Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A few months ago my sweetheart was

returning something to a deep discount store and was given store credit… well ....... 
It was a smallish store and we were out of town and 
we needed to spend it right then and there… 
 So we looked and looked and looked – and picked up a set of 1200 count sheets [ooooo] 
and then I saw this instant pot – 
an electric pressure cooker / hot pot / crock pot / sauté pot.. 
And we got it. 
I had heard about the joys of an electric pressure cooker 
[had even been to a ‘class’ at Williams Sonoma] 
but just couldn’t spend the money  since I wasn’t sure how much I might use it… 
So I was a little concerned that this Instant Pot might not be up to par 
with a big name brands. 
 LITTLE DID I KNOW that the instant pot is ALL THE RAGE these days. 
There are entire on-line communities devoted to this sweet little appliance.
And now I know why… The first week alone I cooked a roast beef with all the fixings, artichokes, stuffed peppers, a whole chicken, and a dozen hard cooked [‘boiled’] eggs. 
And beans – oh how we love the pinto bean recipe my sweetheart found!
[And they make pretty delicious ‘re-fried’ beans too!] 
I’m cooking more than I have in YEARS…
So the other night I decided to do a whole meal in the instant pot – and now I know the reason some people have more than one – because – while it might be EASY [oh so easy] it’s not so quick when you’ve got several things to prepare –
Here’s my run down – 
Before work – I set my peas to soak. Once I got home I rinsed the peas and put in the instant pot – set on ‘beans’ – [30 minutes] – Remember the pot has to have time to gather pressure so it actually takes longer than the set time to cook. And, note: 30 minutes was too long for my pre-soaked peas – they were a little softer than I like. Best thing: I turned them on and did not touch, stir, look at them again.
While the peas were cooking I prepared apple cranberry stuffing -- > 
I searched a stuffing recipe and added a chopped apple I needed to use then threw in some cranberries for extra flavor. Once the peas were done I put them in a bowl, covered with foil, and put the frozen pork chops [seasoned with cinnamon and ginger] in the pot with the pea liquid, then layered in the removable basket and the stuffing in my 7 inch spring form pan ;lined with foil] and set it on for 15 minutes. But I had a little problem: I didn’t check the seal and since the pot was already hot it had some moisture around the seal so after a few minutes I had to check it and dry off the seal [wiped off with a foam brush.] 
Once it sealed the pressure built up quickly since the liquid inside was already hot. 
So it took a little longer than the 15 minutes...
Once the pork chops and stuffing were done I removed them, covered with foil, and set aside. I added the brussel sprouts [again, frozen] to the strainer [still using the same liquid] and pressured for five minutes… 
When they were done, I drained the liquid and set to sauté and added just a bit of olive oil and garlic to finish them off. 
 Oh. So. Good. In retrospect – 
Doing a meat and legumes in the same meal is probably a little too much - 
But it was delicious!
On another day, I decided to try the mac and cheese that EVERYone 
[in the Instant Pot Communities] is raving about -  
Here's the recipe I tweaked to my preference: 
Put 2.5 cups elbow macaroni in the instant pot with 2 cups chicken broth, 1/2 cup cream and 1/2 cup milk. Add salt and pepper.
Set manually for 8 minutes.
Release the steam.
Open pot and add: 1 tablespoon butter, 2 cups cheddar cheese 1 cup swiss cheese [it's what i had] and stir until melted. Start-to-finish: 2 minutes. Delish.
Next up one of those cheesecakes everyone's talking 'bout.

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