Category Archives: easy

Greek Yogurt made in the Instant Pot


greek yogurt

This thing called the Instant Pot as been the rage now for almost ten years.  I still have a love hate relationship with it!  Let me explain myself further.  I really in so many ways have developed into a minimalist.  My good friends that read my blog are saying to themselves right now “that’s a big fat lie Wanda!”  because guess what you own 4 sets of china plus one that you have just for Christmas. Well in my mind I want to be a minimalist ?  Doesn’t that count?  I do keep the number of kitchen gadgets I own to a minimum because I hate cluttered cabinets.  I debated for awhile before purchasing this so called Instant Pot.  Would I use it enough to warrant the space needed to store this rather large piece of equipment?  Did I have other equipment that could serve the same purpose?  But alas intrigue of this Instant  thing got the best of me and I found myself on Amazon giving in to my weakness.   Cooking chicken breasts for tacos was my first experiment and it was a big fat failure with a capital F!  The  time saved was none and they were inedible.  Case closed and The Instant Pot was packed into it’s box for nine months and did not see the light of day or the darkness of night .  Then the most appealing cooking experiment  appeared in one of my favorite magazines  using your Instant Pot to make yogurt.  I had to try it!   Out of the box it came to never be returned.  I love it when it comes to making Greek Yogurt and mine is used every 7-10 days without fail.  It is the best Greek Yogurt!!!



The money saved is worth it after the initial investment of an Instant Pot and glass jars for storage. You could totally make this without the Instant Pot and it can be stored in a large container. So there you go it is a win win!  Homemade Greek yogurt cost .04 cents an ounce compared to .14 cents per ounce from say Kroger.  That’s .90 cents of savings per container!  At our house we eat about 25-35 containers a month.  That’s a savings of almost $300 a year just on yogurt!!!  Plus it taste better and you add your own sweetener!

I’m giving you the lowdown on making the best Greek Yogurt you have ever had.  This has no sweetener at all.  In fact, it is really tangy and we like it that way.  Add your favorite granola for sweetener as well as whatever fruit is in season.  So you will not have any unseen sugar added!  Another win for you and your family.  You can cook with this stuff, too.  Use it in the place of sour cream anytime.  I love to bake with it.  Delicious.

Maybe you want to take this a step further than I do and use the 8 or more cups of whey that is drained and make yourself some homemade ricotta cheese.  Go for it with my blessing!  I’m afraid with just the two of us that my effort will be wasted. Let me know if you try it out though.

Pour a gallon of milk or half gallon into the Instant Pot.  I use 1% or skim milk.


  1. Set the Instant Pot on Boil.
  2. The milk will need to reach a temperature of 185 degrees which will take about 55 minutes.  Mine has never reached this temperature.
  3. Hit the saute button on the Instant Pot and start whisking the milk to keep it from scorching on the bottom and to get a true read with your thermometer.
  4. When the milk is 185 degrees take it off the heat.  You can see that mine got a little hotter than 185.  It turned out just fine though.





I cool mine in the sink with ice which takes about 20 minutes or just sit it on a trivet and let it cool for about 45 minutes.  Make sure you whisk the milk before measuring temperature so you will have no hot spots. Temperature must be  cooled to 110-95 degrees.



  1. Take out some of the cooled milk and put in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of plain greek yogurt with live culture.  I started with Fage yogurt until I made my first batch.  Wisk the cool milk with the 2 tablespoons of starter ( which is plain yogurt with live culture).
  2. Add the starter and milk back to your cooled gallon of milk.


  1. Put it back in the Instant Pot and set on the Yogurt setting and cook on normal.  I set the timer for 10 hours.  Do not Stir.  This will give you a really good tangy taste.
  2. After 10 hours place in the refrigerator for 4- 8 hours.  A spoon should stand up in the middle.   Do not Stir!
  3. Now is the time to drain the whey.  I have used several methods such as using cheesecloth, purchased bags that can be washed, but the one I prefer is lining a colander with a clean cotton dishcloth and placing in a large bowl.  I usually let it drain for about 8 hours.  Do not stir


Yogurt 2

Place in storage containers and refrigerate. Always keep 2 tablespoons for your starter.  This can be frozen.   I’ve never needed to freeze any because when  I see that I have 2 servings left I will make more.






Filed under Breakfast, Dairy, easy, How To, Instant Pot, Other

Pecan Sticky Buns

School started last Thursday and look at this I am already in the cooking mode.  I could not wait.  Schedule changes have not even  been finalized and I  just had to show this group of very interested teens what was in store for them.  Anytime that I bake with cinnamon everyone appears at my door.  MMM it smells so good.  There is nothing like a little sensory blackmail to get them into my class and then there is no turning back!  Some of them are so funny.  They made comments like this, ”  This class is just like being in the audience of a Food Network Show. Do you feel like your on TV, Mrs. Lupo?”  I am telling you I had their undivided attention for the entire class period.

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Filed under Biscuits, Breakfast, easy

Apricot Bars

You could say that I go a little overboard sometimes when I cook.  When asked to bring a certain food I have been known to bring more than was expected.  Why would someone who cooks as much as I do act so insane?  I need help.  I know I do.  But where do you go when you are an overachiever in the kitchen?  While trying out this new recipe  GI Joe said to me, “Just how many more times are you going to make those bars?”   The truth is I was making them to take with me to the lake last month and wasn’t sure if they were good enough so I tried two recipes.  Guess what they were both good so I took both with me. 

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Filed under Bar Cookies, Desserts, easy

Crispy Skin Salmon with Fresh Orange Juice

 I love this recipe!  It is a super fast one from Cooking Light that I have run in the ground at my house because it take no time to pull together. Salmon is so versatile.  Pair it with most any of your favorite  side dishes.  I like asparagus , broccoli or squash.  Maybe even a combination of all three.    For that matter I like it right out of the pan on top of a big salad that is both delicious and nutritious.  You don’t need a lot of ingredients.  Another reason to love it.    Just pick up salmon, salt, pepper, orange juice and olive oil. The recipe calls for fresh orange juice, but Minute Maid out of the carton will work fine.   So here’s what you do.

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Filed under easy, Fish, Main dish, quick

Blueberry Muffins with a hint of Lemon


Today is the first day of my summer vacation. It is a gorgeous day here in Atlanta.  There is not a cloud in the sky and the humidity is almost nonexistent.  Now this is not going to stay, but I am enjoying it while it is here.  To celebrate my new unfilled time I just had to make these blueberry muffins with the first blueberries I have received this season.  These were shipped here from Baxley, Georgia.  When I saw the address I was flooded with childhood memories of the beach.  Baxley is about an hour south of McRae which is my hometown.  Driving through Baxley meant that we just had to travel through Jesup and we would arrive at our destination St. Simons.  Then my sister and I would have all the pool time and beach time we wanted. 

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Filed under Breakfast, easy, Muffins, quick

Gourmet Jalapeno Cheeseburger

Are you ready for a burger that will knock your socks off?  I have just the one for you.  It has been in my repertoire for about four years and I am just here to tell you that it is everything that you want in a burger.  It is juicy and  flavorful. The kind that you might want to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  It is one to write home about.  Oh, my gosh the spicy sauce that you see dripping down the side of the burger is to die for.  You will want to make it for more that just these burgers or just take a spoonful and savor it!  It is that good.  The burgers and the sauce go together.  Don’t make one without the other or you will be disappointed.  We don’t want that.

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Filed under easy, Grill, Hamburger, Main dish, Ranch Sauce

Rice Pilaf with Spinach and Bacon

Spinach, spinach everywhere!  I have loved the beautiful spinach I am getting in my CSA box each week.  It has been some of the best  that I have ever had, but I cannot prepare this every week.  I have to branch out and try something new,even though sitting down with a bowl of this would be quite rewarding. What did I come up with?  It had to be something quick and a dish that could use some of my other CSA goodies, a gorgeous oyster mushroom and an onion.  Anna’s rice pilaf recipe came to mind.  It’s not her original recipe.  I will share it at a another time.  It is quite delicious.  I used it as a side dish, but it could very well work as a main dish.  I have been known to add a little soy sauce and eat a plateful. 

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Filed under Bacon, easy, Local CSA, Rice, side dish, spinach

Favorite Hot Cocoa and Eggs

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  One-fourth of your daily calories should be consumed first thing in the morning.  I have found that less than one-fourth of my students do not eat breakfast before they leave for school.   The number one reason given for not eating breakfast is – no time.  I say it is just poor planning.  Breakfast is so easy and quick to make!  Especially eggs!

How do we like our eggs?  Scrambled is the number one choice of most Americans, then hard-cooked , over-easy, over-medium and sunny-side up.  Here are some tips for making great eggs:

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Filed under easy, Eggs, Hot cocoa

Ultimate Comfort Food – Tuna and Shells – another classroom activity

You either love it or hate it.  Canned tuna that is.  In my case I love it.  When I was in college my mother would make a Tuna Noodle Casserole for me every time I came home.  It was comfort food for me.  It made me feel loved and at home.  Some of you are probably thinking that I was probably starving and I would have loved anything that mother made for me, but that was not the case.  We had great food in the college cafeteria and believe me I ate my share of it.  We never had dessert growing up and I quickly learned after eating dessert after every meal in college that I  had to give it up because I was too broke to buy new clothes!   

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Filed under Cheese, easy, pasta, Tuna and Shells

Beef Stroganoff Made Easy

This is one of my all time favorite recipes.  It is easy to put together and it taste great. To me it is comfort food.  Rich gravy made with white wine added mushrooms over rice.  Heaven on a plate!  The recipe came from my long ago friend Cile that lives in Baton Rouge where great food runs rampant.  It is one  of those dishes that you can throw together in 20 minutes and leave it alone for about an hour.  When you return to check on it the flavors are unbelievable.  Trust me if you like a nice rich gravy with tender strips of steak this is it!

In the last couple of years I have had a really hard time finding a top and bottom round steak .  They are now sent to supermarkets as top round steak or bottom round steak.  Even at that they are cut paper-thin.  For this recipe the steak needs to be about 1 1/2 inches thick.     After much experimenting I found that round steak cut for fajitas works fantastic.  It is cut to the right thickness and in strips.  That is even better because the step of slicing while partially frozen can be skipped saving much time.  The results I think are much better.

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Filed under Beef Stroganoff, easy