Picture this, your alarm goes off at 5 AM, you hit snooze…TWICE, which buys you 18 additional minutes to sleep. At 5:18AM you lumber out of bed, in the dark, put your running clothes on (hoping and praying you do so correctly). Hair up, shoes on, and out the door you go. The rest of your morning consists of the usual routine; shower, makeup, hair, getting your kiddos to school and off to work you go. Your day is normal – work, meetings, etc…. At 5:50PM, you realize IT’S ALMOST 6:00PM, where did the time go. By 6:00PM, you’re out the door and frantically planning dinner in your head while you commute home. You walk in the house and hungry (sometimes hangry) eyes are staring at you, soon to be followed by “what should we do for dinner?”. It’s now 6:30PM and between the two of us, my husband and me need to get food on the table and quickly before our 13-year-old turns into a mopey mess (which isn’t too far off from his regular demeanor since turning the big 1-3). But…what to make that’s quick? No fear, the Instapot is here!
Ok, how many can relate to this situation in some form or another? For me, I realize I’m a little late to the party. Instapots or “pressure cookers” have been around for years but now, they are so user friendly and not nearly as scary to use as they once were. I received this lovely dream gift for Valentine’s Day. Now, before someone says…you got an appliance for Valentine’s Day. Yes, I did and I TOTALLY asked for it.
Balancing a career, family, and personal time is challenging. Though I enjoy cooking and am actually quite good at it, I have little time to do it. So, the Instapot allows our family to eat a home cooked meal, which is healthy, in less than 30 minutes. This is a total lifesaver and I’m SO thankful for my hubby for getting it for me.
There are so many wonderful recipes on Pinterest and I’ve tried several with great success. However, my favorite go-to resource is a good old-fashioned cookbook that I found on Amazon called “The Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook”. I’ve tried 20 recipes so far, many are weekday meals that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less; however, my favorites are actually the Sunday night meals, which usually takes 50-60 minutes to prepare, but are DELICIOUS. But, for this post, I’m focusing on quick, weekday meals.
Below are a two of my favorite, go-to recipes. The soup recipe is actually a Cafe Zupa’s dupe for the ever-popular Tomato Basil. It’s so good and now…with the pressure cooker, it goes from an all-day Crockpot recipe to a 15-minute soup. Yes please!
Weekdays Made Easy
Cafe Zupas Copycat Tomato Basil Soup
- ¼ cup butter
- ¾ teaspoon dried Oregano
- 1 medium white onion, chopped (approximately ½ cup)
- 2 to 3 stalks for celery, chopped
- 3 – 14.5 oz. canned stewed tomatoes
- 1 can chicken broth
- 2 to 3 teaspoons sugar (this cuts the acidity)
- Pesto sauce ( ¾ cup to 1 cup – in the summer I make my own, winter I purchase it pre-made)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 1/3 cups heavy cream or half & half
- Parmesan cheese – garnish
- Orzo pasta - garnish
- On the Instapot, select Browning/Sauté to preheat the pressure cooking pot. When hot, add butter and melt.
- Once butter is melted, add oregano, onion, and celery. Cook 2-3 minutes until tender and transparent, stirring frequently.
- Turn Instapot off and add stewed tomatoes, chicken broth, sugar, pesto, ½-teaspoon salt, and stir well.
- Lock lid into place. Select High Pressure and 10-minute cook time.
- While soup is cooking, cook the Orzo pasta according to package.
- When cook time ends, turn off pressure cooker. Let pressure naturally release for 5 minutes, and then finish with quick release.
- When valve drops, carefully remove lit. Add heavy cream or half & half. With an immersion blender, puree the soup until very smooth.
- If desired, add a handful of shredded Parmesan. You may need to turn the pressure cooker onto Sauté to warm the soup after adding the creamer and blending.
- Once hot and blended, it’s ready to serve with Parmesan and orzo garnish
- Serve in a bread bowl, or rolls, or a grilled cheese sandwich.
BBQ Southwest Chicken Salad
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 bunch Romaine lettuce
- 1 can fire roasted corn (I use Del Monte)
- 1 can black beans
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes diced for garnish
- 1 bunch cilantro
- BBQ sauce (we enjoy Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey BBQ)
- Sour cream
- Salad dressing (we make our own using buttermilk and hidden valley mix packet)
- Tortilla strips or crushed tortilla chips for garnish
- Electric eggbeater – YES…THIS WILL BLOW YOUR MIND!
- Season chicken breasts with salt, pepper and any other seasoning you prefer.
- Place metal trivet in the bottom of the Instapot, add chicken broth and gently arrange the chicken breasts onto the trivet.
- Put the lid onto the Instapot, select High Pressure and 18 minutes on the timer. Make sure the valve is closed!
- While chicken is cooking, wash and cut the lettuce, chop the cilantro, dice the tomatoes. In separate serving bowls, empty the corn, beans, sour cream, salsa, and guacamole.
- When cook time ends, turn off the pressure cooker. Turn valve to quick release and wait for the valve to drop. Carefully remove the lid.
- Quickly remove the chicken, remove trivet, and drain the liquid. Place chicken breasts back into the pot and get ready to shred some chicken in 2.2 seconds. Seriously!
- Using an eggbeater, place beater on top of cooked chicken, turn onto high speed, and apply slight pressure and watch your chicken be shredded. Once the chicken is shredded, add BBQ sauce. This is VERY individual! I prefer a lot of BBQ sauce; however, others do not. Add as much or as little as you want.
- On a plate, arrange lettuce, tomatoes, corn, and beans. Place chicken on top of fixings, and garnish with cilantro, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, and chips. Finish off with dressing!
- Done! Dinner on the table in 20 minutes!
For those juggling life but want to put a nice, healthy, quick meal on the table, I recommend getting yourself an Instapot. Seriously, you won’t be sorry.
I’d love to hear some of you quick Instapot recipes. If you have them, send them my way!