According to Facebook memories, this week I had just had my one year Instant Pot anniversary. A strange one to celebrate but I am and this is why…
Like you, I am a busy mama and although I enjoy cooking, I don’t have 3 hours a day to spend slaving over a hot stove. I need my meals to be healthy, quick to prepare and cook.
Some would say I’m also a lazy cook but I like to think of it as being time efficient – mindset is everything! By which I mean, I like to double up recipes so that I can either pop half in the freezer for another night or spin the meal and serve it differently the second night. We will have chicken cream stew the first night then I pop the rest in a bowl and add a pastry lid and voila! Chicken pie!
The only exception to the rule is beef stew because beef stew always tastes better the second night!
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When I started seeing all these posts pop up about the Instant Pot, I was intrigued… I have never had a crockpot or pressure cooker so I was a bit wary and I don’t have a massive kitchen so I didn’t want a big piece of equipment that would take up loads of space.
I did a lot of research first, the safety issue was a big one for me. I know people who have blown up their pressure cooker so this slightly terrified me, to say the least. The Instant Pot has a good track record when it comes to safety.
Things to be aware of….
The instant pot is great and it does save me a lot of time but when I first got it, it took me a while to get the hang of the timings. There are a lot of recipes out there in Pinterest land that claim you can cook a dish in as little as 10 minutes, this is true but somewhat deceiving, it doesn’t take into account the time it takes for the pot to come to pressure and then release.
That has been my biggest bugbear and we have had some late meals because I hadn’t remembered about the pressure timings but now I have a system that works.
Time Saving Tip…
What I tend to do now is set up the Instant Pot in the morning after I have done breakfast, I already have the chopping board and stuff out so it cuts down on the washing up and so saves me time.
Depending on what we have planned for the day, I will stick everything in the Instant Pot and put it on the timer or prepare everything and pop it in the fridge so I can just throw it in the pot later in the day.
Some recipes need time to brown the meat or cook the onions on saute mode so it’s not as simple as just chucking everything in the pot but knowing what I’m making and what I am doing during the day means I can plan ahead. If you need help with that, grab the meal planning checklist below.
I found that if I put it onto cook between 4 pm and 5 pm I don’t need to worry about the timings and the pot coming to pressure/releasing pressure, it’s all beautifully cooked for when we sit down to eat at 6 pm.
Of Course, Sometimes It Doesn’t Go To Plan
So far I have only had one disaster and that was noodles, they burnt and stuck to the pan, it wasn’t pretty and my son is still bringing up the incident. Really it wasn’t that bad! But it wasn’t very edible either and I haven’t been brave enough to try again!
Porridge, I have friends who swear by porridge in the instant pot but I found it took longer than when I make it on the stove top and we don’t have time to be faffing around in the morning so I haven’t bothered since.
On A Plus Note, These Dishes Are Quick Dinners In The Instant Pot
If you are a meat eater then you are going to LOVE meat cooked in the time-saving Instant Pot, it is so tender and juicy and just falls off the bone. Even the cheapest cuts of meat turn out beautifully.
I have cooked a whole chicken but more often than not I use chicken breasts or thighs.
If your family likes shredded chicken, pork or beef it is super easy to do and practically shreds itself. I often make enough for dinner and some extra that we can use for lunch the following day.
It only takes a few minutes to remove the meat then thicken up the sauce in the pot using the saute mode and adding cornstarch rue, season to taste. Normally I’d make that in a separate pan, which means more washing up! Are you seeing a trend here yet?
Soups are a breeze, I have followed recipes but more often than not I just chuck in the chopped veg with chicken or vegetable stock, season and press the soup button. Done in about 15 minutes, I then use a stick blender to get it thick and smooth. The secret to a great soup is having a great stock and yes, you can make your stock in the Instant Pot too!
Other regulars are casseroles, chilli, stews and risotto.
Yes, you read that right, risotto, that dish that usually takes a long time and a lot of standing over the hot stove can be whipped up in a matter of minutes. This mushroom risotto is amazing and in the autumn when all the different varieties of mushroom were in it soon became a family favourite. I have an asparagus version bookmarked to try when it comes into season.
Here are 5 more of my favourite recipes:
- Instant Pot Honey Sesame Chicken
- Instant Pot Italian Bean Stew and Dumplings
- Instant Pot Honey Garlic Chicken
- Instant Pot Smothered Pork Chops
- Instant Pot Pulled Pork
Instant Pot Yoghurt
You MUST try this, it’s brilliant.
once a week we do this.
- In the Instant pot pour in 2l of milk, put on the lid.
Press the yoghurt button then the adjust button until the display says boil. This kills off anything in the milk that you don’t want in the yoghurt.
- Once it has boiled, take it out and let it cool to about 30°C
- Scrape off the skin that has formed then stir in your yoghurt (plain bio with live cultures)- you need the cultures in the yoghurt to grow the new yoghurt. We like ours thick so I use Greek Bio Yoghurt.
- Press the Yoghurt button and adjust until it says 8:00 then let it does its magic. 8 hours later it will beep and you will have a big pot of plain yoghurt.
I have seen recipes that add all kinds of weird and wonderful things but I find it more useful to just make a big pot of plain yoghurt then use it as I like. In cooking meals or adding fruit or honey.
To conclude: Was the instant pot worth the investment and does it save me time.
The short version – yes and yes.
I thought I wouldn’t get much use out of it during the hot months but actually, it was better than having the oven on to cook meat, so I still used it a couple of times a week.
In the colder months I use it 4 or 5 times a week, it has become part of my kitchen and has found its place next to the oven.
As for saving time, absolutely, once I got the idea of the time it takes to come to pressure sorted, it’s a bit like waiting for the oven to come to temperature but quicker! Cooking time is much quicker and the food tastier. And because it’s mostly one-pot cooking there is less washing up and less mess in general.
All in all, it’s a winner!
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