O M G! Repeat after me…..O M G! Seriously! I can’t believe I am FINALLY back. I can’t believe I have been gone for soooo long. I am so so sorry for my absence. I know many of you just didn’t know what to do without me. You’re probably all just starving!!! There is no one to blame but myself. It was my great idea to have a wedding, even if it was only a small one, and it just completely ate up all my time. (Pun intended.) But it did have its bonus. The wedding gave me a great incentive to lose some extra poundage and now I can finally fit into skinny jeans without feeling bloated!!! *HIGH FIVE*
But this come-back does not mean I’m going to revert back to not caring about what I eat and not exercising either, because I have to keep this up. It just feels too good not to. So getting back on the cooking wagon is going to take some baby steps for me. And my photography needs some serious work.
With Autumn in full swing, this is the best season to get delicious inspiration from all over the place. And my first inspiration has come from the one and only. The lady who gave me the inspiration to even start a pressure cooker blog in the first place. The crazy Ree from The Pioneer Woman!!! *APPLAUSE*
I always use her blog to see what kind of yummies she’s got cooking up. And she also takes such lovely photos that I can just never compare with. Sometimes, I wish she could adopt me. Maybe I can be her apprentice. She can be my jedi master. But then I’ll probably get super fat and become a fat jedi apprentice. Besides, she has enough kids and dogs to drive her batty, she doesn’t need another crazy chick to add to her entourage.
So anyway, I came across an easy peezy soup recipe on her site that sounded just divine for this lovely Autumn weather. And I’ve actually been getting a few requests on recipes for a simple Chicken Soup. Well, now we’ve got an awesome Italian Chicken Soup to contend with! Horray! Horrah! Of course, Ree makes her recipe the regular way on the stove. I’m going to do some tweaking so I can whip it up in trusty ole’ Peggy the Pressure Cooker. Electric Pressure Cooker that is. Yes, that was a direct plug.
So enough beating around the bush. Let’s get cooking!!!
- 1 Whole Chicken (You can quarter it or leave it whole; or go the easy route and just use 6 chicken breasts)
- 3-5 Italian Sausage (Mild or Spicy)
- 1 Medium Yellow Onion (Chopped)
- 1 Cup Celery (Chopped)
- 2 Jalapenos (Chopped)
- 1 Cup Green Bell Pepper (Chopped)
- 3 Tbsp Fresh Oregano (Roughly Chopped)
- 1 Cup Canned Tomatoes
- 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
- 3-4 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
- 3-4 Cups Water
- 3 Cups Pasta Noodles (Macaroni, shells, ditalini, rigatoni, etc. It doesn’t matter.)
This recipe involves cooking in stages. So what we’re going to do first is use the Browning function in the pressure cooker by pressing START. Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Then mix in the freshly chopped oregano. This will open up the fragrant herb and get all its flavors flowing. Cook the oregano for about 3 minutes. When that is done, press CANCEL to shut off the machine and remove all the cooked oregano into a small dish and set aside for later.
Now comes a quick sauteing of the vegetables. Press START again on the pressure cooker and put in the chopped onions, bell pepper, celery and jalapenos into the pot. Add some olive oil and brown all the veggies for a couple of minutes. Then press CANCEL to shut off the heat and remove all the veggies to another small dish and set aside for later.
Do the same again with the Italian Sausage. Remove the sausage from its casing. Separate and brown the sausage just for a few minutes. You don’t have to completely cook it all the way through. Again, set aside for later.
It’s chicken time! Add the whole chicken into the pot. Pour in all the Chicken Broth and water so the majority of the chicken is covered. Add in all the chopped onions, celery, jalapenos and bell peppers. Shut the lid and turn it to lock it into position. Adjust the valve to Airtight. If you’re cooking the chicken in quartered pieces, then you can just use the MEAT & CHICKEN pre-programmed button. If you’re cooking the chicken whole, then program the Pressure Cook time for 20-minutes and press START. The machine will begin its heating process and slowly build up pressure. When the pressure has built up, the heating element will shut off and the letter “P” will appear on the LED screen. This is when the machine is using “Pressure” to cook the food. Let the machine do its thing. (If you’re using just chicken breasts, cook for only 10-15 minutes or just press the MEAT & CHICKEN button.)
Take this time to maybe tidy up the kitchen, do a load of laundry, vacuum? Or be like me and go check your facebook!
When the chicken is done, the pressure cooker will beep and automatically go to Keep Warm. Release all the pressure by setting the valve knob on top to Exhaust. When all the pressure has released, the float valve will drop and the lid can now be turned to unlock it and open. Remove all the chicken to a large platter. Remove and discard any gunk that’s floating around in the liquid. Be careful, the chicken will want to come apart and run in opposite directions. Catch it if you can!
Let the chicken cool slightly. Then rip it to shreds!!! I mean, shred it with a couple of forks into nice little bite size pieces. Remove any bones, skin or cartilage. Drop some pieces on the floor “accidentally” for the puppies to eat up. Or if you have children……just kidding.
Take all the shredded chicken and mix it with the cooked oregano from earlier. Give it a good toss and let it sit for a few minutes so the chicken and oregano can do their special mind meld.
Chop up the canned tomatoes coarsely and add it into the stock liquid that’s still in the pressure cooker pot. Season with salt and pepper if necessary, but I usually do this at the end to avoid over-salting my dishes. Less sodium equals less water weight.
Add in the desired pasta as well and the semi-cooked Italian sausage.
Now put the shredded chicken and oregano mixture back into the pot with everything.
Add the heavy cream.
Give it a quick stir.
Shut the lid and lock it. Program the cook time for 5-minutes only. The pasta will cook fast.
When it’s done, you know the drill. Release all the pressure to avoid over cooking the pasta noodles. Open the lid and give everything a good stir. Season it with salt and pepper and let it sit for a few minutes just to mind meld a bit more. I like my food to meld. Maybe it’s the Vulcan in me….
The Hubz should be home soon. He had errands to run while I slaved away in the kitchen at home! NOT!!! Actually, his truck broke down about 15-minutes away and I had to go pick his butt up in the middle of cooking. How rude! Everyone knows you can’t disturb a cooking woman!
The soup is light yet rich in flavor and warmth. Perfect for an Autumn evening. It would make a great snack if you have a small bowl of it in between meals to keep your metabolism going. Garnish with some chopped fresh basil and parmesan cheese. It will be a delight!
– You can choose not to shred the chicken and just leave the chicken in smaller whole pieces. This is the Asian way of cooking chicken soup. However, that also means leaving the skin on which is more calories and fat.
– To lower the fat and calorie count, you can use less sausage or completely not use any sausage. And add more water than chicken broth to lower the sodium count.
– Add some cream of spinach for more ingredient punch!