How to make super easy garlic mashed potatoes in your InstantPot

I don’t know why,  but making mashed potatoes was always a weak point for me. They either came out like mush or paste. Being the stubborn person that I am, I didn’t give up trying and I have finally found a foolproof recipe that has already received rave reviews and will be gracing the table this Thanksgiving for sure!  I do have to give a shout out to my husband for the many years of being my official taste tester.

To make this incredibly easy recipe, gather together the following:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 7lbs of potatoes
  • 1/4 C butter
  • 1/4 C milk
  • 1/4 C sour cream
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 6 C water

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Peel and wash your potatoes
  2. Slice potatoes (about 1/2″ thick) and place into your InstantPot
  3. Add water
  4. Place InstantPot cover on unit and lock in place, make sure the vent is closed. Set on High Pressure or Manual (depending on your unit) for 8 minutes.
  5. Immediately vent after timer cycle ends. When steam is finished, open cover and strain out the water.
  6. Add in butter, milk, sour cream, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mix to desired consistency.

That’s it!! Clean up was a breeze and cooking this in any kitchen will be a snap. This typically takes me about 30 minutes from start to finish.

NOTES:

  • If you cut the recipe in half, the cook time will remain the same.
  • Make sure to immediately vent and strain after cooking or the potatoes will become overcooked and turn to mush.

 Buy your InstantPot on Amazon now!

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Camper Cooking with Kerry: Instant Pot Beef Stew

Instant Pot, Instapot, no matter how you say it….yes, the hype is real.

This recipe using an Instant Pot is good no matter where you make it, but there are certain benefits that someone cooking in a small space (such as the kitchen in our Little Guy Max) can truly appreciate. Without having to deal with multiple pots and pans it makes preparation and clean-up a breeze. If you are cooking in an RV, trailer, camper, etc it also minimizes the amount of electricity being used (if hooked up to a generator) as well as saving your propane for other uses.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1  1/2 lbs of beef stew meat
  • 1  Tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of pepper
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 8 oz chopped carrots
  • 2 cans whole potatoes (chopped) – or baby red potatoes
  • 2  1/2 Cups beef broth
  • 4 oz can tomato paste (or 8 oz tomato sauce)
  • 4 Tbsp flour

DIRECTIONS:

  1.   We’re going to start off by putting in some olive oil into the pot.  One of the best things about the InstantPot – EVERYTHING is done here. Fewer dishes? Sign me up.
  2. Now select the saute button on the front of the Instant Pot.
  3. As the olive oil heats up, add in the stew meat. We’re going to stir it occasionally so that all sides of the meat brown.
  4. While the meat is browning, add in the pepper and pepper
  5. Now add in some Italian seasoning.
  6. Next, we’re going to add in our beef broth. Slowly pour into the pot and stir, scraping up any bits of meat that might have been stuck to the bottom of the pot.
  7. Add in the Worcestershire sauce
  8. The recipe next calls for tomato sauce. You’ll see that I used tomato paste – it’s smaller and takes up less room in my Little Guy Max kitchen. I just added an equal amount of water to my 4 oz can of paste, mixed it well and then added it into the pot.
  9. Here’s where I cheated a bit by using canned potatoes. They keep longer and take up less room (plus, no peeling!).  The cans with already diced potatoes are diced too small for my liking, so I bought the whole potatoes and chopped them up.  If using non-canned potatoes, go with the small red potatoes.
  10. Carrots. I didn’t use canned carrots because I didn’t want them to turn to mush. I did, however, use baby carrots (again, no peeling!) and just chopped them up a bit smaller, you could just throw them in as is.
  11. Time to add the garlic! I have had this garlic press from Pampered Chef for more than 10 years and absolutely love it. If you don’t have this in your kitchen, you need to.
  12. Last but not least, chop up your onion and add into the pot.
  13. Place the cover back on and turn to lock it in place. Make sure your release valve is set to lock. Press the manual button and adjust the time (by hitting the + or – buttons) to 35 minutes.  After the 35 minutes, let it sit and do what they call a “natural release” of pressure for about 10 minutes.
  14. While you are waiting, equal parts of flour and cool water together to form a paste. Set aside.
  15. After the 10 minutes of natural release, press the pressure release valve and wait until it stops steaming.
  16. Remove the cover and add in the flour/water mixture. Stir well.

All I can say is WOW. From start to finish this took less than hour….and let me tell you, it does taste amazing. The perfect comfort food on a chilly day.

Camper Cooking with Kerry: Making bread without an oven

No oven? No problem! Follow these simple steps to make bread without an oven.

INGREDIENTS:

2 ½ cups Flour

1 cup hot milk

2 1/4 tsp instant yeast (1 packet)

1 1/2 tbsp sugar

2 tsp powdered milk

2 tsp salt

1 tsp butter

STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE:

  1. The first thing you need to do is pour hot milk into a bowl.
  2. Pour in your sugar and whisk the milk and sugar together until all of the sugar has dissolved.
  3. When the milk has cooled a bit (you want it lukewarm), add the yeast to the milk and sugar, stirring just a bit. Let it sit for about 10 minutes to proof. You are looking for the yeast to look a bit frothy.
  4. Once your yeast is ready, add in flour.
  5. Add in powdered milk.
  6. Add in salt….make sure to do it in this order because if you add the salt directly to the yeast, you will kill the yeast.
  7. Now mix together all of the ingredients.
  8. Sprinkle a little bit of flour on a flat surface. Gather the dough into a pile, place it on the table and start to knead. It will be a bit sticky at first but keep working it with your hands, forming it into a ball and then reshaping it. Knead with the heels of your hand, pushing away from you and folding back over. Continue this for about 10 minutes. You know when the dough is ready when is shiny, relatively smooth and springs back when you press into it.
  9. Now take the butter and knead it into your dough. Once it is worked in, set it aside for a minute and grease the bowl that you will use to let the dough rise. To grease the bowl, take some butter and spread it around the entire surface of a bowl. You want a bowl large enough to let the dough expand about twice its size.
  10. Place the dough in the bowl and cover it with a damp cloth. Set aside for 1 hour.
  11. While you are waiting for the dough’s first rise, prep the pan that you are going to cook the bread in by spreading butter on all interior sides and edges. Don’t skip this step as the bread will be very difficult to get out of the pan without doing this.
  12. Now that your dough has risen, take it out of the bowl and punch it down. Knead for again for a few minutes. You are aiming for a smooth dough. Pinch cracks and continue working until smooth.
  13. Place your dough into the prepared baking pan and press to fill in evenly.
  14. Cover again with a damp cloth and set aside for 1 hour to rise.
  15. After about 50 minutes, heat up your “oven”. Any pressure cooker that you can fit your loaf pan into will work. My All American Pressure Canner/Cooker is a bit of overkill and I actually recommend a smaller unit (something like this: Add salt to the bottom of the pan – this is mostly to absorb moisture during the cooking process. Place cutting rings or racks into the cooker to elevate the loaf pan during cooking. NOTE: remove your gasket and weights from your pressure cooker before using. Place cover on cooker and turn on heat to high.
  16. Unwrap your dough and brush the top with milk. The fat and sugars from the milk will help your bread develop a nice golden color during cooking.
  17. Place your bread into the cooker, cover and reduce to medium heat. At about 20 minutes, remove cover and brush bread with milk once more, cover and continue to cook for an additional 10 minutes or until you achieve a nice golden color.
  18. Take your bread out of the cooker and place on a rack to cool.
  19. To help make your bread nice and soft, take a bit of butter and brush it on the top of the loaf.
  20. Once the pan has cooled just enough to handle with your hands, flip over and remove the bread. Wrap the bread in a damp cloth and set aside.

After about 2 hours, unwrap the bread, slice and enjoy!

IMPORTANT NOTE: As I mentioned earlier, my All American Pressure Canner/Cooker was a bit much – fine for a traditional cooktop/range, but I found that when using it in my camper, the cooktop and surrounding countertop became a bit hot – a potential hazard. Using a smaller pressure cooker that doesn’t extend past the sides of the cooktop is much safer. 

-Kerry

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Camper Cooking with Kerry: California Rolls

Last week, I showed you how to make SPAM musubis and since I had a bit of nori left over, I decided to make our daughter’s favorite – California Rolls!

Russ and I met while we were in the Air Force many, many years ago. So we were incredibly proud when our daughter, Kiana, decided to join the Air Force as well. She represents the fourth generation of our family to serve in the USAF and recently got married to a wonderful young man who is also in the Air Force. 19399661_1159832684121428_6766478793540998871_n

Kiana would always ask me to make this recipe and now, whenever I make this, it is hard to not think of her as I do so. Now that we have our Little Guy Max, we definitely plan on getting out to visit her more often!

 

Before I get into the recipe, I want to share a little hack for giving me more workspace in the kitchen. Pull the dinette table over towards the sink and it provides a nice L-shaped counter area to really spread out while cooking.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1  1/2 C of Calrose (or any sushi rice)
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 lb crab meat (imitation crab meat is fine)
  • 1  1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 C rice vinegar
  • 3/4 C mayonnaise
  • salt & pepper to taste

YIELD:  15-18 pieces (you can actually make more if you double the rice

EQUIPMENT:

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. PREPARE CRABMEAT FILLING: Chop up the crabmeat, add in the mayo and garlic powder (you can also add in salt and pepper to taste). Mix well and put in the refrigerator to chill. IMG_6110
  2. PREPARE RICE: Put uncooked rice into a container and rinse/strain several times until water runs clear enough for you to see the rice through the water. Place cleaned rice into pot and add 2 cups of water and let sit for 15 minutes.
  3. COOK RICE: Bring rice to a low boil, put the cover on the pot and reduce to a simmer for 10-15 minutes. When rice is done cooking, remove from stovetop and mix in the rice vinegar.Rice when finished
  4. WHILE RICE IS COOKING:
    1. Peel the cucumber, scoop out the seeds and cut into long, thin strips.IMG_6095
    2. Peel the carrot and cut into long thin strips. img_6097.jpg3. Cut avocado in half, score lines and scoop out. Continue to cut pieces into strips. IMG_6099
  5. ASSEMBLE THE ROLLS
    1. Place a sheet of nori onto the bamboo mat
    2. Using a rubber spatula, spread rice evenly over the entire surfaceIMG_6119
    3. Spread some mayo over the top of the rice, which will help smooth and even out the rice layer further. IMG_6122
    4. Scoop out some of the crab meat mixture and place in a horizontal line on the lower half of rice.IMG_6124
    5. Place a strip of cucumber just above the crab mixture and a strip of carrot below (sandwiching the crab mixture between them). Place avocado pieces on top of the crab mixture.IMG_6114
    6. Roll from the bottom to the top, exerting equal pressure. Set aside, seam side down. If needed, dip a finger in water and run along the seam. IMG_6115
    7. The ends are typically messy and uneven so I will cut off the outer ends (I usually have someone lingering close by to gobble them up!).  Continue to slice into pieces to your desired thickness. california rolls finished

 

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Camper Cooking with Kerry: SPAM Musubis

After we posted our Bottomless Lakes trip video, someone commented they would like to see more “lifestyle” content focusing on how we use the inside of our Little Guy Max. Great idea!

In addition to the recipe below, Russ and I made this video as a “how to” make SPAM musubis from in the kitchen of the Little Guy Max. That’s right, I said SPAM

Russ grew up in Hawaii and I believe our marriage has lasted over 26 years at least in part, because I learned how to make musubis! Definitely something out of my comfort zone, this girl from Connecticut almost lost him the first time he saw me put butter and salt on rice instead of soy sauce.

family hawaiiThis recipe is one I have put together from my memories watching Russ’s Auntie make them when we lived on Oahu. I don’t know if I got it exactly like hers, but I did get the seal of approval from her when she came to our house for a visit years ago – whew!!

Thank you Auntie Margaret! (3rd from left, back row). This photo was taken on our family trip back to Hawaii-December 2016. 

brett hawaiiDuring our time living in Wisconsin, musubis also became a favorite for our son, Brett and his friends as they were growing up. They would all have the same initial hesitant reaction when we would first offer it to them, but after they had one, they were hooked.

Brett recently graduated from Beloit College (proud Mom moment!!) and has moved to Seattle. Brett, this video/post is for you!

The only real variation I make when making these in our RV versus a traditional kitchen is not using a rice cooker (which can be bulky and take up a lot of space) and instead, cooking the rice on the stovetop instead.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 can SPAM (12 oz)
  • 1 1/2 C  Calrose rice (uncooked)
  • 1/2 C light brown sugar
  • 1/2 C soy sauce (preferably Aloha Shoyu or Kikkoman)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 sheets of Nori

YIELD: 6 musubis (enough for 2-3 people)

EQUIPMENT: (list & links to actual products used)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. WASH YOUR RICE: pour 1 1/2 C of rice into pot and fill with water until rice is covered. Stir rice. Drain water. Do several times until water is relatively clear.
  2. SOAK RICE: Take your pot that contains the washed/drained rice and add 2 cups of water. Set aside to soak for 15 minutes.
  3. PREPARE “SAUCE”: In frying pan, whisk together  1/2 C light brown sugar, 1/2 tsp of garlic powder, 1 tsp of ground ginger, 1/2 C soy sauce and 1 C of water. Heat and set to low simmer.Sauce
  4. ADD SPAM: Cut SPAM lengthwise into approximately 6 thick slices. Place SPAM into frying pan with other ingredients. SPAM is ready when the sauce is reduced to a light syrup consistency.
  5. COOK RICE: Set the pot that has the water and rice in it on the stove, bring to a simmer and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until all water is absorbed. If during cooking, water starts to boil over, just reduce the temperature a bit. When rice is finished, set aside (keep a cover on until ready to use).Rice when finished
  6. ASSEMBLE MUSUBI:
    1. Place a sheet of nori on top of the bamboo rolling mat.
    2. Put the outer part of the musubi press on top of the nori, placing it in the lower half of the sheet, leaving at least a half an inch extending out from the bottom.Nori on mat
    3. Place two slices of the SPAM side by side inside the musubi press.Spam in mold
    4. Add rice on top of the SPAM until the rice is just at the top of the musubi press.
    5. Take the handle part of the musubi press, place it on top of the rice and firmly press down.Press down rice
    6. While holding down the handle of the musubi press, slide up the outer shell.
    7. Take a knife and slide it between the musubi handle and rice. Set handle and knife aside.
    8. From bottom to top, slowly wrap the nori around the SPAM/rice brick, using the bamboo mat.
    9. You can either wet your fingers with some water and wet the ends to “seal” the nori wrapper OR simply rest musubi on the seam for a few minutes.
    10. Repeat steps 1-9 until all SPAM and rice have been used.
    11. Cut each musubi “brick” in half, serve and enjoy!cut musubis

One of the great benefits of having an RV is the ability to take your “home” wherever you go and especially for us, the ability to make our favorite comfort foods whenever we want. Cooking in an RV is not much different than in a traditional kitchen. I have found the real secret is to clean up as you go and you’ll find that even in the smallest spaces, you will have more than enough room to do everything you need to do.

-Kerry

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