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Instant Pot Hamburger Helper With Rice (Dairy-Free)

Instant Pot Hamburger Helper With Rice – a dairy-free, healthier version of classic Hamburger Helper for an amazingly filling dinner.

When I was a kid, I had the metabolism of a wolverine. Protein, carb and fat-rich meals that stick to your ribcage like Lasagna, Tuna Noodle Casserole, and Hamburger Helper were some of my favorites because I was guaranteed to feel full after those dinners – a rare occasion indeed.

And Hamburger Helper? The relationship was fiery.

There’s something very nostalgic about a childhood meal and most of us begin craving comfort foods in the fall and winter when the weather gets chilly.

Or in my case, all the time. Girl loves to feel FULL! 

Enter: Homemade Hamburger Helper.

What is Hamburger Helper?:

Most of you are already very familiar, but in case you’ve never tried it, Hamburger Helper is a beefy noodle dish in a creamy seasoned sauce, resulting in a dinner that just sticks straight to your ribcage. It is DELICIOUS. 

In order to make iconic Hamburger Helper at home using ingredients that sit well with me, I took many liberties so that I could create a meal I felt good serving both myself and others. This is how it goes..

Instant Pot Dairy-Free Homemade Hamburger Helper with Rice - a cleaner version of Hamburger Helper made in the pressure cooker

How This Recipe Differs From Traditional Hamburger Helper:

  • First and foremost, there is no pasta involved. I swapped it out for rice.
  • The recipe is entirely dairy-free, but you can easily use milk/cream and/or cheese (see Recipe Adaptations) section below.
  • Made in an Instant Pot! Traditionally, my parents made hamburger helper on the stove top, and sometimes finished it off in the oven with more cheese. This recipe requires almost zero effort, hovering, minimal cleanup, and is so QUICK and easy!

Now that you have some background information and know how we’re firing out Version 2.0, lets dive into more details..

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Rosemary Lemon Instant Pot Chicken and Rice

Instant pot chicken and rice with broccoli, lemon zest and rosemary comes together quickly and makes for a nourishing, satisfying meal! Serve it up for family dinner, or make it for meal prep!

Chicken and rice, or what my partner refers to as the body builders diet is on constant rotation in my household.

It really does have everything you need for a strong body: lean protein, and easy to digest carbohydrate to give your system the fuel it needs to thrive.

Oh, and don’t forget the broccoli! Fiber, vitamins, done!

That may be an overly simplistic way of looking at food, But haste: This instant pot chicken and rice recipe is anything but dull. It’s full of herby, zesty flavor with bold onion and garlic overtones for a super flavorful approach to putting fuel in the tank.

Rosemary Lemon Instant Pot Chicken and Rice - two bowls, a napkin and lemons on the side

Plus, using your pressure cooker makes this a one-pot meal for ease of prep and cleanup. AND it comes together quickly with the most mouth-watering, tender chicken. If you’re a meal prepper, this recipe is Magic for your arsenal!

Let’s make it!

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Aromatic Saffron Chicken with Coconut Rice

One-pot Aromatic Saffron Chicken and Coconut Rice with turmeric, coconut milk, peas, raisins and saffron threads – A flavorful, unique fusion dinner recipe that is amazing for sharing or meal prepping.

While this recipe comes off as a dish that has a rich cultural background, its origin is simply my imagination. 

Aromatic saffron chicken with coconut rice was simply born out of my craving for something big in flavor, with a counterbalance of salt, sweet, and cream. 

You could say it is a magical amalgamation of Indian, Middle Eastern and Thai faire. A fusion recipe, if you will.

I hadn’t thought about my “style” of cooking until recently, but I have come to realize it is exactly meals such as this. Fresh, flavorful dishes that combine big aromatic flavors and often can’t be pinned to any one type of cuisine but rather several. 

Aromatic Saffron Chicken with Coconut Rice in a large skillet with slices of lemon

While I absolutely LOVE authentic anything (Thai, Indian, Mexican, Chinese, you name it), I also enjoy me-ifying meals by swapping out ingredients that are difficult to find, figuring out ways of cutting down prep time without sacrificing flavor, and always injecting nutrients whenever possible.

So without further adieu, let’s dive right into this amazing meal, which was nearly impossible for me to name but will surely make your taste buds swoon!

It’s easy, m’kay!

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Basil Fried Rice

Fresh and flavorful basil fried rice with coconut milk, carrot, broccoli, peas, and more! This easy fried rice recipe is healthful with a twist!

 

Whenever I find myself disgruntled and ask myself what I can do to make myself feel less cremudginy, the answer is often (always) the same: carbs.

Specifically of the fried rice varietal.

Don’t fret…you can still enjoy a pile of fried rice on the days you don’t feel like throwing yourself on the ground like a rag doll and tantruming it out. The true fact is, fried rice simply makes everything better.

And that is a fact of life upon which you can quote me 😉

Oh hey, how do you feel about basil in your fried rice?

Quite frankly, I feel grrrrrrrrrrreat about it!

This fried rice recipe comes together quickly and is ultra unique if I do say so myself. First, it includes a plethora of fresh vegetables, like carrots, broccoli, onion, and peas in addition to fresh basil. 

Not to mention, everything is cooked in coconut milk instead of oil. CAN YOU EVEN IMAGINE?!

How do you feel about coconut milk in your fried rice? 

Stay with me! 

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Homemade Spanish Rice (w/ Instant Pot Option)

Did anyone else here grow up on boxed Spanish rice? My hand just shot through the roof.

My parents were all about convenience, so we grew up on boxed rice pilaf and Spanish rice. While I have zero hesitation to continue eating the boxed version, I find that there is just never enough! 

I prefer my carbs (particularly rice) in excess, so I make a big batch of this rice (sometimes I double the recipe!) every time I have the hankering.

Homemade Spanish Rice is super simple to make! It requires hardly any additional effort than making regular white rice, and results in a mouth-watering rice that the whole family will love. I’m willing to bet you already have everything you need on hand.

One of my brothers and his wife makes Spanish rice for their kids regularly, and often for family dinners. I requested they fork over the recipe so that I could give it a whirl in my own home. This recipe is an adaptation of what they do!

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Indian Shrimp Biryani

Easy Indian Shrimp Biryani made in just one pot or skillet. This goof-proof recipe is an amazing make-ahead meal and requires very little time or effort to prepare. Make it ahead of time for some meal prep action!

If you remember my One-Pot Indian Chicken Biryani from last month, this Indian Shrimp Biryani is the same concept:

Aromatic rice studded with golden raisins and pine nuts with warm herbs and spices like turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, and cumin, with shrimp. This easy one-pot meal is so flavorful and so, so easy to make. 

And you guys, it is so, so delicious to boot!

You’d think given how vibrant and jam packed with goodness it is that this shrimp biryani would take a long time to prepare, but alas: you can easily fit this meal in less than one hour. In fact, from start-to-finish, the whole thing takes me about 45 minutes to prepare.

This was one of my recent meal prep gems, which I have so lovingly added to my weekly repertoire. If you’re looking for meal planning inspiration, this one is marvelous as it is AWESOME from a macro stand point for us active individuals, and is completely cozy and satisfying.

Let’s make it!

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How to Cook Rice and Potatoes for Optimal Digestion

How to cook rice and potatoes for optimal digestion. Preparing rice (and other grains), potatoes, legumes, nuts and seeds properly unlocks the nutrients and ensures they aid rather than hinder digestion. 

There continues to be debate in the health community as to whether or not rice and potatoes are considered “healthy.” Are they pro-inflammatory and raise blood sugar? Do they irritate the gut lining? Are they too full of “empty” carbs?

The paleo community has long debated whether or not either or both are permissible, because while both have been a part of the human diet for over 3,500 years, both contain lectins, which can cause gastrointestinal issues or autoimmune flairs when they aren’t properly prepared.

I wrote an article titled Is Rice Paleo?, where I go into detail about the downsides of various types of rice (white, brown, wild, forbidden, etc), versus the potential health benefits. Check out the article if you want a deep dive into rice and why it could both be considered potentially harmful or healthful.

Korean Bulgogi and Rice Bowls with broccoli and kimchi | TheRoastedRoot.net #healthy #dinner #recipe

The heated debate on rice and potatoes goes back to lectins (which are bad) and resistant starch (which is good). Fortunately, the way we prepare rice and potatoes can largely destroy active lectins and also make the resistant starch easier to digest, improving gut health and promoting regular bowel movements.

First, let’s discuss lectins and resistant starch.

What are Lectins?:

Lectins are proteins that bind to carbohydrate and serve as anti-nutrients. The purpose of lectins is to protect the plant from digestion so that if an animal were to eat it, the plant can survive the digestive process and still germinate after defecation.

Lectins are found in grains, potatoes, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

When consumed raw or undercooked, lectins in their active state can cause interfere with the absorption of minerals, especially calcium, iron, phosphorus, and zinc. Phytohaemagglutinin, a type of lectin found in undercooked kidney beans, cause red blood cells to clump together. It can also produce nausea, vomiting, stomach upset, diarrhea, bloating and gas. 

Lectins can bind to cells lining the GI tract, which may disrupt the breakdown and absorption of nutrients. It can also affect the growth of intestinal flora. Because lectin proteins bind to cells for long periods of time, they can potentially cause an autoimmune response and inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes.

The good news is, boiling lectin-containing foods deactivates the lectins, thereby removing the anti-nutrient property from them. The kicker is, they must be properly boiled or cooked, lest some of the lectins remain.

Ginger Turmeric Aromatic Rice

 

What is Resistant Starch?

Resistant starch plays an important role in digestion. Resistant starch is called such because it is resistant to digestion. It moves along your digestive system and arrives in your colon intact.

Resistant starch may help prevent colon cancer (due to its ability to bind food together to help it move through your body), improves your insulin resistance, makes you feel full and helps you sleep at night. We need both digestible and indigestible foods in order to keep our bowel movements regular and well-formed.

Now that we’ve covered the cons (lectins) and the pros (resistant starch and easy-to-digest carbohydrate), let’s discuss how to cook rice and potatoes for optimal digestion.

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How to Make Coconut Rice

Coconut rice is quick and easy to make on the stove top and only requires a few ingredients! Serve it with your favorite entrees and enjoy!

Coconut rice is quite possibly the most magical rice in all the land. If you’ve never had it, you’re in for a treat! Cooked with full-fat canned coconut milk, coconut rice has a subtle sweet flavor with a rich and creamy essence. It is perfect for serving with curry or just about any main dish, if you ask me!

 

Let’s whip up a batch!

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Homemade Rice Pilaf with an Instant Pot Option

Homemade rice pilaf is easy to prepare and pairs well with just about any entree! This post includes instructions on how to make rice pilaf on the stove top as well as in the Instant Pot.

Packaged rice pilaf was a HUGE hit in my household when I was growing up. I can’t describe the level of excitement my siblings and I exuded on the evenings my parents broke out the ol’ box of pilaf. Can you relate?

Given my adoration of the dish, I’m slightly surprised it took me until recently to begin making it at home. But here we are! Adulting our way back to our childhood favorite in fancy-form with our way-better-for-you ingredients.

Turns out, rice pilaf, while magical in flavor, is nothing magical in practice. 

The key ingredients are things you already keep on hand: rice (typically long-grain), chicken stock or bone broth, onion, garlic, and some pantry seasonings like dried rosemary. 

Add a little lemon zest for an ever so slight acidic tang, and you’re straight up killin it.

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