Have you tried cooking with an Instant Pot yet? Pressure cooking has quickly become the hot new kitchen method in the paleo/real whole food community and I must say it’s for very good reason.
I agree with all the rave reviews. The Instant Pot has been my goto appliance for the majority of my meals since I got one back in December. While I still love my other kitchen tools like my Vitamix blender, food processor and dutch oven; I find I’m turning to my Instant Pot more and more. It’s just so easy and gives me so much extra time that I’ll often use it multiple times daily. Simple just works for me!
Also, the Instant Pot provides me the convenience of the slow cooker with MUCH tastier results. My slow cooker has been hiding out in storage and I’m not sure it will ever return. Maybe I’ll need to dust it off if I’m expecting a large crowd but time will tell if it ever gets used again. If I’m going to be out all day, the Instant Pot still has the option to be used as a regular slow cooker. I often find regular slow cookers change the texture of the food slightly just enough that it bothers me. Anyone else find that? I find there is no texture change at all when using the Instant Pot.
Since I’ve started using the Instant Pot we have been eating healthier, saving money and I’ve personally gained back a ton of time. For example, I can make a large batch of rice or oatmeal in 3 to 4 minutes without the food ever-burning, requiring stirring or needing any attention whatsoever.
We are becoming partial to food cooked in the Instant Pot over traditionally cooked items. Don’t get me wrong, things like roasted sweet potatoes, kale chips or a fancy prime rib roast – you’re going to always need your trusty oven for those. BUT things like soups, stews, roasts, rice, oatmeal, meatloaf, mashed potatoes; the Instant Pot wins the round.
Here are a few of my favourite ways that we are utilizing the Instant Pot in our house to eat healthier, save money and gain back precious time.
Homemade Bone Broth:
I have started making bone broth weekly. Sometimes I will make a batch twice a week so that we always have broth on hand to use as the base for soups and stews. I’ll also use bone broth as the liquid for rice, and to drink with fresh squeezed lemon for the healing benefits (like gut health!).
Here’s some reasons why I love the Instant Pot for bone broth:
- The Instant Pot cooks food MUCH faster. A large homemade batch of bone broth is done in 90 minutes instead of 48 hours!
- The Instant Pot does not release strong cooking smells which is a MAJOR plus when making bone broth. When you cook bone broth in a slow cooker your house can smell pretty bad for 48 hours…just keeping it real here! As much as I wanted to include bone broth in my diet, the smell and time commitment would deter me from regular consumption. This is no longer the case and now I make bone broth all. the. time.
- I personally find the taller, thinner cooking insert for the Instant Pot much easier to pour and drain into my sieve. My long oval slow cooker was heavier, a bit more awkward to pour and often more messy.
If you’re not sure of the benefits of bone broth, here are some great articles to get you started. Regular bone broth consumption is wonderful for healing the gut lining and it’s full of an array of proteins, nutrients and essential minerals.
Bone Broth Benefits (Wellnessmama.com)
The Benefits of Bone Broth (ThePaleomom.com)
Purchasing prepared bone both is extremely expensive and also, hard to find depending on where you are located.
Making bone broth yourself will save you tons! Once you have purchased the bones, they can be reused in multiple bone broth batches until they are almost crumbly and falling apart. This trick alone is a major cost savings.
Look in the frozen section. I purchase my bones from the frozen section of my local health food store. You can receive a significant cost reduction purchasing that way. You can put frozen bones directly into the Instant Pot so its cost savings plus it’s super convenient.
Note: My local store sells “bone broth” but it’s very thin and watery. Traditional bone broth or pressure cooked bone broth extracts all the minerals and vitamins from the bones and it usually gels at room temperature. I use a mix of chicken backs and bone marrow and each time my Instant Pot broth gels completely
I find making soup in the Instant Pot so easy we are eating way more soup now. I can sauté the base of onions, carrots and celery right in the cooking insert. I then add whatever protein, veggies and top with bone broth. It takes anywhere from approximately 6-30 minutes of pressure cooking until you have a steaming, nourishing and delicious soup. During that time I simply walk away and give it no other thought.
Here’s some reasons why I love the Instant Pot for homemade soup:
- Homemade soup is a wonderful addition to any diet. There are endless variations you can work with. In every bowl you can get: loads of veggies, leafy greens, fresh herbs, spices, protein (vegetarian and meat proteins) and healing bone broth.
- The Instant Pot can create a delicious, nutrient dense soup in 6 minutes of pressure cooking time! Yes, I said 6 minutes!
- What about soup with meat? Your soup can even contain 1 lb of boneless skinless chicken breasts and still be done in 6 minutes of pressure cooking time!
Here’s a great recipe to get you started with a 6 minute cooking time!
Soup is a great budget meal that is very nutritious, healing and totally comforting. You can make a big batch in the Instant Pot with little to no hands-on time. Keeping frozen portions on hand will prevent you from ordering in when you are feeling run down or simply don’t have the time to cook.
- Try to use local, in season veggies to keep cost down
- Use homemade bone broth or water as the base to avoid unhealthy ingredients and extra costs associated with pre-made stock
- Use less meat and more vegetables to make a satisfying and filling meal. You can even use left over chicken scrapings from a previous dinner’s roasted chicken.
- Make kitchen sink soup to use up all your produce. Soup is the perfect solution for not letting anything go to waste.
Home Made Steel Cut Oats:
While I can’t eat oats, my husband and son do well with organic, gluten-free oats. I can make homemade steel cut oats in 3 minutes of pressure cooking time. A hot bowl of oats makes for a hearty breakfast full of healthy fats! (I add grass-fed butter and full fat milk to each serving)
- Homemade oatmeal is a much healthier option than store purchased instant oatmeal. Instant oatmeal often contains artificial flavourings, lots of refined sugar and iffy ingredients that I’d rather my family avoid.
- Try adding in some sliced fruit for different vitamins and some taste variety. Try slicing up a banana for added potassium, or adding fresh berries for some antioxidants.
- Sweeten naturally with a small amount of raw honey or a drizzle of pure maple syrup. Avoid refined sugars at all costs.
- Sarah from the healthyhomeeconomist.ca states “traditional oatmeal is best served with liberal amounts of butter and/or cream for optimal assimilation of minerals”
- I make a large batch of oatmeal and then transfer into single sized servings. In the mornings I simply have to heat and add some milk and some butter.
- Cooking steel-cut oats in the pressure cooker takes only 3 minutes of pressure cooking time! I also don’t have to stir or watch the oats.
- According to Foodrenegade.com “PRESSURE COOKING MAKES GRAINS AND LEGUMES MORE DIGESTIBLE BY REDUCING PHYTIC ACID AND LECTINS.” See full article Pressure-Cooking
- Organic instant oatmeal packages are way over priced and nutritionally inferior to homemade.
- You can purchase a bag of organic steel-cut oats for less than a box of organic instant oatmeal which will make WAY more servings.
- If you have breakfast ready to go in the morning you are less likely to hit the drive thru on your way to work.
The above are just three of the many ways we are putting the Instant Pot to work in our home. I have a ton more positive things to say about this amazing pressure cooker BUT I don’t want this post to go on forever. It almost has already!
I’ll leave you with a couple of my Instant Pot/pressure cooker recipes. Both of these soup recipes are full of delicious, healthy veggies!
Do you have an Instant Pot or a pressure cooker? Do you find that you’re eating healthier, spending less and have more free time? Share your opinions below!