Dinner Ideas Instant Pot Products & Books We Love! Real Food 101 Real Food Tips Soup

Instant Pot Beef Picadillo Chili With Sweet Raisins

December 29, 2017

Beef picadillo chili with sweet raisins has salty and sweet “all day cooked” flavor in a fraction of the time with your Instant Pot!

Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything, and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family. I received a promotional copy of The Art of Great Cooking With Your Instant Pot for review purposes for this post.

It is officially a winter wonderland!

A week or so into December, it finally decided to be winter in Michigan, and it doesn’t feel like it has stopped snowing since! The lake effect snow machine has been in full force over our little beach town in the last week, and my born and bred Michiganders are loving every minute!

I hope that you and yours enjoyed the holidays, and are ready to gear back up into the first part of the new year! 

Fresh new year…any new Instant Pots?!

Over the last few years, the holidays seemed to have become notorious for Instant Pots getting stuffed under the Christmas tree – and for good reason! While it took this old dog a bit of coaxing to embrace a new kitchen gadget, the new tricks that the Instant Pot has allowed this busy momma of 3 kids to learn has literally been a game changer in my kitchen, allowing me to keep real, nourishing food on the table without spending all day in the kitchen.

From my staple weekly whole chicken and bone broth, to school thermos soups and full dinner meals, the Instant Pot is used almost daily in my kitchen now…

…and I haven’t even scratched the surface of the Instant Pot’s capabilities!

Remember that old dog, new trick reference? I’m not kidding when I say it took me a couple months to even take the thing out of the box when I received it 3 years ago! I had my kitchen routine down, and just couldn’t wrap my mind around doing things differently. My first round of bone broth quickly changed my mind, and my kitchen routine has become more convenient without compromising my real food standards ever since.

There are so many things I have not taken on with my Instant Pot though, and I’m so thankful for amazingly talented friends like Emily from Recipes To Nourish for creating a resource like her new Instant Pot cookbook to help me learn how to make the most out of my Instant Pot.

The Art Of Great Cooking With Your Instant Pot

Filled to the brim with 80 gluten free, allergy friendly, WAPF and paleo compliant *nourishing* recipes, The Art of Great Cooking With Your Instant Pot is a must have for your cookbook library if you own an Instant Pot. One thing I noticed when I first started looking for recipes to learn using my Instant Pot was that not all Instant Pot recipe sources are created equal. If using whole, real, nourishing foods is important to you, this is the Instant Pot cookbook for you. Often I would have to make swaps or figure out other ways to make recipes in a real food way using other Instant Pot cookbooks, but Emily’s book is 100% real food. Period.

Chapters include: Hearty Beef, Pork & Lamb, Elegant Poultry, Delectable Pastas, Seafood, Vegetables & More, Beautiful Soups, Tantalizing Stews, Appetizing Breakfasts, and Heavenly Sweet Treats. It has been fun to pull myself out of my comfort zone and attempt some recipes other than my staple soups such as some of the pasta dishes and even the desserts!

A new family favorite Instant Pot recipe!

I’m so honored to have the chance to put one of Emily’s Instant Pot recipes from the cookbook right here on the blog – and I just had to go with a warming chili type stew to add to your winter menu – Beef Picadillo Chili with Sweet Raisins! I will be the first to admit I had no idea what to expect from such a unique chili, and I was blown away with the flavor.

This kid pleasing chili is a must for your winter dinner menu rotation!

The sweet raisins and dash of warm maple syrup and cinnamon give the broth a mild, kid friendly sweetness – the girls were literally licking their bowls clean! There is such a good balance between that mild sweetness that will keep the kiddos happy, and the briney saltyness from the capers and olives that had me hooked. I had to smuggle the last bowl to the corner of the fridge to have for breakfast the next day! The girls brought leftovers to school in their lunch thermoses and really loved the soup, asking if we could make it again soon.

All day cooked flavor, in a fraction of the time!

Because this chili is super delicious, I thought I’d give you a few tips for making it run even faster, so you can have this meal any night of the week!

  • Get the veggie chopping done the night before – that shaves off a good 5-10 minutes of prep time!
  • Get all of the seasonings in a little container measured out the night before, so you just have to dump them in.
  • If your beef is not already pre-cut, you can cube that up too. Our grass-fed stew meat comes cubed up, but I like to cut the pieces smaller since I still have a really little one at the table. If you have kiddos at home, this is a helpful trick to making cuts of beef easier to chew. The Instant Pot cooking makes the beef so tender too!
  • You could potentially brown the meat the night before as well – if you are going to be spending 10 minutes chopping the veggies and measuring the seasonings, you could be babysitting the meat in the pan next to you too! Just be sure to save the pan drippings to go back into the soup – flavor! The meat saute takes a good 5-10 minutes as well which helps on a busy day!

Beef Picadillo Chili with Sweet Raisins

“This flavorful Latin American stew is seasoned with spices and fragrant herbs. You’ll taste sweet undertones from the raisins and salty goodness from pimento-stuffed olives and capers.”

Recipe reprinted with permission from The Art of Great Cooking with Your Instant Pot by Emily Sunwell-Vidaurri, Page Street Publishing Co. 2017.

Print Recipe
5 from 11 votes

Beef Picadillo Chili With Sweet Raisins

Beef picadillo chili with sweet raisins has salty and sweet “all day cooked” flavor in a fraction of the time with your Instant Pot!
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time47 minutes
Total Time1 hour 12 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Latin American
Keyword: Instant Pot beef chili, Instant Pot beef chili recipe, Instant Pot beef picadillo chili
Servings: 6 servings
Author: EmilySunwell-Vidaurri


  • 3 tbsp 43 g grass-fed butter, ghee or avocado oil, divided
  • 2 lbs 907 g grass-fed stew meat, cut into 2" (5-cm) cubes
  • tsp 4 g sea salt, divided
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 7 fresh garlic cloves minced
  • 1 jalapeño seeded and diced
  • 2 tbsp 15 g chili powder blend
  • 2 tsp 4 g ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp 30 ml maple syrup or honey
  • 18 oz 510 g crushed or diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup 73 g raisins
  • 5 oz 142 g pimento-stuffed green olives
  • 1 tbsp 9 g capers
  • 1 cup 237 ml chicken bone broth


  • Add 2 tablespoons (29 g) of healthy fat of choice to the Instant Pot and press “Sauté.” Add the stew meat, sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of sea salt and brown the meat, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes (you might have to do this in two batches). Remove the browned stew meat to a plate and set aside. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon (14 g) of healthy fat of choice, onion and garlic and the remaining 1 teaspoon of sea salt, sautéing for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the jalapeño, chili powder, cumin, oregano, thyme and cinnamon and continue to sauté for 2 minutes, giving it a good stir. Press the “Keep Warm/Cancel” button. Add the sweetener of choice, tomatoes, raisins, olives, capers and bone broth and stir to combine. Add the browned stew meat and stir. Place the lid on the Instant Pot, making sure the steam release valve is sealed. Press the “Meat/Stew” setting for 35 minutes.
  • When the Instant Pot is done and beeps, press “Keep Warm/Cancel.” Using an oven mitt, “quick release”/open the steam release valve. When the steam venting stops and the silver dial drops, carefully open the lid.
  • Serve immediately. This chili is delicious topped with fresh cilantro, a squeeze of fresh lime juice and a dollop of sour cream or shredded cheese (or both!).



Feeding Babies Healthy Kids and Teens Holiday Recipes Occasional Treats Products & Books We Love! Real Food 101 Real Food Tips School Holidays

Paleo Plátanos Calados :: Stewed Spiced Ripe Plantains

August 23, 2017

Plátanos Calados are a creamy and sweet fall spiced glazed plantain treat that everyone in the family will love!

Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family. I received a promotional copy of Latin American Paleo Cooking for review purposes for this post.

September is approaching, and fall is right around the corner!

We are moving into full blown back to school mode! My older 2 girls are getting antsy to get back to their friends and the daily routine of the classroom, and my youngest is beyond ready for her preschool year! With the anticipation of getting back into the classroom, my oldest 2 were having a particularly “bored” day, and I decided to have a little “school” here at home…

A little taste of Latin American culture

My little Montessorians are used to studying world maps all the time in school, and they were thrilled at the chance to learn more about a unique part of the world we call Latin America! My dear friend, Amanda, from The Curious Coconut just happened to send us her brand new cookbook, Latin American Paleo Cooking that week, and it was the perfect opportunity for the girls to brush up on their map skills, as well as learn about a unique, and very special culture.

A whole new cookbook experience!

I was prepared for Latin American Paleo Cooking to have super fun, gorgeous recipes knowing Amanda (which it totally does!), but what I wasn’t anticipating was the added cultural learning I was going to glean from the cookbook – and that dear friends, is priceless.

My older girls poured over the delicious recipes “ooo-ing” and “ahhh-ing” over the stewed meats, pretty folded little empanadas, and of course luscious sweet treats. My oldest noticed the flags with each recipe indicating what country in Latin America the recipes were from, and was soon glued to the computer maps trying to find the countries. We talked about the people from these countries, their heritage, what the weather is like in these tropical regions, as well as what kind of food grows there. It was a great learning opportunity!

Latin American Paleo Cooking Features and Stats!

Here’s the low down on this amazing book!

  • The cookbook has over 80 traditional recipes made Paleo and as authentic as possible, with over 90% being AIP or easily adaptable
  • All recipes are gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free; all but 1 are egg-free. 2 recipes use white rice BUT there are grain-free options for both of those.
  • The countries represented include: Puerto Rico, Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Argentina, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, and Brazil, each marked with that country’s flag for easy reference. Some recipes are so ubiquitous that they cannot be attributed to a single country, and are designated as pan-Latin.
  • Platos de la Familia (Family Dinners) includes recipes meant to feed a crowd, and many of these recipes are great for batch cooking.
  • Comida Fiesta! (Party Food!) includes Paleo versions of Latin recipes that people get ridiculously excited about, like pupusas, pandebono (“cheese” buns), empanadas, arepas, plantain sandwiches, and more.
  • Rapido y Facil (Quick and Easy) includes recipes that are, like the name says, quick and easy to prepare. Some are still great for batch cooking, too, extra bonus!
  • Accompañantes (Sides) includes many ways to enjoy tropical starches like yuca, malanga, boniato, and plantains PLUS both a starchy and non-starchy rice replacement AND starchy and non-starchy BEANS replacement!
  • Un Poco Dulce (A Little Sweet) is a short but delicious desserts chapter
  • Lo Esencials (The Essentials) includes cooking bases, sauces, marinades, condiments, broths, and more, which are used throughout the book and can be the launching point for readers to get creative with numerous uses! Of note is the QUESO BLANCO recipe that is unlike any other “cheese” recipe I have seen in the Paleo/AIP community. It melts and stretches like mozzarella!
  • While over 80 recipes are written, this book comes with numerous suggestions and options to create dozens of other recipes using different combinations of meats/fillings/breads/pastry shells/condiments/marinades. It is written to empower the reader to try new combinations!

Fall spices meet tropical fruit!

One of the recipes the girls kept coming back to was the stewed and spiced Plátanos Calados, meaning “drenched/soaked plantains.” This recipe originates in Colombia, and showcases sweet plantains glazed in warm and sweet spices we typically associate with the fall. Think pumpkin spice meets caramelized bananas…it is truly a match made in heaven.

A word about adventurous taste palates…and some veteran momma wisdom

Those of you who have been around here long enough know that I am a huge fan of exposing kids to the tastes of YOUR unique home. As far as our house goes at least, there is no such thing as “kid food” and “adult food” – all food is kid food. It’s family food. Starting these kiddos out young with the tastes and flavors of your home, and different cultures sets them up to be excited about trying new food. Those kids will never bat an eye at new things on their plate when they have been given the opportunity to have a wide variety of flavors and textures instead of being boxed into just “kid food.”

So while this recipe certainly is super fun (who doesn’t love sweet, creamy glazed fruit?!), there are other recipes in this book that I am absolutely planning on making that I have no idea what they will taste like! And you know what? The girls are biting at the bit for me to make something new! I promise you that getting little ones started out eating a wide variety of flavors, tastes, and textures will reward you with the same adventurous eaters I enjoy every day.

This picture right here below, is that of pure and utter foodie kid joy!

A quick note on some additions I made!

Amanda just knows me way to well! She mentioned to me that because I love “making every bite count” when it comes to feeding little kids, that possibly swapping some of the water for nutrient dense, fatty coconut milk might be a good idea to bump up the nutrition. I was all about that. So I swapped 1/3 cup of the water for coconut milk and it was delicious. I think you could even swap more, if not the whole 1 cup. We weren’t sure if the glaze would get too thick using all coconut milk but I think there is some room for more than the 1/3 cup that I did.

I also backed off the sweet a little bit. My kids’ palates aren’t real used to super sweet, and I had a feeling this would almost be more sweet than they would enjoy. They thoroughly enjoyed every bite of these Plátanos Calados with half the coconut sugar. The caramelized ripe plantains were more than enough sweet for them. If you have really little guys in the house, I would definitely recommend doing this. If you have older kiddos in the house used to sweeter desserts, the ¼ cup will definitely please them – I made a half batch just for myself with the full amount and was in absolute heaven eating it with my café con leche 😉

When you start thinking pumpkin spice this fall, put Plátanos Calados on the menu for a quick and delicious sweet treat!

Print Recipe
5 from 9 votes

Plátanos Calados :: Stewed Spiced Ripe Plantains

Plátanos Calados are a creamy and sweet fall spiced glazed plantain treat that everyone in the family will love!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Latin American
Keyword: glazed plantains, glazed platain recipe, platanos calados
Servings: 2 -4 servings
Author: Reprinted with permission from Latin American Paleo Cooking by Amanda Torres with Milagros Torres, Page Street Publishing Co. 2017.


  • 1 cup 235 ml water
  • ¼ cup 60 g coconut sugaror grated panela sugar
  • 1 tsp 2 g ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp aniseeds
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tbsp 15 ml coconut oil
  • 2 large very ripe (mostly black) plantains, peeled and cut into 4 pieces


  • In a small pot, combine all the ingredients, except the plantains, and stir well.
  • Add the plantains and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium, cover and cook for 15 to minutes, or until the sauce thickens and the plantains are cooked throughout and tender.
  • Serve with a generous portion of sauce and enjoy!
  • AIP compliant: Omit the aniseeds and optionally replace with 1/2 teaspoon of ground mace.