About Pressure Cooking Light

I never thought that I'd be a work at home mom, but here I am. I'm a counseling psychologist and have two boys with autism - one is high functioning, but the other is somewhat severe. I have never had a real issue with weight until 5 years ago when I was diagnosed with Graves Disease and the physicians at Walter Reed knocked my thyroid out with radiated iodine. I'm on synthetic thyroid now, but my metabolism has never been the same. My Graves started attacking my eyes a couple of years ago and the first line of treatment involved steroids, and yet more weight. So, I recently joined Weight Watchers in order to get things under control. I've made it my mission to adapt and create healthy low-fat recipes for my favorite kitchen appliance - the Instant Pot.

Electric Pressure Cooker Easy Meals

Okay. I admit it. I don’t have the time and/or energy to make recipes “from scratch” every night of the week. In my ideal world, when preparing dinner, I would never rely on bottled sauces or dressings, never use seasoning packets, or use canned soups. But in my real world, with special needs kids, errands, chores, etc., sometimes I just need a hot quick entree to serve with rice and a veggie.

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Pressure Cooker Chili – 8 Smart Points

Oh my!  This is both the most wonderful AND the most hectic time of the year.  So much decorating, shopping, wrapping and baking to do. Last night I took my 17-year-old son to a Wizards game as one more birthday present.  They actually won!

Now that we are in the midst of a polar blast, I spend most of my days trying to warm up again after my morning 2-mile dog walk.  I despise the cold and the wind together – even through coats, gloves and hats.  So, it is the time to cook dinners that will warm my family up from the inside out.

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Instant Pot Duo 6 Quart 7-1 for $68.95

If you haven’t heard yet, one of Amazon’s Deals of the Day for today: Friday, November 25, 2016, is the Instant Pot Duo 6 quart 7-in-1 electric pressure cooker.  It is a steal at $68.95!  (I have already purchased one this morning as a Christmas present and know of a number of women who are buying multiples.)

If you have been on the fence, now is the time to try electric pressure cooking and yogurt making!

The links below may have a higher price listed, but if you click them through midnight tonight, it will take you to the page with the $68.95 price.

Happy Thanksgiving from My House to Yours

I am sitting here with my younger son watching the Macy’s Day Parade, sipping my coffee, my rolls are rising in the oven with just the light on, and I am feeling thankful for all this year has brought me.  I have a wonderful family ( both immediate and extended across the country), the best dog in the world, wonderful doctors at the Kellogg Eye Center, and the joy cooking brings me.

Thanksgiving cooking is a weeklong cooking event for me.  So, the pies (pecan and pumpkin) are already done, so is the cranberry sauce and cranberry salad.  The mashed potatoes were made in the Instant Pot yesterday, and I will reheat them today.  I also used the Instant Pot yesterday to make the mashed sweet potatoes I will use in my casserole that I’ll assemble in a few hours – I even made the streusel topping for it last night.  I’ll also make my light from scratch Corn Casserole in the Instant Pot today – again, I mixed together the dry ingredients last night and put them in a container to use today.

As you can see, I’m all about making the actual cooking I do on Thanksgiving itself easier so that I can enjoy the holiday and the football!

My tip for the day is to head over to Pressure Cook Recipes.com for their Cranberry Sauce in a pressure cooker recipe.  It was literally 15 minutes from when I took my bag of cranberries and orange from the refrigerator until when I put my container of finished cranberry sauce back in.  This one is definitely a keeper, especially if you are on Weight Watchers, because it uses half the sugar and I substituted Splenda, making the orange juice the only thing with points in the recipe.

I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and a table full of good food!

Lamb Curry Stew with Chickpeas and Artichoke Hearts – 5 SP

When Thanksgiving is less than a week away, there is no escaping the fact that Fall is here.  Nights and mornings are chilly here now in Northern VA.  In our house, we have put our flip flops away for the next 7 months and dug our slippers out of the closet. Extra blankets have found their way to our beds, and our dog Maggie, who is a Wheaten Terrier mix, is in heaven on our sub-40-degree morning walks.


This is the type of weather that is perfect for eating a rich fragrant stew with the heat that curry lends it.

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Balsamic Cranberry Chicken Thighs – 6 Smart Points

I was in Ann Arbor, Michigan (what a beautiful town) for a few days for a visit to my eye doctor, and got home last night. I had a Weight Watchers meeting this morning (a visit to Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor set me back) and then ran a variety of errands.  By the time my youngest son got off the bus, I realized I had no idea what I was making for dinner, and it was too late to drive to the store to pick up anything.

I dove through our freezer and pulled out some chicken thighs. I then started combing my cookbooks on Kindle but couldn’t find an appealing recipe for which I had all the ingredients.  So, it was time to come up with something on my own based on what I did have. It is quite a simple recipe, yet cooking the thighs in the sauce in a pressure cooker infuses the flavor throughout the meat, leaving it moist and seasoned throughout.

I served it with Jasmine rice – 3 SP for 1/2 cup cooked rice – and Birds Eye Steamfresh Brussel Sprouts with sea salt and cracked pepper – 2 SP for 3/4 cup.  So, the whole meal was balanced, filling, delicious, and only 11 Smart Points.

i hope that you and your family like it as much as mine did.


Balsamic Cranberry Chicken Thighs – 6 Smart Points

An easy to make fall dinner that should please even picky eaters.

5 minPrep Time

35 minCook Time

40 minTotal Time

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Recipe Image


  • 2 pounds chicken thighs, boneless and skinless (about 8)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 red onion chopped
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup cranberry sauce, whole berry (canned)
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch


  1. Spray the pot liner with cooking spray. Set it on Saute More.
  2. While the pot is heating, season the thighs with salt and pepper. Working in two batches, brown the tops of the thighs - approximately 4-5 minutes each batch. Remove to a platter.
  3. Put the chopped onion in the pot and saute until it starts to carmelize. If there is stuck on stuff from browning the chicken, add the 1/4 cup of water and work with a spatula to scrape up the drippings and let the onions absorb the flavoring.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, and the cranberry sauce, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, garlic powder and rosemary and mix well.
  5. Arrange the browned thighs in the pot on top of the onions. Pour the sauce mixture on top of thighs trying to cover all.
  6. Cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Use quick pressure release.
  7. Remove the chicken thighs to a platter. To thicken the sauce you can either saute while stirring until it reduces by half, or you can mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in 2 tablespoons of water and add the slurry to the sauce. Saute until it thickens (2-3 minutes).
  8. Each thigh with 1/2 cup of gravy is one serving.
  9. Serve with rice or noodles.
Cuisine: Low Calorie, Low Fat, Pressure Cooker | Recipe Type: Poultry

Thanksgiving Corn Casserole Recipes

My heart lurched in my chest at bowling last week (I’m in a Thursday morning league), when I realized that Thanksgiving was only three weeks away. Don’t get me wrong; I love Thanksgiving.  I love the time with family, the football, and most of all the food. But, it is a lot of work, all that cooking.

I have spent too many Thanksgivings being too hot and tired by the time I finished preparing everything to really enjoy the meal by the time we sat down to eat.  These days, I start preparing things days ahead of time, so that my actually cooking on Thanksgiving Day is much less than it used to be.

Today I am going to share two Corn Casserole recipes that I have lightened up to make them more Weight Watchers friendly.  One is made using the old standby Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix; the other, in order to cut down on calories and Smart Points, doesn’t use the boxed mix.  I am also giving directions for making these in either the Instant Pot, or cooking in the oven.  You won’t save any time cooking these in an electric pressure cooker, but you will free up valuable space in your oven, and your corn casserole will be incredibly moist, almost like a pudding.

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Roasted Vegetable Soup – 0 Smart Points

One of my favorite blogs is SkinnyTaste.com. Gina Homolka, the author of the site and several SkinnyTaste Cookbooks, operates on the philosophy that low-calorie “diet” food doesn’t have to be bland and tasteless. She does an amazing job and providing flavor-packed recipes that taste anything but low-cal. My family has loved every recipe of hers that I have tried so far. So, when I set out to make my weekly batch of vegetable soup, I used her as my inspiration.


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Creamy Celery & Potato Soup – 3 Smart Points

Good afternoon!  It has been a busy week here – my niece and nephew from Israel came to visit this week.  We had a few days of sight-seeing in downtown DC, going to an American movie theater (complete with recliners), and going out to eat in the ever-shrinking number of Kosher restaurants in the Metro DC area. They are on their way back to Israel after a wonderful but too-short visit, and it is time to focus on this week’s menu. 

How many of you have seen a celery root (also known as celeriac), let alone cooked one?  Not many, I am guessing.  I discovered this amazing root vegetable a year ago, when I decided to try this soup, and fell madly in love with this ugly knotty root.


This root can be hard to find, depending on your local stores.  Sometimes my standard local grocery stores carry it (Giant, Wegmans, etc) in the section with other root vegetables- beets, turnips, fennel, etc.  At other times it is nowhere to be found on their shelves.  But my local Asian supermarkets (including H Mart), always have it and substantially cheaper than at the other stores.

The taste of this root, when cooked, is like celery on steroids.  You will never be able to eat plain cream of celery soup again. This particular soup, with both celery and celeriac, is so flavorful and filling, that it is hard to believe that it is low-calorie too.

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Curry Pumpkin Pressure Cooker Soup – 4 Smart Points

Fall is finally here in the northern part of the Mid-Atlantic Coast. And for me, fall means pumpkins ?. And pumpkins mean pumpkin bread, pumpkin pies, and pumpkin soup.

Now, one can always bake pumpkin goodies using canned pumpkin, but I look forward buying my pie pumpkins at the grocery store or a roadside stand in WV, and roasting my pumpkin and pureeing it myself.

To roast your own pumpkin, buy pie pumpkins (the small ones; sometimes called sugar pumpkins), remove the stem if it is still attached, and cut in half.  You will need 2-3 pumpkins depending on the size you have. You cannot use jack o’lantern pumpkins because they have a high water content and little taste – i.e., they’re not good eating.  Next, scoop the seeds out of the halves.  You can roast those later like regular pumpkin seeds.

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