Instant Pot: Meet Your New Best Friend

More and more people are becoming fans of One Pot Cooking. But what is this magical pot and what makes it so special.

One Pot is a brand of these new fancy-smancy electric pressure cookers, think that crazy-fast cooking item from the ’70s, except unlike your mother’s or grandmother’s version, shouldn’t explode in your kitchen! Because it’s electric and programmable, these new pressure cookers are amazing! They cook most foods — I’m yet to find something that can’t be done in a pressure cooker — super fast, using pressure and steam (no dried out food!) to make things delicious and quick.  It’s one part oven, one part stove, one part rice cooker, and one part slow cooker and all parts convenient.

I have been a proud owner of the Cuisinart Pressure Cooker since 2011, and I’ve learned a few things in the process. My sweet friend, Julie, taught me about making rice, beans and grain in the pressure cooker…and then I was on a mission to see what else could be cooked in there. So inspired by my son’s favorite YouTuber, I ask you….”Will it Pressure Cook?”

Beans

Yes, beans were my first test. I love cooking beans (rich in fiber, protein, and if you use the dried ones, they cost only pennies.) BUT, cooking beans from dried is a big ole pain the you-know-where. First you soak them overnight (Wait, I have to start cooking my meal the night before?!), then put them in a slow cooker to cook the entire next day. Needless to say, I often forwent beans or used the salty canned ones. Now, if it’s breakfast time and I think, “Hey we are having bean burritos for dinner,” I can easily open the bag, dump them into the pressure cooker with 8 quarts of water and in two seconds they are on their way to cooking. Once the pot is hot, it only takes 20-24 minutes (not hours!) to cook. Life changing!

My next test were

Lintels, Split Bean, Garbonzo Beans and Rice (not all together)

All were very easy. I followed the instruction book and put the appropriate water in them, and boom, within minutes they were done.

But wait…you said you like to start your dinner prep during breakfast….if your beans are done so early…..they won’t be hot and delicious when you need them, right?! This is where the beauty of the pressure cooker comes in. Most electric versions, have a “keep warm” option that will ensure your food stays hot until you’re ready to eat in 7 or 8 hours ( I thought you it was part slow cooker!)

I then moved on to more daring foods….Meats! I was worried meat wouldn’t cook well and it wouldn’t be tasty, but boy, was I wrong.

Roast, Pork Loin, Chops

Yep. Roast. First I sear it on the stovetop so that it has a golden outside, then I put it in the pressure cooker with proper water, throw in some veggies (think carrots, potatoes, onions) and spices and it’s ready by dinner time, moist and delicious. And, if you’re like me, and forget to put it in the pot in the morning, no worries. Got a couple of hours to dinner and you still need to cook your roast…no problem. Most roast only take 90 minutes in a pressure cooker. Boom, you’re a hero, or rather the pressure cooker is a hero….but whatever.

Frozen Chicken Breast

Yep. In only 11 minutes (with fast pressure release) those frozen chicken breast will be completely cooked. I do them this way for casseroles. You can do all parts of the chicken this way. I even do whole chickens. Just check our booklet for appropriate times for different cuts of chicken.

Baked Potatoes

Yep….super simple. You don’t even need to wrap them in foil. Scrub the potatoes and put them in the pot with a cup of water and in 11 minutes (and then with natural release) your potatoes are moist and delicious.

Corn on the Cob

Yep….easy peasy. Put them in, add the water and in minutes you have tender corn on the cob.

Soups & Sauces & Chilis

I think my slow cooker might be mad at me. Why? Well, not only is he missing a handle or two, I never have to dig him out of the back of the dark, deep, cabinet abyss. Why? Because he’s been replaced with our little-pressure-cooker-that-could. It’s probably time to donate him, one-handled and all. If I have a soup or sauce to make, I just do it all in my trusty pressure cooker. Mine has a setting for browning or simmering, and I usually choose this option to start my soup or sauce, putting it on the “Keep Warm” setting when I’m done and until I’m ready to eat.

One of my favorite, easy soup recipes that every guest wants the “recipe” to….I hesitate to call it a recipe. It’s not the most healthiest dishes, but it’s super simple and a quick week night soup:

Quick (Not quite a recipe) Broccoli Cheese Soup

Ingredients:

5 cups water

5 chicken bullion cubes

1/2 T garlic powder

1/2 T onion powder

12 oz Velveeta

8 oz sour cream

1 pkg of frozen broccoli, thawed and polverized in the food processor

Directions

  1. Put water, bullion and spices in the pressure cooker on simmer until all ingredients are dissolved.
  2. Add Velveeta and simmer till melted.
  3. Add sour cream and stir well.
  4. Add broccoli and stir until incorporated. Reduce heat to “Keep Warm” and you’re done.

What are your favorite things to make in a pressure cooker? Do you have favorite recipes that translate well? What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever cooked in your pressure cooker? Seriously?! I want (no scratch that, need) to know!