Adventures in Thyme & Spice
Life has been a little kooky lately. A lot of things have changed at my house and, as a result, I've found myself doing a lot more of the cooking than I was accustomed to. Now, that isn't necessarily a bad thing. I love to cook, I just don't have a lot of time to do so unless it's a weekend. My evenings start late and are mostly dominated by my boy, other work outside of my day job, or trying to consume enough sci-fi and fantasy media to retain my coveted title of "geek."
This left me with a short list of potential recipes that could be prepared very quickly or the option of preparing all of my meals ahead of time. I'm not big on leftovers, they're great from time to time but not an everyday occurrence, which ruled out the meal prep option for me. That left me with the need to find recipes that I could whip together quickly. Quick recipes aren't always geared to be healthy or delicious, so I was a little disheartened.
My wife had recommended that we pick up an Instant Pot almost a year ago because she had heard a lot of positive chatter about it amongst her friends. I decided to take a gamble on a new kitchen gadget and, after receiving it from Amazon, it sat in our basement on a shelf and collected dust for 11 months.
Well, during this crazy time I decided to go all in on the Instant Pot and put together a week's worth of recipes and did my shopping. I started off with a homemade chicken dumpling soup, because it sounded tasty and I'd never made one before. I got all the ingredients together, diced, chopped, and prepped and into the pot. This thing took 10 minutes to get up to pressure, 10 minutes to cook, and I suddenly had fully-cooked, delicious chicken dumpling soup.
I was gobsmacked with how easy it was and decided to try some more challenging recipes that didn't involve just dumping items into a pot.
I decided to take on a Beef Stroganoff dish I'd found online a while ago in the Instant Pot. I had only ever used the manual option before, but the saute function works like a charm. It was easy to brown the beef, saute the onion, and drain off the excess grease before adding the other ingredients for the main cook. Mixing everything else in was pretty simple and resembled my first efforts to cook with the Instant Pot.
The only piece that required any other step was letting the finalized meal sit for a few minutes before adding in the Greek yogurt with the noodles and cooked beef/veggies.
If there was one thing I could say about my first few weeks with the Instant Pot is that I need to learn to pair down the recipes because the leftovers are pretty intense. We have had so much to store after each meal that I had to invest in a second set of Glasslock in order to store it all.
All-in-all, this gadget that was collecting dust for the better part of a year has earned a spot on my countertop.