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Posts Tagged ‘instant pot’

Today I have a buffet of topics that are cooking at the Taylors’ house this week (and they all, ironically, happen to be food related), so grab a fork and spoon and let’s dive in.
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Well, we already blew our first November Eat-Out mini challenge (eating at home for one week straight) by having dinner out with friends last night and this afternoon. The first set volunteered to broaden our horizons by taking us to one of their favorite pho restaurants. We’ve never had any Vietnamese food before, much less pho, but they assured us the simple beef broth soup was not scary, and they were right; it wasn’t bad or weird at all, and we enjoyed sharing a meal with them. The second set was an older couple from church who has befriended us; they said that since we are poor from just buying a house they wanted to feed us. And we let them. 😉 Very sweet of them.

So, in the interest of getting to know our friends better and to experiencing something new, we decided it would be fine to shift our seven-day mini challenge up a couple of days. In the meantime, our overall challenge is going well. I’ve already tried one new recipe that I’ll share soon, but today I wanted to share my initial experience with a new kitchen gadget I got a few weeks ago.

For my birthday, Bart’s mom bought me an Instant Pot. This is something I’ve had on my wishlist for a while. I have a slow cooker and a rice cooker that I use often, and recently I contemplated getting a pressure cooker. However, I wasn’t all that excited about getting yet another bulky appliance for my kitchen, and now that my new kitchen is even smaller, a new appliance is a definitely no-go. However, about a year ago I came across an appliance called the Instant Pot, a multi-tasking device that combines a slow cooker, steamer, rice cooker, and a pressure cooker in one package. Not only would I be gaining functionality, I would be reducing the number of items I had to store in my cabinets. And the reviews were great. I held off on getting one, but now was the perfect time for my mother-in-law to gift one to me.

We’ve been so distracted unpacking that I haven’t had the opportunity to play with it, but we finally got it out today. We started off by testing the slow cooker function with some chili. I just chose the “slow cooker” option on the panel and set the number of hours I wanted.

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Six hours later, we had a hot, delicious chili.

 

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So, our first experience with the Instant Pot was a good one. However, a slow cooker seems like a hard thing to get wrong, so I look forward to testing out the rice cooker and especially the pressure cooker function. It claims you can cook beans in twenty minutes, compared to one or two hours when I usually do it. If that’s true, my whole world is going to get rocked.  I’ll try to share my further experience with the additional functions to let you know how it measures up. In other news, does anybody need a crock pot or rice cooker? I might know where you can find a good deal on some used ones…

As for the chili, it’s one of my staple recipes that I have in my head and not written out, but it’s easy enough to share the basic formula with you. I use a pound of ground beef, two cans of beans, one each of pintos and red beans (or the equivalent home-cooked beans, which I typically do), a can of diced tomatoes, and the appropriate amount of chili seasoning mix, either prepackaged or made from scratch, whatever I have on hand. Then I add tomato juice to make it the desired thickness; we like ours a little juicier, so I add something like two to three cups. Today I shook things up a bit and added a cup or so of frozen corn and a small can of green chilies, which made a nice variation. Chili is a great staple recipe to have–it’s tasty, quick, and very forgiving to make just how you desire.

So the Taylors are off to a good start on their eat-out challenge, despite a few unexpected meals out. Hopefully we can keep the ball rolling through the first full week of November.

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