Pick of the Month – Instant Pot
Greetings! Jen Flaherty here with this month’s Pick of the Month – The Instant Pot. Have you heard of it? The Instant Pot is a modern day pressure cooker. What makes it modern, you ask? The Instant Pot does it all from cooking perfect rice to soups and stews, meats, bread (yes, bread!), yogurt…the list goes on. And it cooks it all in an instant, thus the name. In addition, the Instant Pot has a slow cooker mode as well, so you can kiss your slow cooker goodbye (or shove it to the back of the cabinet). This purchase has been a game changer for me. Let me tell you why.
As a mother of three very active children, I’ve been informed that feeding them is part of the job description. As I mentioned, they are all VERY active — not rambunctious active, but over-scheduled active. They each participate in several different sports and activities, some local, most not. As a result, I am often running in several different directions at dinner time, so spending loads of time on meal prep is not something I can typically afford. I’d been seeing a lot of information on Pinterest about the Instant Pot, so I decided once my kitchen remodel was finished, I would look into it. I’m so glad I did.
Let me begin by saying, I am not a very good cook. It’s something I do because I have to. It is definitely not something I love. I don’t even like doing it. If I didn’t have kids, I’d probably eat cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. But alas, I procreated, therefore I cook.
You may be asking yourself, is she a gourmet cook now? No. No I am not. The Instant Pot has not made me a gourmet cook, but it has made me a cook. Prior to purchasing this glorious device, I rarely cooked. I just didn’t have the time. We ate a lot of take out. And a lot of buttered noodles. They were quick. They were easy. But you know it’s time for a change when your children groan if you even suggest fast food. (Yeah, my kids hate fast food because they had it so often! They still like buttered noodles, though.)
So, why am I cooking with the Instant Pot? Because I am a procrastinator. Especially when it comes to things I don’t like to do, like cooking. So I procrastinate about cooking dinner. Then, before I know it, it’s late in the day, and I haven’t taken out the meat, or the meal I want to make takes several hours to cook, and it’s buttered noodles again. But the Instant Pot has changed all that. The Instant Pot makes food quickly. So quickly. Even foods that typically take all day to cook. The Instant Pot will have them cooked through in a fraction of the time. You can even put frozen foods in the Instant Pot and they will be ready just as quickly as if you put them in fresh. Yes, people! Yes! Since I started using the Instant Pot, we have had braised short ribs, honey teriyaki chicken, corned beef, potato soup, crack chicken, a whole chicken (yup, you can put a whole chicken in this sucker!), the list goes on! Did I mention that prior to purchasing an Instant Pot, we ate…buttered noodles? A lot.
Now the downside. Few of these meals have been outstanding. They have been good, but they have not been outstanding — with a few exceptions. I don’t blame it on the wand, I blame it on the magician. I was not a great cook prior to using the Instant Pot, so it stands to reason I would not be a great cook with it. However, I was sorely out of practice because I rarely cooked anything but — wait for it — buttered noodles. But I have since been cooking loads of dishes of all varieties and expect, that with practice, I will get better. I will also learn some of the nuances of cooking with an Instant Pot and I will learn how to tweak the recipes for my family’s palates. There is a learning curve with the Instant Pot, but through almost daily use, I am beginning to figure out what works and what doesn’t. I will try recipes more than once so that I can make adjustments as needed and hopefully turn into a decent cook. But like I said, at least my kids are getting a variety of meals and we are eating dinner at home as a family and that’s a win-win in my book.
If you have been thinking of purchasing an Instant Pot but have been on the fence, feel free to ask me any questions about it and I will do my best to help you out. There are many websites and Pinterest boards out there dedicated to Instant Pot cooking. A quick google search will lead you to a plethora of them. I would link you up here, but since I’m new to this thing, I can’t really stand behind any just yet. But if I come across any that I think are necessary resources, I will come back here and update this post.