Hello and welcome December! 🙂 I hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving. Today, we’re sharing a post from Anna Marie on Instant Pots which we think you’ll find helpful. –Sarah
The Instant Pot is in use almost daily in our home. I like the ability to quickly cook frozen (yes—you don’t have to thaw) chicken breasts or thighs. It’s super handy to be able to make broth from beef bones or chicken carcases in less than three hours. And for making easy-to-peel “hard-boiled” eggs in a jiffy, it’s hard to top. But what I use it for the most is cooking dry beans. They don’t have to be soaked ahead, can be spiced in many different ways, and can be ready within an hour or two. Since they’re packed with healthy fiber, plant protein, and many essential minerals (including folate which is great for pregnancy!), they make for a truly nutritious “fast food”!
Here are a few examples of dry beans that we like:
Small red beans or chili beans are delicious in chili or cooked with Mexican spices and served over rice or taco salad.
Navy beans or small white beans are perfect for white chicken chili or navy bean soup! To make a delicious quick soup, I saute carrots, celery, and onion in the Instant Pot before adding in the dry beans, salt, pepper, bay leaves, and water or chicken broth. Once cooked, I mash part of the beans (a potato masher works well for this) and it’s ready to serve!
Garbanzo beans/chickpeas are perfect on salads, in soups, or made into hummus. Sometimes after cooking about 4 cups of these in lightly salted water, I will stir in a jar of Tikka Masala simmer sauce from Aldi and some precooked shredded chicken. This is great served over rice.
Pinto beans are a staple for burritos or Mexican side dishes, and I use a hand-held mixer to mash them right in the pot when they’re done cooking. Left whole, we enjoy them on taco salads or added into soups.
Black beans are great in a “Santa Fe Chicken” with cans of diced tomatoes/chilis, corn, spices, and shredded chicken served over rice. If you’re feeling adventurous, black bean brownies are actually pretty tasty and have been enjoyed here!
Lentils cook quickly and don’t need to be presoaked whether you have an Instant Pot or not, but I’m including them here anyway because they appear on our lunch table weekly in Sue Gregg’s Lentil Rice casserole. I like to make it in our Instant Pot because I can put all the ingredients in after breakfast, and set the timer to have it done at lunchtime.
As you probably noticed, we frequently enjoy various seasonings in our beans served over rice or another grain. There are so many variations you can do with this and we especially like it with some precooked shredded beef or chicken added (I keep bags of it in the freezer for this purpose). And don’t feel limited to rice as a base; quinoa, millet, or even riced cauliflower all work great, too!
Keeping some containers of cooked beans in the freezer is also very handy to add in to vegetable beef or chicken soups, or for easy main-dish salad toppings.
Cornbread is a popular side dish that we have with our Instant Pot bean dishes and soups. It’s not cooked in the Instant Pot although I’m sure some people probably do cook their cornbread that way. My go-to recipe is Sue Gregg’s blender cornbread which uses whole dry corn. It takes me about 5-10 minutes to get it in the oven and then it bakes for 30 minutes. The recipe is available on her site in a PDF download of sample recipes. Search for the text “sample recipes” on the homepage to find the PDF download link. The recipe is on page 63.
We buy our organic dry beans, dry corn, popcorn, wheat, oats, millet, etc. in bulk from Azure Standard and have been pleased with the quality and prices (disclosure: the Azure link is an affiliate link that is part of their “Share Azure” program. If you order through it I may receive a credit in my account. You could also just go directly to Azure Standard’s site; or, if you have a friend who orders from Azure, ask them if they have a Share Azure link you can use). I’m sure you can probably find these at your local grocery store or health food store as well.
So, is an Instant Pot a necessity? No. But we’ve found it to be a time saver for the uses I mentioned. We have the 8-quart size and I love having that size (larger meals and/or more leftovers), even though it takes a bit longer to come up to pressure than a smaller one. If you have a smaller family or cook lower volume, the 6-quart would likely be adequate. We have seen both sizes come up on very good sales (for example 8 quart around $60) during the holiday season in the past. And, of course, there are other brands of modern pressure cookers that would function in a very similar fashion.
God bless you as you seek to cook nutritious meals for your family!
“But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate
of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation”
(1 Thessalonians 5:8).