So a couple friends own an Instant Pot; I’ve been trying to take on more of the meal planning responsibilities in our household and I kept running across what appeared to be absurdly short cook times for things within these recipes (seriously, 32 minutes for ribs? 15 minutes for a whole spaghetti squash?). I really kinda had to try it out for myself.
The Egg Bake
Now admittedly, most of what I did here was simply to ensure the device was working properly. I’m sure I don’t have to discuss the perils of a broken Instant Pot (essentially a device that builds and maintains pressure). I added in a lot of what we had on hand, although I was instructed on this day (in no uncertain terms) that I was to go to Aldi and get that Rose everyone was talking about, so I ended up with a few items from there as well.
This meant my egg bake had sweet potato, onion, garlic, bell peppers and lots of turkey bacon in addition to 6 eggs and some reduced fat cheddar. Now the nutrition optics were not great in hindsight, but I was really just establishing that the device worked and properly, since I got mine off of the FB marketplace. Tasty? sure, a repeater? probably not exactly as is. On a day when you’re not watching, like Christmas or something? sure. But most every other day, you may wish to go egg white, or forego the cheese all together.
Recipe link in the header; we ended up making a modification to the above recipe. It didn’t end up working for us that we put the salmon in the instant pot because we don’t have the steamer insert just yet; We will, but we don’t yet. So, we ended up doing a grain mixture on the stove, while I warmed up the grill (seriously, how many days of that do we have left?) and hit the fish with the Trader Joe’s Sriracha BBQ sauce (that stuff is money). Finally we left the instant pot to do the broccoli. I’m not entirely sure that that ended up saving us time over our steamer (yes we have one of those too) but the broccoli was perfect. Overall, it wasn’t the most exciting meal I’ve ever had, but it was sure healthy. The BBQ sauce definitely brought it up a level than it would have otherwise been.
Now I loved the idea of this recipe, simply because you can cook two things at once. It’s still 90ish degrees here in my city and turning on the oven is a daunting prospect, even with our new A/C. So if you tell me I can cook something in 15 minutes in the Instant Pot that normally takes 45 minutes in the oven, well then you have my attention. Now we subbed the ground beef for the ground turkey and did add things like Worcestershire and lots of seasoning to punch up the flavor to the meat sauce. And the wife thought that the spaghetti squash was just slightly under-cooked, so just another minute or two would have been bang on. Apart from that, this was an extremely filling meal; and bonus, we have a bit of the meat sauce left over, so if I decide to put that on something else later in the week, boom: easy lunch.
Sweet potato, kale and….well what ended up being ground turkey soup. It was supposed to be sausage, but I didn’t find raw, ground turkey sausage so we were already at a flavor disadvantage. Now there’s nothing wrong with this recipe. It’s a bit sweeter than I was expecting, likely on account of the white wine and sweet potatoes. But the whole thing cooked in like 10 minutes. It makes for a good lunch, not hearty at these portions, but certainly one I don’t really mind. I’m sure I would change it up next time though.
The future/In summary
I don’t get a sense after a week of using the instant pot, just how often we’ll use it. People argue that it doesn’t really save time because it can take longer to chop and saute, it’s really not like a crock-pot in that you mostly just dump stuff in and forget about it. That you might already have stuff with which to saute your various ingredients. To that I say, find what works for you; this thing cooks protein exceptionally fast as well as certain things that might be used in lieu of protein (like beans and lentils). We have two more meals this week in the instant, but once the weather breaks, I see us using this for all kinds of soups, stews and chili’s. I really think that’s where this will shine. I do aim to faux-tisserie a whole chicken, make my own chicken stock and then build a chicken noodle soup from there, I think that will be amazing. We’ll have to see when I get the motivation to get there.