Saturday, February 18, 2017

Instant Pot Freezer Meal Trial

Y'all... I'm obsessed with the Instant Pot - you can find it HERE  on Amazon!! It's my new favorite kitchen gadget. Technically it's 7 gadgets - pressure cooker, rice cooker, steamer, sauté pan, slow cooker, warmer, and yogurt maker. I've used the first 5, and I got the smaller one with no yogurt. In hindsight, I should have gotten the larger one. Not just for the volume of food, but for the ability to stack protein/steamed veggies, or layers of cake (yes - this thing makes desserts, too!!).

Why do I love the Instant Pot so much? First, I have poor time management skills, so being able to put frozen chicken into the pot, and set it to 13 minutes is a major game changer! Second, eggs - game changer. Post on eggs alone will be coming. The meat comes out more juicy than any other cooking method. We weren't in the market for a new kitchen gadget, but when our rice cooker bit the dust the Instant Pot joined the family.

I found this awesome site that has a boot camp plan for 30 meals. I didn't feel like doing an 8 hour prep, nor do I have space for 30 meals. So, I picked my 3 favorites and gave it a go.

I went to Dollar Tree and got these 9 cup Betty Crocker plastic containers. They sell them online, with a minimum of 24 - so if you're up for the whole plan, go for it! Otherwise swing by Dollar Tree and pick a few up. Side note - they have some awesome stuff there!! Helium balloons for $1! Birthdays just got a whole lot cheaper around here.


 The three recipes I chose were Hawaiian Chicken, Zuppa Toscana (Olive Garden copy), and Turkey & Sweet Potato Chili. We tend to eat ground turkey most, with chicken as a close second. The Zuppa's italian sausage fits right into our tastes.

Here's my tiny helper adding a tablespoon of diced garlic for the Hawaiian Chicken freezer meal.

Another helper shot - helping wash the potatoes for the Zuppa Toscana.

It only took me about 2 hours to make 10 meals. I had a giant 10lb bag of individual frozen chicken breasts from Costco that I wanted to use up, so I just split the remaining ones into 2 tubs and added teriyaki sauce to one, and ginger rosemary citrus sauce to the other. The 3 bagged ones and rice are being dropped off to support a friend.

*I added the heavy cream to the bagged Zuppa, but left it out of our 'pot' because the Instant Pot doesn't do well with milk, and neither does our son. I'll add it afterwards to our individual bowls.  

See on the right - that's one of the tubs propped up in the Instant Pot (on top of a coffee pot - otherwise it wouldn't be visible). It can go from freezer right into the pot! How cool is that?! No frozen bag brick all wonky in the pot! 

Here's 5 freezer meals in our basement freezer.

And the other two meals in our main freezer. 

I'll be back to post reviews of the recipes, but based on the ingredients, I don't know how they wouldn't be absolutely delicious!! 

To drop a bit of science on you, the Instant Pot (pressure cooking) is one of the healthiest cooking methods. A friend shared this article with me - to summarize: pressure cookers cook at a lower temperature and retain 90-95% of nutrients!

Also, there's some level of nervousness (dare I say fear) about pressure cookers. This isn't your mom's (or grandmother's) stove-top pressure cooker. It has many safety features and you have to really try hard to make it malfunction.

Expect many more Instant Pot posts - including some more freezer meals! My goal over the next few months is to be more mindful and purposeful with our meals.

The InstantPot link above is an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy one I'll get a few cents. Getting rich over here!! 

Have an absolutely wonderful day!! ~Langley