Taking the Pressure Off
Almost a year ago when I first got my Instant Pot, I was super intimidated, but excited at the possibilities! It did take me some trial and error and even a few not so perfect executions to adjust to the new style of cooking, but once I got a feel for it, the Pressure Cooker has definitely become a staple and a superstar in my kitchen!
The one I use is the Instant Pot DUO60 model, which is about $99 on Amazon. I chose this model for it's ability to Sauté, Slow Cook, Steam and Pressure Cook and because it does have the Yogurt Option, which I have not even used, lol. It has a 6qt. SS liner, which cleans easily and is dishwasher safe! You can purchase an extra liner ($32) and a liner lid ($12) as well, if you are cooking back to back recipes or want to store your meal right in the liner!
I love the options, the speed, convenience, energy and nutrient savings it provides. It can speed cook so well, that I am able to do back to back recipes in a snap. Yesterday I turned out 18 hardboiled eggs and a Pineapple Black Bean Quinoa Salad (which is my current obsession) all in under 30 minutes!
One key to tender meats and sides is making sure you have enough liquid! It takes liquid to steam, so make sure you have ample liquids in there no matter what you are cooking! About 1/2 cup of water is all you need to hard boil eggs because of the short cook time. I usually use about double that for a pot of ribs, which has a 23 minute cook time!
Allow for time for the cooker to heat up! For some dishes, the preheat to steam time is short, but the meatier the dish, or the colder the ingredients, the longer the heat time is! For some dishes don't forget to allow for natural release time as well! I use the Natural Release Method to allow most of the pressure to slowly come down after the set cook time, most of the time, so an additional 10 minutes!
-> A SS steamer basket is helpful in keeping your meats, etc. from sitting in the liquid so they are steamed and not boiled! You can get one like mine for about $5.
-> Do you struggle for ways to reheat your meals without drying them out? This is MAGIC for that! Because it works with steam, it puts the moisture back into your meals instead of robbing it as you reheat! You can even reheat baked fish in just a couple minutes of pressure cook time without drying it out at all!
->in a pinch you can go from frozen to "order up" in a short period of time! It's fantastic for reheating a frozen meat sauce or meatballs, anything in a sauce or precooked! But keep in mind, anything like raw frozen chicken breasts, aren't going to end up quite as succulent as they will if you allow them to thaw!
-> Because it is steam, uses less water, reduces cook times, Pressure cooking does not create any chemicals that can result from other cooking methods and can help to retain more vitamins in our foods!
-> Pressure Cooking can assist in making grains and legumes more easily digested due to the fact that it reduces physic acid and lectins!