Friday, May 25, 2018

My Favorite Instant Pot Recipes

Look - a post that isn't about Paul or maternity leave! I guess it's sort of about maternity leave as I'm talking about a gadget that has made meal prep during maternity leave easier - my Instant Pot.

For those who aren't familiar with the Instant Pot, it's an electric pressure cooker. I think electric pressure cookers were rare or maybe didn't exist before Instant Pots came on the market, but don't quote me on that. My previous experience with pressure cookers was the stove-top one my mom used when she canned things when we were growing up. I also got a stove-top one at our wedding shower to use for canning. I used it for the first time this summer when I canned salsa verde. A stove-top pressure cooker is definitely a bit more intimidating. It's still not bad - you just have to watch it closely to make sure the pressure doesn't increase too much and you need to adjust the heat on the burner to make sure the pressure cooker stays at the pressure you want it at.

But the Instant Pot is easy peasy. You decide if you want to use high or low pressure (every recipe I've made calls for high pressure). You set a timer for how long you want the food to cook at that pressure level, and that's about it! The pressure will build in the Instant Pot and once it reaches the pressure level you've set (high or low), the timer starts. When the timer is up, the pressure naturally releases - or you can manually release the pressure by moving a pressure valve.

This might all sound really complicated, but I promise that it's straight forward once you start using an Instant Pot! The Instant Pot is actually a multi-purpose gadget, though, as it can be used as a rice cooker or a crockpot. It also has a saute function so if you make a recipe, like chili, that requires you to brown the meat or veggies, you can do that in the Instant Pot instead of dirtying another pan.

Since this is a fairly new gadget, I thought I'd share some of my favorite dishes we've made with ours! A quick tip:  One thing to keep in mind with these recipes is that they call for cooking at high pressure for a certain amount of time, but you also need to factor in about 10 minutes for the Instant Pot to reach high pressure, or possibly longer if you are making a soup because the contents of the Instant Pot need to heat up before it starts to generate steam.

1. Chicken Tikka Masala with Cauliflower and Peas - This is probably my favorite dish we've made in the Instant Pot. Phil and I LOVE Indian food so it's no surprise that we love this dish. This one takes a bit more time as you have to bring it to pressure twice - once when you cook the chicken with the spices/tomatoes and again after you add the cauliflower and peas. But it comes to pressure pretty quickly - especially the second time since the contents of the pot are already hot. If you like Indian food, I highly recommend this! We always have all the spices it calls for on hand and frozen peas, so it's an inexpensive dish to make as we just have to buy the chicken, ginger, and cauliflower.

2. Hard Boiled Eggs - Hard boiled eggs are something you can easily make on the stove-top, but they are sooo easy to make in the Instant Pot. Plus the eggs come out perfectly cooked and the shells literally slide off of them. You do need a steamer rack or trivet to make them in the Instant Pot, though, as the eggs can't touch the base of the Instant Pot. But my Instant Pot came with a steamer rack so hopefully that is the case for most! You just place the eggs on the steamer rack (make sure they aren't touching), add 1 coup of water and cook them on high pressure for 5 minutes, let the pressure naturally release for 5 minutes, manually release the rest of the pressure, and rinse them in cold water. You need to peel them right away but it's such a cinch to peel them!

3. Spaghetti Squash - I eat a lot of spaghetti squash in the summer and fall when it is in season. In the past I roasted it in the oven for 45-60 minutes, which really heats up the house. Cooking it in the pressure cooker is much faster as you only have to cook it on high pressure for 7 minutes! This is another recipe that requires a steamer rack or trivet.

4. Indian Vegetable Rice - This is one of our new favorite side dishes. I usually have all but a couple of the ingredients on hand so it's an easy side dish to make.

5. Moroccan Chicken - This is a new recipe that we tried this week that turned out great. I like that you don't have to cut up much for this recipe - just the onion and lemon (we actually left the lemon out as I forgot to buy one!). You also have to chop garlic but I don't consider that "cutting" since I use a garlic press.

6. Corn on the Cob - I know some people like to grill their corn on the cob but we prefer to steam it. To make corn on the cob in the pressure cooker, you just place the ears on top of the steam rack or a trivet, add a cup of water, and cook on high pressure for 2 minutes. I usually manually release the steam instead of letting it naturally release to avoid overcooking the corn.

We use the instant pot multiple times a week these days. I make hard boiled eggs every week as that's a great high protein snack or add-on to my breakfast. And this gadget is great for the summer months as it doesn't heat up your kitchen like the oven does!

Do you have an instant pot? Have you ever used a stove-top pressure cooker?

7 comments:

Jeanie said...

My massage therapist raves about her instant pot (and the hard boiled eggs!) but to me it is one more piece of equipment I don't have room for. Maybe if I ever clean out the kitchen, because it does sound pretty miraculous!

Linda said...

I provide blogging support to a chef in Austin who's last couple of months is focused on Instant Pot recipes! I help her blog about it and really have no idea what I'm blogging about. Ha! Luckily she does.

suki said...

These all sound amazing! We haven't experimented a whole lot with our Instant Pot. We use it for very basic things or just the same old things. ;)

Stephany said...

An Instant Pot is definitely on my wishlist! I rarely use my slow cooker anymore because I'm out of the house for too long during the week (11-12 hours), and most recipes are done within 6-10 hours. (And I don't have a fancy auto shutoff function on mine, wah.) So I've been eyeing an Instant Pot because it gives you those same slow cooker recipes in way less time! I also love that you can make perfect hard-boiled eggs in the Instant Pot - it's always so annoying to make them on the stove.

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

I don't have an Instant Pot, but I've heard so many great things about them. To be completely honest, I'm a little bit afraid of pressure cookers (exploding or whatever). I do like the idea of cooking food so quickly, especially something like a spaghetti squash.

Sandra Bond said...

I don't own an instant pot, but so many people have been talking about it lately. I am still debating if it would be worth it, because I do most of my cooking in the cast iron Dutch oven and don't necessarily need a "time saver" gadget and don't know if I would use it enough.

Do you recommend it?

Amber said...

I still haven't gotten around to getting an instant pot but I really want to! I'm thinking that I might invest in one before going back to work as I'm sure it will really help with the busyness of making dinner in the evenings after a long day at work!