I finally caved and bought an Instant Pot. I’ve been considering it since last Christmas, but I kept waffling. I have a crockpot and love to cook meals in it. I enjoy the long cook time that makes the house smell mouth-watering for 8-10 hours. So I kept telling myself I didn’t really need an instant pot.
I was so wrong! This beautiful little creation has not only changed the way I approach my cooking, but the way I approach my health!
I’m super lazy when it comes to cooking–if it takes more than 20 min of me standing at the counter or stove, I’ll never make the meal. Or I’ll make it once, say how much I enjoyed it, and never make it again.
How frequently I cook is also inversely proportional to how many dishes I have to clean when I’m done (fortunately the hubby takes care of those).
WHAT IS AN INSTANT POT?
The instant pot is a multi-use cooker. The premier capaiblity it offers is electric pressure cooking. Instant Pot offers a range of devices at different price points that have varying capabilities and capacities.
I purchased the Duo series, 7-in-1, 6 quart cooker. The 7 functions mine performs are: pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steam, sauté/searing, yogurt maker, and warmer.
My absoute favorite feature is pressure cooking–it cooks food up to 70% faster! And it tastes like you slow cooked it (except in some instances the meat isn’t quite as tender). This single efficiency has revolutionized my diet! The pot insert is stainless steel, so you don’t have to worry about ingesting any nasty chemicals. And you can just throw it in the dishwasher!
Mine has 14 built-in programs for meat, soup, sautéing, rice, etc. You can set a time-delay so it doesn’t start cooking immediately, and it has a warm function in case you’re not quite ready to serve it when it’s done cooking.
The Instant Pot has a very short cord as a safety precaution (so no one can get tangled in it or accidentally knock it over). Wherever you plan to use it on your counter needs to be almost directly in front of an outlet.
Be aware that the most you can ever fill the pot is 2/3 full. So if you want 6 quarts of cooking capacity, you should probably purchase the 8 quart size.
We celiacs have a lot of issues that make healthy meals a critical factor in our ability to thrive. By the time we’re diagnosed with celiac disease, we usually have severe vitamin and mineral deficiencies, multiple food sensitivities, a compromised digestive tract, systemic inflammation, and 2-3 other conditions on top of that!
Eating out is dangerous and processed food items are usually full of ingredients that set off one or more of our food sensitivities. Many of us have a laundry list of things we need to avoid (grains, dairy, soy, sugar, nightshades, etc.)
But constantly cooking healthy food for yourself (and a whole family) from scratch is soooooo time consuming! Plus it’s a nightmare for those of us who don’t enjoy it! I do miss the good old days when eating could be spontaneous. Sigh. #celiacproblems
I feel like one of Dante’s 9 circles of hell should be a huge kitchen with rows of stoves. “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” One circle should probably be dedicated to math as well, now that I think about it….
While I love my crockpot, I only use it about once a week at most. I’m not comfortable leaving it on all day if I’m out of the house. And it does take a full day to cook a meal.
So while I was striving for a healthier diet, what I’d end up with was several healthy meals for the week (that I made over the weekend) and the rest of the meals were processed items I could throw together quickly.
All of it was gluten free of course, but my health was still suffering. So even though I was skeptical of the hype, I decided to give the Instant Pot a try. I figured I might have buyer’s remorse, but what the heck.
To my surprise, the more I’ve used my instant pot, the more I enjoy using it, and the more ways I find for it to make my life easier. I’ve had it for a couple months now, and I’m eating healthier than I ever have.
And the craziest part is that not eating sugar or dairy or bread or grains doesn’t feel like a sacrifice that will break me because I can make truly delicious meals, and in a fraction of the normal time!
I think the Instant Pot is very reasonably priced given how much efficiency it offers. But if the price tag is a bit steep for you, Amazon usually offers a discount around the holidays and on other shopping event days. You could also ask someone to buy it for you as a holiday or birthday gift!
INSTANT POT DUMP RECIPES
When my Instant Pot arrived, I was SO excited. Then, over the course of the next few hours I became quite frustrated. I searched and searched for recipes, but all of them were 3, 4, or 5 steps! They were all like, “sautee this, then cook this, then simmer this down, etc.”
I’m not hating on those of you who enjoy cooking and have the time and energy for all those steps, but that level of effort is a deal-breaker for me.
So I just started throwing things in and cooking–treating it like a crock pot that cooks really fast. And surprisingly, it was easy and delicious!
If you’re anything like me, the key word search you want to use is “instant pot dump recipes.” It took me about a month to figure that out–those aren’t the first words that come to mind. But now you know, so you can hit the ground running if “dumping” and cooking is your style.
FREESTYLE STEWS (MY FAVE!)
My favorite way to use my Instant Pot is for easy 1-step stews. I throw in some sturdy veggies, the required water, and add the meat last–that way stuff doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
When it’s done cooking, I add some ghee and I season to taste. You always end up with a delicious stew this way!
Try some veggies you may not normally eat (like cabbage, zucchini, or cauliflower)–you’ll be surprised how tasty they come out!
Water is required to build the pressure, so be deliberate about the amount of water you add. There is a minimum amount required for the different capacities.
If your veggies will give off a lot of water, you can reduce how much water you add. But I recommending making small water adjustmentments in the beginning until you get a better feel for it.
If you don’t add enough water, you’ll get a burn message on the screen and the device will stop cooking. You’ll have to take the lid off and make adjustments.
Play with spices! Try new seasonings or mixes from a good spice shop. Make sure they’re gluten free of course. But adding some ghee when it’s done and some good seasoning will take your stew to the next level.
COOK A WHOLE CHICKEN!
I’ve always thought this was more trouble than it was worth. But with my Instant Pot it’s easy and I can get 3 different meals out of it. So I cook a whole chicken about once a week.
I cut up veggies and throw them in with the required water and set the chicken on top. When it’s done, take out the chicken and you have the most delicious vegetable soup you’ve ever tasted! I’m not a huge fan of soup, but this stuff is legit.
Then you pick all the chicken off the frame (my least favorite part, but our cats’ favorite part since we toss them little bits). Put the bones, frame, skin, and giblets back in the pot and make a big batch of bone broth!
(Say that 3 times fast: big batch of bone broth, big batch of bone broth, big batch of bone broth).
SAUTÉ IN BULK
I wanted to make 4 lbs of sautéed ground beef with veggies. I always cook in bulk because…lazy. Why do it multiple times if it can be one-and-done?
I didn’t have a pan large enough to do that on the stove, and I wasn’t going to stand over the stove and do it pound by pound. So I decided to try the sauté function on the Instant Pot.
It worked brilliantly! I threw it all in at once and the result was perfect.
I haven’t used all of my Instant Pot features and I don’t think I will (I don’t see yogurt making in my future). But I would recommend the Instant Pot based on the pressure cooking feature alone.
If you’re looking for an efficient way to eat healthier, the Instant Pot is your answer. It’s completely altered my attitude toward meal prep—I actually look forward to it (craziness!).
If you’re considering buying one, I recommend you do it. I think you’ll be surprised how useful it is!