I've always had a love-hate relationship with cooking. Some days, I love it and I'm excited to try new recipes. Other days, cooking seems like a punishment and I'd rather do every unchecked chore in my to-do list. Typically when I'm cooking for my family, I stick with my go-to's: chicken stir fry, seafood curry or some soup or pasta dish. My meals don't take longer than 45 minutes, and if I find a new way to create the meal online, I'm game. When it comes to cooking, I subscribe to the idea of cooking being the faster and easier the better.
So when Prime Day arrived, I figured it was the perfect time to buy the Instant Pot. I heard it was amazing and a game-changer for mamas like me who has two small children and no time or energy to stand over a stove all day. I was so excited. My thinking was simple: Instead of cooking for 45 mins, I could cut that time in half and spend more time out of the kitchen and doing things I actually want to do.
After two days (thanks Amazon Prime!) my DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 arrived and I was ready to go. The first thing that stood out to me on the box: Serves up to 6 people and perfect for everyday meals. Perfect! To get things started, I figured tortilla soup was an easy win. I can't really mess up soup, right?
Spoiler alert: It was a total win.
The food was delicious. To quote my husband, "It tastes like you cooked this all day!" Clearly, I didn't but the thought was nice. Ordinarily, I can cook the soup for about 60 minutes (maybe 55 minutes if my toddler isn't around), but with the Instant Pot, I was completely done in 40 mins. It didn't exactly cut my time in half, but I was grateful for the extra 20 mins.
Here's how an Instant Pot works:
1. Food and liquid are sealed into the airtight pot, and no steam is released before the pre-set pressure is reached. It gets noisy, but don't worry, you're house won't explode.
2. The boiling point of water increases as the pressure increases, so pressure built up inside the cooker allows the liquid inside to boil at a temperature higher than 212°F.
3. When enough pressure builds up in the inner pot, a float valve is pushed up (on the top) and a silicone cap fully seals the cooker. Once pushed up, the float valve serves as a latch lock and prevents the lid from turning, even when force is applied.
Here are a few important things I learned along the way:
1. Get extra sealing rings.
I made the mistake of using one sealing ring for every dish and sometimes I ended up with the essence of a savory dish in a sweet dessert. Buy an extra set of sealing rings to keep your meals fresh.
2. When using the pressure mode, ALWAYS add water.
Here's the deal: In order to create pressure, the Instant Pot needs water to make steam that builds the pressure. Regardless of the meal, the cooker needs one cup of water to cook the food. It's very important else your pot will display "BURN" and your food will be scorched.
3. Add extra minutes to every meal.
Initially, I thought as soon as you turn on the Instant Pot, it's ready to go—but, that couldn't be further from the truth. The pot takes 10-15 minutes to build the pressure you need to actually cook the food. Be sure to add on the extra time when preparing your meals.
4. You can use it as a microwave.
I love using the Instant Pot to reheat food on the slow cook or keep warm mode.
The bottom line? If you're looking for an easy way to cut down time while cooking delicious meals, the Instant Pot is a total winner.
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