Sunday, November 27, 2016

Instant Pot Family Favorites

Over 200,000 Instant Pots were sold on Amazon "prime day" just a few months ago.  I happened to be one of them!  I've posted a lot about my beloved instant pot on social media and it has brought lots of questions and curiosity-- it didn't take long for our instant pot to earn it's space ON the counter right next to the Kitchen Aid mixer.  In case you didn't know, counter space is kind of a big deal so having a permanent home on the counter means the Instant Pot itself is kind of a big deal.

With all the Instant Pot chatter after Prime Day, many were anxiously waiting for another big sale on them so they could snag one as well and see what all the hype was about.  SO, to all of you Black Friday shoppers I have two things to share with you.

1.  I'm jealous that you were able to get your instant pot for $11 less that I did.

2.  We've tried lots of recipes over the last few months and here are some of our favorites so that you can try them yourself.

  • Hard boiled eggs--  If you try nothing else in your pot, you have to try hard boiled eggs!  They call them 5-5-5 eggs because they take 5 mins to come to pressure, 5 mins to cook and 5 mins to cool.  Once you try making them in the Instant Pot, you will fall in love with this method over the traditional stovetop.  First, they are perfectly cooked every. single. time.  And second, they peel SOOO easy!!  Even farm fresh right from our backyard, peel SO easy cooked this way.

  • Macaroni and Cheese-- This macaroni is crazy easy and with a "from scratch" taste.  Because it is from scratch ingredients!  Put the orange powder away and never buy it again.  You can make this macaroni just as fast and it's so much better!  (We've done regular and whole wheat pasta and it's perfect every time.)

  • Mashed Potatoes-- We had easy mashed potatoes with our Thanksgiving without using up a burner I needed for other items and waiting for water to boil.  I used a 5 pound bag of red potatoes, washed and chopped.  I like a more rustic mashed potato so I left half with skins on.  Put the trivet in the pot and add 1 cup of water.  Stack the chopped potatoes on top of the trivet.  Set to manual pressure for 10 mins, and quick release.   Then just mash and season as you normally would with some milk, butter, salt, pepper and garlic (OR a pinch of nutmeg.)  Easy peasy!

  • Salsa chicken-- We've all done this in the crock pot, but now you can do it WAY faster in the Instant Pot! Even layer of chicken on the bottom, pour in a jar of your favorite salsa and hit manual for 7 minutes.  (If your chicken is frozen, try 15 mins)  Quick release, shred it up and eat on tacos with your favorite toppings.  (There's lots of other ways to cook chicken so have fun with seasonings!)

  • Cheesy Chili Mac-- We just tried this last week and there has already been a request to make it again.  Super easy recipe for a busy night and loved by all. 

  • Quick Pasta and Meatballs--  Bag of frozen meatballs, jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce, jar of water, and one pound of pasta all tossed into the instant pot on manual for 5 minutes.  Let rest 5 minutes before quick releasing the pressure and serve up with some garlic bread and salad.

  • Rice and quinoa-- Pending what variety of grain you are using, pour in the appropriate ratio of grain to water and use the rice function. 

  • Refried Beans-- homemade refried beans are delicious for one thing!  BUT, on top of that, they freeze so well!  I make this big pot of them, and portion some out in freezer bags to save for another day.  
Some honorable mentions of other items we've tried and enjoyed are... sweet potato casseroleBarbacoa BeefSteel cut oatschicken tortilla souphomemade yogurt (in jars),  roasted potatoes, and salted caramel cheesecake.

And my Instant Pot Pin board on Pinterest has SOOO much more that we haven't tried yet.  Now that so many are getting their hands on these pots, recipes abound online so if you are new to the Instant Pot, don't get overwhelmed-- start with something simple that you know your family likes.  Take a peek in your freezer and google "___x___ instant pot recipe" to use up ingredients you already have on hand.  There's a little bit of a learning curve adjusting pressure times, not being scared to release the pressure, and making sure to use proper portions of liquid BUT the reward is to drop something in the pot and walk away.  AND also to be able to have a delicious dinner on the table fast when it's getting late, you've had a busy day or you're just plain exhausted.   Enjoy!