Some months I totally slack on grocery shopping and cooking at home, but lately I've been really trying to be better about it. We got an Instant Pot from my parents for Christmas, and I've been using it almost every single night for a thousand different things. I've had multiple friends ask how I'm using it, and where I'm finding recipes (answer: literally everywhere) so I thought I'd throw together a blog post with links and tips I've found that are helpful! We also have a crockpot that I love, but the Instant Pot has been my FAVORITE for taking frozen meat directly from the freezer to cooked in like half an hour. Also love it for making soups and stews a little thicker and cooking potatoes in a pinch (I'm not a very patient or plan-ahead cook - this is a huge issue for me and it's helped a ton!) This is totally not a sponsored post (although I always disclaim when it is, FYI!) I just love using ours for quicker dinners, and wanted to share what's been commonly cooked in the Storey kitchen as of late.
What we use the Instant Pot for currently: Rice, potatoes (both mashed and baked), cooking frozen chicken, cooking frozen ground beef, stews/soups, and bone broth (MAKE THIS seriously though).
I've not yet been disappointed with rice in the Instant Pot, and we've done many different kinds of rice. It takes minutes for certain kinds of rice (and much longer for others like Wild Rice), so this has been handy if I'm in the middle of dinner and realize I need another side. Psst: Use the bone broth (linked below) when you cook rice. Game changer.
When I think of mashed potatoes, I think time-consuming (also carb-heavy and delicious). Lately, I've just been dicing red potatoes (skins and all) and throwing them in with a cup of water and a little garlic for 8 min. Mash and add your dairy ingredients, and then the pot will keep it warm until it's dinner time. Bam.
We eat baked potatoes with steak fairly often, and it takes my husband no time at all to cook the meat (Confession: We are rare steak people. And now you know...) So now I just throw them in the pressure cooker about 45-30 min before dinner, and then let it keep them warm until dinner. This changes depending on the size of your potatoes, so I like to give myself a little extra time in case they need a few minutes longer in the pressure cooker. (AKA: Check potatoes after cooking, still a little hard, start process over with 2-3 min on Manual setting - usually does the trick)
I personally get really nervous defrosting meat (especially chicken). Am I alone in this?? Something about the chicken juices being in my fridge just weirds me out. Anyways, I love how this is a quicker version of Crockpot recipes for shredded chicken. Great with so many things, and it can be done with completely frozen chicken!
Frozen Ground Beef
Another big win! I've been using this mainly for soups. I'll cook the frozen meat in the Instant Pot, drain it, rinse it (yep I'm that person) and then throw it back in the pot to pressure cook again with the soup ingredients.
My favorite stew right now is Beef Vegetable Stew (I've linked a Pioneer Woman since it's a classic). You can sautee the meat right in the pot, and then dump everything else in and set it to 35 min on Soup/Stew setting. Allow it to naturally release pressure. The result (once it's cooled from a lava level of hot) is a thick stew that tastes like it was in the Crockpot all day.
I have not yet tried the more adventurous bones (necks & feet, YUM) of the chicken, but it works just great with a roasted chicken carcass (two if you have them!), veggie scraps, and herbs. What I do throughout the month is throw vegetables scraps into a bag in the freezer (carrot peelings, potato peelings, onion tops & skins, garlic skins, etc.) and when I'm ready to make bone broth, I throw them in with everything else. It's a great way to add flavor without spending extra money or being wasteful (the Amazon Prime boxes in my garage are plenty wasteful enough...) Herbs I use are: whole peppercorns, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves. Freeze in ziploc bags to use in everything from soups, boiling pasta, cooking rice, or just sip on it for good health. Basically, it can replace water in many recipes as long as the flavors work well together! Plus it's insanely cheap to make, especially since you're literally using scraps from other meals.
Other Recipes I've LOVED Lately (Also Instant Pot or Crockpot friendly):
Chicken Tikka Masala
I made this the other night, and it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Pair it with Basmati rice and Naan Bread - a carb-lover's dream come true. I don't have a bunch of exciting spices in my spice cabinet, and since this was my first time making this I didn't want to commit to buying them all just for one recipe. Many grocery stores (Whole Foods, Hy-Vee and Sprouts come to mind) have spice sections where you can measure a little bit out and buy by the ounce. I did this (with a little extra just in case) for this special recipe since I wasn't sure how much we'd both dig the new flavors. Also, always taste new recipes before serving. This version was a little under seasoned for me, so I added a little extra curry and garam masala!
Skinny Greek Yogurt Chicken Enchiladas
You totally could make the filling for this in the Instant Pot or Crockpot, if you so desired. Honestly, sometimes I'll do something like that if the mood strikes earlier in the day. It does save time and dishes when the dinner crunch-time rolls around. I'm usually too impatient to let chicken broth thicken up, so I tend to use less in this recipe than it says to. Also, I love love love these organic soups for Cream of Chicken and Cream of Mushroom when it's called for in recipes.
Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sweet Potatoes
Shhh it sounds weird, but bear with me. Do you love buffalo wings? Do you love sweet potatoes? If you said yes to both, I promise this combination will be amazing. Also, it's totally great on regular baking potatoes, if that's more your speed. Jordan made his with a regular baked potato, ranch dressing, and cheddar cheese. I made mine with a baked sweet potato, blue cheese, and green onions. Both were delicious!
I genuinely hope this is helpful, and I know I'll be using it as a reference for myself when my cooking inspiration hits a low. Throwing together a healthy(ish) and delicious meal with minimal effort is my main goal. Let me know your favorite quick dinner tricks or favorite dinner recipes lately in the comments!