Adventures with the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

THE INSTANT POT!



OK, let’s just get this out of the way. I am NOT a food blogger and I was not paid to write this. 

And no, Instant Pot didn’t send me this (my mom did!) This is just regular ‘ol me, a mom with a lot of mouths to feed, writing about how she is loving having a pressure cooker. 

First, some cooking history. Basically, I figured out pretty early on that with all boys, I was going to have to learn how to kinda be a badass cook. Almost 18 years in, and I’m pretty sure I’ve got this cooking thing down pat. I also have a mad collection of cookbooks, and enough kitchen gadgets and appliances to get me through seven dinners a week, pretty much year 'round.  We rarely eat out. With four kids (two teenagers!) who no longer eat off the kid’s menu, a dinner out costs well over $50. Heck, even ordering pizza at this point is insane. We usually order four large. (But I also make a lot of homemade pizza. See **easiest pizza dough recipe ever at end of this post. It's foolproof. Promise.) 

Anyway,  my usual go to cookware and appliance are  a large Le Creuset Dutch oven, a cast iron skillet, a few sauce pans, a crock pot, and a rice/risotto maker. I splurged on the rice maker about two years ago, as we eat rice about 3-4 times a week, and with this thing it always comes out perfect without being watched on the stovetop. 

My crock pot recipes were getting old, too many things were just coming out bland and dry, and it seemed my crock pot temperatures are way off. Low was really high, stuff in there was practically boiling, and I was having to monitor it, etc. Monitoring a crock pot? No. That’s not the point of them in the first place!

So after a little research, and me glued to the TV at one point watching some crazy lady  pressure cook on the home shopping network, I decided I wanted to try pressure cooking. 

So I did. And I am changed cook.

 THIS IS THE ONE I GOT!




Here’s what I know….I know I have no freakin’ clue how this thing works, and have no understanding of the concept of cooking under pressure. What exactly is going on in there? Who knows. Who cares. My husband remembers his mom cooking with their pressure cooker all the time. My own mother recalls her mother cooking with their pressure cooker all the time. So why this seems like something new I have no idea, other than the fact pressure cooker technology? maybe has come a long way. This one is electric, whereas the older genereation used stove top pressure cookers. All I know is....

WHY DID I WAIT THIS LONG to get one of these suckers!?!?

Before my first dinner experiment, I went on Pinterest and a bunch of other places and read pressure cooker recipes. This helped me get a basic idea of what types of stuff was eventually going in there, and what I would need to add to it. I also bought the book Great Food Fast




Just reading the recipes in there has given me my own ideas, and after only a few weeks I'm pretty much on my own now, tossing in this and that and everything is STILL coming out tasting good. I'm also learning of some *prep cooking shortcuts I can do, but we will get to that later. 

After I unpacked this thing, I read the manual. I know, who does that? Well, I do. I am an admitted manual reader, and especially with this beast, because I really didn't want my first dinner exploding and shooting out chuck roast all over my kitchen cabinets. 


My first meal was a basic beef stew. The deal with cooking beef in here, and from what I have read and can now attest to,  is that cheaper cuts of meat DO NOT taste like cheap cuts of meat if you know what I mean.  I threw a reasonably priced chuck roast in there, hit the beef button, then ran the hell out of the way just in case it did explode. I told the kids not to go into the kitchen until it beeped “done,” so we all sat in the other room and waited. And waited. It started to hiss, and a little steam came out of the top. Good I thought. It's letting out steam instead of blowing up. (The manual also said this would happen as the pressure rises.)

And then, about 35 minutes later, I opened that sucker and viola! BEEF STEW! REALLY, really delicious beef stew, with carrots, onions, mushrooms, celery, and potatoes.  The meat tasted like it simmered all day. Actually, the flavors of everything in that pot tasted like they simmered all day. 

I practically wept. 

So it’s been a few weeks now. I’ve done pork roast that shredded with such ease I think I may open up a BBQ joint in the near future. I’ve done chicken thighs in there, with salsa and taco seasoning and beans and it was mucho bueno.  (AND THEY WERE FROZEN! Did I mention you can put frozen meat in here!?!?) And the holy grail of *prep cooking?  I dumped a five pound package of boneless, skinless, chicken breasts in the pot. I added some broth and seasoning, hit the poultry button and BAM! Perfectly poached and NOT dry chicken that I then shredded in seconds in the stand mixer. Or, could have cubed it just as easily. And we all know if you've got cooked cubed chicken on your hands, you’ve got options baby. Lots and lots of options. 

I’m still experimenting, and have many recipes (and even a Pinterst board called “pressure cooker”)  of things to try. Thankfully,  I'm no longer scared of this thing, but excited for all the stuff I can make and the potential this has to really change up my cooking routine, mostly because it cooks everything so darn fast I don’t have to stress out and give myself a two hour head start on dinner. Screw that! Yipppeee!!

This is the model I bought.  I think the only difference is the 7 in 1 does yogurt. I'm good buying my own yogurt thank you very much, so I went with the 6 in 1.  

Here is the Pinterest Board I started- Pinterest Pressure Cooker

And here is that foolproof PIZZA DOUGH recipe I mentioned earlier. 

Happy pressure cooking everyone! Hope you enjoy as much as I am! 




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