Do you have one of these yet? The bandwagon is getting pretty full these days so I highly recommend jumping on now while there’s still a little room. If you have NO IDEA what it is (where do you live seriously?) let me explain. The Instant Pot is a brand of electric multi-cooker. It functions as both a pressure cooker and a slow cooker as well as sautéing, steaming, making rice or steel cut oats, soups/stews and chili and some versions also make yogurt. There are other brands out there, but you’ll find those that own this particular brand can be somewhat rabid in their devotion to it. Check out their community page on Facebook and you’ll see what I mean! Be prepared for lots of hard “boiled” eggs and cheesecakes…
I grew up watching my mother and grandmother cook in a stovetop pressure cooker and I’ve never known anyone that actually had one explode. I was gifted one when I got my first apartment in college and I distinctly remember scaring the crap out of my roommate with it – when it got to pressure he was convinced the entire house was going to blow up! He even turned off the burner on it before he came to warn me it was making a “horrible noise and spitting everywhere!” Either his momma never used one or he never noticed!
The Instant Pot is much better in that respect. It only makes a tiny bit of noise as it’s coming up to pressure and then it’s silent unless you do a Quick Release, where it can “spit” a bit if you’re using a lot of liquid. I have the 6 quart Smart model that I got during Amazon’s Black Friday Sale. It has the capability of syncing via bluetooth with my phone so that I can see what’s going on remotely. Do you have to have that function? No. But honestly, sometimes I’m just super lazy and it’s really cool to be able to open the app and check how much time is remaining from the couch. But you could totally get away with getting the cheaper Duo version that does everything else this one does and maybe just send a child to tell you how much time is left on it!
I haven’t used it as a slow cooker yet. I’ve read that it cooks at a lower temp than most, so this really isn’t where it shines. I own a Zojirushi, the Bentley of rice makers, courtesy of my mother-in-law and it is SOOOO fabulous, I don’t see me giving it up until it dies. My family aren’t big yogurt eaters so I don’t see me making 6 quarts of it anytime soon either. But as a pressure cooker, this thing ROCKS.
I am not always the most organized when it comes to meal planning. I try, but life just gets in the way sometimes and it’s 5 o’clock before I really start thinking about what we’re going to eat. I can only imagine how bad it would be if I still worked 40 hours a week outside the home! The beauty of this is that you can cook from FROZEN with it. Y’all, last weekend I put 2 packages of completely frozen brats in it with 1 cup of water. I set it for a few extra minutes to account for that, so it ran 30 minutes on manual and I let the pressure release naturally for about 10 minutes. Took the lid off and they were prefect! They don’t have that crispy charred exterior, but you could easily put them under the broiler or turn them on a grill pan for a couple of minutes if that’s really important.
I’ve also made ribs, both beef short ribs and a rack of pork ribs cut in half, in it with great results. My favorite flavor wise has been Michelle Tam’s Pressure Cooker Mexican Beef but I feel like it made a lot of liquid so I may modify that when I make it again. Come to think of it, I have a roast in the freezer, so that might be dinner tonight! I made Carnita’s Under Pressure and Buffalo Chicken for a Super Bowl Slider Bar in January and got rave reviews. I’ve also done a version of Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana that was pretty good, but I didn’t follow a specific recipe. I made the obligatory mac and cheese and butter chicken when I first got it but I have yet to succumb to the cheesecake trend. I don’t understand the appeal, but I guess for new bakers it might be easier? I think I’ll keep my baking in the oven for now!
Since I’m currently working on a Whole30 month, I’m looking Nom Nom Paleo (who has a new cookbook up for discounted preorder at Amazon) and Predominantly Paleo (a fellow milspouse!) for a lot of inspiration and they both utilize the InstantPost frequently. There is also a Facebook group for Instant Pot Recipes that are Whole30 Compliant that I’m revisiting a little more – but don’t DARE talk about cheesecake in there!! Seriously, you have to promise you won’t to even get in the door! It’s like a dairy free version of Fight Club.
If you’re a meal planner and like to do big batch prep, this thing would be fabulous for you. There are a few blogs that provide tons of recipes for doing this, like Once A Month Meals. You can get these nifty containers from Amazon to freeze the meal in and then just plop it in the pot liner when you’re ready to cook! I may try that once we move. I always tell myself that I’ll get organized at the next house! This could FINALLY be the time – but let’s not hold our breath just in case hmmm?
Are you a PotHead? What’s your favorite recipe? Do you have any other people I should be following for it?