↑ Click the image above to hear more audio about this blog – why I was against an Instant Pot and why I bought one anyway!
Reasons I was hesitant to buy an Instant Pot:
⇒ Pressure Cookers have a scary reputation and having an enclosed pressure vessel in my kitchen gave me the heebie jebbies.
⇒ I tend to be “anti-fad” and things that sound super popular make me super skeptical. No idea why!
⇒ I didn’t want to add another kitchen tool to my fully stocked kitchen
⇒ I like being able to see and check on my food as it cooks in the oven, on the stove, on the grill or even in the microwave. A pressure cooker feels like you lock and load and good luck to you.
So why did I end up buying an Instant Pot in the end?
The radio made me do it.
I heard on the radio “the number one item sold this Christmas season is the Instant Pot” to which I out loud said “oh crap.”
Here I am, a dietitian with a weight loss surgery website to produce recipes that make life easier and your goals achievable and I want to ignore the kitchen item that everyone else swears makes your life easier.
So here we are now :)
I posted my Instant Pot Unboxing Video last week and now I want to share with you my update and what recipes I’ve tried. I’ll start with cons because that’s the progression of my feelings with this appliance. I’ve wanted to not like it so the cons come first and then the reasons I’m starting to come around.
⇒ Like I mentioned above, I really dislike that I can’t see how my recipe is going. It feels like a gamble to put my ingredients in the pot and close it off, guessing most of the time on what buttons to push. I just hope it comes out okay but can’t know until I know.
⇒ I’m still scared of it. I make sure no one is in the kitchen with me. I let it “naturally release” the pressure meaning I don’t touch it until the lid comes off easily. I move the venting valve to open and make sure I don’t hear anything. And I still move back a little when I lift the lid. In my opinion, you can’t be too careful with this piece of equipment.
⇒ When I made the meatloaf, mentioned below, it came out the ugliest meatloaf you have ever seen. Opaque and grey looking. It tasted fine but I could hardly get past how it looked to eat it. I would stick to the oven for a turkey meatloaf for presence alone. Perhaps the beef would look better.
⇒ It’s a big piece of equipment and it does take up countertop space. As someone who cooks often and used the kitchen often, I get tempted to think I can make dinner just as fast in a skillet (which I really think is true!) so I question if it’s worth my countertop space on a regular basis.
⇒ The main reason everyone likes the Instant Pot is the time factor. In some ways I don’t think it’s faster. You have to get to pressure, then the cook time starts, and then you have to let it release pressure. If you’re making a stew or frozen chicken it’s still faster than another method. For some meals it doesn’t seem faster BUT the difference is that the time the meal is in the pot is passive time meaning you can put away dishes, wipe down countertops, help your kids, talk with your spouse, feed the dog and so on.
⇒ You do start to catch on. I’m learning how much moisture to keep in the pot. I’m learning what I would do differently each time. I would use the saute feature more than I have been and even saute my veggies, then remove them and pressure cook the meat and then put the meal together instead of veggies and meat together in the cooker. All the buttons get less intimidating.
⇒ Here’s the moment that won me over. In one hour I made a dozen boiled eggs (for snacks and breakfasts through the week), a pound of cooked chicken (shredded and added to salads for lunches) AND chicken taco soup for the family for dinner. I only had one pot to clean when I was done. I had great food options cooked and ready in my refrigerator all week. I’m officially in.
Below you’ll find the recipes I’ve tried so far, photos included when I took them. I’ll post again soon on beginners tips to getting started with the Instant Pot AND I’m working on a PDF Cookbook for WLS Instant Pot Recipes. Subscribe to my email list to stay informed!
Recipes I’ve tried so far:
Dijon Chicken Thighs – Members Recipe
Caribbean Pork Tenderloin with Zucchini – Members Recipe
Cooked Chicken Breast
No recipe post for this one – I simply add 2 large fresh chicken breast to my Instant Pot and added 2 tbsp light Italian dressing and toss to coat. I also add 1/2 cup water to the bottom of the cooker. I close the lid and select ‘poultry’ for 8 minutes. I left it ‘naturally release’ the steam meaning when it’s done cooking I don’t touch it for another 10 minutes. When the handle easily comes off I open the lid, standing back and leaning my face away. I then use my Pampered Chef Salad Choppers to dice up the chicken and put in a large container to refrigerate and use later in the week. (You could use kitchen shears to dice it or move it to a cutting board and dice.)
Hard Boiled Eggs
No recipe post for this one. I add 1 cup water to bottom of Instant Pot. I place the included wire basket in the bottom and then fill with 12 eggs. I close the lid and select ‘high pressure’ for 5 minutes. I allow the cooker to naturally release for 5 minutes. Then I open the valve (keeping my face away) and let any remaining steam out. I move the eggs to an ice bath for another 10 minutes. Then peel and/or place in sealed container to eat within one week.
Chicken Taco Soup (not pictured)
This was a meal a neighbor gave us for Christmas! She provided Rotel®, beans, a seasoning mix and broth. I added fresh chicken and used the ‘soup’ function for 10 minutes. I don’t have the full recipe as it isn’t mine but image any chicken chili I’ve made before would work! Here is a recipe for Kitchen Sink Chicken Chili I’m certain would work but have not made in my own Instant Pot yet.
Feta and Spinach Stuffed Meatloaf (not the best looking meal in the Instant Pot…so this recipe links to the baked version. I am choosing not pass along the Instant Pot recipe on this one!)