My last blog post, A Tale of Two Pothead Newbies, was about two of my friends who have recently discovered the wonderful world of pressure cooking. But unlike the scores of Prime Day Instant Pot buyers who bought pressure cookers knowing full-well that they were afraid of them, (Mind blown. I can’t even.) these two tore open the packaging and hit the ground running. They became hard-core users from their first attempt. My kind of pressure cooking addicts!
Today I’m talking about their counterparts; my experienced users. They are so comfortable with their pots that they don’t hesitate to create recipes on the fly. They aren’t worried about things not turning out. They throw things in the pot, set a cook time, press a button and walk away. For them, it’s not the speed of cooking, it’s the convenience. Set it and forget it. You aren’t tied to your stove. Heck, you aren’t even tied to your kitchen. Let the pressure cooker do its thing while you do yours.
I’ll let these three veterans tell us what they made recently.
Lazy Lady (code names are back!) broke out the chicken breasts; the bane of many pressure cooker users. Not once will you see the words ‘dry and rubbery’.
“Dinner for three (or four) days:
Cook large package of thawed chicken breasts or thighs with your herbs and spices of choice, 10 minutes, NPR (If you want. I forgot about it and it sat for a few minutes).
Remove the chicken to a plate. Should be cooked through, but not “shredded” level.
LEAVE THE JUICE IN THE POT. Break one pound of spaghetti noodles in half. Put into IP (Instant Pot).
Add enough water to cover to 1 inch over noodles. Stir thoroughly.
Cook four minutes followed by QR.
Remove noodles to a bowl, but leave the water in the pot. There may be a few stuck-together clumps. No big deal. Stir them around a bit in the bowl to loosen them up. If they are really stuck together, throw them back in the IP for this next part.
Tonight’s dinner: Add two cans of spaghetti sauce to the water in the IP. You can add some frozen Italian veggies here too if you like. Add two or three chicken breasts back into the sauce mix. Cook four minutes, QR, then the chicken shreds perfectly. Serve it over the spaghetti for nearly instant Chicken Cacciatore.
Tomorrow’s chicken is already cooked to add to chicken burritos, and Wednesday night will be leftover spaghetti and sauce, and then who knows where the rest of the chicken will end up. Probably in chicken stew with veggies. Made in the IP, of course.
I spent less than an hour on prep AND cook time for three to four meals.”
Follow those simple instructions and you’ll have dinner for three or four days prepared in less than an hour’s time yourself. Everything she used was straight out of her pantry or her freezer. Keep those two areas well-stocked and you’ll be able to throw together delicious, satisfying meals in no time.
“I had a craving for pasta salad on Sunday and I already had some leftover veggies that I’d cut up for a previous meal. I dumped a box of mac in the cooker, covered it with water, set the timer and proceeded to go sit on the deck and enjoy a cocktail while it cooked.
No boiling water or monitoring a pot for boil overs. I sipped gin while the pot did its thing.
A half hour later (I was enjoying the cocktail and forgot and the cooker) I drained the mac, added the veggies and some Italian dressing and BOOM–pasta salad with almost no work.
Sometimes it’s the simple things that make life better. Lol”
Another simple meal that you can throw together on a whim. You can also sit and enjoy a cocktail while your pot is doing all the work. PotLicker and I have been friends for a long time. We don’t agree on everything. But when it comes to boiling water on the stove, we are on the same page. We. Hate. It. Why bother when the pressure cooker can do it? All you do is come back and drain the pasta. And if you’re a little late, no big deal.
As we like to say, “Stupid easy.”
“My Instant Pot and I had a Friday night date where we prepared almost 12 pounds of shredded chicken to contribute to a taco bar for a large crowd. I must credit Ma Cocotte [she named her pot] – along with the nameless but handy dandy stand mixer – for making the whole process a snap!
First, we rubbed the chicken (we used boneless, skinless breasts) with some olive oil, then seasoned with salt, pepper, cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, chipotle chili powder, and onion powder. (Yeah, that’s a lot of powder, but tasty!)
So as not to overcrowd the pot, I split it into two batches. Added a cup and a half of chicken broth, then half the chicken, and cooked on manual for 20 minutes, followed by 10 minutes NPR.
We moved on to shred the chicken – get this – in a stand mixer! While the chicken was still warm, we put in 3 breasts at a time and ‘beat’ on low speed (using the paddle attachment) to the desired degree of shredded-ness. I added some of the broth back to the chicken afterwards both for moisture and for the seasoning. I’ll bet you could also shred pork this way.
A huge time saver for such large quantities. Old dog, meet new tricks!!!!”
The crowd was a bunch of hungry teenagers so she had to get this right. No room for error. And she made no errors. Once again chicken breasts are in the starring role. She never made this before so she used her best judgement. And it was spot-on.
I had heard about shredding cooked chicken using an electric mixer but I had never attempted it. Clearly it works well. Thanks, Coco.
A third easy to follow recipe. You can make smaller quantities and adjust the spices to your own taste. If you need to feed a crowd, it’s all spelled out for you.
There you have it. Three experienced cooks who are pressure cooking addicts. No whining. No moaning. No complaining about ruined meals. And the same applies to the two newbies. And before I forget, none of the three ‘experts’ owned or used a pressure cooker prior to February.
Five months. Good grief, There are pots out there that have been sitting in their original packaging for the past five months. Some even longer. If only the owners had unpacked them and started using them. Imagine all the wonderful meals they missed along the way. Pity.
If you have an [affiliate link] Instant Pot that’s sitting in your home or (gasp) garage, unwanted and unloved, message me. I’ll make sure it finds a good home. I know people waiting to welcome it with open arms.
Check out the [affiliate link] Instant Pot Buyers Guide to see what all the fuss is about.