Easy Instant Pot Jerk Chicken Breast Recipe

Oh mates. Dave and I LOVE kitchen small appliances and we’ve tried many over the years, but there has not been one that we have adopted so quickly and used as frequently as our Instant Pot, which was kindly gifted for review.

A new arrival in New Zealand in 2020, the Instant Pot proved instantly popular, selling out quickly and leaving aspiring home chefs waiting (impatiently!) for the next shipment.

Dave has fully embraced this fab slow-cooker-sized appliance, which totally suits our F45 diet (our family eats at least 6kg of chicken breast a week lol) and often rushed, harried lifestyle. The absolute convenience of being able to quickly cook healthy protein from frozen is something that has made a huge difference to our household at busy mealtimes.

In our experience, the secret to getting the most from your Instant Pot is nailing a method of cooking that you will use all the time and then expanding on that and getting more inventive. This recipe is the perfect example. We need to cook a kg of chicken breast every 2 days, so being able to do so quickly, from frozen if necessary and with endless flavour options is a big win.

Basic Method for Cooking Chicken Breast in the Instant Pot

  • Fill the bottom of the Instant Pot with enough stock (we used chicken stock in this recipe, but vege would work fine) to sit just below the top of the trivet insert.
  • Liberally season the chicken breast (frozen or fresh) with Jerk It rub from Pepper & Me
  • Place chicken on top of trivet
  • Close lid
  • Set pressure level to high and timer at 20 minutes for fresh chicken, let pressure release naturally for 5-10 minutes and 25 minutes under high pressue if cooking from frozen with 5-10 minutes pressure release.
  • Please note, cooking times can vary depending upon the thickness of the breast etc. The beauty of the Instant Pot is that because you’re cooking with steam the chicken stays moist and tender, so feel free to adjust cooking timings once you have got a few cooks under your belt.

This chicken is super moist and SO tasty. We shred it right away and refrigerate to use in lunch and dinner wraps and salads.

Other easy flavours that we have tried and loved are; Taco mix dry rub, Italian seasoning dry rub, lemon pepper dry rub. Get creative with whatever you have on hand.

At time of writing, Harvey Norman NZ has Instant Pot in stock and ready to ship.

Cook, Eat – Vegetable Frittata Bake

Lockdown times are HEAVY am I right?

I hate food waste on any normal day but, when it’s literally dangerous to go to the store and a massive time suck (hello queuing for the supermarket) my food-waste policy kicks into overdrive.

We had a few courgettes (zucchini) that we needed to use asap and there was a Zucchini Slice recipe on our F45 maintenance menu for the week so, I decided to zhuzh it up and see what happened.

What happened was GOOD and it ticked the boxes for a good fridge clear out which makes me SO happy! So here’s the recipe, give it a go and mod as much as you want as I think it’s pretty forgiving.

Vegetable Frittata Bake Recipe

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium grated courgette
  • 2 medium capsicum, red and green, diced
  • 60g broccoli/cauliflower, broken up into small florets
  • 50g mushrooms diced
  • 100g shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 6 eggs
  • 250ml liquid egg whites (or add 4 more eggs)
  • 50g flour
  • 50g alternative four, I used rice flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a baking dish with baking paper.
  2. Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl and mix until well-combined.
  3. Pour into the baking dish and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until cooked through.
  4. Serves four as a standalone dish or divide into smaller portions if serving with a salad and sides.

Cook, Eat – Beef Brisket Sliders Recipe

Let’s get feast-ive! Here’s an easy to prep recipe for Beef Brisket Sliders that can slow-cook while you’re at work and will wow even the most hard to please Ladies-a-Plate aficionados.

Silver Fern Farms new cut, Beef Brisket is the star of these picture-perfect sliders, which can be assembled in 5 minutes and make a great family dinner as well as a delicious dish to share this holiday season.

Ingredients

Silver Fern Farms Beef Brisket 500g

Approx 10 Slider buns

3 tbsp paprika

1.5 tsp ground black pepper

1 tbsp salt

1 tbsp Pepper & Me Man Grind

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp ground cumin

¾ cup BBQ sauce

½ cup chicken stock

1 tbsp worcestshire sauce

1 onion sliced

Method:

Mix dry ingredients then cover brisket in rub, wrap tightly in clingfilm and rest in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes – best to leave overnight.

Add sauce ingredients to slow cooker, stir to combine.

Add brisket on top of sauce. Cover with sliced onions.

Cook on high for 6 hours.

Taste sauce prior to serving as it can be rich! Remove from sauce and rest for 10 minutes before slicing or shredding, dressing with sauce to taste.

Stack up your sliders with whatever yummy combos float your boat! We used mayo, avo, red onion and Japanese slaw garnished with pickle and cherry tomato.

Enjoy!

Beef Brisket Sliders Recipe
Beef Brisket Sliders Recipe
Beef Brisket Sliders Recipe

Cook Eat – Sticky Chicken Bao Recipe

Trying something new with an old fave is an easy way to find some much-needed dinner inspo as we cruise into summer and the holiday season.

Lee Kum Kee Soy Sauce and chicken are pretty easy to come across in kiwi kitchens, so Dave and I came up with this super quick and easy Sticky Chicken Bao recipe that we guarantee the whole family will love!

Ingredients:

Approx 600g Chicken thigh or tenders

¼ cup Lee Kum Kee Soy Sauce

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

4 cloves garlic finely chopped

¼ tbsp Lee Kum Kee minced ginger

1 tbsp olive oil

1 pack Bao buns, find in freezer section at supermarket

Coleslaw, coriander, spring onions to garnish to taste

Hot Sauce

Mayonnaise

Method:

Combine Lee Kum Kee Soy Sauce, honey, vinegar, garlic and ginger in large bowl. Mix well to combine. Add chicken and stir to coat. Leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Add olive oil to pan, adding chicken when pan is hot. Reserve marinade in bowl to add later.

When chicken is cooked through and beginning to turn a golden-brown colour add remaining marinade. Turn chicken to coat in marinade, reduce until sauce coating chicken is thick and sticky.

Steam buns according to directions on pack. Fill with coleslaw, chicken, dress with coriander and chopped spring onions. Create a spicy mayo by adding hot sauce, (the more the better) to your mayo and drizzle over your filled bao.

Enjoy!

Cook, Eat: The BEST Country Chicken Pie Recipe – Ever!

The seasonal rain hasn’t yet arrived here in New Zealand but there’s no denying that Winter is here. We are currently enjoying bluebird days but the temps aren’t playing around – she’s cold mate!

Along with buying too many jackets and woollen socks (my winter fashion weaknesses!), when the days get shorter I love, love spending time in the kitchen and cooking some classic, hearty meals. Rich gravies and casseroles, slow-cooked, large cuts of meat and traditional kiwi-comfort food like this beautiful chicken pie form the menu for our family over the winter months.

The original Chicken Pie recipe was shared with me by Stevens, I have adapted it a tiny bit to suit our tastes. The gorgeous stoneware casserole dish I used (kindly gifted) is from their Winter Cooking range – shop Oslo Casserole Dish – and as at time of publication is 50% off!

The BEST Country Chicken Pie Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 x pre-rolled sheets of puff pastry, big enough to cover your dish
  • 1 free-range egg beaten
  • 75g butter
  • Olive oil
  • 750g chicken breast chopped into 3cm chunks
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 300g carrots chopped
  • 15 button mushrooms sliced
  • 130g fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tbsp crème fraiche
  • 2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • Salt and pepper

First, cook the vegetables – melt half the butter with a tbsp of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the carrots and onions, and sauté until softened. Add the mushrooms and cook until the water evaporates, and they begin to brown on the edges. Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the chicken to the pan and brown slightly. Next, add one cup of the chicken stock and return the vegetables to the pan. Simmer for around 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

Spray the Oslo Casserole Dish with oil and line with the first pastry sheet. Remove the chicken and veggies from the pan and place this in the base of your pie dish, reserving the cooking stock in a bowl. Melt the rest of the butter with a dash of olive oil in the pan and sprinkle in the flour stirring gently to brown it slightly. Add the mustard and then the reserved and extra stock, stirring all the time to thicken. Finally, stir through the crème fresh and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir the spinach leaves through the hot sauce to wilt them, then pour the spinach mustard sauce over the chicken and vegetables, stir gently to combine.

Preheat oven 200°C fan bake.

Lay the second pastry sheet over the filling and using a fork go around the dish edges to seal. With a sharp knife cut two to three steam holes in the top.

Brush the pastry surface with beaten egg and bake for around 25 minutes or when the pastry is golden and crisp.

Serve warm with a green salad on the side.

Say Goodbye to Dinner Dilemmas – HelloFresh 2 Month Review

I’m a firm believer that meal kits are one of the greatest, most convenient marvels of modern living – at least for parents lol – we are hooked! However, choosing between the various subscription box options we now have in New Zealand can be a bit daunting. Our family has tried 90% of them but after purchasing HelloFresh since September it’s time to dish!

Before I get into it, HelloFresh have hooked you guys up with a discount code so you too can experience the convenience, variety and peace of mind that this awesome service had brought to our dinner table! For $35 off your first HelloFresh order, CLICK HERE – I can’t recommend it ENOUGH guys so give it a whirl!

Dinner doesn’t get any more convenient than this

I really can’t emphasise this enough. Our delivery arrives on a Monday, ready for the week ahead. Because we are not meal planning each week and shopping for dinner is excluded from our weekly shop, we are saving time (and stress) in other areas of our life – not just at 5pm every day when the “what’s for dinner/I forgot to get the meat out!” panic kicks in.

One point of difference between HelloFresh and its competitors that Dave and I LOVE is the colour coded paper bag system. Everything you need for each meal (except the chilled ingredients) is in ONE recyclable paper bag, saving time 2 ways;
I don’t have to unpack 5 meals worth of ingredients when our delivery arrives, I just pop the bags straight in the fridge.
Secondly, when it’s time to cook, I don’t have to refer to the recipe card and collect all the ingredients needed for the meal – everything is in the bag! Love it.Variety is the key to happy mealtimes in our house

Variety is the key to happy mealtimes in our house

Those of us who are responsible for preparing dinner for either ourselves or others have our go-to meals that pop up again and again, week after week – inspo is hard to come by at 5pm when everything is happening at once right? Guys, there is no need to exaggerate how amazing it is to flick through the HelloFresh recipes each week and literally be so stoked at the variety that you can’t decide which meal to make first. Not even joking.

The kids LOVE it!

I’m loving saying goodbye to second-guessing whether the meals arriving each week via a subscription service will be liked by the kids. If you’re a Classic or Family Box customer, it’s super easy to jump onto the HelloFresh site or the app and switch out recipes if they’re not quite right for you. The boys are also loving HelloFresh as the recipes are perfectly suited to family meals. In Mum-Speak, I’m not having to recreate every dinner to suit the tastes of our finicky five-year-old and stubborn teenager.

Rediscover the joy of cooking!

Our HelloFresh subscription has incidentally removed any barriers (real or perceived lol) that had been preventing Ethan (our 14yo) from getting more involved at mealtimes. He loves to cook, but stress levels in our kitchen around dinner time often mean that Dave and I don’t have the capacity to guide him through dinner prep or cooking. The HelloFresh recipe cards provide step by step instructions complete with photographs, that allow E to get started on dinner prep when he can and jump in and assist us on those busy days when another hand in the kitchen is always welcomed.  

My Recommendation…..

All in all, we are loving HelloFresh – can you tell?! Cooking, eating and sharing meals together as a family has chilled out so much over the past couple of months since HelloFresh arrived in NZ and in our kitchen – I can’t imagine life without it anymore. The service and quality of ingredients are outstanding considering how well priced the deliveries are and don’t forget, I’ve got a code to share which makes it even better value!

Try HelloFresh for yourself and you’ll definitely see what I’m talking about. Don’t forget to use the code BESTNEST for $35 off your first order and find a little more time in your day and out of your kitchen!

Food to Share: The BEST Prawn Taco Recipe

Prawns are an ingredient that I think we shy away from a lot here in New Zealand, in fact, I don’t think I’d ever actually eaten one until I was well ensconced in my 6 year ‘OE’ in the states.  After living in both Florida and San Deigo where ‘shrimp’ are a dietary staple I’ve definitely come around to the fact that these bite-sized beauties are a perfect inclusion into many kiwi faves from summery salads to pizza and pasta.  They’ve got to be one of the most low-fuss, easy proteins to cook, which makes them even more attractive in my book.

Prawns, shrimp, whatever you call them, also pair beautifully with New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc – incidentally, my favourite varietal, as well as the rest of the country – yes, it’s official, kiwi sav is our nations favourite wine variety!  I’m all about discovering and celebrating our wonderful local winemakers, so, after finding my own new fave in Peter Yealands Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2017, I decided to get creative in the kitchen. 

Taking my cues from the winemakers tasting note (I’m NOT a wine connoisseur btw, more like a devoted fangirl!), marrying the citrus aromas and finish of the Reserve Sauvignon Blanc with lemon, lime, garlic and seafood seemed a no-brainer.  The result?  A bloody cracker of a dish that’s so easy to prepare I cooked it on holiday in a minimally equipped AirBNB kitchen.

It’s International Sauvignon Blanc Day on May 4th so why not add some prawns to the grocery list this week and see what you think of my wine pairing.  There’s also a super fun comp running right now to celebrate our love of Sauv!

To enter; create a dish that you think pairs well with Sauvignon Blanc, upload your photo here, share with friends using the #ExpressYourSauv hashtag and tagging @Yealands and you’re in to win!  
New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Prawn Shrimp Tacos Recipe
Lemon Garlic Prawn Tacos Recipe

Ingredients

500g raw prawns, tails removed
2 tbsp butter
3 chopped garlic cloves
1 tsp brown sugar
Salt n Pepper to taste
Juice of one lemon
Juice of one lime

To serve

Corn tortillas
Undressed coleslaw
Chopped tomatoes
Chopped coriander
Chopped red onion
Spicy sauce (mix sriracha or taco seasoning with aioli to taste)
Lemon/lime wedges

Method

  • Melt butter in pan, saute chopped garlic over medium heat for a couple of minutes max.
  • Remove from heat and pour butter and garlic over prawns.  Add juice of lemon and lime, stir in sugar and salt and pepper.  Toss to coat prawns and add mixture to pan.  Cook quickly over medium/high heat until prawns are pink and getting some good colour on them.  Remove from heat.
  • Heat corn tortillas in a stack wrapped in foil in the oven, microwave for around 20 seconds, or sprinkle with water and warm in a clean pan.  Don’t skip this step as corn tortillas are more brittle than flour and will crack and rip when folded cold.
  • Layer tortilla with coleslaw, prawns, tomato, onion and coriander.  Serve with spicy aioli and a squeeze of lemon or lime.

Pairs perfectly with Peter Yealands Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2017.

Enjoy!
This post was a collaboration with Yealands Family Wines.

New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Prawn Shrimp Tacos Recipe

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New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Prawn Shrimp Tacos Recipe

Cook, Eat: Twice Baked Sweetcorn and Bacon Potatoes Recipe

Vegetable prices here in New Zealand are absolutely ridiculous this summer.  If mortgaging your house to keep up a steady supply of the green gold aka, avocados is not your jam, then you’ll be looking to purchase in-season produce whose price point reflects the fact that it’s IN SEASON lol.

And that brings us to corn.

I can’t think of anyone I know who doesn’t love fresh, kiwi grown sweetcorn.  It’s the perfect summer vege, it stays fresh in its husk in the fridge, travels well and can be enjoyed in a variety of ways.

After travelling in Japan for 2 weeks, we had been missing our kiwi fruit and vegetables like crazy so every meal at the moment revolves around salad and veges.  Last night I whipped up some Twice Baked Sweetcorn and Bacon Potatoes using fresh as, LeaderBrand sweetcorn and spinach.  We’ve got a winner here folks, these corn taties and variations on them will be a menu regular in our house from now on.  Sub the bacon for a hearty Meat Free Monday Meal, or switch your protein and dice up some leftover bbq sausages etc.  This is a super easy recipe to get creative with and prep early so you’re not rushing at dinner time.

I wish I could take credit for this amazing recipe but I can’t lol.  For more yummy, fresh ways to eat NZ sweetcorn, check out the recipes section over at www.leaderbrand.co.nz

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Twice Baked Sweetcorn and Bacon Potatoes
Print

Ingredients
  1. 4 large potatoes, washed
  2. 1 tbsp olive oil
  3. 2 cobs LeaderBrand sweetcorn kernels, cut from corn
  4. 6 rashers bacon cut into small pieces
  5. 100g cheddar cheese, grated
  6. 1/2 cup cream or milk
  7. 1/2 cup sour cream
  8. 1/2 pack LeaderBrand spinach
  9. 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  10. Salt and pepper to season
Instructions
  1. 1. Preheat over to 180℃.
  2. 2. Place potatoes on lined baking tray, poke holes in them, bake for 45 mins or until soft through. Remove from oven, allow to cool.
  3. 3. Meanwhile, cook bacon pieces for 2 minutes, add corn kernels and stir for a further 2 mins. Remove from pan and drain on paper towel.
  4. 4. Cut a large flat slice off the top of baked potatoes. Using a tsp, scoop out the insides into a large bowl being careful to leave a thin layer of potato around the skin so it doesn't tear.
  5. 5. Add corn, bacon, sour cream, milk or cream, chopped spinach and parsley to the bowl and mix with potato. Season with S&P.
  6. 6. Using a tsp, fill the potato skins with the bacon and corn mix and place back on the oven tray. Sprinkle cheese on top and bake in the oven for 20mins or until cheese is melted and golden. Serve immediately.
http://www.thebestnest.co.nz/

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Cook, Eat – Homemade Burger Patty Recipe

Nothing beats homemade hamburgers and with BBQ season quickly approaching, getting a go-to burger patty recipe locked, loaded and ready to go is a kiwi summer essential.

I tried this recipe last night for the first time and it’s a winner.  These burgers made an easy, delicious Friday night dinner that ticked all the boxes for the whole family.

Burger Patty Recipe

Recipe provided courtesy of New MacKenzie Burger Buns, available in selected New World and Pak ‘n’ Save stores in White Rye and Sprouted Grain varieties.

Ingredients:

Patties (makes 6)

750g premium beef mince

1 cup breadcrumbs

1 large onion, grated

1 egg lightly whisked

1/4 cup chopped parsley

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2tsp Tabasco sauce

Salt & pepper to taste

Olive oil

To serve:

6 MacKenzie White Rye Burger Buns

150g cheese of your choice

Mustard

Lettuce

Sliced tomatoes

Tomato relish

Method:

Mix the beef mince, breadcrumbs, egg, onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, parsley salt & pepper and Tabasco sauce in a large bowl.  Divide into equal portions.

Cook in olive oil in the pan over medium-low heat or on the BBQ.

Melt cheese on top of patties when you flip them.

Lightly toast MacKenzie White Rye Burger Buns in the oven or on the BBQ.

Build burgers to taste and serve!

MacKenzie Chef Tips;

  • Avoid patty shrinkage by pressing a shallow ‘dimple’ in the middle of the patty before you cook.
  • Do not salt beef until patties are formed to avoid them drying out.

 

Five Cook Once, Eat twice Family Meal Ideas

No-one’s got time for endless hours of food prep – at least no one I know.  Or maybe just me.  Either way………saving time in the kitchen allows much more time for other enjoyable pursuits, such as leaving said kitchen and venturing out to eat food other, more talented artisans than yourself have prepared.

The days are finally getting longer and my family is itching to spend more time outdoors in the evenings.  As such, I’m getting my ducks in a row and starting to think of ways Dave and I can create ‘Cook Once, Eat Twice’ meals and incorporate them into our weekly meal planning a bit more often.

Obviously, time-saving is a big reason why anyone would meal plan or want to smash out two meals in one prep session, but it also makes economic sense.  Bulk buying or meal planning so you can make use of larger cuts of meat can save you heaps at the grocery store and encourage seasonal eating which is always less expensive and exactly what our bodies crave at any given time of year.

Saving on energy costs is yet another way to benefit from your brilliant meal-planning and forward-thinking – pat yourselves on the back!  Heating an oven to cook one meal and utilising ONE oven rack makes no sense.  Turn that sucker on and load it up to maximise your power usage.  Even better, level-up your Kitchen Super Hero status by cooking during your off-peak, FREE Hour of Power from Electric Kiwi.  If you haven’t switched yet do it!  The 9-5pm off-peak slot is perfect for us SAHMs, or get up at 6am and get dinner ready before the kids wake.

Let’s get into it, here are 5 family-friendly meal ideas that will help you cook once but eat twice!

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5 Ways to Cook Once, Eat Twice!

  1. Meatballs – instead of purchasing a 500g pack of beef, chicken or pork mince, lookout for specials and pick up a kilogram pack.  Whip up an extra-large batch of meatballs, freeze half or go meatball crazy two nights in a row.  Think spaghetti, stir fry, meatball subs, on top of fried rice, with a banging salad, or try my own delicious Thai Chicken Meatball Recipe here.
  2. The Kiwi Roast – Pop a roast on the weekly menu, bulk the meal out with heaps of seasonal veggies and a salad and you’ll be good to go for two nights!  De-bone the meat and get creative with some hearty pizzas or pies on night two.
  3. Tacos/fajitas/stir-fry – Using schnitzel cuts of meat is a great way to lighten up your family’s servings of animal protein – a little goes a long way.  Lightly pan fry or bake your schnitzel (beef, chicken or pork), divide in two and season half for tacos or fajitas while the other half is ready for inclusion into your fave stir-fry or stroganoff recipe.  Try my Shrimp Fajita Recipe here.
  4. Chili – Try a vegetarian version and have a meat-free meal once a week!  Chili is amazing just served in a bowl with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cheese, but try it in a quesadilla on night 2, or on a pizza, in a toastie or – my fave – pick up some large roasting potatoes, twice roast them and top with your chili!  Soooo good!
  5. BBQ Chicken Salad / Pasta Bake – I always buy in bulk when I see chicken breast on sale for $9.99kg.  Dave has started slicing the breasts in half through the thickness as this saves on cooking time and helps decrease our portion sizes.  Marinate your chicken and cook on the bbq for a quick, easy, light meal.  Serve with a fresh, green salad and you’re ticking all the nutrition boxes.  For night two, cut up your leftover chicken and combine with some seasonal veges (try grating courgette and carrot if your kids are picky eaters), pasta and your favourite sauce for a hearty pasta bake.

If you’ve got any amazing Cook Once, Eat Twice meal ideas please add them in the comments below, as I absolutely LOVE expanding our easy-dinner menu xx

To take advantage of Electric Kiwi’s free daily Hour of Power, make the switch here, it’s fast, easy and they do all the work for you – isn’t that a change lol!

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Image credit: Nicole Abalde.

Thanks so much to Electric Kiwi for partnering with us this winter, love your work guys!

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