Most of the time, dinner is under pressure. Under pressure to get things done right when we got home around 6 pm and get everything ready on the table within 1 hour or less. I am trying my best everyday to have a home cooked meal fast and not fast food meal for our dinner. If we can have leftover, that’d be even better ;).
Then comes the budget, I’d love to be able to serve dinner for 3 of us for less than $10 each time.
With all the limitation on type of food my husband can eat, and not spicy stuffs for my husband and son, it’s quite challenging. I personally like everything hot and spicy. My son loves his veggies cooked. My husband can’t have too much beans and gassy vegetable, which usually most of them are the one available in the frozen section for convenience.
Shopping fresh produce everyday is out of the picture. Every 3 days I have to hit my favorite grocery store to get the produce part. Fruit and vegetable for juicing also. Meat, I usually grab some when it’s on sale and freeze them.
Last year, my friends were talking about this product called Instant Pot. It’s basically an electric pressure cooker. I had an electric before and one of the part, I think the valve was missing. I tried to call support and get a replacement. Tried 2 times and each time they sent the wrong part. So I gave up and that pressure cooker been sitting in my garage, I think ended up at goodwill. Then 2 years ago my husband got me manual pressure cooker. Yes the kind that scared me to death. I managed to tackle that scary thing. Been using that with no problem until people start talking to me about this Instant Pot. I am glad Santa read my letter and sent me one this Christmas.
Took me couple days before I manage to take the brave pill and start using the pot. First with the water test as recommended. The next day after the water test then I can’t let that thing rest. I love to cook, but now I am really looking forward to actually stay home after work on our Friday dine out day.
I have made pork chop with apple sauce and steamed broccoli as our first dinner with the instant pot.Dinner in 20 minutes. All in pressure cooker.
Seasoned, floured the chops with salt, pepper and paprika then browned in the pot.
Core, peeled, cut up 3 granny smith apple. Sprinkle with lemon juice from 1 lemon. A handful brown sugar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Quartered baby red potatoes, toss with olive oil, salt pepper.
Saute 1/4 onion, sliced thinly, in the pot with a little olive oil.
Pour the apple mixture into the pot, topped with the pork chops, layered, then add the potatoes. Closed. Cook in 20 minutes in the pressure cooker.
I steamed the broccoli in the microwave then seasoned with salt and pepper.
Served by putting the broccoli, then scoop the potatoes from the pot, pork chops..then scoop some of the sauce from the bottom part of the pots.
Done 1 pot meal.
Then the next meal done in Instant pot was the ham and black eyed pea soup. Dump every ingredients in the pot with enough broth / water then cook for 10 minutes. All done, soft and tender. we served this with steamed rice. I am still cooking my rice in my rice cooker. Not sure when I will actually will try to cook my rice in the instant pot.
Braised country style pork ribs was in the menu for our quick dinner. 30 minutes..yes 30 minutes it was fall off the bone.
Braised country style pork ribs 30 minutes..
Served with steamed rice.
Dinner in less than an hour from prep to serve..and best of all..less than $10.
Got the country style pork ribs on sale for $2.50 per pack of 3-4 pieces…then cut it in half.
Saute the garlic, ginger, scallion. then add the seasoned and browned ribs. Pour in the sauce (1/4 cup red wine – i used Merlot, 1/4 cup apple juice – i used the apple sauce leftover sauce from the pork chop the other night, 1/4 cup water or chicken broth, 1 tablespoon sugar, salt, pepper). closed the lid, cook on high pressure for 30 minutes.
People on the Instant Pot Facebook Community were talking about cooking spaghetti in it for 8 minutes. Some said well..it takes 8 minutes on the stove also. I can also say well..I can cook my pasta in the Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker in microwave for 8 minutes. But I didn’t say it. The thought about having the whole spaghetti with the sauce in 8 minutes was quite intriguing.. I usually have my homemade pasta sauce. But I ran out and really want to try how to make the spaghetti in Instant Pot. Quick run to the store to get a jar of pasta sauce and ground beef, gave us less than $10 meal in 8 minutes. Woohoo….I could jump up and down to celebrate. This thing works..it’s awesome.
Spaghetti 8 minutes manual pressure then qr.
I sauté some chopped onion and garlic with a little olive oil. Add 1 lbs ground beef, cook until changed color. Add my seasoning, salt pepper oregano and a little sugar. Mix well. Then to that I add 1/4 cup merlot..then add 24 oz spaghetti sauce l. Add water to jar shake well…then pour in the pot. Add 1 of 16 oz spaghetti, break in half to fit. Mix a little. Turn sautee function off. Close the lid, close the vent. Cook for 8 minutes, qr. Turned out perfect, al dente, not soupy. No scorching the bottom pan either..i took a pic with the bottom showing…♡♡♡♡♡
1 pot meal literally. .. not 2 pots…and 8 minutes to cook them all in pressure cooker. Prep to table probably 15 minutes..and another $10 meal.
Can’t beat that fast food! My son gobbled them up so fast. We did have leftover enough for 1 which he, again had them for dinner the next day. That’s a huge portion for a 9 years old. But oh my did he inhale that thing!.
Our next meal in a crunch was vegetable curry. I have butternut squash I bought to make soup and been sitting in my basket. So there..I had to use them. Dump all veggies I have…butternut squash, yellow squash, zucchini, green beans, tempeh. The spices: shallot, garlic, candle-nut, corriander, salt, pepper, sugar, lemongrass, galangal. All in with the coconut milk. set for 10 minutes..I thought .. ok we’ll see if it’s done or if I have to add more time. I actually think 7 or 8 minutes was enough time. The butternut squash was tenderrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr soft. I gave 2 bowls to my co workers and they loved it.
Last week I grabbed pork tenderloin on sale for $4 a pack. And turned that into this dinner, Blackberry hoisin garlic sauce pork tenderloin.
Seasoned the pork with salt pepper garlic powder. Browned and set aside.
Then pour 2 cups broth. Put all potatoes in the bottom, put the trivet on top then the browned pork pieces. Covered manual 18 minutes then qr with potatoes underneath the pork. So all done at the same time.
Set the pork aside. Scoop the potato, mashed them, while add the kale to the broth let it cook for couple minutes. Then mix the the kale with the mashed potato with butter, milk, salt pepper.
Reduce the sauce with the sautee function and add the pork in to glaze them. Slice and serve. The sauce was 1/2 cup blackberry jam, 1/4 cup hoisin sauce, 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons melted butter.
Chicken thigh and drumstick another inexpensive protein which was also on sale, turned it into my mock butter fried chicken. Ayam goreng mentega.. not sure why they call it butter sauce fried chicken, the dominant part of the sauce is worchesthire sauce… oh well.
This one is mock ayam goreng mentega. Since I am making this in the pressure cooker. I modified the way I cook this. Instead of frying the chicken, I browned the chicken in the instant pot with a little olive oil. Once it’s browned I set aside, pour 2 cups water into the pot / liner and deglaze pot with the water. then put the trivet in the pot, arrange the browned chicken on top of the trivet.
Set on poultry function (15 minutes).
Meanwhile, wash and quartered the baby bella mushroom. Thinly slice 1 shallots, you can use chopped onion.
Mix the sauce in the cup. 1/2 cup worchesthire sauce, 1/4 cup ketchup, 4-5 tablespoon of sugar.
Once the chicken is done, clean the pot or just discard the broth, dry the pot then put it back on the IPot and turn on saute, add 4 tablespoon of butter. Saute the shallot / onion and mushroom until translucent, add 1/2 cup water followed by the sauce mixture. Cook until sauce reduced by around half depending on how you like the sauce .. thin or thick..I kinda like it in between… then put the chicken back in. toss with the sauce.
Served with steamed rice.
And just tonight after reading and researching online, I finally decided to try making the macaroni and cheese in the instant pot. My son had been asking for this. Not to be picky or anything but he has always have macaroni and cheese I made from scratch, on the stove, vitamix etc. He never like the one comes in the box. He actually learned how to make it from scratch with my supervision of course.
Making macaroni and cheese from scratch is not hard. Not more than using the box. So why not making it from scratch. It taste much better too. And he loves the bread crumb topping for his mac and cheese.
Mac and Cheese..cook 1 lbs macaroni with 4 cups water, salt, pepper, mustard, nutmeg in instant pot for 4 minutes. Then add 1 1/2 cups of whole milk and 16 oz sharp shredded cheddar cheese and 1 cup parmesan cheese. Mix well until cheese melted. Pout in a pan 9×13, topped with bread crumb, shredded parmesan cheese and dotted with butter. Baked in preheated 375 degree oven for 15 minutes until it’s golden yellow and bubbly.
This below picture is the mac and cheese he made from scratch..yummy!
Imagine adding lobster on the top…oh my..
So there..all the stuffs we made for our dinner in Instant pot. Not only inexpensive, it’s fast! Fast food on a budget without sacrificing the taste!.
I don’t work for Instant Pot but I have converted so many to get them. And they are loving it. I will write more to share the recipe and ideas for the pressure cooking meal. Hope that you enjoy it as much as I do.
Happy Sunday! Hope you all have a good Monday!