Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

If you know me, you know that I LOVE the Instant Pot. Love it. I use them (yes, I have two) pretty much every single day.

Cookie is the pickiest eater I have ever known. One of the few things she actually likes is macaroni and cheese. I like to make real macaroni and cheese but honestly I don’t always have the time even for the IP. Now I have figured out how to make boxed mac and cheese (yes I admit to using the blue box) in the Instant Pot. Fast, easy, and will actually be eaten. Plus I have a trick to fixing the clumpy noodles you usually get when you cook them in the IP.


First picture is immediately after I opened the IP; second picture is before stirring – the noodles are all clumpy so I pull out my trusty whisk; third picture looks good enough to eat!

IP Boxed Mac and Cheese

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 1/2 cups water
4 Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp butter
1 box macaroni and cheese

Put water and milk into the liner pot.

Stir in the noodles then put in your butter and cheese powder.

Close the lid, make the the vent is on sealing, and select Manual or Pressure Cook, and set the time for 5 minutes (at sea level you can probably do 4 minutes).

When time’s up, let it release pressure naturally for about 4 minutes and then quick release the remaining pressure. Any sooner than that, and you’ll end up with cheese powder particles coming out of the vent. Or so I’ve heard…ahem.

Now here’s my trick to breaking up the noodles. When the pressure is fully released, open the lid. Don’t worry about the cheesy part just sitting on the top, we’re going to get it all mixed it. ¬†Grab your whisk and go to town on those noodles. Don’t stir with a spoon because you’ll won’t be able to separate the macaroni.

Serve and enjoy!

Believe it or not, it is faster than the stove top. I know this because I did a test. One box of mac and cheese on the stove top and one on the IP. I actually put the water on to boil on the stove top first and then threw the ingredients in the Instant Pot. The IP was done about 2 minutes before the stove top was done. But the best part? I didn’t have water boiling over on the stove and I didn’t have to watch and stir anything. Win, win, win!


Egg-Free Pumpkin Pie

I love pumpkin pie. Every fall, I make lots of pumpkin pies – I won’t wait for Thanksgiving. But when we found out about Cookie’s allergy to eggs, I didn’t know what to do. Eggs are sort of a big deal in pumpkin pie. I tried all kinds of allergy-friendly pumpkin pie recipes. Most of them were tolerable but not great. Since Cookie had never had real pumpkin pie, she didn’t know any different. But I did. So for those years I made regular pumpkin pie for everyone and an allergy-friendly pumpkin pie for Cookie. I love to bake but it’s crazy to bake a pie for one tiny child who will maybe eat two or three small pieces total over a few days.

So I started experimenting more and I finally have an egg-free pumpkin pie that tastes right. This recipe started from an allergy-free website and altered it to suit our tastes. I think it works pretty well.

I am using my normal crust – not gluten-free. GF pie dough is a nightmare to work with and I just haven’t taken the time to find one that I really like. Then, on our vacation this year, I found Wheat Montana. I don’t know why exactly but many people – including Cookie – who have gluten sensitivities have no problem with Wheat Montana’s flour. Fortunately I can buy it at my local SuperTarget so that’s what I use. One of these days I’ll share my pie crust recipe and tips for making it come out perfect – both tender and flaky. But today is just about the filling! Here’s how you do it.

1 can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups whole milk (I prefer whole milk but you can use something else – it might not be as thick and creamy)
6 1/2 Tbsp corn starch
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
1 pie crust (unbaked)

Preheat your oven to 350. Line a standard 9″ pie pan with your crust and set aside (preferably in the freezer). Combine all your filling ingredients in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until it thickens. Stir constantly (it’s only a few minutes). When it’s thickened, pour into your pie shell and bake at 350 until set (30-45 minutes). You can check it with a butter knife – stick it in the middle and if it comes out clean, the pie’s done. Let it cool completely on a wire rack before cutting and serving.





Pretty simple, right? You’ll never even miss the eggs. This is a great pie even for those who can have eggs but maybe you’ve run out and NEED pumpkin pie. And yes, there is often a NEED for pumpkin pie.

Chicken and Rice Soup

I am always thinking that I want to post recipes – especially gluten-free/allergy-free ones – and I need to get on it. But here’s my problem. The photographs. Let’s be honest – if a blog posting of a recipe doesn’t have pictures, you’re not going to take the time to read the recipe much less make it.

But I am not a good photographer. Even if I decided, “So what? Post the pictures anyway,” I still have another problem. And it’s a very hard one to admit.

My kitchen is always a mess. Always. It’s not like I don’t wash dishes. It seems like there are days that that’s all I do. Yet everytime I turn around, there’s another ginormous pile of dishes needing to be washed.

If all the dishes are done (ha!) and put away, the counter is usually full of art work, homeschool projects, mail, toys I’ve confiscated…the usual. I can’t take pictures of food in that mess. Too much clutter (actually that’s a problem everywhere in my house but that’s a different story).

Today I’ve decided that that’s going to have to change (well, there’s still some clutter but the pictures will be taken anyway). Because I need to share with you my favorite soup. It’s that time of year when I make soup A LOT and try lots of different recipes. But this is my favorite. My stand-by, go-to, fail-safe. It’s a great flexible recipe because you can throw it together fast when it’s 5pm and you need to get something for dinner. But it can also be a great plan-ahead meal too.

It’s also gluten-free and dairy-free because that’s what we do in this house. But if you don’t need to be GF and/or DF, feel free to use other ingredients as noted.

The girls wanted to help with the soup this time. I let Ladybug try her hand at chopping the chicken.

Ladybug chopping chickenThen they took off with the camera and here’s a sample of what I found when I downloaded the pictures.

Silly CookieBut I digress. On with the recipe!

Chicken and Rice Soup

1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 tsp. garlic, minced (about 2 cloves – use more or less to taste)
2 Tbsp butter (or olive oil/avocado oil/coconut oil/spray of nonstick coating)
1/4 cup sweet rice flour (if you don’t need to be GF, you can use the same amount of all purpose flour)
2 cans (about 4 cups) GF chicken broth
2 cups cooked rice
12 oz shredded or chopped, cooked chicken breast (usually about 2 chicken breasts)
1 cup milk (cow, rice, or coconut work well)
2 Tbsp. lemon juice

In a large stockpot, melt the butter (or heat the oil of your choice) over medium-high heat. Saute the onion, celery, and carrots till soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and let it cook for about 30 seconds. Sprinkle in the flour and stir to coat the vegetables. Slowly pour in the chicken broth and stir well.

Add in the cooked chicken and rice and stir well. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally or you’ll end up with burnt rice on the bottom of the pan. (I would guess….I’ve certainly never done that. Ahem.)

Gradually stir in the milk and lemon juice and heat it through. Add salt and pepper, if needed. Enjoy!

Chicken and Rice Soup
The beauty of this recipe is that it works no matter what. I’ve left out each of the vegetables at one time or another (if I happened to be out of one of them), and it’s still delicious. I’ve used canned chicken in a pinch. Typically I put a cup of rice in the rice cooker and start that cooking right before I start chopping the vegetables. By the time I need it for the soup, it’s just finished in the rice cooker.

Quick, easy, pretty economical and healthy too. Plus gluten free and allergy friendly. What more can you ask for?

Allergy Friendly Oven Pancakes

I have been asked to post some recipes. I am happy to do so because I actually like to cook but I must throw out my disclaimer that the recipes aren’t totally mine. I wish I was creative in the kitchen (or anywhere else) but I’m not. But I can cook and do tweak things here and there to suit our taste or to make food safe for everyone in my family. I will endeavor to give credit where credit is due whenever I do post a recipe.

One of the most popular meals in my house is “Breakfast for Dinner.” Our favorite is buckwheat pancakes but oven pancakes are a close second.

I love oven pancakes mostly because they’re so much faster than the griddle. Just mix it up and plop it in the oven. Done and done.

I found this recipe on Pinterest and I have played with it a bit to make it allergy-friendly for my house. It’s from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures (go check her site, it’s awesome).

Here we go…Allergy-Free Oven Pancake

1/2 cup applesauce (you could also use egg replacer or flax for 2 eggs)
4 Tbsp butter, melted (I use Earth’s Balance for dairy free)
2 cups rice milk + 2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp sugar
3/4 cup superfine brown rice flour
3/4 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca starch
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp cinnamon (opt)

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a jelly roll pan (mine was 10×15).

Whisk together the applesauce, butter (Earth’s Balance), and soured milk. Stir in dry ingredients till blended. Batter will still be lumpy. Let the batter sit for 5 minutes. Pour and spread batter into prepared pan and bake for 12-15 minutes. Serve with maple or fruit syrup. Yum!

Oven pancakes

I ran upstairs to get the camera to take a picture of the pancakes on the plate and by the time I came back down, The Big Guy was already on his second helping. So the plate is a bit of a mess. I’ll do better next time…I promise!

These are really delicious. You can use any type of milk that works for you – almond, coconut, rice, cow…. I’m also thinking about trying it with melted coconut oil instead of butter/Earth’s Balance. If I do, I’ll let you know how it turns out. In the meantime, make these! You’ll be glad you did.