Who would’ve thought that one of my favorite gifts received in the past couple years is a kitchen appliance– a pressure cooker. I guess that means I’m all grown up now. Or lame. Probably the latter, but I don’t even care because this appliance has made dinners easier and so tasty. At first, I was kind of intimidated to use the thing and it sat on our counter for a good month. Growing up, I remember my Mom’s pressure cooker spitting out hot water and steam for a good portion of the day and her wedging a wooden spoon in the top valve for the release, always hoping that it wouldn’t shoot off and punch a hole in the ceiling. Yeah, no thanks. Pass. But as it turns out, the design of these babies has come a long way since then and they’re super safe.
For those of you who were like me not that long ago and don’t know what a pressure cooker is… it’s like a croc pot on steroids. Instead of having a cook time of 4-8 hours, it cooks it in like 30 minutes. 30 minutes. In one pot. That means one thing to clean. Yes please. And since it cooks so fast, more nutrients are retained in your food. I’ve recommended it to many and the most frequently asked question is: “Can I use a croc pot recipe for the pressure cooker?” I have found this to be basically true. I tend to use less liquid on soups, though because we prefer them more dense. It will take some pinterest searching and some trial and error to get it how you like it, but the pay-off is oh so yummy. And after using our pressure cooker (this is the one we have) for over a year, I’ve found some pretty solid recipes that I’ve gone back to numerous times.
Caribbean Beans and Rice. I add 1/4 cup of unsweetened dried cranberries or raisins for a little punch of sweetness.
General Tso’s Chicken. I use 1/2 cup Tahini instead of the Hoisin sauce, Tapioca Flour instead of Corn Starch, and Apple Cider Vinegar instead of the Rice Vinegar.
Chicken Noodle Soup. I use 16 oz of the egg noodles (instead of the 4 oz recommended) with the 8 cups of water because, again, we like our soups dense. And not gonna lie: I felt pretty accomplished after cooking a whole chicken for the first time.
Lentil soup. Our favorite store-bought lentil soup is Amy’s and both our girls love it. I had tried cooking lentil soup on the stove and neither of them would eat it. Womp womp. Then I found this recipe for the pressure cooker and they gobble it up. Winner winner lentil soup for dinner!
We’ve all tried new recipes and it’s disappointing when you spend the time and ingredients when the end result turns out just so-so. But I can honestly say that I have yet to be discouraged with a pressure cooker meal. A recent resource that I’ve come across is this Vegan Pressure Cooker Cookbook. (You can buy the digital copy for only $.99!) Author Vanessa Olson provides flavorful, feasible meals, snacks, and desserts using simple ingredients. While I’m not vegan– love me some KC BBQ way too much–, I like using alternative ingredients in recipes and seeing how we can always be healthier.
Have a great week, friends.