Here it is, folks! Favorite Things Friday is back! Woot! Today I’m going to tell you about one of my absolute favorite kitchen gadgets – my instant pot! I got this baby about a year ago on Black Friday and it was a steal the likes of which I haven’t seen since! (Thanks, Walmart!) There are tons of versions out there and I know a lot of people are scared of the pressure cooker idea – probably because of how scary they were when we were younger! Trust me, as an RA warrior who often has issues with hand dexterity, this has been a game-changer for me.
I got the 8 quart Lux model because we love leftovers and having company over to share meals, so I often make double batches of recipes. I also bought a few accessories to go with it, so I now have the steamer basket, springform pan, two metal racks, and a glass lid to use it in slow cooker mode. And, of course, a few extra rings for the lid.
The first “recipe” I tried was hard-boiled eggs. And I’m going to be honest here – I am a pretty good cook but my hard-boiled eggs were always a disaster! No matter what trick I tried the shells were always stuck to the eggs! And of course, no one wanted to have to peel them themselves because of this, so if I didn’t peel them no one ate them very often. Which was frustrating, because we all love them! And now we love them again because they come out perfectly in the instant pot EVERY TIME! Half the time the shells are already cracked open a little when they are done and just slide right off, and the other half a tap or two and chunks of shell come off egg-free. Hallelujah!
I also love that you can saute or brown food all in the same pot without having to dirty more pans – brown your meat or sautee onions, dump in the rest of the ingredients and set it to go. Less pans = less mess, and you know how the Hubster loves that!
It’s also been a game-changer with getting meats super tender in a short amount of time. Another of my favorites to make in the Instant Pot is corned beef. O.M.G. the melt in your mouth tenderness when it’s done- I’ve never made corned beef well either until this baby. The crockpot all day just never gave it the same result as cooking it in steam. I actually stock up on a few packages of corned beef when it’s on sale so we can enjoy it throughout the year and not just around St. Patrick’s Day.
We’ve also made a ton of soups in the Instant Pot, including this phenomenal Zuppa Toscana,( https://www.eatwell101.com/instant-pot-keto-tuscan-soup-recipe) and this New England Clam Chowder, or “Chowda”, as we say in my home turf of New England! Being a native New Englander, I am SUPER picky about my clam chowder and this is my favorite recipe so far. https://anaffairfromtheheart.com/instant-pot-new-england-clam-chowder/.
We’ve also tried numerous chili recipes and you get amazing flavor like you had simmered it all day. This one is our most recent favorite recipe that I just made: https://www.foodfaithfitness.com/no-bean-whole30-keto-chili-in-the-instant-pot/. I used Trader Joe’s Chili Seasoning in it for the first time and YUM-O. (https://www.traderjoes.com/FearlessFlyer/Article/5302 says it may or may not still be available)
You can also find the recipe on our Pinterest board. We ate it before I remembered to get pics so you’ll have to look at the photos there to get a visual!
There are a few things to remember with this amazing gadget to use it successfully. First of all, you need to factor in extra time on top of the stated cook time so it can come to pressure first and then release pressure later. Some recipes have you flip the vent toggle right away for a quick release but many have you let it naturally release the pressure over time. I’ve forgotten to do this a time or two 😉 . It doesn’t affect anything about your food except the time it will be ready to eat!
I also recommend getting at least two silicone sealing rings, I use one for savory dishes and one for sweeter ones like applesauce or cakes. Yes, you can bake a cake in this do it all appliance! I made a keto Italian cream cake for the Hubster in it and there was no difference from one baked in the oven, in our opinion. You can steam the rings clean by using vinegar in the instant pot (check for directions for your specific model) or by putting the rings in the dishwasher. I usually throw mine in on the top rack and they come out clean but if any lingering odors are detected I use the steam method. Bonus, it steam cleans the whole inside of the pot!
Especially during this corona stay at home madness when we are cooking what feels like 27 times a week, anything that takes some pressure and work off my hands (literally) is a Godsend. So if you’re looking for some easy and delicious meals in a snap I highly recommend you look into any one of the Instant Pot models. You can find them everywhere and there always seem to be sales going on them. You can also find the complete line on their webpage, https://instantpot.com/.
Happy cooking everyone, and thanks for sharing another Friday Favorite with me. Hit me up with some of your favorite make life easier kitchen gadgets!