I Am... 16 Best Instant Pot Recipes to Make this Summer When You Don’t Want to Turn on the Oven

Damn it’s hot out there. These are recipes for the days when it’s too hot to consider even going near the oven, even if it’s off. And forget slow simmering a soup or stew on the stove – nope, hard pass. These 16 Instant Pot recipes are perfect for when you want comfort food but don’t want to sweat, literally. Well, unless you’re sweating from eating a big bowl of noodles. Because didn’t you know? Eating a hot food actually cools you down – it’s why they eat spicy things and hot soups in tropical countries. Super counter intuitive, but when you eat hot food, your brain takes notice and cools you down. Science. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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I Am... Oven roasted steak with Japanese chimichurri, roasted bone marrow, and jammy eggs

Date night shouldn’t be a stressful thing, and it shouldn’t be either boring or too experimental either. As long as your date is ok with cilantro, this one is a surefire date pleaser that can be done strictly by the numbers. Smoky, seared, perfectly medium rare steaks, a savory japanese inspired take on chimichurri, jammy eggs and a luxurious roasted and seared bone marrow will ensure a stress-free successful dinner that’s neither too heavy nor will result in a food coma. Cooking Notes I’ve done this steak a bunch of times now, at 200ºF, it takes 40 min on the steak total, and at 350ºF, it takes 20 minutes, both times are for a decent 1 1/2” higher end supermarket steak. If your oven goes that low and you have the time to spare, the 200ºF will produce a more evenly cooked steak, but to be really honest, I don’t think it’s always worth the extra time. I like to get my steaks to 115ºF, which is a perfect medium rare after searing. Steaks don’t need to be rare if they are high quality, and can often be off-putting if you don’t know for sure that the other person likes their steaks rare. Medium rare is always a safer choice. If you’re cooking on 200ºF, near the end the steak tends to go up 1 degree per minute. A fast meat thermometer is your friend here, and they are cheap. Sear your steaks 1 minute per side if using a stainless steel pan, and 30s per side if using cast iron. In both cases, use a liberal amount of high heat oil and allow the oil to get hot enough to just about start smoking. Turn on your exhaust fans, open some windows, and be ready to fan smoke away from your smoke detector. A splatter screen is highly recommended. Boiling the eggs ahead of time and then storing them unpeeled in the fridge will make both cutting and peeling them much much easier. Ingredient Notes Bone marrow is usually very easy to find at any major grocery store, but if they don’t have any out, ask the butcher shop for soup bones. What do you need? A high sided baking pan, a rack, and a cast iron or stainless steel skillet (or any skillet without a non stick coating). Things that will make your life easy and awesome: a cheap splatter screen and meat thermometer. Tiny spoons for the bone marrow would work great as well. What do you serve it with? Just what's here.

Weeknight date night oven roasted steak with japanese chimichurri, roasted bone marrow, and jammy eggs recipe Serves 2
  • 2 steaks of choice
  • 2 marrow bones
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
1. Preheat your oven to 200ºF or 350ºF. Season your steaks on both sides and arrange on a foil lined baking tray. Place your bone marrow along side the steaks to roast, or do what I do, and place a rack over top to allow any excess fat to drip down and baste the steaks for you (this only works at 350ºF and if the bones are not frozen). Warm steaks in the oven - 40 minutes for 200ªF and 20 minutes for 350ºF. Use a meat thermometer to check it halfway through, every oven is different. 2. Combine garlic, rice vinegar, cilantro, sesame oil, and salt, and set aside. This amount makes what you see in the photos, so if you want a lot of sauce, double these amounts. 3. Bring a pot of water to the boil and cook your eggs for 7 minutes. Once done, plunge into an ice bath or under cold running water to stop the cooking. Set aside. 4. When your steaks hit 115ºF, remove from oven. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over high heat until the oil is smoking. Quickly sear the top and bottom of each marrow bone, then carefully sear each steak for 30 seconds per side (if using cast iron) or 1 minute per side (if using stainless). 5. Peel your eggs and cut in half, then slice your steaks against the grain and serve with chimichurri, jammy eggs, and roast bone marrow.
Welcome to Dinner & Chill, a new series focusing on quick & easy weeknight dinners with easy to find ingredients, no special equipment, low prep, and low effort. Less shopping, less chopping, less mopping, more eating.

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I Am... Fluffy Jiggly Cotton Cheesecake/Japanese Cheesecake Recipe

Last week it was my brother’s birthday and I thought I’d make him a cheesecake because ever since he was little, he’s been a cheesecake fan. Usually his jam is a classic rich and dense New York style cheesecake, but I thought I’d bring a fluffy jiggly cotton cheesecake/Japanese cheese over for something different. Most years we celebrate with an ice cream cake (I love the fudge and chocolate crunchies layer in a classic DQ cake) or a tuxedo cake (maybe my all time favorite store bought cake LOL) but ever since I made the small batch cotton cheesecakesmall batch cotton cheesecake, I’ve been itching to try again, so here we are.

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I Am... Better Than Take Out Yang Chow Fried Rice Recipe and 8 Tips and Tricks for the Best Fried Rice of Your Life

One of Mike’s favorite foods in the whole wide world is fried rice. Specifically Yang Chow fried rice. When we get take out, you better believe that there’s an order of Yang Chow fried rice in there. I even think that Mike has an index of all the good Yang Chow fried rices out there.

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I Am... The easiest 8 ingredient oven baked Taiwanese popcorn chicken recipe

Taiwanese popcorn chicken is a classic snack you can find at almost any proper taiwanese restaurant, street side stand, or cafe. Anyone who’s ever had it can tell you it’s an addictive dish that will have you eating a pound of chicken before you know it. It’s easily one of the best fried chicken variations in the world; standing shoulder to shoulder with other fried chicken stalwarts such as southern fried chicken or Japanese chicken karaage. This is an easy 8 ingredient oven baked version that tastes surprisingly close to the real thing. Cooking Notes Instead of a small bowl, you can definitely marinate the chicken in a ziplock bag. But if you do so, you should still transfer to a second bag to keep it as dry as possible so the corn starch sticks mostly to the chicken, and not to your bag. We do two layers of cornstarch for this chicken because of the wet rub (which is essentially what this paste is), once to dry out the rub and again to get a crispy coating. After the second layer, your chicken should look nice and dry. Ingredient Notes Five spice is a chinese spice mix of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, sichuan peppercorns, and fennel. It’s easily available at most grocery stores in the spice aisle or available online. If you can’t find it, skip it or sub in any of the spices you have on hand. Toasted sesame oil is dark brown in color and found in the Asian aisle of any grocery store or online. If you can’t find this, skip it, but once you try it, you’ll want it in everything. What do you need? A baking sheet with a snug fitting rack. What do you serve it with? Enjoy with white rice, mixed into fried rice, or just on its own with some beer, Taiwanese style. Garnish Traditionally this dish is garnished with fried Thai basil (which is what I’ve done here), but being that this is oven baked and not fried, you can garnish with fresh Thai basil, cilantro, or any herbs you have on hand.

The easiest oven baked Taiwanese popcorn chicken recipe Serves 2
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp five spice
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, cubed
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
1. In a small bowl, make a paste with the garlic, sesame oil, soy sauce, five spice, white pepper, and sugar. Toss your chicken in the paste until well coated and marinate for 15-30 minutes. 2. Once you are ready to cook, preheat your oven to 450ºF. Place your chicken in a ziploc bag along with 1 tablespoon cornstarch, then shake. Once the chicken is well coated, add a second tablespoon of cornstarch and shake again to coat. The chicken should look dry at this point. 3. Arrange the chicken pieces on a well oiled rack fitted into a foil covered baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. 4. After 20 minutes, flip the chicken and bake for another 5 minutes. 5. Remove and enjoy immediately with some fresh herbs, rice, and beer.
Welcome to Dinner & Chill, a new series focusing on quick & easy weeknight dinners with easy to find ingredients, no special equipment, low prep, and low effort. Less shopping, less chopping, less mopping, more eating.

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I Am... My Best Salted Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am straight up obsessed with chocolate chip cookies. I don’t think there is any other quintessential cookie out there. I think I would even go as far as saying that in a game of MFK of chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter, and oatmeal raisin, I’d definitely M chocolate chip cookies, F oatmeal raisin, and K peanut butter. They’re just that good. If I could only ever have one cookie for the rest of my life, it would be chocolate chip.

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I Am... Better Than Takeout No Peanut Kung Pao Chicken Stir Fry Recipe

Hello Friday! The week always feels a little weird to me when there’s a holiday right in the middle. Does anyone else ever feel like that? Kinda like the equilibrium of work to fun is off? Sometimes I get itchy when there’s too much fun and no play. But then again, I definitely go crazy when it’s all work and no play. Geez, am I complicated much?

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I Am... 10 Tips and tricks for making the best weeknight pasta of your life

When you don’t have time or energy for a slow, carefully simmered ragu with layers upon layers of flavors but still want pasta, you basically have two options: go to your friendly neighborhood hopefully high end pasta joint, or make a quick and easy weeknight homemade fix. Even though we are lucky enough to live 1 block away from a great pasta place that makes fresh pasta each morning, I’ll choose the homemade option pretty much every time because it's just as fast, often tastier, and with the bonus of no pants needed. The truth of the matter is, you can make a fast restaurant quality pasta dish at home with no recipe at all if you follow the simple framework of fat + cured meat + aromatics + liquid + cheese + star. Within this framework, you can riff it into a million recipes. Is it payday or a big celebration? Splurge on uni. Feeling poor? Go all veg. In fact, it might be tempting to go for a big meat thing, but the best pastas are often veg forward. There’s nothing better than a nice brown butter stinging nettle wild fennel pasta thing. Breaking it down: 1. The Fat: use butter or high quality olive oil, and do at least 1 tablespoon per serving. The fat coats the pasta and carries the flavor, it’s important. 2. Cured Meat: this is a quick and fast way to build flavor without slow simmering a sofritto all day long. I prefer guanciale, it’s cheap, keeps forever, and it’s incredibly smoky and tasty. Pancetta is nice as well and proscuitto has its place, but guanciale is the go-to cured meat for me. 3. Aromatics: try to go beyond the usual garlic and onions if you can. Fennel, mushrooms, sage, etc are all good options here. 4. The Liquid: wine, sodium free broth, or milk. Not too much, and the choice is not as important as it may seem. 5. The Cheese: this is where you should go big. Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorino, and more, the cheese is where the big flavor hit lies and is usually the difference between the stuff you have at home and the stuff they charge $25 a plate for in restaurants. I like to go 1/4 cup in the sauce and 1/4 cup to finish per serving here. That is indeed 1/2 cup of finely shredded cheese per serving. Splurge on the best cheese you can afford. 6. The Star: this is the differentiator and makes your pasta, you. Pick what’s in season, what’s cheap, and what you feel like. Uni, Tuna, Nettles, Peas, and so on. Nothing is off limits. Within the framework, just follow the steps below. 1. Heat the fat, and then crisp the cured meat. 2. Add the aromatics: add onions and its relatives until translucent, brown and crisp the garlic, soften anything else. 3. Add liquid and reduce by half. 4. Add cheese and stir until an emulsified sauce forms. 5. Lastly, add your star ingredients. In addition to the framework, here are 10 tips and tricks to getting the best pasta of your life: Tip #1: Choose fresh or high quality bronze extruded dried pasta. Or, if you get a chitarra, you can buy a ball of good fresh pasta, roll it out fairly thin, and cut it with the chitarra into tagliatelle, which is what I did here (although we made our pasta fresh instead of buying it). Tip #2: Make the right amount of sauce, which is about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of liquid per serving. In this recipe, I’ve combined 2 tablespoons of oil with about 2 tablespoons of rendered fat from the guanciale and 1/4 cup of wine (after reduction) to make just a little more than 1/2 cup of sauce for two servings. Tip #3: Always sauce in the pan. I like to cook my pasta 3 minutes from the package time, and then transfer to the pan along with some pasta water for its last 3 minutes. This guarantees glossy, super flavorful, properly sauced noodles every time. Tip #4: Never rinse your pasta. Pasta goes directly from pasta pan to sauce pan with no break in between, ideally without even hitting a colander. Tip #5: Transfer the pasta from the pot to the sauce with tongs or a spider. This lets you save the pasta water, which in turn helps you build a thick glossy sauce. Tip #6: Always think about the cheese. Cheese is one important leg of the pasta pyramid (the other two are the aromatics and the star). Tip #7: Make it spicy. If you can handle spice, a lot of good Italian food isn’t authentic without the spice hit. Tip #8: Don’t forget seafood. Italy is mostly coastline, and some of the best pastas I’ve ever had were seafood based. Uni, octopus, squid, tuna, and salmon are all great pasta stars. Of course, we can’t forget the most well known one: clams. Tip #9: Add really delicate flavors in at the end. Cooking can destroy flavors, so don’t be afraid to drop in some items near the end and let the heat of the pasta cook them. Tip #10: Highlight the season: fresh herbs and veg in summer, seafood in winter With all this in mind, this is a super easy, 6 ingredient weeknight pasta made with whatever was in our fridge. It was amazing: the umami from the cheese + mushrooms, the slightly bitter note of the red chard, and the smoky, pepperiness of the guanciale combined to create something far more than the sum of its parts. It serves 2. I ate half. Then I ate the other half, with no regrets. What do you need? A nonstick skillet, a pot big enough to boil pasta, and a pair of tongs (or chopsticks even).

15 minute weeknight pasta recipe #603: Tagliatelle with guanciale, mushrooms, and red chard Serves 2
  • 1/2 cup guanciale, finely chopped
  • 2 leaves red chard, roughly sliced
  • 2 large crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup parmigiano reggiano, finely grated
  • 6oz pasta of choice
1. Bring a pot of well salted water to a boil. Add your pasta and set the timer for 3 minutes before the package time. 2. Preheat a nonstick skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil or butter. Crisp the guanciale and cook the mushrooms over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. 3. Add the wine and reduce by half. 4. Add half of the cheese and stir until a glossy sauce forms 5. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, then drain and transfer the pasta without rinsing to your skillet (or just use tongs). Add the red chard and toss with the pasta and 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water until it is cooked to your liking and a glossy sauce forms (about 3 minutes). Add extra pasta water, sparingly, if needed. 6. Top with the remaining cheese and taste. Season with salt and pepper if needed, then plate. Enjoy immediately.

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I Am... Strawberry Shortcake Strawberry Pancakes Recipe

Come summer I’m all about the strawberries. My mom has always had a couple of bushes in her yard and there’s nothing quite like the taste of a perfectly ripe, still warm from the sun strawberry. When I see all the local berries popping up at the farmer’s markets, I know it’s time for some berry goodness. I love them in muffins, I love them in sweet Japanese fruit sandwiches, and I love them with pancakes!

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I Am... The ultimate 10 minute spicy beef weeknight stir fry udon

This is an incredibly tasty weeknight stir fried udon based on classic Japanese spicy beef that comes together easily and quickly with only 8 ingredients. It’s spicy and savory with a great mix of textures - the suppleness of the udon, the chew of the beef, and the crunch of properly cooked vegetables - that just explode in your mouth. I originally made this dish only to shoot for this blog post; we planned on saving it and having something else for dinner, but we couldn’t stop ourselves from finishing it. Our real dinner sat languishing aside, wishing it was this udon. It was so good we both decided it's going into our weekly rotation. Cooking Notes This is not one of those fake 10 minute dishes, but there are caveats. Namely, if you have time to cut your own cut of beef and marinate for 20-30 minutes, it would be a lot better. To do it in 10 minutes requires you to buy presliced beef and vegetables, which is still very tasty and way less work. If you were to go the 10 minute route, it would look like this: 1. T-10 minutes: whisk together the marinade ingredients in a bowl and add your beef 2. T-9 minutes: fill a bowl with hot water and soak udon 3. T-8 minutes: roughly halve an onion, then slice one half into 6 slices, open package of presliced mushrooms and prewashed broccolini, and slice the broccolini in half 4. T-7 minutes: preheat your pan 5. T-6 minutes: add beef 6. T-5 minutes: add vegetables 7. T-3 minutes: add udon and marinade 8. T-1 minute: plate, garnish, open a beer 9. T-0: blast off! Ingredient Notes The marinade ingredients are all available in the Asian aisle of any medium sized grocery store today. Buy cooking sake, not drinking sake. Also, buy Japanese soy sauce (kikkoman, yamasa, etc) if you can. If you can't find mirin, skip it and add 2 tablespoons of sake and 1 teaspoon more sugar, but it’s better to have mirin. These three ingredients form the base of a lot of Japanese cooking, so they won’t be collecting dust on your shelf once you have them (not that Dinner & Chill would ever ask you to buy single use ingredients). Gochujang typically comes in a red tub with Korean writing; the green and brown tubs are other pastes. These days, it also comes in a squeeze bottle, but I've never tried the squeeze bottle. You can buy presliced beef, typically labeled “stir fry beef”, or buy a cheap cut of whatever you like and slice it yourself, it’s not that much extra work if you have a good knife (it sucks if you have a bad knife though). I like brisket: it’s cheap and if you slice it thin, it has a good chew without being tough when you stir fry. You can also replace the beef with for pork, chicken, or tofu with no issues. Whatever you buy, if you can marinate for 30 minutes or more, it’ll taste 30x better (or more). The vegetables are your choice, but in this recipe I use 4 ounces each of crimini mushrooms and broccolini and 1/2 a red onion. Finally, unless you live in Japan and have access to freshly made udon, the best udon you can buy comes frozen, ideally with no english at all on it. If you can’t find that, try the shelf stable plastic bags labeled nama udon. Finally, as a last resort, use dried udon from amazon. What do you need? A large nonstick skillet and 2 medium-large bowls.

The best 10 minute spicy beef weeknight stir fry udon recipe Serves 2
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 2 tablespoons sake
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons gochujang (dependent on spice preference)
  • 8oz beef, thinly sliced
  • vegetables of choice (see note above)
  • 2 bricks udon
1. Make a marinade by combining sake, mirin, soy sauce, sugar, and gochujang in a large bowl. 2. Slice your beef if you are not using a presliced cut and add to the marinade. 3. Fill a large bowl with hot tap water and soak the udon. 4. Prepare your vegetables of choice. 5. In a nonstick pan or wok, preheat a small amount of oil over medium-high heat. Using a pair of tongs or chopsticks, remove the beef from the marinade and add to the pan. Set aside the marinade and stir fry your beef for 1-2 minutes, then add vegetables and fry until the vegetables are very lightly cooked. 6. Drain and add the udon and reserved marinade. Toss well and bring the marinade to a boil, then fry for 1-2 more minutes, or until udon is warmed through. 7. Enjoy!
Welcome to Dinner & Chill, a new series focusing on quick & easy weeknight dinners with easy to find ingredients, no special equipment, low prep, and low effort. Less shopping, less chopping, less mopping, more eating.

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I Am... Authentic Malaysian Chicken Satay Recipe and a No Peanut Peanut Sauce

All summer long, when I was a kid, I simultaneously looked forward to and dreaded my mom’s barbecues. They were epic: loads of people, and all the food you could ever possibly want to eat. My favorite thing, and everyone else’s too, it seemed, was the chicken satay. Bright yellow, glistening, charred juicy skewers of chicken, just begging to be dipped into creamy, nutty sauce.

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I Am... How to Make Extra Tall Extra Fluffy Japanese Soufflé Pancakes like Gram Cafe and Pancakes

Mike and I watch this youtube channel where this dude v-logs his days with his corgi. It’s infinitely cute because I love corgis and even more cute because sometimes he makes his corgi dog-friendly food. This post has nothing to do with dog friendly food. But, the youtube dude did inspire me to try my hand at Gram-style Fluffy Japanese pancakes.

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