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Instant Pot Chicken Nachos

By Polly Conner

Our Instant Pot Chicken Nachos are a great starter meal for the Instant Pot.

We teach you how to make this easy Instant Pot meal from fresh or straight from frozen. The best part about the recipe is that you can customize it how you want and it is a great recipe for large groups.

Freezer friendly Instant Pot nachos on a baking sheet

“I have an Instant Pot. Now I just need things to make in it.”

I can’t tell you how many people I’ve encountered who have an Instant Pot but feel a little stuck. Either they are too intimidated by all of the functions or simply don’t know what recipe to start with.

As cookbook authors of, From Freezer to Cooker, we can assure you that we have tested loads of amazing Instant Pot recipes (which are also freezer friendly). We’ve learned the ins and outs of the Instant Pot and have even perfected how to prep freezer meals for the Instant Pot. This Instant Pot Chicken Nacho recipe works both from fresh and from frozen!

How Long do I Cook Chicken in the Instant Pot?

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts don’t need long in the Instant Pot. You’ll pressure cook the chicken breasts and sauce for just 7 minutes. Then, use a quick release of the pressure. That’s usually all you need, otherwise you’ll dry out your chicken. But, be sure to check to make sure the chicken is done using a meat thermometer. It should register 165°F internally. Or, another way to check for doneness is to make sure there is no more pink inside when you cut into it.

Shredded chicken on a cutting board

During our two years of research and testing, we learned EXACTLY how long to cook meals in the Instant Pot both from fresh OR from frozen. Be sure to download and print off our Cheat Sheet here. It’s so helpful to have inside your cabinet.

Close up of Instant Pot chicken nachos

Can I Make These in the Slow Cooker?

We know you love versatility! Yes, these can easily be made in the slow cooker as well. Just follow the recipe below and instead of cooking them in the Instant Pot, just cook them on low in the slow cooker for about 3. 5 hours. Just make sure you don’t overcook your chicken!

How to Serve Instant Pot Nachos

For dinner of course! Why not? It has protein, veggies, and each family member can customize their portion with a variety of Mexican toppings, like shredded lettuce, guacamole, diced tomatoes, sour cream, salsa, etc. 

Side dish ideas include cut up fruit, raw veggie sticks with our Creamy Southwest Ranch Sauce, or our Fiesta Chopped Salad

Close up of instant pot chicken nachos

How to Make it a Freezer Meal

Nachos? A freezer meal?

Yes! Well, kinda. To make Instant Pot Nachos a freezer meal, you’ll just prep and freeze the seasoned chicken before cooking it in the Instant Pot.

Freeze For Later: Place seasoned chicken, salsa, lime juice, and cilantro into a gallon-sized freezer bag or round container. (Make sure to not stack the chicken.) Seal and freeze alongside a bag of shredded cheese. Tip: Set the freezer bag in a bowl in the freezer for a few hours to help it freeze in the shape of the Instant Pot.

Prepare From Frozen: Note: You will need chips and your favorite suggested toppings to complete this meal. Turn on the Saute function. Saute the frozen meal for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press Cancel. Cook for 15-20 minutes with a quick release.

Instant Pot Nachos Freezer Meal

Mix It Up!

The chicken in this nacho recipe is really versatile! Try one of these alternate ways of serving the cooked chicken.

  • Create a Chicken Burrito Bowl by serving the chicken and your favorite Mexican toppings over rice or quinoa. 
  • Make quesadillas with the chicken and cheese on whole wheat, corn, or gluten-free tortillas. 
  • Top a salad with this chicken, corn, black beans, shredded cheddar cheese, and cherry tomatoes. Use our Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette as the dressing.
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Instant Pot Chicken Nachos

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 7 minutes
  • Total Time: 12 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Mexican
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Instant Pot Chicken Nachos: A simple, lime-infused marinade for chicken breasts produces flavorful and moist shredded chicken with a hint of heat. Use it atop baked nachos, which come together in just minutes.


Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning (p. ?)
  • 2 cups of mild salsa (or medium, if you want a little more heat)
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 2 small limes)
  • ⅓ cup of chopped cilantro
  • Half a bag of tortilla chips
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • Optional Toppings: avocado, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, shredded cheese, salsa, lime wedges, fresh chopped cilantro, chopped tomatoes

Instructions

  1. Season all sides of the chicken with taco seasoning. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  2. Place chicken, salsa, lime juice, and cilantro in the pot and give it all a stir. Lock and seal the lid. Cook for 7 minutes at high pressure and then quick release the pressure. (Check to make sure the chicken is done, which means no more pink inside and/or registers 165°F internally.)
  3. Remove the chicken from the pot and either shred it, using two forks, or dice it. Place the chicken back into the juice. Stir it around so it picks up a lot of that flavor and stays moist.
  4. Preheat the broiler. Cover a sheet pan with parchment or foil for easy clean up. Spread out the tortilla chips on the pan. Top the chips evenly with the shredded chicken (use a slotted spoon to drain excess liquid) and the cheese.
  5. Broil for 2-3 minutes or until cheese has fully melted. 
  6. To serve, top with additional fresh toppings, as desired. Serve immediately.

Freeze For Later: Follow Step 1. Place seasoned chicken, salsa, lime juice, and cilantro into a gallon-sized freezer bag or round container. (Make sure to not stack the chicken.) Seal and freeze alongside a bag of shredded cheese. Tip: Set the freezer bag in a bowl in the freezer for a few hours to help it freeze in the shape of the Instant Pot.

Prepare From Frozen: Note: You will need chips and your favorite suggested toppings to complete this meal. Turn on the Saute function. Saute the frozen meal for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press Cancel. Follow Steps 2-6, except cook for 15-20 minutes with a quick release.

Instant Pot Chicken Nachos with toppings

Want to Stock Your Freezer with 6 Meals in 1 Hour?

Try our SUPER POPULAR 1 Hour Freezer Prep sessions. We give you everything you need to throw together 6 delicious, family-sized freezer meals in just 1 hour! Anyone can do it with our simple instructions, organized shopping list, and pre-filled out freezer labels.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumpling Stew

By Polly Conner

Chicken and Dumplings in the slow cooker? Yes! It can be done!

This classic comfort food will fill your home with delicious smells and is a total crowd pleaser. To make Chicken and Dumplings even more versatile for you, we’ve included instructions not only for the crock pot but also for how to make it a freezer meal AND how to make it in the Instant Pot!

Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings in a white bowl
Image credit: Helene Dujardin/From Freezer to Cooker (Rodale)

This easy Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumpling recipe comes from our cookbook, From Freezer to Cooker ,and was good enough to make national television. Seriously! Here is a segment of us cooking Chicken & Dumplings on Hallmark Home & Family!

Polly Conner and Rachel Tiemeyer on Hallmark Channel

In fact, all of the photos in this post were pulled from this very cooking segment on Hallmark.

Hopefully the process photos will give you a visual of how easily our Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumpling Stew comes together.

How to Make Chicken and Dumplings in the Slow Cooker

SAUTÉ YOUR VEGGIES

While we would love to not have to pre-cook vegetables for this slow cooker meal, we found that they don’t get cooked enough in the 3-4 hours it takes for the chicken to get done in the slow cooker. Plus, sautéing vegetables adds lots of flavor!

Sautéd vegetables for chicken and dumplings

SEASON THE CHICKEN THIGHS

Once those veggies start to get tender and you’ve added your garlic and seasonings, transfer them to the slow cooker and season your chicken.

We use chicken thighs for the recipe because they stay incredibly tender and juice when cooking in the slow cooker. Just make sure you cook the chicken the correct amount of time!

Chicken thighs on a baking sheet being seasoned

COOK IN THE SLOW COOKER

Add the chicken, broth, and bay leaves to the slow cooker and stir to combine.

Cover and cook on Low for 3 to 4 hours. (The chicken is done when it registers 165°F internally.) Trust us, this is really only how long you cook it or else it will turn out dry! Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and set aside. Remove and discard the bay leaves (make sure to return the lid to the cooker quickly).

MAKE THE DUMPLINGS

Set the slow cooker to High. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and parsley. In a small microwave-safe bowl, microwave the butter and milk together until warm, about 1 minute, then whisk to melt the butter and combine. Stir the wet mixture into the dry mixture until just combined (do not overmix).

Making dumplings in a glass bowl

ADD YOUR DUMPLINGS TO THE SLOW COOKER

Working quickly and using a soup spoon or tablespoon, uncover the slow cooker, scoop out heaping tablespoons of dumpling batter, and drop into the stew. (Wet your hands to prevent sticking and use them to help slide the batter off the spoon and into the stew.)

Try to spread the dumplings out so they cover the whole surface and aren’t on top of one another. Get the lid back on the cooker as soon as possible.

Cook on High for 30 to 40 minutes or until the dumplings have doubled in size and a toothpick inserted into the center of a dumpling comes out clean.

Scooping out dumplings into the slow cooker

DICE YOUR CHICKEN AND ADD IT BACK IN

Meanwhile, shred or chop the chicken into bite-size pieces and set aside.

When the dumplings are done, gently stir the chicken and peas into the stew. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

Moving chicken into slow cooker

Can I Make Chicken and Dumplings in the Instant Pot?

One of the beauties of this recipe is that it can be made in both the slow cooker AND the Instant Pot.

INSTANT POT INSTRUCTIONS

  1. For the stew: Set the Instant Pot to “Sauté.” Place the butter in the pot. When the butter has melted, add the onion, celery, and carrots and cook, stirring, until they just begin to soften, 4 to 5 minutes, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper and stirring in the poultry seasoning and garlic during the last 30 to 60 seconds of cooking. Watch to make sure the garlic doesn’t burn. Press “Cancel.” (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  2. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the chicken, broth, and bay leaves to the pot and stir to combine.
  3. Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 6 minutes, then quick release the pressure. (The chicken is done when it registers 165°F internally.) Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and set aside. Remove and discard the bay leaves.
  4. For the dumplings: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and parsley. In a small microwave-safe bowl, microwave the butter and milk together until warm, about 1 minute, then whisk to melt butter and combine. Stir the wet mixture into the dry mixture until just combined (do not overmix).
  5. Set the Instant Pot to “Sauté” and bring the stew to a boil. Using a soup spoon or tablespoon, scoop out heaping tablespoons of dumpling batter, and drop into the stew. (Wet your hands to prevent sticking and use them to help slide the batter off the spoon and into the stew.) Try to spread the dumplings out so they cover the whole surface and aren’t on top of one another. Cover the Instant Pot loosely with the lid, leaving a crack. Cook for about 12 minutes, until the dumplings double in size and a toothpick inserted into the center of a dumpling comes out clean.
  6. Meanwhile, shred or chop the chicken into bite-size pieces and set aside.
  7. When the dumplings are done, gently stir the chicken and peas into the stew. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

INSTANT POT FREEZER MEAL INSTRUCTIONS

FREEZE FOR LATER: Follow step 1. Let the veggies cool. Season both sides of the chicken lightly with salt and pepper and place the chicken in a gallon-size freezer bag or round container (do not stack the chicken thighs in the bag/container; instead, place them side by side). Add the broth, bay leaves, and cooled veggies. Seal and freeze (if using a freezer bag, set it in a bowl or round container with a diameter similar to the Instant Pot so it will fit in the pot when frozen). Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and parsley in a quart-size freezer bag or container. Seal and freeze alongside the stew.

PREPARE FROM FROZEN: Note: You will need to have butter, milk, and frozen peas on hand to complete this meal. Set aside the dry dumpling mix. Set the Instant Pot to “Sauté.” Transfer the frozen stew to the pot and cook for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press “Cancel.” Follow step 3, but cook at high pressure for 15 to 20 minutes. Follow steps 4 through 7, using the bag of dry mix to make the dumplings in step 4.

Can I Freeze Chicken and Dumplings for the Slow Cooker?

You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for fabulous freezer meals. THIS IS WHAT WE DO!

Many would not consider Chicken and Dumplings to be a great freezer meal. Wrong! We have devised a way that Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings can be frozen and thawed and still taste like a fresh, delicious meal.

Holding a freezer meal of chicken and dumplings

FREEZER MEAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE SLOW COOKER VERSION

FREEZE FOR LATER: Follow step 1. Let the veggies cool. Season both sides of the chicken lightly with salt and pepper and place the chicken in a gallon-size freezer bag or container. Add the broth, bay leaves, and cooled veggies. Seal and freeze. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and parsley in a quart-size freezer bag or container. Seal and freeze alongside the stew.

PREPARE FROM FROZEN: Note: You will need to have butter, milk, and frozen peas on hand to complete this meal. Thaw. Transfer the chicken-vegetable mixture to the slow cooker and follow steps 3 through 7, using the bag of dry mix to make the dumplings in step 4.

What should I serve with this dish?

We love that Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings are a one-pot wonder. You’ve got vegetables, protein, and bread/starch all in one delicious bowl! But, if you’d like to add in something on side, here are a few ideas to round out this comfort meal…

Autumn Chopped Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Crock Pot Cinnamon Apples

Have questions? Feedback? Leave a comment and let us know!

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Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: american

Description

Chicken and Dumplings are probably the ultimate comfort food.  This one-pot-wonder is filled with tender vegetables, juicy shredded chicken, and soft dumplings in a rich creamy-brothy gravy.


Ingredients

Stew

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 4 carrots, sliced ¼ inch thick (about 1 ½ cups)
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • to 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Dumplings

  • 1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour (You can sub white whole wheat flour, but we do not recommend subbing whole wheat flour.)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons dried parsley
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter
  • ¾ cup milk (your choice)

Instructions

Make It Now

  1. For the stew: In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrots and cook, stirring, until they just begin to soften, 4 to 5 minutes, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper and stirring in the poultry seasoning and garlic during the last 30 to 60 seconds of cooking. Watch to make sure the garlic doesn’t burn. Remove from the heat. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  2. Transfer the vegetables to the slow cooker. Lightly season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper and place in the slow cooker. Add the broth and bay leaves and stir to combine.
  3. Cover and cook on Low for 3 to 4 hours. (The chicken is done when it registers 165°F internally.) Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and set aside. Remove and discard the bay leaves (make sure to return the lid to the cooker quickly). Set the slow cooker to High.
  4. For the dumplings: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and parsley. In a small microwave-safe bowl, microwave the butter and milk together until warm, about 1 minute, then whisk to melt the butter and combine. Stir the wet mixture into the dry mixture until just combined (do not overmix).
  5. Working quickly and using a soup spoon or tablespoon, uncover the slow cooker, scoop out heaping tablespoons of dumpling batter, and drop into the stew. (Wet your hands to prevent sticking and use them to help slide the batter off the spoon and into the stew.) Try to spread the dumplings out so they cover the whole surface and aren’t on top of one another. Get the lid back on the cooker as soon as possible. Cook on High for 30 to 40 minutes or until the dumplings have doubled in size and a toothpick inserted into the center of a dumpling comes out clean.
  6. Meanwhile, shred or chop the chicken into bite-size pieces and set aside.
  7. When the dumplings are done, gently stir the chicken and peas into the stew. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

Freeze for Later:

Follow step 1. Let the veggies cool. Season both sides of the chicken lightly with salt and pepper and place the chicken in a gallon-size freezer bag or container. Add the broth, bay leaves, and cooled veggies. Seal and freeze. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and parsley in a quart-size freezer bag or container. Seal and freeze alongside the stew.

Prepare From Frozen:

Note: You will need to have butter, milk, and frozen peas on hand to complete this meal. Thaw. Transfer the chicken-vegetable mixture to the slow cooker and follow steps 3 through 7, using the bag of dry mix to make the dumplings in step 4.


Notes

“I added some leftover grilled corn to it, and that was an excellent addition.” —Ashley D.

Want to Stock Your Freezer with 6 Meals in 1 Hour?

Try our SUPER POPULAR 1 Hour Freezer Prep sessions. We give you everything you need to throw together 6 delicious, family-sized freezer meals in just 1 hour! Anyone can do it with our simple instructions, organized shopping list, and pre-filled out freezer labels.

Easy Oven Baked Ribs

By Rachel Tiemeyer

These no-fuss oven baked ribs will satisfy every meat-loving man or child in your house!I think we all know ribs aren’t exactly the healthiest food out there. In fact, I made up a one-line song called “Fatty Meat On a Bone” that my kids and even some friends now sing. I’ll sing it for you sometime. It will blow your mind. But that is beside the point.

My husband loves ribs. I love my husband. I made him some fatty man meat on a bone. He was a happy husband. You see, the saying should go “The way to a man’s heart is through ribs.” Get it?!?

Ribs often require quite a few steps and a lot of time to make. However, this new recipe wasn’t difficult and the hands-on cooking time was only about 25-30 minutes. The inactive cooking time (boiling and baking) was about two hours. They came out moist and flavorful and even got an unsolicited positive comment from Nathan. That’s success in my book, my friends.

I hope you can bring joy to the heart of the man in your life with some easy oven baked fatty meat on a bone!

These no-fuss oven baked ribs will satisfy every meat-loving man or child in your house!

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Oven Baked Ribs

Easy Oven Baked Ribs

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These no-fuss oven baked ribs will satisfy every meat-loving man or child in your house! Pair them with some baked potatoes and baked beans for a winning combination!


Ingredients

  • 34 lb spare ribs
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 cup ketchup (I used Trader Joe’s Organic Ketchup)
  • 1/2 cup barbeque sauce (I used Trader Joe’s All Natural)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 12 cloves garlic, minced

Instructions

  1. Place the ribs in a large stock pot with enough water or broth to cover. (Note: I seasoned my water with stuff I had on hand: salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion, jalepeno, and bay leaves.) Bring the water to a boil and lower heat to a simmer for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  3. In medium saucepan, combine ketchup, barbeque sauce, brown sugar, cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, paprika and garlic; blend well.
  4. Cook the sauce over medium-low heat for approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Remove ribs from water. Cut the ribs between the bones and place on a baking pan with sides. Season with a bit of salt and pepper, rubbing it in. (Note: A rib spice rub would be awesome here. I just didn’t have time to make one.) Cover ribs in the sauce.
  6. Cover the pan with foil and cook for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue cooking for an additional 30 minutes. (Note: Use parchment or foil on bottom of pan!)

Parmesan and Cracker Crusted Tilapia

By Rachel Tiemeyer

This tilapia recipe is sure to become a favorite! With a perfectly crispy outside and incredibly moist inside, you're sure to love it, too!

Parmesan and Cracker Crusted Tilapia is hands-down my favorite tilapia recipe ever. Crispy, moist, and full of flavor! You can’t go wrong here.

Freezer Meal Instructions: Bread the fish and freeze unbaked. When ready to cook, thaw in the fridge overnight and bake according to instructions below.

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Cracker and Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Seafood
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This tilapia recipe is sure to become a favorite! With a perfectly crispy outside and incredibly moist flavor, you’re sure to love it, too!


Ingredients

  • 1 cup oyster crackers – I used Trader Joe’s Oyster Crackers
  • 1/3 cup multigrain crackers – I used Trader Joe’s Mini Round 12-Grain Crackers
  • ¾ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup flat leaf parsley leaves
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves (or 2 teaspoons of dried thyme leaves)
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Whole wheat flour, for coating
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • Splash of heavy cream or half and half
  • olive oil, for frying
  • 1.5 lbs sole or tilapia fillets, rinsed and patted dry
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • lemon wedges, for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Using a food processor, grind the oyster crackers, multigrain crackers, Parmesan, parsley, chives, thyme, Old Bay seasoning, and garlic powder. Transfer to a shallow bowl. Place flour in another shallow bowl. In a third shallow bowl, beat the eggs and cream.
  3. Fill a large skillet with enough oil to reach a depth of ¼ inch and heat over medium-high heat. Season fish fillets with salt and pepper. Coat the fish with the flour, shaking off any excess; coat with the egg mixture, then with the cracker crumbs. Working with two fillets at a time, fry the fish in the skillet, turning once, until deep golden, about 5 minutes.
  4. Transfer each batch to the oven to keep warm. Serve with the lemon wedges.

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions:
To Freeze:
Bread the fish and freeze unbaked.

To Prepare:
When ready to cook, thaw breaded fish filets in the fridge overnight and cook according to recipe instructions.