I learned to cook by spending time in the kitchen with my mom. My mom is a creative soul with immense talent in the kitchen. She doesn't use recipes nor does she taste for flavors while she's cooking. Mom relies on her sense of smell, her knowledge and intuition to create culinary excellence.
Just like her, I rarely follow recipes. I don’t enjoy feeling bound by ingredients and measuring equipment. I like to experiment with flavors, use fresh ingredients and plate the food intentionally. I also feel alive creatively and use it as a form expression. Cooking can be freeing and therapeutic for me when there is no added pressure of deadlines or holidays…...
Comes in the school year, carpool and motherly responsibilities with time constraints...
One may think this isn't the time to experiment in the kitchen. One would be correct! This realization is relatively new for me . I now know that I’m one of those moms who has to put less effort into making dinners and not more. (Please introduce yourself if you’ve recently come to the same conclusion about yourself). I was spending valuable time tweaking and adding to my dishes, often leaving myself crunched in other more urgent matters. The cooking was no longer therapeutic despite the creativity and problem solving . It wasn’t stress inducing per se, but there were certainly moments of frustration. There were the times when I had anticipated having the food ready at a certain time, only to get carried away and add extra ingredients that needed more cooking time. Or, the times that I decided that I needed to make a particular salad or side dish when everything else was ready and waiting. The part that really inspired the change though, was realizing how much more time I would have for other things if I wasn't so busy in the kitchen . I recognized that this system wasn't working and committed myself to and cook more efficiently and save my creativity for other endeavors.
Well…. The efficiency plan was foiled in March. HELLO Corona…. But on the bright side, one bonus of the quarantine months was being able to slow down. There were no carpools, appointments or after school programs to rush to . I had a lot of free time to create in the kitchen. I made large meals and experimented with the many kitchen gadgets that I’ve been collecting over the years. We ate dinner together as a family for months and it was wonderful. As great as it was, I am very glad to return to some semblance of normal, thank GD. My kids are thrilled to be back at school and interacting with their friends.
With the start of the school year, I’ve decided that NOW is the time to revisit my goal of simplifying dinners. I’m going to share these meals with you so that you too can have smooth and easy evenings .
I decided to start with Instant Pot Asian Chicken because all the elements of this recipe are household favorites, with the bonus of one pot! We all love tender, falling apart chicken, and bold asian flavors. I love the convenience of the instant pot and get a thrill each time I use it.
I ate this dish as is with nothing extra on the side and I was full and satisfied. The coconut aminos lent a sweetness without added sugar. The broccoli was tender but not too mushy, just the way I like it. The parsley, scallions and extra sesame seeds added texture and dimension. As I write this, I'm thinking that some sliced toasted almonds would also be a great accompaniment to this dish, or any dish for that matter . It would be great with rice, although you would have to either clean the pot or use another one. If you want to go all out asian like I did, you can make some peanut butter noodles and treat the peanut lovers in your crew.
Happy cooking !
Can't wait to share more recipes !!
Instant Pot Asian Chicken
Serves 6-8 generously
Prep Time- 10 minutes
Overall Cook Time - Apx 1 hour
2 large family packs boneless skinless chicken thighs
⅓ cup coconut aminos
¼ cup water or chicken broth
¼ - 1 teaspoon garlic powder (based on your taste)
½ teaspoon paprika
Dash of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon dijan Mustard
7-12 shakes of toasted sesame oil
Bag of frozen Broccoli cauliflower
Add all chicken ingredients to the instant pot
Manually set to 13 minutes
After the time is complete, Manually release the air - CAREFULLY
Remove chicken to a pan
Add frozen veggies
Set timer to zero
Manually release when complete add Chicken back into the pot. It’s ok if it shreds .
Transfer to a serving dish, pan or individual plates and add the sauce to your liking. There will be extra liquid.
Garnish with sesame seeds, scallions and parsley or as desired