Instant Pot – Cottage Pie

Serves 4-6 | Prep: 15 minutes | Cook: 30 minutes

Source:

This Pilgrim’s Life – Shepherd’s Pie – http://www.thispilgrimlife.com/instant-pot-shepherds-pie/

Ingredients:

Notes: This is the recipe from This Pilgrim’s Life. My notes are are in bold.

  • 4 russet baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes KB: I used 4 medium sized potatoes. Ended up with a lot of mash potatoes.
  • salt, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced KB: Small onion would be perfect.
  • 3 carrots, peeled & cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 C chopped mushrooms
  • 1 C frozen peas KB: I used canned sweet peas (15oz)
  • 1 C beef broth
  • 3 Tbsp flour KB: Tablespoons and not teaspoons!
  • 1 C cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Combine potatoes, 1 cup water, and 1 teaspoon salt in the Instant Pot. Cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. KB: I think next time, use the trivet. When I cooked the potatoes, I found that the potatoes ended up sticking to the bottom of the Instant Pot liner making it a pain in the butt to clean. Drain the potatoes and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add 1 egg, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and 2 tablespoons butter to the potatoes. Mash the potato mixture with a masher, or whip with a hand mixer.
  2. In the now-empty Instant Pot, sauté the ground beef for 5 minutes until it begins to brown*. Add the carrots, onions, peas, mushrooms, and 1 tsp each salt and pepper. Stir to combine. KB: I tried to let the veggies, especially onions, reduce a little bit before adding the beef broth. Mix together beef broth and flour in a small measuring cup, then pour the broth mixture into the Instant Pot and stir to combine again.
  3. Top the beef mixture with the mashed potatoes and smooth the top of the potatoes with a spatula. Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes.KB: I felt like I had a ton of beef filling mixture and mash potatoes. Nothing wrong with cooking the Cottage Pie in that quantity, but might be worthwhile to split the quantity between the Instant Pot and a small casserole dish.
  4. Quick release the pressure. Immediately** top with shredded cheese and serve.

Other Notes:

As my friends have pointed out… Shepherd’s Pie is made with lamb. Cottage Pie is made with beef. Enjoy!

Flo Lum has her own twist to Cottage Pie using scalloped potatoes instead of mashed potatoes. Check out her recipe here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvfZrhCY8N8

Mashed Potatoes: If you enjoy homemade mash potatoes, I would recommend the first half of this recipe. 4 russet potatoes, cubed into 1″ pieces, plus 1 cup of water and some salt. Cook on manual for 8 minutes. Add 1 egg, 2 Tablespoons of butter, salt, pepper, and garlic powder; and mash, mash, mash.

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Instant Pot – French Dip Sandwiches

Source:

No. 2 Pencil – http://www.number-2-pencil.com/2016/09/04/instant-pot-pressure-cooker-french-dip-sandwiches/

Ingredients:

Notes: Recipe by No. 2 Pencil. All my notes will be in bold.

  • 2.5 pound chuck roast KB: Enough for 4 or 5 people
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 onion, sliced KB: I used one medium white onion
  • 1/2 cup of red wine KB: Don’t need anything fancy. Use the cheapest red wine you can find. I ended up using a $3 bottle of Merlot.
  • 1 14 oz can of low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 6 soft rolls
  • 3 tablespoons of butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 6 slices of provolone cheese
  • KB: Consider adding some soy sauce and/or Worcester sauce. The Au Jus was missing something.

Directions:

  1. For best results, let chuck roast rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before searing.
  2. Add vegetable oil to the Instant Pot and hit the sauté button.
  3. Season chuck roast with 2 teaspoon of kosher salt, freshly ground pepper to taste and 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder on all side. KB: See item 3 in the notes at the bottom of the page.
  4. Using a pair on long heat-proof kitchen tongs, sear roast on all sides in Instant Pot.
  5. Remove seared roast from Instant Pot and set aside.
  6. Add onions to pot and sauté just until they start to soften.
  7. Add red wine to pot and let simmer until reduced by half.
  8. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up seared bits from the bottom of the pot as it simmers.
  9. Once wine has reduced, add low-sodium beef broth and bay leaf.
  10. Return roast to Instant Pot, close lid and make pressure release valve is set to sealing.
  11. Hit Meat/Stew function and increase time to 100 minutes.
  12. Let Instant Pot natural release for 25 minutes, then turn valve to venting to release any excess pressure.
  13. Remove lid and transfer roast to a serving plate and shred.
  14. Strain liquid through a fine mesh strainer and serve warm for dipping sandwiches. KB: Definitely do this. The cooking process made the onions super mushy and you don’t want to use them in your sandwich.
  15. Set oven to broil and place sandwich rolls on a baking sheet.
  16. Combine melted butter, 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder and pinch of kosher salt in a small bowl.
  17. Brush over rolls and toast 2-3 minutes, just until gold brown.
  18. Pile meat onto rolls and top with cheese. Return to broiler and heat just until cheese has started to melt.
  19. Top sandwiches with freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley and serve with warm au jus for dipping.

Notes:

I thought this recipe was really good. Like I mentioned above, the Au Jus sauce wasn’t quite right. It seemed to be missing something. I’ll be adding some Worcester and Soy Sauce (or maybe fish sauce) next time to get the dipping sauce to where I would like it.

Might be worthwhile to splurge the $1.60 (at Safeway) for the McCormick’s Au Jus spice packet.

Instead of cooking a whole beef chuck, next time, I’ll try cutting the chuck into smaller pieces and cooking for 60-65 minutes instead of the 100 minutes that this recipe calls for. I don’t see any real benefit to cooking the beef as a whole. The smaller pieces would be easier to handle and will cook quicker.

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Instant Pot – Chicken Noodle Soup

Notes:

Super easy chicken noodle soup recipe! Just follow the recipe. Fair warning that you’ll have a lot of chicken meat. Either save the meat and use it for a different recipe, or consider getting a smaller chicken and supplementing with chicken bones or chicken broth.

Source:

Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 5 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces KB: Too much carrots. The broth tastes more like veggie soup than it does chicken. Will try 3 carrots next time.
  • 2 celery sticks, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces KB: I like celery. I will do 3 celery sticks next time.
  • 1 whole 5 pound chicken, giblets removed and discarded
  • 2 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 8 cups of water
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 ounces of extra wide egg noodles
  • 1/4 cup of minced fresh flat leaf parsley

Instructions:

KB: Notes: Here’s the original recipe from No. 2 Pencil I’ve added my notes in bold. I’ve been spoiled with Pho Ga growing up, so I tend to like my chicken noodle soup with prominent Chicken flavors. Easily serves 5-6 people.

  1. Set Instant Pot to Saute function.
  2. Heat olive oil and onions until onions start to soften and become translucent, 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, carrots and celery and saute for another minute.
  4. Add whole chicken to Instant Pot, followed by water, soy sauce, 2 teaspoon of salt and several turns of freshly ground pepper.
  5. Turn off Saute function, lock Instant Pot lid in place, make sure pressure valve is set to sealing and set Instant Pot to High Pressure for 20 minutes, via manual mode. KB: As the broth didn’t really bring out the chicken flavor, I would recommend running the Instant Pot for a little longer. I ran mine for 25 minutes.
  6. Instant Pot will take 15-20 minutes to come to pressure, then will countdown from 20 minutes.
  7. After 20 minutes at high pressure, Instant Pot will beep and switch to keep warm mode.
  8. Turn pressure release valve to Quick Release pressure.
  9. Carefully open Instant Pot, keeping lid angled away from you to avoid very hot steam.
  10. Remove whole chicken and set aside to shred.
  11. Turn Instant Pot back to Saute function and let chicken broth come to a boil.
  12. Stir in egg noddles and let cook for about 5 minutes.
  13. While noodles are cooking, shred chicken into bite sized pieces discarding bones and skin.
  14. Once noodles are cooked, stir in chicken meat and fresh parsley.
  15. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
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Instant Pot – Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese

Source Recipes:
Cuong Can Cook – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzQ8gWq_b38
Stephanie Manley – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UG38–QZY8

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of pasta – I used elbow macaroni. Note: The boxes of pasta at the store are usually 380grams (3/4 of lb). I think there’s a pasta/water ratio you need to adhere to so that you don’t have excess liquid after cooking the pasta.
  • 4 cups of water
  • salt
  • 2 cups of shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup of shredded Monterrey Jack cheese (The Cheddar/Monterrey Jack combo offers a creamier and smoother Mac n’ Cheese flavor)
  • 1 cup of half and half milk
  • 2 Tbsp of Butter
  • Dried oregano
  • Dried mustard

Directions:

  • 4 cups of water, 1 lb of pasta, some salt (1 or 2 tsp), and some dried mustard (1 tsp) goes into the Instant Pot. Cook on Manual for 4 minutes with the valve set to Sealing. Quick Release (QR) the valve when cooking is finished.
  • Mix in half-and-half, butter, and shredded cheese into pasta. Folding in ingredients a little at a time makes things easier
  • Add salt, pepper, oregano, or other to taste.

Notes:

  • Try adding hot sauce for a kick in flavor
  • Try different cheese combinations to find a combo that works for you
  • Adhere to the 4 cups of water to 1 lb of pasta ratio to avoid excess water.
  • Cheddar/Monterrey Jack cheese offers a smoother and creamy flavor

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New Year Goals 2017

Hi all.

Here are my resolutions for 2017. I encourage everyone to think about their own goals and reach out to me if I can help you. Write down and share your goals and

My goals for 2017 and in no particular order:

  1. Run a 9-ball rack (pool) and improve my billiards game. I’ve actually broke and ran a 9-ball game before, but haven’t done so since my session of APA League Pool. Stretch goal: Top Gun in 9-ball for my local APA league.
  2. Stage 0 Weight Reduction (lose some weight) and be a little healthier. Maybe make some time and pick up Aikido again. First milestone is to lose 20 lbs.
  3. Be a little more selfish and spend MORE time focusing on myself and the things I am passionate about.
  4. Chair at least one autocross event for the 2017 Championship Series and one event for the 2017 Slush series.
  5. Podium at an autocross event in my class with more than 5 entries.
  6. Fix the Impreza, and then fix the Porsche.
  7. Be more supportive of my friends in their interests and passions, even if those things are no interest to me.
  8. Be relatively debt-free by the end of 2017.
  9. Play more Magic: the Gathering than I did in 2016.
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Instant Pot – Pho Ga Recipe (Chicken Pho)

Homemade Pho Ga

Pho Ga (Cuong Can Cook)

Source:

Recipe – http://www.copymethat.com/r/7IF9I41/cuong-can-cook-ip-pho-ga/

Ingredients:

  • 4 bone in chicken breasts KB: Bone in is important. If you find that you don’t have enough flavor, you can also buy chicken bones by itself. I also found that 4 chicken breasts left me with way too much chicken. My second attempt was with 1 chicken breast with rib bone and 2 carcasses of chicken bones.
  • 1 onion KB: I used a yellow onion.
  • 1 palm sized piece of ginger
  • green onion
  • cilantro
  • thai basil
  • ¼ cup fish sauce plus to taste KB: Use 1/2 cup. Taste your broth before serving. You’ll need to add a little fish sauce and/or salt to the broth in order to get it to the flavor/taste you are looking for. Don’t be afraid of adding too much though. Like Cuong said, the noodles will dilute the broth and flavor.
  • 2 TBS sugar (preferably palm sugar) KB: Use 1 tablespoon instead of 2.
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • pho noodles
  • lime wedges
  • packet of pho spices (can omit) KB: This was one of the items available at my local Asian Market. $3.00 for 5 spice packets.
    https://www.amazon.com/Pho-Hoa-Beef-Noodle-Spices/dp/B003GRMUCU
    The filter bag becomes really fragile after the cooking process. Use a ladle to remove the packet as to not break the spice bag during removal
    .

Cooking Directions (From Cuong Can Cook with personal notes in bold):

  • Over direct heat gas flame, char the whole onion and ginger, 5 minutes. If a gas burner is not available, you can use a dry pan on the stove, broil in the oven, or use your outdoor BBQ grill.
  • Place chicken, fish sauce, sugar, charred onion and ginger, salt, and spice packet into Instant Pot and fill with hot water (can use cold, it just takes longer to heat up). Close lid, set vent knob to Sealing, and use Manual for 20 minutes. KB: Try to use hot water if possible. It will save you a lot of time. We also found the chicken to be a little bland. Consider preparing the chicken ahead of time by seasoning with some salt and pepper.
  • While the chicken is cooking, slice green onion and cilantro into small pieces
  • After 20 minute cook time, you can QR (Quick Release) or NPR (Natural Pressure Release). Taste and season broth. KB: I ended up cooking on Manual for 25 minutes. I also don’t think it hurts to let the broth sit after cooking. I feel like the flavors really start to settle in more the longer you let it sit. My only recommendation is to remove the spice packet with a ladle as I think the packet will become more prone to breaking. According to Cuong, you want the broth to be a bit more flavorful than what you like. When you add the rice noodles into the soup, it will dilute the flavor a little bit. This is very much true!
  • In a separate pot, boil some water, Using a noodle strainer if available, boil the dry pho noodles about 5 to 20 seconds until it is loose and pliable. Place into soup bowl. KB: I was told to wash the noodles again after cooking it. Something about a better taste.
  • Slice or pull chicken meat and add to soup bowl
  • Garnish with green onion and cilantro, pour hot soup broth into bowl KB: If the noodles are cold, consider microwaving the bowl for 30-45 secs prior to adding the broth.
  • Top with Thai basil and a squeeze of fresh lime juice
  • Stay lubed during all steps of the cooking process!

 

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MTG Deckbuilder’s Tool Kit League

Hi all.

Just wanted to share this format that we decided to try. I give you the deck builder tool kit league. It’s actually very similar to a sealed deck league, but with MTG deck builder’s tool kit. I suggested the tool kit for several reasons.

  1. Cost ($16 on Amazon)
  2. 4 packs + semi-random set of cards, not to mention a large diversity of cards
  3. Little friendlier for new and returning players

One of my autocross buddies and I play tested this format, and it seems really solid. The power level was nice and even, and though I lost my match, both games were close. Here’s the framework of our league. Feel free to edit these league rules to best suit your play group. I think this format is a great way to make the game more inclusive for players of various skill levels, while keeping costs to a minimum and the power level even.

Deckbuilder’s Toolkit League Rules Framework

Deck Building Rules:

Each participant will start with either a Shadows Over Innistrad or Kaladesh Deck Builder’s Toolkit. This toolkit, and its content, is his or her card pool. From this pool, he/she will build a limited deck.

  • Limited decks must contain a minimum of 40 cards. …
  • Players are not restricted to four of any one card in Limited tournament play.
  • Any drafted or opened cards not used in a player’s Limited deck function as his or her sideboard.

The Kaladesh Deckbuilder’s Tool Kit is $16 from Amazon
https://www.amazon.com/Magic-Gathering-Kaladesh-Builders-Toolkit/dp/B01LDESLBG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1477434489&sr=8-1&keywords=kaladesh+deck+builders+toolkit

Match Rules:

  • 50 minute matches
  • Best out of 3 games
  • Casual REL (casual rules enforcement)
  • After 50 minutes, if the match hasn’t been determined, the match will go on for 5 more turns. Active player is turn 0. If no winner is determined, the game ends in a draw.

League Rules:

  • Round Robin format
  • 1 point for game win, 0 points for game lose or draw
    • Ex. If you won your match 2-1, you receive two points, and your opponent receives 1 point.
  • After all the players have played their matches for the round, the cumulative points from all the matches will determine the round’s standing.
  • After the end of the round, all players are allowed to add a single Standard booster pack to their pool.
  • 1st place each round is awarded 2 additional bonus points; 2nd place is awarded 1 additional bonus point. If a tie occurs, both players are awarded the bonus points.
  • Bottom two players are allowed to add an additional Standard booster pack to their pool.
    • This is in addition to the weekly allowance.
  • After 3 (or more) rounds, the player with most points wins the league event
    • Possible prizes:
      • Booster Packs
      • Prize money to defray next tool kit
      • Nothing
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GoPro5 and GPS Overlay

I had the opportunity to see this during the SEMA Show a few weeks ago and was surprised to hear that the GoPro5 is able to data log GPS in order to overlay it onto video. Here’s the official announcement:

https://gopro.com/news/New-Telemetry-Feature-Quik-Desktop-App

The software is still a little clunky, but I have been able to overlay the data without too much issue. The processing is slow, but otherwise, it works. I hope that GoPro adds more features and makes Quik a little easier to use. Quik hasn’t been all that intuitive. I think it is great for making cool compilations, but not so great for formatting autocross videos (trim videos) and exporting them.

Anyways… this is super exciting! Looking forward to seeing where this goes.

 

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An Update

Thank you to all that follow my blog. As you might have noticed, it’s been a little while since I last posted. Things have been a little busy and I finally made my way around to this blog to let everyone know that all is well. A little hectic, but otherwise, things are great.

There’s definitely a lot of great things going on and I hope that I am able to get everyone up to speed in the next few posts.

First thing first… here’s my most recent autocross run. I’ve found a better way to overlay data, but still am messing around with it. Here’s a sample, though!

That’s all for now!

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LAN Party Project

For the better part of the last few weeks, I’ve been working on my LAN Party Server. As nerdy as that sounds, the experience was actually worthwhile.

13103407_10104422983277883_3926831730580964116_n

Full disclosure, I hate Linux and anything related to it. With that said, my co-worker decided to set-up CentOS 7 on the system. Once we loaded the OS, we began downloading and configuring the various game servers. There’s a great site that will allow you to download, install, and launch a bunch of dedicated server in Linux.

You can find it here:

https://gameservermanagers.com/

After having all the games installed, we noticed that the commands was super confusing. Launching the game was a pain in the butt. From there, I really started my big project. I ended up scripting a launcher that could… well… launch and shutdown the games.

The script originally started at 3-400 lines of code. I looked at the code again and noticed that there was a better way to do things and implemented that. Once that was done… I was able to trim away half down to 200 lines.

As I got more and more into the dedicated game server, I noticed that I needed to add additional functionality to the script. Form there, the code ballooned up to its current state of 600 lines. Mind you… this script is fairly robust. It has all your typical server functions (start, stop, restart, edit config file, update, etc.), but also has several server tools that would allow you to do mass edits over all the games.

Here’s the current state of the launcher script: http://www.kimete.com/launchernewest.sh

launcher

As for the server, we were able to set it up with an ftp service as well as configured teaming to allow more performance and bandwidth out of the 2x gigabit ethernet ports.

As for the LAN Party… the server did great. Everything ran smoothly. I was able to control the server from SSH with little issues. And it seemed to host the games just fine.

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