I am one of the many many people who got an Instant Pot this year.... I got mine over Thanksgiving and actually took it out of the box within a couple days and have been cooking with it. I have even taught my husband how to use it! He has been able to help start dinner, which is wonderful since I got a new job and my work hours and commute have me getting home later.
So this thing is SO easy to use! Once you figure out the seal and vent nozzle and the millions of buttons, and have a little patience while it vaporizes. Jason also had to figure out the lid.
Aside from the water test and making some brown rice, the first thing I made was Instant Pot Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili .
I found the recipe on a place called Once a Month Meals. I had been following them for a few weeks, they are more than just Instant Pot recipes. The idea is you choose 12-15 recipes, build a menu, they give you the grocery list and prep list, and then you assemble 24-30 freezer meals. It's "Once a Month Cooking", a really popular thing for all the working moms.
The paid for feature of the website ($17/month) gives you access to assembling a menu, getting the grocery list, prep list, labels, ect. Otherwise, you could do what I had done in the past, gather your recipes, make a grocery list of everything needed, try to consolidate the list, tackle the shopping, figure out your prep, make the meals. Once a Month Meals had a Cyber Monday special and I jumped on it!
I made a mini-menu, 5 recipes (giving me 10 meals) and made:
- Chicken Enchilada Lasagna
- Chicken Parmesan Skillet (Really good!! Jason wasn't a fan though.)
- Instant Pot French Dip Sandwiches
- Instant Pot Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili (Delicious)
- Instant Pot Johnny Marzetti with Cheesy Noodles (SUPER DELICIOUS!!)
One of the things that slowed me down was precooking the chicken for the enchiladas and chili, and the ground beef for the Johnny Marzetti (which is DELICIOUS!).
So the next time I assembled a menu of 8 meals. And it was all chop, dump, and bag. No precooking, just had to chop the onions and peppers and open some cans. It was much easier. Once a Month Meals has some prepared menus, and you can add or delete recipes before making your final menu and list.
Here's a photo of my meals. The plastic containers are 64-ounce containers. They are recommended because freezing the recipes in 64-ounce containers makes it easy to dump a frozen meal into the Instant Pot (6-quart). I don't have to defrost a bag, or even run it under warm water. I chose to freeze everything in ziplock bags *in* the container, and then double bag them. That way once it's frozen in the shape, I can reuse the container to freeze more meals, in the shape of my Instant Pot.
The labels that come with the paid for feature are helpful. They have room for a date so you know when they were frozen. They labels include cooking instructions. I think the labels could use a little work. Like for Beef Stew, it doesn't tell you how much fluid to add when cooking. You have to look back at the recipe. One small flaw. But as long as you know, you can keep the recipes available.
The containers take up a little more room than I would like, but once things are frozen I can stack the frozen meals and that helps free up some space. And so far I have made over 20 meals, I still have plenty of Time for Dinner dishes, so we have been eating well since I went back to work.
My Menu of 8: We've only had three of these of so far.
- Instant Pot Apple Pie Pork Chops (Eh, just ok...I'd skip this one again.)
- Instant Pot Beef Stew- Dinner (AMAZING!)
- Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken
- Instant Pot Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken
- Instant Pot Honey Bourbon Chicken
- Instant Pot Pesto Ranch Chicken (AMAZING)
- Instant Pot Pineapple Beef Teriyaki
- Instant Pot Ranch Pork Chops