Well, it has been a while hasn’t it? I’ve been gone a while, it’s true, but I’ve been busy with all sorts of activities and you, my readers, have been in mind throughout. I now have a number of fun posts in the workings and I think you will be pleased. Tonight, I bring you the basic What’s for Dinner Wednesday with a little twist.
Santa was a pretty nice fellow when it came to me this year. I’m not sure what I did to deserve it, but you can bet I’ll be a very good girl all year next year too. See, Santa got me a Cricut and a 7-Function Instant Pot! The two gifts are not mutually exclusive. The existence of one (Instant Pot), will allow me spare time to use and be creative on the other (Cricut). That Santa’s such a smarty pants.
I’m very interested in the 7 functions of the Instant Pot and how they will work to help me get dinner on the table with little fuss. I’m a bit of a food snob so I need to know if the short cuts will come at the expense of flavor, and texture. For instance, I’m not a huge fan of cooking meat in a slow cooker (one of the functions of this gadget) because I don’t like soggy meat. But I’m intrigued by tales of perfect hard-boiled eggs in just a few minutes and making yogurt, so I started experimenting on Monday and will be using my instant pot almost exclusively for 2 weeks. Lucky you, I will be reporting all of my findings right here!
Before I begin my reviews, I feel I should say that the opinions that follow are mine and mine alone. I do not have any affiliations with the products mentioned. I am just experimenting and sharing the findings of those experiments. Just telling it as I see it. (or taste it as the case may be.
My first recipe was to make some “Roasted” potatoes using the Pressure Cooker function. I used this recipe from Predominantly Paleo, should you like to play along.
This recipe engages the Sautee function, allowing you to brown the potatoes some and get that carmelization that lends flavor to your dish. It was then followed up with 7 minutes of pressure cooking. The total time spent making these potatoes from sauteing finish was about 12 minutes.
The potatoes were tender and flavorful and very fast, which was nice for The Boy as he had to be out the door in less than an hour. The quick cooking tends to enhance the spices used and we found the recipe to be saltier and more peppery than we preferred and would likely cut those amounts in half.
We missed the crispiness of the traditional roasted potatoes though. Even though they were browned at the beginning, the browned bits were softened in the pressure cooking process, as is to be expected. It was suggested that I might throw them under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp them up again, and that would likely work, but it means another pan and more time. If I’m going to do that, I might as well just roast them in the oven in the first place.
The final verdict: The potatoes were super tender and very flavorful and are a great alternative when you are trying to get dinner on the table in a pinch!
Tuesday night we tried out the Rice Cooker function and made up some Jasmine rice for our Better Than Take Out Fried Rice. We chose this recipe for Garlic Rice from Feed Your Skull. A good and simple recipe. I didn’t get a picture of the rice after it was done, but it looked like rice and tasted good.
Now, I have a rice cooker and I love it, but every time we use it…it…well…it kind of craps rice gunk all over my counter top. It bubbles up and then starts bubbling through the valve and yuck! What a mess! And then cleaning it up, I have to take all sorts of things off of it to get all of the ooze and gunk off. It’s a pain.
Now, the Instant Pot is a different beast! It seals so well there was not a drop of anything anywhere. The rice did not cook any faster than it did in my old pot, but the stainless steel liner and the easy clean up make this my favorite feature so far!
The final verdict: Great function. Where have you been all my life!
Tonight we tried the slow cooker function. Now, I have a slow cooker…in fact, I have THREE, so this guy makes four. I don’t really cook a lot in them. If I can, I choose to cook roasts, stews, soups and the like, low and slow in the oven or on the stove top in my cast iron. But there are times when I don’t have room for something in the oven (like dressing or these delicious Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes that I made for Christmas Dinner) when I turn to the slow cooker. Seldom ever, unless I just don’t have time to mess with it, do I cook a main course in it, unless it’s a casserole or a massive chunk of meat that I plan to shred.
Anyway, interest of exploration, I had the Boy choose a recipe from the cook book that The man bought me to go along with the new cooking toy.
This is a very simply written, basic cookbook and the recipe for Mozzarella Parmesan that The Boy (who wasn’t even home to try it) chose was VERY basic: Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, tomato sauce, chicken stock, garlic and pepper. It was to be topped with Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, but we just couldn’t waste any more food.
I substituted diced tomatoes for the tomato sauce because we didn’t have sauce, but I don’t think that had anything to do with the outcome. Also, what you see there is ALL there was. Good thing The Boy and The Girl were both gone or there wouldn’t have been enough.
Final Verdict: Bad recipe, but meat was firm and maybe if I cared enough tonight, I could have saved it…somehow. The Hubs and I had a frozen pizza and salad instead.
Next experiment is to make Yogurt which will be alternated with Caitlin’s Fruity, Oaty Bowl of Goodness for breakfasts in the coming week and a half.
Other meals will include:
Thursday – Jambalaya (chosen by The Girl and taken from the same recipe book. This recipe uses the Pressure Cooker Feature)
Friday – Final Pub Club of 2016
Saturday – Man is taking me out for NYE dinner
Sunday – Snacking for dinner
Monday – Chicken Yum Yum (Pressure Cooker)
Tuesday – Will be making some Hard Boiled eggs to use for breakfasts and lunches and French Dip Sandwiches (Pressure Cooker)
Wednesday – Mongolian Beef (Pressure Cooker)
Thursday – Pizza Hut
Friday – First Pub Club of the New Year!!!
Saturday – Korean Beef (Pressure Cooker)
There may be some other tests as time allows.
In the coming days/weeks look for a couple of recipes from me, and a post about how YOU can throw your own BALLS party! I’m sure there will be some Cricut posts as I get the hang of the machine too. 🙂
Happy New Year!