Instant Pot Chicken and Green Vegetable Soup

It’s been so cold. This weather has had me all down in the dumps, but I am thankful for the few days of sunshine. Because it’s been so cold, I’ve been 100 percent craving soup.

My go-to is usually a combine of whatever protein and veggies I have on hand, and then I season it based on what I feel like. And when I really want a low effort soup, I always make it in the Instant Pot.

So that’s what I did last night, and this one turned out to be a favorite of mine.

So I call this Chicken and Green Vegetable Soup because it is heavy on the green vegetable side of things. I also shredded the chicken after cooking to make it extra delicious so you get a little chicken in every bite.

What you need:

  • 3 chicken breasts, thawed or frozen
  • 1 leek, rinsed and cut into half-moons
  • 2 heads of broccoli, chopped
  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 bunch dino kale, inner rib removed and chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken bone broth
  • 2 cups water
  • Drizzle of avocado oil
  • Salt, pepper and a generous dose of Primal Palate’s New Bae Seasoning
  • Sour Cream, optional

Put a little avocado oil in the bottom of the pot. (I always do this when I’m putting frozen chicken in the Instant Pot so it doesn’t stick to the bottom.)

Add all your ingredients to the pot. Secure the lid. Set on Soup cooking method for 30 minutes, and make sure the release valve is closed so it will build pressure. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

Once the pot reaches the optimal pressure, the timer will count down from 30 minutes, and it will beep when it is ready. Wait a couple minutes to flip the tab to release the pressure manually. I’m always too hungry to wait for it to naturally release.


It’s that simple.

Keto-Friendly Hot Italian Sausage, Spinach Ricotta Lasagna

I’ve had a craving for lasagna. It’s been bugging me for weeks. With Brad and I not eating any form of gluten, traditional noodles were out. Luckily, I found Cappello’s lasagna noodles at Natural Grocers.

I’ve said it before, but these noodles are game-changing. We’ve had several dishes with the Cappello’s noodles lately, but this one takes the proverbial cake. I’ll go ahead and be honest. This recipe takes a lot of steps. Mostly, because I made everything from scratch. You don’t have to do that, but it sure does make it extra special.

I saved this recipe creation for the weekend so I had plenty of time to let the sauce simmer. I promise you it is worth it. So let’s get started with the first part, which is mixing up your own spicy Italian sausage.

For the Homemade Spicy Italian Sausage

Ingredients needed to make the Spicy Italian Sauage

What you need:

  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (less if you don’t like it spicy)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine all ingredients. You can use this to make meatballs, patties or whatever. For this dish, I cooked it like ground beef.

For the Marinara Sauce

What you need:

  • 2 15-ounce cans tomato sauce
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (less if you don’t like it spicy)
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt, to taste

Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, while you sauté the sausage mixture with one diced onion.

Sautéing homemade Italian sausage mixture with onions

Once the sausage and onion mixture is cooked, add it to the marinara sauce to create a homemade meat sauce.

spicy Italian sausage marinara sauce on the stove

Simmer the sauce for around an hour so the flavors can meld together. This will give you time to prep the Spinach Ricotta mixture for the lasagna.

For the Spinach Ricotta mixture

What you need:

  • 1 container for whole milk Ricotta
  • 1 package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • Salt, to taste
spinach ricotta mixture in a mixing bowl

First, remove all the water from the spinach. I lined a bowl with several layers of paper towels, but you could also use a dish towel, to soak up water. Squeeze the spinach in the paper towel until all water is removed. Add the spinach to the ricotta cheese, and season with salt.

Assemble the lasagna.

Lasagna assembly showing all ingredients

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

First layer of the lasagna with sauce, noodles and spinach ricotta mixture

Start with a little olive oil and sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Add a layer of noodles, and then add a layer of spinach ricotta mixture. Continue the layers until you run out of ingredients. Top with Parmesan cheese.

Finish lasagna ready to go in the oven

Bake for 20 minutes covered with aluminum foil. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes.

Lasagna in a casserole dish

Once you take it out of the oven, let it cool for 15 minutes. I know it’s hard, but it makes it easier to cut. Plus, you won’t burn your mouth so you can really enjoy it.

Lasagna with a slice taken out showing all the individual layers

But would you look at those layers. Oh. My. Goodness. It was the best lasagna I’ve ever made. Pretty spicy, but the ricotta made it creamy and helped cut the heat.

We have a good amount of leftovers, but it won’t make it long. We both had heaping plates, and Brad even talked about going back for more. He even requested this dish for his birthday supper next weekend. So looks like I will be making it again soon.

Sausage and Veggie Sheet Pan Dinner

I keep a variety of things in the freezer and fridge for emergency meals. That can be when we are completely out of fresh produce or I forgot to thaw out meat, but I always have something on hand to throw together a healthy, balanced dinner when I don’t feel like cooking.

Insert sheet pan dinners.

I try to always keep some kind of sausage in the fridge. Usually, it is an apple chicken sausage I get from Walmart, but lately I’ve been getting an apple gouda sausage from Natural Grocers. Both are delicious and serve the purpose I need, which is get dinner ready quickly.

The reason I love sheet pan dinners is because you can use whatever you have in the fridge, and it always turns out delicious.

Sheet pan of roasted asparagus, delicate squash, onion and sausage fresh out of the oven

I encourage you to make one for yourself. Experiment with different veggies and spices. This one was fairly simple, but I did have one secret ingredient that I can guarantee you will make your sheet pan dinner a success.

What you need:

  • 2 sausages (your favorite brand and flavor), sliced into rounds
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 1 onion, diced into large chunks
  • 1 delicata squash, seeds removed and chopped
  • A drizzle of avocado oil
  • Seasoning of choice: I used salt, pepper and garlic powder in this one
  • Secret ingredient: 6 small dollops of bacon grease scattered around the pan

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Prep the veggies and sausage, and place on a parchment lined baking dish. Drizzle with oil and seasonings. Go easy on the salt since the bacon grease will add a nice amount of saltiness.

Bake for 12 minutes and stir around. Bake for 12 more minutes.

Roasted sausage, asparagus, delicata squash and onion with kraut and Dijon mustard on a blue plate

Serve hot with a side of Bubbie’s Kraut and your favorite mustard. We used Dijon, but also like spicy brown mustard.

The beautiful thing about sheet pan dinners is the ability to use whatever you have on hand. I make these at least once a week, but it is hardly ever the same one twice. Get creative and enjoy yourself. It’s so easy and turns out perfect every time.

cheesy keto cauliflower soup

Cheesy Keto Cauliflower Soup

I’ve got a bad case of the winter blues. I’ve done a lot of traveling over the last week, and my schedule is just now getting back to normal.

I went to Walmart on my lunch break yesterday to pick up some staple items to get us through to the weekend. I always find it challenging to find good organic produce and pantry items at my rural Walmart, but yesterday I was able to find a handful of things to whip up a new spinoff of my mom’s famous Cheesy Potato Soup.

Organic produce and items from Walmart

I have been craving comfort food. Everything cheesy and warm since the weather has been so rainy and cold lately. I decided to make a keto version of Cheesy Potato Soup. Instead of using potato, I decided on cauliflower because it has a lower carbohydrate count and still has the chunky consistency of potato.

What you need:

  • 2 Tablespoons grass-fed butter
  • 1 head of organic cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 organic onion, diced
  • 2 organic carrots, diced
  • 3 stalks of organic celery, diced
  • 2 cups chicken bone broth
  • 1/2 block organic cream cheese, cubed
  • 2 cups organic cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup organic heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt, pepper and garlic powder, to taste
  • Grated cheddar cheese, for garnish (optional)
  • Sour cream, for garnish (optional)
cheesy keto cauliflower soup

Prep your veggies by chopping up the cauliflower and dicing the onion, carrot and celery into similar size pieces. Pre-heat a pot on medium-high heat. Add the butter and melt.

Add the onion, celery and carrot. Season with salt and pepper Cook until onions are translucent, or about 5-7 minutes. Add the cauliflower, chicken bone broth and thyme. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the veggies are tender.

Add in the cream cheese and stir until melted throughout. Add in the heavy cream and cheddar cheese. Check for seasoning, and add salt, pepper and garlic powder until you get it right for your tastebuds.

Top with grated cheddar cheese and sour cream, if you like.


Chicken Meatballs with Eggplant, Leek and Kale Ragu over Almond Flour Fettuccine

This dish is amazing. Not tooting my own horn, but it just is. I was in a complete state of starvation after a very stressful day of waiting at the hospital for Brad’s latest check-up when I started crafting this dish in my head.

Before leaving to go to the clinic for the check-up, I had set out ground chicken to thaw. I had all the intentions of making soup in the Instapot. But after two and half hours at the hospital and another hour out running errands, I was hungry and dreaming of bigger and better things than a measly ole soup.

Chicken Meatballs with Eggplant, Leek and Kale Ragu over Almond Flour Fettuccine in a pot on the stove

Which is exactly how this gorgeousness was born. Straight out of my hungry mind palace. Even in the state of my hunger, I knew it would be totally worth it. I knew I had to have the comfort food of pasta and the savory meatballs and the veggie loaded ragu.

Now, bare with me. It kinda has a lot of steps. And I didn’t really write anything down measurement-wise. It was completely intuitive cooking at its finest. So take these directions and ingredient list with a grain of salt. Use what you have on hand, and I’m sure you will end up with something just as tasty.

For the chicken meatballs:

  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 2 Tablespoons almond flour, to help bind
  • 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Italian seasoning, salt and red pepper flakes, to taste

Combine all ingredients. Form into meatballs, and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

For the Ragu:

  • 1 small eggplant, diced
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1 bunch dinosaur kale, chopped
  • 1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce (I used a Roasted Garlic and Caramelized Onion Tomato Sauce)
  • Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and garlic powder, to taste

Heat a large pot with avocado oil. Add in the leek, eggplant and kale. Sauté until eggplant is soft and the kale and leek are wilted. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Add in the tomato sauce. Taste. Season again until you get it to your likely. Cover and simmer while the meatballs bake.

Once the meatballs are cooked, add them to the ragu. Simmer an additional 5-10 minutes so the flavors of the meatballs and sauce combine.

While your sauce simmers, heat a pot of water to cook the noodles. I used Cappello’s fettuccine noodles because they are the best pasta substitute I’ve ever found. Cook noodles according to the package directions. I actually undercooked mine so they could soak up some of the sauce.

Chicken Meatballs with Eggplant, Leek and Kale Ragu over Almond Flour Fettuccine in a blue bowl.

The outcome was the gorgeous, delicious veggie-heavy sauce with the added bonus of savory, juicy chicken meatballs and perfectly cooked pasta.

You just can’t beat that.