Welcome to our new series “The Family Table” where every other Thursday we will share tips from the kitchen, new recipes, or family favorites. As moms we all have our plates full trying to get dinner on the table to feed our family, so check back here for ideas and inspiration to make that easier.
I got an Instant Pot for Christmas, just like every other suburban mom. I didn’t ask for one as real estate is at a prime in my kitchen, and I just didn’t think it warranted that much space for a souped-up slow cooker. WRONG!
It’s not a souped-up slow cooker. It is a pressure cooker…like on Iron Chef.
They are different. A slow cooker cooks slowly on low heat. I cannot stand the texture of chicken in the Crock Pot. It’s dry but mushy and completely inedible. Even my 6-year-old will eat chicken from the Instant Pot!
The pressure cooker cooks quickly* on high heat and pressure. If you remember PV=nRT from high school chemistry, as the pressure increases so does the boiling point of water meaning that food can go above 212°F before it loses that moisture to steam. So meats are much more tender and juicy.
*Careful when you read the cook times on recipes. They often do not include the time it takes for the pot to build up pressure (15-20 minutes) or the time for the pressure to release. So although a recipe says that chicken can cook in 7 minutes, it is really more like 35 minutes total.
It is SO worth the kitchen real estate.
Once you get your food in the pot, you can set it and forget it. Clean the kitchen, play with the kids, visit with a neighbor. Like a slow cooker, once it is in the pot there is no stirring or babysitting necessary.
The meats are so tender and flavorful. Even my child who has issues with food textures likes it.
I have used it multiple times every week since I opened it at Christmas. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. My husband asked me yesterday if I even use the oven anymore. Touché.
Unfortunately, many of the recipes online are full of junk we don’t eat. My kids and I have to eat gluten-free and my husband avoids sugar and simple starches. Also, I don’t buy things with ingredients that look like they were made in a lab (I’m looking at you cans of condensed soups!), only simple ingredients that I could buy fresh in the grocery store. I don’t want to sacrifice the health of my family for the ease of convenient cooking so I pressed on to look for healthful, whole foods recipes.
Here are some easy, healthful recipes that my family enjoys:
Balsamic Chicken utilizes chicken breasts in a subtle tangy tomato sauce. It is great over spiraled zucchini or noodles. For the kids, I add some mozzarella cheese on top.
Chicken Marsala uses chicken thighs and is divine. I serve with crispy garlic green beans and sometimes brown rice pasta.
This Mexican Beef shredded as filling for chimichangas. SO yum. I serve topped with tomatillo salsa, fresh tomatoes or pico de gallo, avocado, and lettuce with a side of refried beans (see below).
Beef Stew – A hearty beef stew filled with vegetables just asking to be made on a cold day.
Tomato Basil Soup – My husband took one bite of this soup and said, “this is really unhealthy isn’t it.” Not at all. Made with canned whole tomatoes, chicken broth, milk, and vegetables.
I’ve made these refried beans once a week (minus the lard because I don’t keep that stocked!)
They are so delicious! You will never buy canned again.
Searching for new recipes
Even though we are not on the 21 Day Fix, I use the search terms “21 Day Fix Instant Pot recipes” to yield more healthful results than just “Instant Pot recipes”
What are you waiting for?
Break that pot out of the box and give it a try! It won’t blow up. Just read the directions and try one of these easy, healthful recipes. Embrace your Bobby Flay.
I say unto you in the words of my uncle – Allez cuisine!