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Sunday, January 23, 2011

One Month Vacation Countdown - and cooking stew in a pressure cooker

Yes... one month ... one month!   The countdown has begun!  As I look out our windows at the dreary snow, and feel the subzero temps blasting us, we know how much we will appreciate hopping in the rig and heading south and west to where it's WARM!  I think we just want to open up our lawn chairs in the desert, sit in the sunshine, turn our faces to the sun and relax!!!

Yesterday we drove to frozen Green Bay for some errands, and bought some New Balance hiking/walking shoes for our trip.  We plan to get in a lot of walking and the dogs will be enjoying it too.  We found some nice ones on sale from $70 down to $21 clearance!   They didn't have them in woman's size on the clearance, just men's.  But Steve found a pair for himself, and I thought what the heck, let me see if there was a men's pair that were small enough for me?  Sure Nuff!  So now we are sporting matching shoes!

We skipped going to the big Green Bay RV and Camper show this weekend.  It was held indoors and they charge $8 a person to enter the building. We know of the two local dealers, only one carries motorhomes, and he only had 2 on the lot all winter. Our friends Sharon and Fred went, and said there wasn't much to see anyhow.  Just lots of booths of private parks that we never go to anyhow. So we saved our money.

Last week I posted about using my pressure cookers in the house and in the motorhome.  I have a larger one in the house and a smaller one in the motorhome.   Note-- this is not the big canning pressure cookers with the dials and levers.   This is a smaller stove top version for cooking foods faster and seals in the flavor better than conventional cooking in a kettle.

The one in the pics below came from a tenant of mine. He was an older man who was moving to Nevada, and I helped him sell off a lot of his antique furniture and things before he left.  One of the items he gave to me was this pressure cooker, complete with the old original recipe book that was printed by the company, Presto.  I know new ones in the stores run upwards of $70-80 ... so keep an eye out at thrift shops or rummages for a more reasonable priced one.  You can get replacement gaskets and rocker weights in many hardware stores or online.   The smaller one in the rig came from a rummage sale for $2.

We use them a lot, and it makes cooking easier and faster, in my opinion.  So while I was making beef stew this week, I snapped a few pics for my blog.   I timed myself ... it took 28 minutes from beginning to end!

First, I browned up some tenderloin chunks of meat 
in the bottom of the pan with a bit of water and spices. 

While that was browning, Steveio peeled the taters and carrots. 
I gathered garlic, mushrooms (I was outta fresh so used canned) 
and 2 packets of gravy mix. You could use jars of gravy too.
That purple thing is a plastic onion holder that I just LOVE.. 
keeps half cut up onions in the fridge without them stinking up the other foods. 

Once the meat was browned, I tossed in the carrots, 
onions and shrooms and about 2 cups of water

Stick on the lid, turn the burner on Med-Hi and set the rocker weight in place
12 minutes of psssh psssh psssh rocking on top.

While that was cooking, I chunked up the potatoes 
and mixed up the gravy mixes with 2 cups of cold water
(see that small wire whisk?  World's Best Invention as far as I am concerned) 
gathered the spices and a dollop of steak sauce too.....

When the 12 minutes were up, I set the pressure cooker under cold running water in the sink....
the pressure lets out and then I can open the lid

I dumped in the gravy, the spices and the potatoes, and the dollop of steak sauce.  
Stir it up and I set it to cooking for 8 more minutes. 
(if you add the potatoes at the beginning, they get too soft and mushy)

Take it off again, cool under the water in the sink... and open up for 

The house smells soooooooooooooo good after making stew!   And sometimes I add to that a loaf of home baked bread from the bread machine.  Now that is a double whammy on making the house smell extra special!

Last night I made up rice in the pressure cooker, (7 minutes to fluffy perfection) and took pics but they are still in the camera... will save them for a future blog post when I have nothing else to write about.


  1. Get on down here, we've been doing a lot of sitting with our faces to the sun--my dermatologist won't be happy when I get back to Montana.

  2. The perfect meal for a cool wintry day. Come on down the desert is perfect this time of year.

  3. I love making stews, and had not considered the practicality of pressure cookers for fulltiming. Thanks for your post today! I'll tuck that one under my hat for when we can finally hit the road.....

  4. Yup, less cooking time on the stove means less propane being used.

    In contrast to simmering a pot of stew for hours on the propane burner, this is quick and the meat N taters N carrots taste like second day stew!

    (meaning the flavor gets pushed into the foods by the pressurized cooking method)

  5. Looks like the time saved is a good trade off for the weight of the cooker.

    But I find most of my cooking takes less that a half hour of actual cooking time. We rarely eat things like stew, and I am just learning to use the slow cooker for some of that type of food.

    Now if you could come up with a way of saving time on all of the slicing and dicing I'd really love it!

  6. Oh my, that stew looks wonderful. My mom made the world's best stew (in my opinion) - I've never been able to match it. Pressure cookers scare the heck out of me. When I married in 1970 we got three of them as wedding gifts.

  7. I always thought you had to let like 5 min steam come out before putting on the weight to keep from it shooting off.

  8. @ Merikay - I like doing the chopping and cutting with hubby in the kitchen together, it's fun!

    @ Margie and Roger - Ohhh they won't blow up, the lid locks on with a twist, and there is a pressure relief plug too besides the rocker weight.

    @ Anonymous - nope, I just set the rocker weight on the cold pot and let it heat up and start rocking. The old included instruction book from Presto says that is the way to do it.

  9. My Mom always used a pressure cooker. I finally took the plunge, she showed me how (fear all gone) and would never go back. I love mine. Cooks dried bean and meats wonderfully and so fast. I have an electric one someone gave me but love the Mirror stove top the best.

  10. Great post! We love pressure cookers! Heidi and I have two of them and we often borrow my Dad's since it is a middle size between ours and often fits our needs better. I really should just get another one! They do make perfect sense for full-timing and save a ton of LP and time! Our larger one is really more for canning and the smaller one was bought at a thrift shop and is just a little too small for many of the dishes we like. It does double as a nice sauce pan though!

    Your stew looks wonderful!

    97 Roadtrek 170P "Taj Ma Trek"

  11. You RV guys and girls are killing me with all the cooking post.Yum.
    Big Al

  12. This looks delicious, thanks for sharing the recipe!


    hip pressure cooking
    making pressure cookers hip again, one recipe at a time!

  13. I've never used a pressure cooker...and they do intimidate me! But your stew looks tasty!


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