Prairie Views

~ Dreamy abstraction in Four Square House on the Pairie

Month: January 2016

One Pot Pressure Cooker Beef Ragu Pasta



I finally purchased a one pot pressure cooker after reading about how great it is. I am not getting paid for this post or received the pot for a post. I just heard about it and decided to give it a try.

I hesitated  but really liked the idea of having something to take place of the four devices I use. I am hoping it really will take the place of my stove pressure cooker, slow cooker, yogurt maker, and rice cooker. All of these items take space in the kitchen cabinet. Last night I tried using a basic beef ragu pasta recipe. If the food comes out as good as this ragu pasta did I will be really happy.  The whole wheat pasta was the best I ever had. So this is the recipe. It took me 10 minutes to make this with one pot since I sautéed the meat in the same pot.

Beef Ragu Pasta

1 lb ground beef

1 lb dried pasta

1 jar or can of pasta sauce (25 oz.)

Instant pot

Press instant pot setting to “Saute”.  With the lib open sauté the ground beef until it is crumbled and browned.

Add the pasta and then add the pasta sauce. Add a jar full of water or can.  Make sure the pasta is covered with liquids.  You might need to add more water.

Stop the sauté function by pressing “Keep warm/ Cancel button. Lock on the lid. Make sure the steam release is on “sealing”. Press “Manual” and then change the time to half of the time needed to cook the pasta. I used 6 minutes on wheat pasta and it came out perfect.

Press the pressure cooker button.

When the cooking time is up press the “Keep warm/cancel” button. I let the pot sit for about 10 minutes but you can release handle to “venting” being careful of the steam. When steam pressure float valve drops down you can twist open the lid being very careful of the steam.

I will post more when I try more recipes but if it comes out as good and easy as this meal the pot is a winner.

Root to Stem Vegetables



Following the nose to tail practice with meat is the root to stem trend to reduce waste. Still, in many cookbooks and recipes, you are directed to remove the tops from beets and radishes or remove the stalk from broccoli top. All of these parts with their unique tastes and textures can be utilized.  With some tops such as carrots tops one must be careful since they tend to be very bitter. Other parts, such as stems, require peeling the outside layer or for making stock.

Leek Greens-

Most recipes tell you to cut off the top and use the bottom potion. The leafy top can still be useful for flavoring soups or used raw in salad and even sauted.

Potato skins-

I am personally peeling less and using the potatoes but for recipes calling for peeling. I still prefer my mashed potatoes not to have peels, you can save the peels by tossing in olive oil on a baking sheet and then placing in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 425 F until browned and crunchy. Sprinkle with spices  for extra flavor.

Asparagus stem

When I cooked asparagus I alway removed the tough woody ends and put into the compost bin. Now I throw the ends into a storage bag in the freezer to make stock.

Beet greens-

I really like beets but never really used the greens. The trend now is to make a pesto or saute. Using them in a salad when making borsch is a way to use the greens instead of compost.

Broccoli stalks-

I used to buy mostly frozen brocoli to avoid wasting the stalks. If you peel the sides of the stack you can avoid the toughness and waste less.

Carrot tops-

I have never eaten carrot tops. Research has told me that they are very bitter are edible. The trick is to blanch them to remove some of the bitterness. Use for stocks, saute, smoothies and instead of parsley but be careful of amounts.


You can eat the stems and leaves of the cauliflower. Chop up the steams and cook with the flowers.


I have used most of the celery plant for years. It is easy to toss in the freezer for stock. They can also be dried but I found they are tough so I suggest grinding them for celery powder or making celery salt.  Celery leaves can also be used instead of parsley.


I have aways liked the stem better than the leaves. Saute them to use in dishes.


I discoved fennel a couple of years ago and found them quite good. Try the fonds in salads for extra taste.

Radish leaves –

These leaves do not last long but makes great pesto.


There are many areas where it is common to eat the turnips green. You can also try eating the greens in a tossed salad.


I hope you are able to take the time to experiment with using as much as the vegetable as possible to prevent waste. Next time you touch a vegetable think about another way to use the part you tossed away before. You might be surprized how much less you can waste. If you find a part not to your liking then compost the parts.

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