Did you get an Instant Pot Pressure Cooker or Instapot to help with getting dinner on the table? Not sure what the Instapot is or how to use it? Are you looking for Instapot reviews or recipes you can use in your Instant Pot?
You’re in luck.
As a devout slow cooker user–I’ve got three of them–plus a regular rice cooker user, I’m not sure if I need an Instant Pot for pressure cooking. So I talked to my friend Erin Chase, and she changed my mind.
Instant Pot Pressure Cooker or Instapot
You may remember that I once did a Q&A with Erin, founder of $5 Dinners. I’ve reprinted most of it below. In addition to that, she recently provided her own Instapot reviews. How? She answered some questions about the Instapot.
This Instant Pot pressure cooker phenomenon is not a flash in the pan–see what I did there? No, seriously, some news outlets reported that more than 200,000 InstaPots sold on Black Friday alone last year!
Here is Erin’s review on the Instapot.
Q: What is the Instant Pot pressure cooker aka Instapot?
Instant Pot is a new generation of electric pressure cookers that you don’t have to worry will blow up in your kitchen. It works by heating and pressurizing food.
Once the pressure and heat builds inside of the machine to a certain point, it switches to on and off heat so your food continues to cook. Once cooked the pressure is released and your dinner is ready.
Erin recently wrote a book on Instapot cooking! It’s called Freezer Meals in an Instant.
Q: I already own multiple slow cookers, a rice cooker and more. Why would I need an Instapot?
The Instant Pot Pressure Cooker or electric pressure cooker (EPC) is another great tool in your kitchen to help you save time and help make getting dinner on the table easier. And usually faster, too, than a slow cooker.
The Instant Pot very well may send my slow cooker into retirement. Slowly over the past year, the Instant Pot has started to take over and is now being used at least 2 times a week.
On occasion, 3 times a week. I’m still using my slow cooker, yes. But now our schedule is needing more Instant Pot meals.
Q: OK, so let’s talk about your favorite dishes you can make in your Instant Pot Pressure Cooker versus your slow cooker?
I prefer the slow cooker for shredded meats and roasts that become shredded beef/pork. Like shredded chicken or pulled pork.
I’ve made these in the Instant Pot and they are great, but I prefer the softer, more tenderized version from being slow cooked for 8 hours on low. I still love slow cooker roasts for shredded meats because the meat is so tender, and falls apart. Yes, the Instant Pot has a slow cook function, but the cooking time is only 4 hours. So that’s something to consider with your cooking schedule.
As far as Instapot recipes go, I prefer the Instant Pot for roasts that will be sliced as roasts. They cook much faster and much softer than the oven, but aren’t as fall apart tender as the slow cooker. Which makes them perfect for slicing and serving a “roast beef” style meat.
Instapot recipe favorites
Other foods that I prefer in the Instant Pot and my favorite Instapot recipes include:
- Hard boiled eggs
- Steel cut oatmeal
- Steamed salmon
- Steamed veggies
- Brown rice
- Roasts for slicing
- Whole chicken
- Dried beans
This preferred list is based on the dramatic increase in cooking time, as well as being “hands off” – set and forget kind of cooking. That’s just what this busy mama needs!
Q: What if your Instapot is still in the box?
If you got an Instapot pressure cooker, and you don’t know what to do with it, I’ve got great news. My EPC101 class is perfect for anyone new to Instant Pot cooking, or afraid to take it out of the box! 😉 EPC stands for Electric Pressure Cooking.
During the EPC101 class, you’ll learn all kinds of Instapot recipes. You’ll also learn how to use your pressure cooker to make getting meals on the table easier. Think of this class like your Instant Pot pressure cooker manual.
Convinced that it’s time to learn to use your Instapot? Here is a link to sign up for Erin’s online class EPC 101.
Resolutions about Cooking and Eating Healthier
Are you looking to change how you eat and cook? If so, let me share a bit more about Erin from my Q&A with her.
When she started 5dollardinners.com, “I didn’t plan on starting a business when I started sharing what we were eating, and what I was buying and spending at the grocery store. The website grew so quickly, because everyone was looking for help, ideas and inspiration for healthful but frugal meal ideas.” The notion of five dollar dinners really resonated with people.
Once Erin started creating $5 dinners for a family of four (she herself has a family of six–with four sons!), she couldn’t stop. “I have this little problem where I can’t spend full price for ingredients,” says Erin. “I love playing the ‘sales game’ and mixing and matching ingredients to make a great meal.”
Like my family Erin discovered that eating at home saves a lot of money. Also, focusing on the grocery budget could make a big difference in a family’s entire budget.
Here’s my own version of five dollar dinners: First, I start by overcooking at dinner. This provides lots of money-saving options.
My husband and girls can take leftovers for lunch the next day. In addition, we can have leftovers for tomorrow’s dinner.
Or, we can use those leftovers in a new dish the next night. Finally, we can freeze those leftovers so we could eat on the cheap on another night when there is no time to cook.
As a mother herself–Erin has a family of six, with four boys–she knew that her $5 dinners had to meet a number of criteria. Not only did they need to be budget-friendly but they also had to be kid-approved. So she created what she calls super family friendly meals.
“I have active boys and they have ferocious appetites. Only one is a ‘picky eater’ but he’s really only picky about a few foods,” she says. Even her picky eater has expanded his palette because of Erin’s yummy recipes. “I love serving their favorites like sloppy joes and curries–yes, they love Thai food!”
One of the ways that Erin continues to keep meals on budget–and help other families, too–is through her MyFreezEasy program. It helps you batch cook meals and stock them in the freezer.
Five Dollar Dinners Books
Like me Erin’s blog turned into a book. Well, three books, all focusing on her core five dollar dinners concept.
Cutting Your Grocery Spending
With a huge list of subscribers to her $5 Dinners blog, Erin kept getting the same question. Even though she was providing those affordable meal plans, readers wanted more. They want step-by-step instructions on how to cut their grocery budget.
“Every time I’d answer a ‘how do I cut my grocery spending’ email, I would barely scratch the surface,” she says. She realized there was a need for more than just meal menus. So in 2015 she created the Grocery Budget Makeover, an online class featuring fun, helpful and educational videos. “I created the class with ALL of the content and responses that I wish I could say in emails,” she adds.
The Grocery Budget Makeover Class
I actually took the Grocery Budget Makeover online class last fall, and it was amazing. I thought I was a good grocery shopper, and maybe I was. But Erin’s class made me a GREAT grocery shopper. I learned how to match sales with coupons, what days to shop to get the best prices and more.
Here’s what I loved about the video format of her class. It was almost like you were in the kitchen with her as she taught new strategies and system for grocery shopping. Plus, you’ll have kitchen envy–I want her kitchen!
Erin’s goal for the Grocery Budget Makeover is simple: “I hope to teach shoppers a smarter and better way to shop for groceries. There is so much to the process – planning your trip, writing a great shopping list, meal planning, sales, even coupons. The Grocery Budget Makeover breaks down each of these areas to determine where you can improve, what habits need to change, what bad habits need to be ditched, and ultimately help you save more on groceries.”
As a former student, I can attest to all of this and more. Erin says she has received tons of testimonials from students like myself, letting her know that the class helped to save them HUNDREDS each month. Some of them have reported saving as much as $800 a month on groceries. And that’s just for a $49 investment! Talk about getting your money’s worth!
I thought I was a good grocery shopper, and maybe I was. But Erin’s class made me a GREAT grocery shopper.