Instant Pot Italian Wedding Soup

Confession. I love soup. Even when it’s 90 degrees outside.

The Instant Pot is the PERFFFFECT way to cook a hot meal without heating up the entire house. It’s been super hot this week so I couldn’t resist pulling out Instant Pot to cook up dinner.

A few notes: don’t be afraid to use regular sausage if you are not a fan of spicy soups. It’s just as good. Also, a little more or a little less pasta will not “make or break” this recipe, add pasta to YOUR preference. Lastly, add more veggies if you want! I’ve done this recipe with celery and peppers – it was delicious.

Instant Pot Italian Wedding Soup
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Instant Pot Italian Wedding Soup Ingredients

  • 1 TBS Olive Oil
  • 1 lb hot Italian sausage
  • 3 Carrots (chopped)
  • 1 Onion (chopped)
  • 2 Cups of Spinach (chopped)
  • 40 oz of Chicken Broth
  • 1.5 Cups of Ditalini Pasta
    (Acini di Pepe is classic for this soup, but it tends to be more expensive so I don’t ever use it)
  • Dried Basil (optional / use to taste. I tend to use about 1/2 – 1 tsp)

Instant Pot Italian Wedding Soup Instructions

  1. Set Instant Pot to saute & add oil.
  2. Once hot, add Italian sausage and cook until brown & drain.
  3. Add carrots, onion, pasta, and chicken broth & stir until mixed.
  4. Put the lid on the Instant Pot and set to high pressure for 4 minutes.
  5. Once done, hit the quick release.
  6. When the release is finished, open the lid and stir in the spinach and (optional) dried basil.
  7. Set the Instant Pot back to saute and allow the soup to start to boil.
  8. Turn off the Instant Pot and serve!
Instant Pot Italian Wedding Soup
Instant Pot Italian Wedding Soup
Instant Pot Italian Wedding Soup
Kid Approved! 🙂
Instant Pot Italian Wedding Soup

Instant Pot Asian Chicken Soup (“Ramen”)

This soup is pretty close to Ramen. Buuuuut I hesitate to post it online as Ramen because I didn’t use ramen noodles, and I’ve never made actual ramen (or anything resembling ramen outside of this recipe).

I always get a craving for this soup, and totally fail to have any sort of noodles on hand and I’m not paying $8.00 for ramen noodles at our local store… so rice noodles it is. Forever and ever on repeat. So, please do hesitate to use Ramen noodles! I’m sure it’d be just as delicious.

Just a quick note here, you can use ANY chicken you have, it doesn’t have to be chicken thighs. I do tend to find thighs on sale but I know that might not be the case for everyone. Dave also prefers this recipe with dark meat, so it is a win-win for everyone.

Instant Pot Asian Chicken Soup Ramen
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Instant Pot Asian Chicken Soup

  • 1 Onion (sliced or diced)
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 TBSP grated ginger root, grated
  • 1 LB boneless/skinless chicken thighs
    (our preference for taste, but any chicken will work!)
  • 4 cups chicken broth (low sodium is our preference)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (low sodium is our preference)
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 TBSP oyster sauce
  • 1 TBSP fish sauce
  • 1 TBSP sesame oil
  • 1 TBSP chili garlic sauce
  • 1 LB chopped baby bok choy
    (we have used regular bok choy and it was just as good!)
  • 1-2 packages rice noodles

Instructions

  1. Add off of the ingredients EXCEPT for the bok choy and noodles into your instant pot & close the lid.
  2. Cook at high pressure for 8 minutes.
  3. When done cooking, manually release the pressure.
  4. As the Instant Pot is releasing, start a pot of water to boil and cook noodles. (Note: this can be done while doing the steps below as well, or you can always make this the last step if thats easier to keep everything streamlined)
  5. When the instant pot is fully depressurized, open the lid and add remove the chicken.
  6. Add the book choy into the pot & stir it in fully (allowing it to cook)
  7. Chop or shred the chicken and add it back into the pot (give everything a good stir)
  8. When the noodles are done cooking, put a nice heaping pile of them in a bowl and pour soup over them.
  9. Enjoy 🙂

Don’t be afraid to add MORE or LESS noodles, and don’t be afraid to squeeze in some Sriracha – I love my soup HOT!

I added a hard boiled some as eggs as well, but this is a personal choice and up to you if you want to add another step of having to hard boil eggs on top of everything else.

Instant Pot Chicken Alfredo

It is summer time, and the temperature outside is proving that. I love saving money, so the least amount of time that the Air Conditioning needs to be on the better in my opinion.

So, when the summer temperatures hit, the trusty Instant Pot is my “go to” for all dinnertime cooking. Also, the best part about using the Instant Pot to cook is you only have one pan to clean. The Instant Pot. 😉

Instant Pot Chicken Alfredo

Not the healthiest recipe, but it sure is good! It’s also a favorite of Harrison’s. Well, as long as he didn’t ask for (and get) 400 peanut butter sandwiches while I was trying to make this.

Instant Pot Chicken Alfredo Recipe
Don’t forget to pin! ❤

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion (chopped)
  • 4 Cloves Garlic Diced (or Minced)
  • 1/2 tsp Granulated Garlic
  • 1 1/2 lb Chicken Breast (Salt and Peppered on both sides)
  • 4-6 Strips of Bacon (cut into bite sized pieces)
  • 16oz Penne Pasta
  • 4 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 1/2 Cups Whole Milk
    Note: (for a creamier sauce use 1 cup heavy cream & 1/2 Cup Whole Milk)
  • 1/2 tbs Salt
  • 1/2 tbs Pepper
  • 5oz Parmesan Cheese (shredded)

INSTRUCTIONS

Total Time: 30-40 mins | Serves: 4 | Kid Friendly

  1. Turn the Instant Pot to sauté.
  2. Brown bacon until desired crispiness; remove from Instant Pot and set aside.
  3. Drain bacon grease.
  4. Keeping Instant Pot on sauté, add salt & peppered chicken and cook for 3 minutes on each side.
  5. Add onions and cook for about 2 minutes stirring frequently (they should be soft).
  6. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds, still stirring frequently to prevent burning.
  7. Add chicken broth and granulated garlic.
  8. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any bits of bacon remaining.
  9. Add pasta while continuing to stir.
  10. Add chicken breasts on top of pasta.
  11. Put on the Instant Pot lid & lock.
  12. Move to pressure setting and set for 3 minutes.
  13. When complete, allow to naturally release for 5 minutes then finish with a quick release.
  14. One depressurized, remove chicken and set aside.
  15. Move Instant Pot back to sauté and add bacon, milk (or milk/cream mix), salt and pepper, and parmesan cheese.
  16. Allow the mixture to sauté on low while chopping the chicken into bite sized chunks.
  17. Add the chicken back into the Instant Pot and stir.
  18. Serve and Enjoy! 🙂
Instant Pot Chicken Alfredo Cook Chicken
Instant Pot Chicken Alfredo Bacon and Chicken
Instant Pot Chicken Alfredo Cook Chicken
Instant Pot Chicken Alfredo Cut Chicken
Instant Pot Chicken Alfredo
Instant Pot Chicken Alfredo
Instant Pot Chicken Alfredo

Learning how to emotionally let go as you downsize.

As we downsize in prep to live tiny, I will confess, I have a problem with wanting to hold onto WAY too many “things”. I have a tendency to create emotional attachments for several reasons, and I’m slowly (or not so slowly) working through my bonds on things and making the hard decisions.

Letting go of something that costs a lot of money.

Have you ever been here? I am with a few things: our bed, our two La-Z-Boy recliners, and our dinning room table. These items tug at my frugal heartstrings. I don’t want to let them go because I never want to spend that type of money on those items again.

We could store them, but that’s just more money being spent. These are not items that are going to increase in value. I know this, I understand this, and I realize logically that we should sell them. I still have a really hard time pulling the trigger.

I’ve decided that for me, I need to let them go all at the same time. I was going to sell them one at a time as we started downsizing (plus the $ that we got from them would be nice NOW), but being so attached to them, I think that seeing them all go at once will keep me focused on the goal of tiny living.

Letting go of things that someone I love gave me.

Maybe it’s a hand me down. Maybe it’s a small gift. Regardless, it is always something that someone said “this reminds me of X” or “X would love this!” and because of the thoughts & love behind it… I struggle to let it go.

My rule here? Find someone that would equally enjoy/love the thing. Make sure that if you do decide to let it go, it’s going to go somewhere worthwhile.

These are items I would never donate or sell. I can’t bring myself to it. Plus, by giving away I am able to keep my emotional bond for the item through someone else.

Letting go of things that someone I love gave my children.

Same rules apply here, except I have no problem gifting to someone who is gifting to someone else. I might not be able to see the item cared for and loved, but I was so thankful to be gifted several items for both of my children that knowing items are going to someone in need makes me happy.

I gain a different type of emotion, and I truly enjoy it.

Letting go of things from my childhood / teens.

This one is pretty dang easy – I take a lot of pictures (or scan items) and organize them in an online Dropbox account.

There are few things that I have opted to keep (yearbooks, a baby cradle made just for me, my high school ring, baby blankets, some artwork, a journal, etc), but those are few and far between. Everything else had a picture taken, and then was lovingly let go.

Being okay with keeping.

We are working hard to downsize, and maybe you are too. That said, be okay with keeping some things! You can and will find the room. It’s A-O-Kay if you want to have a storage unit. I’ll be honest, we have one. It’s small, but it’s just the right size for some of the overflow of things that are just a bit too big for the fifth wheel.

This allows me to keep books that I love, a few toys that are too large (not fifth wheel friendly) for Harrison to have NOW but when we go “big” again, they will still be age appropriate and he will be so excited to have them.

Every month or so I add a little to storage, and I get rid of a little in storage. It’s all about balance. ❤

Homemade (Easy!) Play Dough

This recipe is a favorite of mine because you throw everything into a pan, stir over medium heat, and boom… you have Play Dough.

This allows my 2.5 year old to help measure and dump the ingredients while the pan is cool, and then stir the ingredients while the pan is hot. My attention can be 100% on him during the “heat” portion of the recipe (nothing else has to get added) and he can watch his Play Dough go from a liquid to a solid!

Most of these ingredients are staples found in the pantry, and I ordered the cream of tartar & food coloring off of Amazon. The food coloring is not necessary, you can always go without and have some “all-natural” white Play Dough.

Easy Play Dough Ingredients

  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2 cups of water
  • 4 teaspoons of cream of tartar
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Food Coloring (optional)

Easy Play Dough Directions

  1. In a large pan mix all of the ingredients (minus food coloring) together.
  2. Place the large pan over medium heat and continue to stir the mixture continuously. After a few minutes over the heat, it will start to thicken.
  3. When the mixture is the consistency of dough (it’ll pull off the sides of the pan), pull it out and kneed for 30 seconds to a minute on the counter.
  4. (optional) Add food coloring. I recommend experimenting since every type of food coloring is unique! Start off with a little at first, then add more for richer and deeper color. You’ll need to continue to kneed the dough to spread the color throughout.

That’s it! This Play Dough is soft and pliable, and you get a LOT for a low spend. Depending on the day, sometimes we will split the dough into 2 (or more) sections after step 3 and add different colors to get 2-4 colors from one batch.

Thank goodness for easy recipes.

Preparing to Live Tiny

preparing to live tiny in a fifth wheel

I wasn’t really prepared for what Tiny Living meant. I mean, I knew we wanted to do it. I knew we wanted our house to “roll”, and I knew that we wanted to get going on this dream ASAP while the kids were still small. 

Small kids, small house. Amirite? 

Then suddenly Loraine the Fifth Wheel was parked and leveled in our yard. 

I started With the Closets

I already had a capsule wardrobe. I had downsized my own closet years ago. I didn’t force Dave into that lifestyle, but oh boy – I wish I had. We started rummaging through this clothes and there was a LOT that was just unnecessary & unused. It took a day (yes, a full day!) to go through everything on his side of the closet, but in the end he wound up with the items that 1) fit him best 2) coordinated 3) were his favorites.

If you are considering the tiny lifestyle (or even if you are interested in simplifying your life), I highly recommend starting your very own capsule wardrobe immediately. It is a good litmus test to see if your personality can handle living small. More on how to do start this in a later post.

The Bathrooms Were Next

I should have started here. This took less than 2 hours. I was shocked at how much medication was just sitting in our medicine cabinet expiring. I was also shocked at how many “samples” we had collected. Why had I never used these?

I pulled everything out, and repacked only the needs.

Hair brushes & hair dryer, hair products, facial products, makeup, deodorant, medications, toothbrushes & toothpaste, soap, towels… everything else was either tossed or it was given away. Honestly, I think the bathroom is a place where things get stored and slowly die.

On to The (Dreaded) Kitchen

Here is a pro-tip: always measure your tiny kitchen BEFORE deciding what is going to be kept. I made the mistake of not doing that… and I wound up trying to pack a bunch of pans that didn’t fit in our tiny stove. I can laugh about it now, but at the time I was pretty annoyed.

I also recommend cooking the family favorites for 2 weeks! Anything you used… keep. Past that, you really don’t need much more. There are awesome things that make life a lot easier, but if you only use them here and there what is the point on storing them?

For example, we opted to keep the mandoline but ditch the food processor.

I do make bread every week, so the mixer (heavy and bulky) has been kept. Funny enough, it’s going to be stored under the bed. I use it a lot, so although it takes a lot of space, we will be grateful to have it.

Pin now, read later!

The Kid Rooms

I knew the crib for our daughter and the full mattress our son uses were not fifth wheel friendly, so they were not even considered. The pack-n-play is perfect for the littlest, and a friend and fellow blogger (This Side of IF) had just bought the Nugget Couch for her littles (and recommended it to us). After checking it out we couldn’t resist! It’s lots of fun to play on, and the perfect sleeping location for Harrison.

I bought a “bean bag” chair for all of the stuffed animals, and started making the hard choices when it came to toys. I opted to pack only toys that would keep growing with Harrison & Hailey. Those items that had a short lifespan were not packed. Puzzles, books, blocks, vetch cars (go! go! smart wheels), and Thomas trains are good examples of those items that I feel will stay entertaining for the upcoming years. With limited space, the items I kept needed to have maximum entertainment life.

I kept the playdoh (homemade) and the coloring books as well. Not the cleanest option – but super fun and hours of fun. Oh! I also kept all of the magnets! They live on the front of the stove in the fifth wheel now.

Some examples of things that didn’t make the cut: door bouncer, baby walkers, large add ons for the mega blocks (a fire truck and ride on dump truck), very basic puzzles, the baby shark cube (this one might have just been for personal reason).

Then, the Miscellaneous

I guess our bedroom isn’t “miscellaneous”, but we lived so little time in there outside of sleeping… for me it fell into that category. The side tables were cleared out in less than 45 minutes. I also found an amazing jewelry storage option for the closet. I do think it’s a big pricey at $20, but I went from a jewelry box almost the size of ME to this. I was a bit embarrassed realizing that I should have moved to this option years ago.

Extra blankets, clothes that I (fingers crossed) will fit back into post-baby weight drop, baby clothes that I just can’t part with, and jackets/hats/gloves, and towels all went into space saver bags.

That’s it! It was a great purge and I felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. Living tiny is forcing us to be more “purposeful” in the items that we want to surround ourselves with. Not to get all “Marie Kondo” but the Fifth Wheel truly does only have those things that “spark joy” in our lives.

Don’t forget to follow the journey over on Instagram ❤