When an Instant Pot Moves In

by Denise D.

What’s for dinner?

Three simple words. So much angst. What is for dinner? In my fantasies, it’s something different, yummy, healthy, quick and sure to please my picky teens. More likely, dinner is familiar, boring, processed, of dubious nutritional benefit, and likely to launch dinner table scowls. Not to mention too much kitchen clean-up. Like many frustrated dinner providers, I’ve heard tales of how an Instant Pot would change my life.

One pot wonder?

“It’s magic,” asserted a friend who works full-time and yet manages to present a homemade delight every evening. “You have to get one.”

“Where would we put it? Aren’t they expensive? Wouldn’t it just be another space-hogging appliance like the crock pot that takes up space and rarely gets used?” countered the spouse.

“It’s both a slow cooker and a pressure cooker… I think?” I inserted, dubiously. What did I really know about this mythical one-pot wonder? Could it really be all that? Would it bring domestic joy instead of mutterings of, “Crock pot dinner? Again?”

Appliance showdown

Round and round went this discussion. For months. Then our oven/stove broke. Kaput. The replacement was going to take weeks. Down to a microwave and crock-pot, desperation sunk in.

We bought an Instant Pot. My scientist spouse immediately began playing with it, flipping through the instructions and checking out the settings. Being the library one, I placed holds on Instant Pot cookbooks. After reading through several introductions, I was finally ready to experiment.

Test run

Scanning the recipes and our pantry, I threw out a few options. “Tomato basil soup,” voted the younger son. “Okay,” I agreed, setting to chopping a small onion, two carrots and two fennel stems (stepping in for celery). Press saute, pour in some olive oil, throw in the diced veggies, sprinkle with salt and saute until softened. Add canned tomatoes, broth, pepper, tomato paste, cubed bread, and dried basil. Cancel saute, close the lid, set the vent to seal, press the soup button, set timer to five minutes.

Then wait. About twenty minutes to reach the pressure. Five minutes to cook. Ten minutes to naturally vent. Then carefully move the vent to open. Wait for the steam to stop.  (Yes, readers, you can sit down and read a book during the waiting. But pay full attention to the vent when releasing and keep all body parts away.)

Ladle into bowls. Distribute.

“This is amazing.”

“Keep this recipe. You need to make it again.”

“This is even better than the tomato basil soup we buy.”

“Can I get seconds?”

“And there’s only one pot to wash.”

There may be only one pot, but thankfully there are several cookbooks to keep the inspiration and magic alive. Do you Instant Pot? What are some of your favorite recipes or cookbooks?




One response to “When an Instant Pot Moves In”

  1. Kimberly P. says:

    So I just got one of these (it’s sitting as a “present from Santa” (ie: me) under the tree) and I’m excited to see how it turns out. I had heard so much from coworkers about it that I thought to give it a shot. I have at least ten Instant Pot cookbooks from the library so this post is perfect! I adore tomato basil soup so that’s on my list!

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