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At the start of 2017, I set a New Year’s resolution to reduce my food spending by 15% compared to last year — and I’ve been doing pretty well so far.
In addition to changing where I shop for groceries, I attribute my success to weekly meal planning and prepping.
Instant Pot 101: What you need to know
After buying groceries based on what’s on sale, I typically spend Sunday evenings preparing meals for the week. I often use the oven, stove and slow cooker at the same time!
It’s a lot of work, so I was intrigued when I recently heard about the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker.
According to its website, Instant Pot is much more than a pressure cooker. It’s also a slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, sauté, yogurt maker and warmer.
The manufacturer claims the 7-in-1 appliance prepares meals up to 70% faster than other methods.
I finally decided to see if the product lives up to the hype after my colleague, Charis from ClarkDeals.com, found the Instant Pot on sale at Target for $89 plus a $10 gift card. (Sorry, the deal has expired.)
Less than two weeks after my purchase, I’m 100% hooked. Instant Pot is now my #1 favorite kitchen appliance!
5 ways Instant Pot makes life easier
Why exactly are people so obsessed with Instant Pot and other pressure cookers like it? I’ve identified a handful of ways it has already made my life easier:
Saves money: Instant Pot is so easy to use that you won’t need to buy canned or prepared ingredients. One recipe I tried called for dried beans, which are less than half the price of canned beans.
Saves time: Not only is this appliance easy, it’s also fast. Chicken breasts are cooked to perfection in 12 minutes!
Saves energy: Instant Pot is one of the greenest kitchen appliances, according to its website. It saves up to 70% electricity compared to other appliances, like the oven or stove top.
Saves space: The 6-quart pressure cooker can easily fit on the counter of even the smallest kitchen.
Saves dishes: Many Instant Pot recipes utilize several of the features, but you only get one pot dirty. And when you’re finished cooking, the inner pot goes right into the dishwasher.
The first thing I made with my new Instant Pot
This $4 or less beans-and-rice recipe uses three of Instant Pot’s modes: pressure cooker, sauté and rice cooker.
Instant Pot beans and rice:
- Cook 1.5 cups of dried black beans in four cups of water for 30 minutes
- Remove beans and reserve the bean water
- Sauté one green pepper, one onion and a few cloves of garlic in olive oil
- Add bean water, 1.5 cups of chicken broth, 2 cups of rice and spices*; cook on rice mode for 12 minutes
- Add beans back to the pot and stir
There does seem to be a bit of trial and error involved with pressure cooking, but that’s just part of the fun!
Along with safety instructions (must read), Instant Pot comes with a recipe book to get you started. You can also find lots of step-by-step videos on YouTube for beginners.