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Hi! I’m Melissa

When I was young I had wings, but they were taken from me. When I turned 50, I took them back. I’m now a Chef, Photographer, Entrepreneur, and an Artist. This is my diary about mastering midlife & encouraging women to live a fulfilling life at any age. Click here for my About Page.

Cookbook Recommendation Oct 2019: The Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook

Cookbook Recommendation Oct 2019: The Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook

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Welcome to my new monthly post, Cookbook Recommendations, where I detail the reasons I have fallen in love with yet another cookbook and why you should add it to your collection (or start a collections). My collection of cookbooks bows the shelves on my metal racks and it’s a serious addiction that I cannot give up. The pictures! The stories! The promise of delicious food! It’s almost too much for me to handle. I literally read every new cookbook cover-to-cover while enjoying a glass of wine.

Food makes me giddy.

My favorite cookbook for October 2019 is , The Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook. It was a Christmas gift along with an Instant Pot (that I never intended to use because I didn’t understand the craze) and I only recently cracked it open to find delicious and simple recipes I can make and eat in less than 30 minutes!

I’ve looked over a few cookbooks featuring instant pot recipes and I was left unimpressed because they featured mainly soup, stew, more soup and a couple of meat-based recipes that were so off the meat turned to liquid. This cookbook, however, contains recipes you would actually want to eat - not just soups and stews but international options, American South recipes, Cajun, Mexican, casseroles, quiches and seafood! Some recipes do require special Instant Pot gadgets, but not many (I found a way around them, hee!). Below are some of the recipes I have cooked so far - clicking the link will take you to the post with a photo of the dish, along with the recipe.


Antipasto Pasta Salad - I couldn’t image this dish would turn out at all because I couldn’t wrap my brain around pasta in an Instant Pot. I pictured a big glop of mush when I removed the lid. Not so, as you can see from the photo! (note: I used GF pasta).

Cheese Grits - No self-respecting Southerner or Texan would Instant Pot a grit, would they? Isn’t part of the tradition of making grits watching the bubbles slowly rise and fall over low heat, anticipating the creamy butteriness that would soon ensue with a side of crunchy bacon? Call me a grit cooking convert.

Vegetarian Chili - I live in the land of chili where we eat it year ‘round, breakfast, lunch and dinner. It must contain meat. It must not contain beans. This chili is so incredibly tasty I tried it on 2 sacrosanct meat eaters and they didn’t realize there was no meat in it! I did get chastised for the beans, however, to which I replied politely, “shut up”.

Chickpea Veg Bowl - I like crazy fast recipes especially when I look at the sink full of dishes and realize I don’t have the strength to do all that bending or put down my glass of wine. Chickpeas from a can and shredded vegetables are the way to go when you just can’t.

Cioppino - I had reservations about this dish in general as I am not a big seafood eater. Cajun husband, however, was peeking over my shoulder when I landed on this page and shouted “that one!!” which scared me as well as the cat nestled in my lap. He’s rarely that enthusiastic so I made Cioppino for him. It could have been known as “the last dish my dearly departed wife made for me before I scared her to death”, but thankfully, my heart didn’t stop so we just call it “Cioppino”. It’s truly delicious and brothy and best served with crusty bread to mop up juices.

Salad with Instant Pot Eggs - No, no the salad is not made in the Instant Pot, just the eggs. Had I known I could have “hardboiled” eggs in such a zippy fashion, I would have opened the Instant Pot box and the cookbook sooner. Instant pots eggs are a life-changer because they never have that gross gray ring around the cooked yolk (raise your hadn't if you like gray egg salad!). I made this recipe to practice cooking eggs and by doing so, found a dressing I want to drink directly out of the bottle. Add chopped chicken, shrimp or ham and you have uh meal.

If you have a generally frazzled week and are looking for quick and healthy options to get on the table pronto, this cookbook will be a biiiig help, assuming you already have an Instant Pot. If you don’t have one yet, buy one immediately and now so cooking is one less burden you have to deal with on a busy weeknight.

I recommend this Instant Pot that Santa gave me. I use it several days per week and sometimes several times on cooking-all-the-things-day (Sundays). I don’t know how we lived without it this long, particularly considering Cajun hubby eats rice with nearly every meal (if I’d let him).

If you cook from the cookbook let me know in the comments or tag me on Instagram @soufflesandsawdust, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Spicy Sicilian Chicken

Spicy Sicilian Chicken

Tex Mex Minestrone

Tex Mex Minestrone