Instant Pot: saving summer cooking!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Cookie and Kate's incredibly delicious veggie sushi bowl recipe, with brown rice made in the Instant Pot
I might be a little late to hop on this train, but I am enamored with our new Instant Pot. I have to admit I was skeptical at first. I didn't have room for another kitchen gadget, and the claims my friends made about theirs felt slightly exaggerated. Hard boiled eggs in 6 minutes? Perfectly cooked chicken breasts (from frozen)? Even making cheesecakes?!

We got our Instant Pot from Kohl's during an online sale and it's been worth every penny. I have to say it has exceeded my expectations... so much so that I recently gave away our slow cooker because it's no longer needed.

During the summer, I lack motivation to be in the kitchen. It's hot and no one wants to turn an oven on, much less simmer something on the stove. In addition, we just had a baby. It's hard to be in the kitchen at all when you're having to balance so much. I wanted to share a few of our favorite recipes I've tried in the past several months that we've had the Instant Pot.

Instant Pot Salmon with Garlic Potatoes and Greens - This might be our very favorite Instant Pot recipe so far. The salmon cooks up perfectly and pairs well with garlic mashed potatoes. It's also a one-pot meal, so very little cleanup. Simple ingredients and delicious every time.

Instant Pot Healthy Orange Chicken - This is a healthy version of a not-as-healthy Chinese favorite and the spice and flavor is just right. It can easily be made in less than 30 minutes. Score.

Instant Pot Beef Bourguignon - With red wine, bacon, and mushrooms, this is decadent and lovely for cooler months. But honestly, I don't even mind it during the summer. The flavor is incredible and the meat just falls apart, even after less than an hour of cooking. It's also keto and gluten free.

Freezer Meal: Instant Pot Lentil Soup - I wanted to include this one because it's great to have a few bags in your freezer for last minute meals. I prepped these while I was pregnant, and it's been helpful to have them ready to just cook and serve last minute. Add a side salad and maybe some bread, and you have a full meal with so little effort.

Perfect Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs - Until the Instant Pot, I've never been able to easily peel hard boiled eggs. I don't know what the difference is, but these shells peel right off and are cooked perfectly on the inside.

Instant Pot Brown Rice - Instead of watching rice boil (and boil over), this is a hands-off approach that makes fluffy brown rice every time. SO. Much. Easier.

Instant Pot pros:
+ Easy clean-up. The pot is dishwasher safe, so there's no trying to fit an enormous crock pot in your kitchen sink (the worst!). The only part that ends up getting smelly is the rubber ring that seals the top. You can purchase more from Amazon. I got another set to switch out when I'm making something sweet instead of savory, so I don't have to smell "beef stew" when making something different. But even if the ring picks up a scent, it doesn't seem to impart it into food. Just a preference.
+ Cooking in the Instant Pot (versus a slow cooker) doesn't smell up your house for the entire day. When using the slow cooker, I would often make chicken stock overnight and wake up to the smell of garlic and broth first thing in the morning. Not my fave. Until you release the pressure valve at the end of cooking, you aren't smelling what you're cooking. That's a win for us.
+ Tender meat. Whether it's beef in stew or even chicken breasts, the meat is tender after being pressure cooked. I can't say the same about our slow cooker. It's a huge difference. Also, if you follow the right recipes, the veggies somehow stay fresh instead of just turning to mush like they do in the slow cooker.
+ You can safely go from frozen to a hot meal in minutes. This really is unbelievable to me.
+ It's hands off. Once you set it, there's nothing to do while it cooks except.. everything else on your to do list.

What are your favorite Instant Pot recipes? Link them in the comments!

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