: 30 minutes

pork and asparagus stir fry


  • 3 tsp. peanut or vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 lb. asparagus, trimmed, cut on a diagonal into 1″–2″ pieces
  • 8 oz. ground pork
  • 6 scallions, white and pale green parts only, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 2″ piece ginger, peeled, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. Shaoxing wine (Chinese rice wine) or medium-dry sherry
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil


  • Heat 1 tsp. peanut oil in a large skillet over high. Once pan is hot (oil will be lightly smoking), add half of asparagus and a couple pinches of salt and cook, tossing only once or twice so the pieces have a chance to blister, until crisp-tender and lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer asparagus to a plate. Add 1 tsp. peanut oil to skillet (no need to wipe it out) and repeat process with remaining asparagus.

  • Reduce heat to medium-high; add remaining 1 tsp. peanut oil to skillet, then add pork, spreading out into an even layer. Season with a couple pinches of salt and cook, undisturbed, until meat begins to brown underneath, about 2 minutes. Break up meat with a wooden spoon and add scallions, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring, until pork is crisp and mixture is very fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add wine and soy sauce and return asparagus to skillet. Cook, turning to coat with pork mixture, until heated through, about 1 minute.

  • Transfer stir-fry to a platter or large shallow bowl and drizzle with sesame oil. Serve with rice and chili crisp.

nutritional information

yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 bowl)
time: 15-20 minutes
source: Bon Apetit

shredded pork soft tacos


Photo by Lisa Aragon Duque


  • 1 (3-4 lb) boneless pork butt roast, pulled apart at seams, trimmed, and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 6 (3 inch) strips orange zest plus 1/2 cup of juice (we have also made this with tangerines and it has been even more delicious)
  • 2 onions (chopped fine)
  • 1 TBSP minced canned chipotle chili in adobo sauce
  • 1 TBSP minced fresh oregano (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 TBSP lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
  • 1 1/2 TBSP cornstarch
  • 18 (6 inch) corn tortillas, warmed or 8 large flour tortillas
  • Optional: Thinly sliced radishes, tomatoes, lettuce, cilantro, guacamole for garnish


  1. Combine pork, orange zest and juice, 1.5 onions, chipotle, oregano, sugar, cumin, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and bay leaf in multicooker.
  2. Lock lid in place and close pressure release valve. Select high pressure cook function and cook for 25 minutes. Turn off multicooker and let pressure release naturally for 15 minutes. Quick-release any remaining pressure, and then carefully remove lid, allowing steam to escape away from you.
  3. Remove pork from instapot. Discard orange zest and bay leaf. Shred any remaining large chunks with two large forks.
  4. Let braising liquid settle, then skim excess fat form surface using large spoon. Combine cornstarch with 1 TBSP water to make a slurry. Add slurry to juices and using highest saute or browning function, cook until sauce thickens (usually within a minute of when liquid boils). Stir lime juice into pork and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add sauce to taste. Serve pork with warm tortillas, chopped onion, cilantro, radishes, and lime wedges.

This recipe also works great spooned over rice, if you find yourself without tortillas handy because supermarkets have been cleaned to the bone because of an ongoing pandemic.


Lock lid in place and open pressure release valve. Select low slow cook function and cook until pork is tender, 2 to 3 hours (if using Instant Pot, select high slow cook function and increase cooking range to 7 to 8 hours). Turn off multicooker and carefully remove lid, allowing steam to escape away from you.

nutritional information: Not available
yield: 6-8 servings (serving size: 1 bowl)
time: 1 hour 45 minutes pressure cooker
(4 hours slow cooker)
source: Multicooker Perfection from America’s Test Kitchen (page 114)

lemony herb couscous


1 c. couscous
1 1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch red pepper flakes



  1. Rinse couscous under cold water until water runs clear.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring broth to a boil. Add couscous, then cover with a lid and remove from heat. Let sit 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
  3. Add oil, lemon juice, and parsley. Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of red pepper flakes.

nutritional information: not available.

yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 small mound)
time: 25 min

scallion noodles with ground pork


  • 2 bunches scallions
  • 10 ounces dried Asian wheat noodles
  • 1/3 cup grapeseed or other neutral oil
  • 8 ounces ground pork
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 or 2 Fresno or jalapeño chilies, stemmed and sliced into thin rounds (optional)


  • In a large pot, bring 4 quarts water to a boil. While the water heats, cut the scallions into 2- to 3-inch lengths, then slice lengthwise into thin strips, reserving the whites and greens separately. To the boiling water, add the noodles, then cook until tender (refer to package instructions for cooking times). Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water until cool to the touch; set aside.
  • In a large skillet over medium, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the scallion whites and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add about half the scallion greens and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned and beginning to crisp, another 5 to 8 minutes. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  • Add the pork to the oil remaining in the pan and cook over medium, stirring to break the meat into small pieces, until the meat is well browned and crisp, 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce and sugar, then bring to a simmer, scraping up any bits stuck to the pan.
  • Reduce to low and add the noodles and fried scallions. Cook, tossing to combine, until the noodles are heated through, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat, then taste and season with salt. Toss in the remaining scallion greens. Divide among individual bowls and top with fresh chillies (if using).
nutritional information
yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1/cup beef and 2/3 cup rice)
time: about 35 minutes
source: Milk Street

beef empanadas

yield: ~18 empanadas
time: 60 min total



  • 1 lb ground beef
  • Olive oil, about 1-2 TBSP
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/4 yellow bell pepper, minced
  • 1/4 orange bell pepper, minced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 10-12 small green Spanish olives, pitted, chopped (optional)
  • 2 TBSP Uruguayan Adobo* or about 1.5 TBSP dried oregano, 1 tsp dried parsley, 1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes (Uruguayan adobo is a mixture of oregano, parsley, red pepper flakes, and other herbs)
  • 2 tsp salt (and more, to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 2 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 egg yolk for painting
  • Empanada wrappers– the kind for baking, not frying (La Salteña** Hojaldradas para hornear are best)


A few hours before, take the empanada dough out of the freezer and let it come to room temperature. They should not be cold, because the dough is harder to work with when too stiff.

Cook ground beef over medium heat in a pan, breaking it up and stirring as it cooks. When it’s almost done, remove from burner. Strain to get rid of fat and juices. Set aside. Pour off the rendered beef fat and juices.

Put pan back on heat, add olive oil. When oil is hot, add chopped onion and saute until almost translucent. Add bell pepper and sauté until soft and onions are just beginning to brown. Add garlic and stir for about 30 seconds to a minute. When garlic becomes fragrant, toss ground meat back in the pan. Cook, stirring until meat is done cooking and everything is nicely mixed. Season with adobo, paprika, salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat. Add tomato paste and stir. Taste again and adjust salt and pepper, if needed. Let cool.

Once lukewarm, toss in beaten egg and olives. Mix well.

Line 1 baking sheet with parchment paper.

Open empanada dough package. Take out one disc at a time. I like to hold the disc in the palm of my left hand, and using a tablespoon in my right hand, put about 1.5 TBSPs of filling onto the disc. (Leo prefers to lay out a bunch of the discs on a flat surface, and fill them. Whatever works for you is fine.) The amount you use can vary, just don’t overstuff the empanada or you won’t be able to seal it well. Leave about a 1/3- 1/2 inch border around edge. Moisten all around edge with water, then fold shell over filling. I seal my empanadas really quickly, like Chinese potstickers, but Leo uses the tines of a fork to press the edges all the way around. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat as many times as necessary. Pro tip — if your filling is super wet, you may want to cook your empanadas upright, like potstickers. If your filling is less juicy, place them on their sides.

Paint tops of empanadas with egg yolk. Place in 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes. When empanadas are golden and beginning to flake, remove. I lift the entire sheet of parchment and slide it onto a cooling rack. Enjoy carefully, as insides will be significantly hotter than outsides. These are also delicious at room temperature as a snack or meal.

* You can sometimes find Uruguayan adobo in Latin markets or on Amazon
**You can find La Salteña wrappers here in San Diego at Andrés Cuban Market on Morena, Tropical Star on Balboa Ave, or at North Park Produce in City Heights. They are Argentina’s best-selling empanada wrapper. My Uruguayan husband and I like them better than Goya brand for the flakiness of the dough and get consistently good results. We always buy the Hojaldradas para hornear as we do not have a deep fryer.

instapot beef stew

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Calories: 384kcal
Author: Nichole


  • 1 1/2 Pounds Beef Stew Meat
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Large Onion, Chopped
  • 1 16 Ounce Bag Baby Carrots, Cut Into Slices
  • 1 Pound Potatoes, Cubed
  • 2 1/2 Cups Beef Broth
  • 1 10 Ounce Can Tomato Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons Water


  • Add the olive oil to the instant pot and turn on the saute function. When the oil starts to sizzle add the meat and season with the salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.
  • Cook the meat until Browned on all sides.
  • Add the beef broth to the instant pot and use a spoon to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the Worcestershire sauce, garlic, onion, carrots, potatoes, and tomato sauce.
  • Close the lid and steam valve on the instant pot.
  • Cook on high pressure for 35 minutes, then allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes before doing a quick release.
  • Mix together the cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl and stir into the stew until thickened.


Calories: 384kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 42g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 105mg | Sodium: 1333mg | Potassium: 1246mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 35IU | Vitamin C: 16.7mg | Calcium: 103mg | Iron: 8.2mg