Moms and Dads are busy. Whether you are running your household and carting around kids all day or headed into the office for your nine to five job, it can be hard for all of us to find time to prepare a homemade meal. And you know it’s bad when your kiddos get burned out on Chick-fil-A and pizza! The new kitchen appliance to help you get you back on the homemade meal track in a jiffy is the Instant Pot. It comes in different sizes, types, and even different patterns. (They make Star Wars characters! How cool is that?!)
The Instant Pot is great for many reasons. I love mine for hard boiled eggs — they peel oh so easily! I prefer the 5-5-5 method, but play around see what works for you and your family’s tastes.
I also use mine for shredded chicken. How many times have you come home to frozen chicken breasts and written them off as a dinner option because they aren’t thawed? Well, not when you have the Instant Pot! (A little secret I found — there is a quickie way to shred chicken that doesn’t involve your hands cramping while holding two forks. First, drain the liquid after cooking, then use your hand mixer in the actual Instant Pot for instant shredded chicken! Add some BBQ sauce, or use as-is to add to other recipes. Super easy!)
Mac and cheese is another favorite of virtually every kid in America. Luckily, mac and cheese is also super easy to make in the Instant Pot. Plus, you will feel much better making it from scratch versus the boxed stuff. There are literally hundreds of mac and cheese recipes floating around, but this is a good one to get started with. It is only FIVE ingredients. I mean, come on. It doesn’t get much simpler than that!
Soups are another home run in the Instant Pot. This hamburger soup is a family favorite, and you can never go wrong with good old chicken noodle soup. If you are craving something a bit different — but still easy — check out this low country boil. You can even use frozen shrimp and frozen corn!
A few fun facts about the Instant Pot:
- The sauté function works great. Don’t be afraid to use it to brown your meats before pressure cooking.
- When you remove the lid, slide the lid handle into the open handle on the base of the Instant Pot. It is the perfect lid holder!
- Meats should always go on the bottom, and you always need liquid.
- Sometimes your Instant Pot will spew liquid when you release pressure. It’s a mess, but it’s OK! Your meal is NOT ruined!
- Don’t forget that it will take some time to come to pressure BEFORE the actual pressure-cooking time. The fuller the pot is, the more time it will take to come to pressure.
- You can use the Instant Pot as a slow cooker and a rice cooker. (I, personally, haven’t ditched my slow cooker just yet.)
I hope your families enjoy the Instant Pot as much as mine does. Oh, and you may want to give the kids a fair warning when you do a quick release for the first time. The noise and volcano of steam will most likely freak them out! To close out, let me share my favorite Instant Pot recipe. I never thought in a million years my kiddos would eat collard greens, but here we are.
Sausage, Beans and Greens
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 12 ounces Italian sausage without casing
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large bunch collard greens, stemmed and chopped
- 2 (15 oz) cans of pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- ½ cup chicken broth
- ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes (you can omit if your kids aren’t fans of a little heat)
- Kosher salt
- Black Pepper
- 16 oz cavatappi (corkscrew) noodles
- Shaved parmesan cheese
- Preheat Instant Pot on sauté function
- Once hot, add oil and sausage. Brown and completely cook through. Remove from Instant Pot.
- Add the onion to the pot and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute.
- In the meantime, make your cavatappi noodles as directed on your stovetop.
- Add the beans, greens, broth, and red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper. Stir, then secure the lid.
- Select Pressure Cook (or Manual) button and set for 5 minutes.
- Once the 5 minutes is up, use a quick release.
- Add sausage back to the pot. Taste and season again as needed.
- Pour sausage, beans, and greens over the cavatappi and top with shaved parmesan.