Instant pot chicken mole

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That's right. Mole. In an instant pot.

Now, hear me out. I don't claim that this mole is in ANY WAY authentic, but what is an authentic mole anyway? It seems to me that there are characteristics that qualify a sauce as mole, but that there is no one recipe to rule them all.

Now, I also realize that this dish is usually made with a huge list of spices and chiles, most of which you have to toast or hydrate, and that traditionally, these spices are ground by hand with a mortar and pestle.

But, WHO HAS THAT KIND OF TIME? Surely not parents of toddlers. 

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Instead, you can toss everything into an instant pot and have a really complex dinner on the table in about an hour (with most of that time being hands off).

The most time consuming part of the process here is reducing the sauce after the chicken has been pressure cooked. You'll want to saute the liquid until it reduces by about half and when you scrape the bottom of the pot, the sauce doesn't re-cover the metal right away. That will be a good indication that the sauce is thick enough.

The sauce before thickening.

The sauce before thickening.

The sauce after being reduced. See how the sauce doesn't cover the metal right away?

The sauce after being reduced. See how the sauce doesn't cover the metal right away?

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This dish is great over white rice, brown rice, cauliflower rice, in a taco, in a lettuce cup: you get the picture. The ingredients all comply with Whole 30, which means it's gluten, dairy, and refined-sugar free. You can also swap in seed butter for the almond butter if you need to avoid nuts.

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Instant pot chicken mole

1 cup chicken stock
1 cup chopped tomatoes in liquid
1 Tbsp chili powder
1.5 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and quartered
½ red onion, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp chipotle in adobo
¼ cup golden raisins
2 Tbsp almond butter
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Place all of the sauce ingredients in your instant pot and whisk to combine. Add the chicken breasts and scrunch them around to make sure that there is liquid surrounding the pieces.

Close the instant pot and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Release the steam manually and remove the chicken. Check the doneness of the chicken with a thermometer (it should read at least 165).

Turn the Instant pot off and then back on with the sauté function on medium. Saute until the remaining liquid has reduced by half and thickened significantly, about 20 minutes (you should be able to scrape the bottom of the pot and see the metal for a second before the sauce covers over it). Let cool slightly.

Add the liquid to a blender and blend until smooth.

Serve the chicken with 1/4 of the sauce and any other garnishes and accessories that you want.

Yield: 4 grown-up servings

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Mexican chocolate zucchini muffins

We had an I-ONLY-WANT-TO-EAT-CAKE-FOR-LUNCH episode recently, so I decided to give the people what they really want: Cake for breakfast. But not!

In honor of Cinco de Mayo tomorrow, I added some cayenne for the slightest of kicks in these healthy-ish breakfast/snack/anytime muffins. In honor of wanting to maintain balance in our diets, I added whole wheat flour, coconut sugar, avocado oil, zucchini, applesauce, and blackberries.

These muffins are really incredibly easy. No need to drain the zucchini or use separate bowls for the mixing. They're also free of dairy and refined sugar if you skip the chocolate chips, and can easily be made vegan by swapping in two flax eggs. The batter is thick (almost like a brownie batter), but puffs up with a light, airy, and not at all dry crumb.

This batch only made 11 muffins because Sticky Fingers here kept munching on the blackberries and chocolate chips I'd measured out. All of my other batches made an even dozen.

This batch only made 11 muffins because Sticky Fingers here kept munching on the blackberries and chocolate chips I'd measured out. All of my other batches made an even dozen.

Mexican chocolate zucchini muffins

1-2 cups shredded zucchini (from one medium zucchini)
2 eggs
1 cup coconut sugar
½ cup avocado oil (coconut and olive oil also work fine)
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
¾ cup white flour
¾ whole wheat flour
3 Tbsp cocoa powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp cayenne or chili powder
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
½ cup semisweet chocolate chunks
1 small container fresh blackberries, or 1 cup frozen berries (not defrosted)

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the shredded zucchini with eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla, and applesauce. Mix well. Add the flours, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, cayenne, cinnamon, and salt, and stir until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks (if using) and the blackberries.

Line or spray cupcake tins with coconut oil. Fill each opening ¾ full and bake for 23-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

Yield: 10-12 muffins