Tasty, comforting meals can be made in an instant with ingredients in the pantry, thanks to a little help from pressure cookers.
New York Times food columnist and cookbook author Melissa Clark shared these simple recipes with "GMA" that are perfect for when you're stuck inside and crave something comforting.
The food columnist who just released her latest book, "Dinner in French," also shared another recipe that doesn't use an Instant Pot, but is sure to use some pantry staples and make your home smell delicious.
Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
Why make macaroni and cheese in an electric pressure cooker when it’s so easy to do on the stove? You’re not necessarily going to save any time with this method, but cooking it all in one pot does make things more convenient. Plus, the cream cheese in the sauce makes this version particularly rich and creamy.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 cups whole milk, plus more as needed
¼ cup heavy cream
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 garlic clove (optional)
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
¾ teaspoon kosher salt¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Pinch of grated nutmeg
8 ounces macaroni pasta
8 ounces grated sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese
Brush 1 tablespoon of the butter over the bottom of the pressure cooker.
In a blender, blend the milk, cream, cream cheese, remaining 1 tablespoon butter, garlic, dry mustard, salt, pepper, cayenne and nutmeg.
Add the cream cheese mixture and the macaroni to the pressure cooker and stir to combine. Cover and cook on high pressure for 6 minutes.
Release the pressure manually. Stir the noodles, and if they look dry, stir in more milk to taste. If the noodles are too al dente to your liking, stir in the cheddar, then cover and let the pot sit for 5 to 10 minutes; the noodles will cook a little more just sitting in the pot. Otherwise, stir in the cheese and serve immediately.
Reprinted from Dinner in French. Copyright © 2020 by Melissa Clark. Photographs copyright © 2020 by Laura Edwards. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.”
Red Lentil Soup
Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 2 to 4 servings
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¾ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of ancho or New Mexico chile powder or cayenne pepper, plus more to taste
1 quart chicken or vegetable stock, preferably homemade
½ cup diced tomatoes and their juices (either canned or fresh)
1 cup dried red lentils
Juice of ½ lemon, more to taste
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
Flaky sea salt, for serving
Using the sauté function, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in the pressure cooker. When it is hot, stir in the onion and sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, cumin, salt, turmeric, black pepper, and chili powder, and cook until fragrant, another 2 minutes.
Add the stock, tomatoes, lentils, and 1 tablespoon of the oil to the pot. Cover, and cook on high pressure for 6 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes; then release the remaining pressure manually.
Stir in the lemon juice, adding more to taste, along with more salt and pepper if needed. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and drizzle with fresh mint, and flaky sea salt to taste.
Cook it slow: Cook for two to three hours on high or four to six on low.
Reprinted from Comfort in an Instant . Copyright © 2018 by Melissa Clark. Photographs copyright © 2018 by Christopher Testani. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.
Savory Gruyère Bread with Ham
4 tablespoons (½ stick / 56 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for the pan
2½ cups (325 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (180 grams) coarsely chopped ham
3 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions, white and green parts (optional)1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves2 cups (8 ounces / 198 grams) grated Gruyère or sharp cheddar cheese
2 large eggs
1 cup (240 milliliters) buttermilk
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a metal 9 by 5-inch loaf pan and set it aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Stir in the chopped ham, scallions if using, thyme, and 1¾ cups (7 ounces) of the Gruyère (reserving the rest for topping). In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter, eggs, and buttermilk. Add the wet mixture to the flour mixture and stir to combine. The batter will be thick.
Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and spread it out evenly, smoothing the top. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup (1 ounce) cheese over the top. Bake until the top springs back when lightly pressed and a skewer inserted in the center comes out with some moist crumbs attached, 45 to 55 minutes.
Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let it cool for 10 minutes. Then remove the bread from the pan and let it cool completely on the wire rack.
Thinking Ahead Bread: You can bake the loaf up to 3 days in advance. Store it, well wrapped, in the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature before serving. Or freeze it for up to 2 months. After freezing, this is best sliced and served toasted and warm— and spread with butter if you like.