What’s for supper? Vol. 74: This is why everyone needs an Instant Pot

Maybe you’re wondering what is the big deal about the Instant Pot. Is it really so great? Why does everyone go so cuckoo over it? Should I be worried that my spouse has bought a pair of spotless doves and is sharpening a knife?

And why does Simcha insist on making these embarrassingly chimpy images with very primitive software and a crying toddler on her lap?

I have the answer.  To the first question, not the second.

It’s because of risotto.

Risotto, risotto, risotto. I love risotto with my whole heart, but it is a pain in the neck to make. Hovering over the pan, stirring, adding in a little broth, stirring, waiting, simmering, waiting, stirring, adding some more broth, stirring, waiting, and it smells divine, but your entire life is passing you by while you wait for it to be done.

In the Instant Pot, it’s easy. Truly easy, and fast. And it tastes just as good as the difficult kind. This, in itself, is a reason to own an Instant Pot. All the other stuff is bonus. Now you know!

Here is the obligatory reminder that all my links to Amazon products are Amazon Associates links, and I get a small percentage of every purchase made using my links. Amazon is restructuring its pay scale soon, to the detriment of people who mostly plug books and toys; so I would be very, very grateful if you could bookmark my link and use it any time you shop on Amazon!

I’m gonna come right out and tell you: we rely on Amazon for our car payments. My husband has a 1.3-hour commute, and absolutely needs a reliable car. So! Please use my links, so my husband doesn’t have to drive to work in the Instant Pot. It’s good, but it’s not that good.

Thank you.

And now, back to risotto.

Last Friday, we had tuna fish patties and butternut squash risotto. I used this butternut squash risotto recipe from Good Housekeeping. I used onions instead of shallots, ground sage instead of fresh, and regular old white rice instead of arborio. It was fabulous. Creamy but not mushy and packed with flavor. Amazing.

I spent a good half hour wandering around the house, taking people by the shoulders, holding them with my glittering eye and quothing at them, “Do you even realize the possibilities?” Risotto with fresh tomatoes. Risotto with bacon. Risotto with scallops or garlicky shrimp. Risotto with asparagus and gorgonzola. Risotto with lemon, mint, and peas. Risotto with hazelnuts. Risotto with saffron and fennel. I don’t even know what fennel is! But I will!

The other reason for having an Instant Pot is because venting the steam is fun. Some days, it is the most fun you will have all day.

***

SATURDAY
Hamburgers, chips

Cousins over again. They responded very positively, with shrieking, to the idea of hamburgers and chips. So let it be written; so let it be done. I had planned sweet peppers and hummus, but there were just too many runny noses and double dippers in the population, so, in the interest of good health, we skipped the veg.

***

SUNDAY
Chicken cutlets with basil; mushroom risotto; salad

Farewell to cousins and hello to my parents. Here is my niece with one of her favorite playthings: My father’s beard.

Damien made one of his absolute most magnificent dishes, the late lamented Deadspin’s chicken cutlets. You pound the chicken flat, bread it (Damien used panko crumbs), fry it (Damien used olive oil and butter), then top it with a fresh basil leaf and a slice of cheese (Damien used mozzarella, but provolone is great, too), and ladle some homemade tomato sauce over that.

This meal makes me go absolutely insane. It’s so good, you can’t imagine. As I ate it, I thought of starving people in the third world and then thought, “TOO BAD.” With these chicken cutlets, you could — dare I say it? Rule the world.  

Also, I had some mushroom left over from last week, when I accidentally didn’t make soup. So I went with this mushroom risotto recipe from This Old Gal. This Old Gal discourages using plain old regular mushrooms, but I did it anyway, and it was good. I didn’t have fennel or parsley, so I went with sage again, and really peppered it up. Completely delicious.

***

MONDAY
Leftovers with spaghetti

Damien had made 38 chicken cutlets, so we put the leftovers in a pan, spread the rest of the sauce over it, added a layer of sliced cheese, and warmed it up in the oven, then served it on spaghetti.

There was no leftover risotto because I devoured it for lunch.

I feel like there was salad.

***

TUESDAY
Korean beef bowl; rice; steambed broccoli and cauliflower

I just noticed that I wrote “steambed” instead of “steamed,” but I think the “b” expresses how lightly I didn’t steam them.

Have you tried Korean beef bowl yet? You won’t regret it.

It’s so easy, and it’s just spicy enough to be warming and comforting, without assailing your mouth. Wonderful use for ground beef. Also a wonderful use for immortal zombie scallions, if you happen to have any haunting your kitchen.

I used, you’ll never guess, the Instant Pot for the rice. This really is easier than stovetop rice. It comes out slightly sticky, which we like, and you just put in water, rinse the rice and dump it in, and then press a button and walk away.

Oh, I thought of another advantage for the Instant Pot. InstantPot.com has plenty of useful, simple recipes, like the rice one above. It also has a slew of completely bonkers recipes that were apparently written by a malicious robot who flunked out of ESL. Here is one of my current favorites: Beer Potato Fish!

A photo of something, who knows what?

“The Beer Potato Fish would be a challenge for a non-professional cooker,” it muses, shaking its head in empathy for the old, dark days so tragically rife with amateurish attempts at beer potato fish, “But it is now a different story with Instant Pot Programmable Pressure Cooker.”

It calls for a pound of fish, some oyster flavored sauce, a cup of beer, and a tablespoon of rock candy. Doesn’t that sound tasty? It also instructs you to push the fish button, which does not exist. I suppose someone is making money off this in some way, and I kind of feel like they deserve it.

***

WEDNESDAY
Oven-roasted pork ribs; mashed potatoes; mixed veg

The Instant Pot had acquitted itself so well this week, I thought maybe I’d try one of the many, many pork rib recipes that are available. But then I remembered that I could also sit on the couch and tell my son how to some pork ribs in a 450 oven on a roasting rack with a little salt and pepper, and I knew they would be scrumptious. And so I did, and so they were.

If there’s a better way to prepare pork ribs, I just don’t care.

I also considered making Instant Pot mashed potatoes, but the recipes all looked more complicated than stovetop recipes. So I just went ahead and boiled them in a non-instant pot and mashed them. I left the skin on, which I almost never do. To me, this adds excitement and piquancy. To others, it’s like hanging around with that weirdo who keeps on harping on the idea that, in many regions, apple cores, corn cobs, and chicken bones are considered a delicacy.

The vegetables were that good old supermarket blend of frozen peas, carrots, corn, string beans, and lima beans. This makes me feel six years old, in a good way.

***

THURSDAY
English muffin pizzas

Since our bishop has given us a St. Patrick’s Day dispensation to eat meat on Friday, we did our meatless meal on Thursday. Except I forgot, and had leftover Korean beef bowl for lunch. For my penance, I had massive heartburn all night, and dreamt I was endlessly editing and re-editing a blog post about best and worst dresses of the Oscars; only I had to do it on taped-together paper with sidewalk chalk and then take photos of it with a Kodak disc film camera.

So, I am all caught up on Lent.

***

FRIDAY
Corned beef boiled dinner; Dublin coddle

So, St. Patrick is, like, the second-tier patron of our regional arch-diacistry, or something; and my husband is tremendously Irish, so we prayerfully discerned that have no choice but to eat three different kinds of meat today.

The kids love boiled dinner, so I’ll be cooking up some corned beef with red potatoes, cabbage, carrots, and adorable little onions, and serving it with gobs of mustard, as St. Patrick himself did. It’s how he drove the snakes away.

We’re also trying a new dish, Dublin coddle (recipe from Southeast Missourian, for some reason) which is a nice little thing with bacon, sausage, sweet and russet potatoes, herbs, carrots and apples. No argument from me. The two other recipes on this page actually sound way better. Maybe when I win the lottery.

Nobody likes soda bread, because it is terrible. Last year, I looked up authentic irish desserts, and quickly discovered why people usually just go with, like, brownies with green frosting.

21 thoughts on “What’s for supper? Vol. 74: This is why everyone needs an Instant Pot”

    1. That is hilarious! I have only read a little bit so far, but I am savoring it. I keep wondering what the original was supposed to be.

  1. Your comments on the Instant Pot mirror those of the other people I know who have one. I haven’t broken yet, but they may convince me yet.
    Sat: steak, baked potatoes, salad because I really wanted meat, so husband grilled some. So good.
    Sun: french toast, eggs, leftover steak
    Mon: chicken noodle soup and homemade french bread. Popular with all.
    Tues: pasta, your choice of white sauce (which I made) or red (from a can), Italian sausage for those who wanted some (only husband and the twins), salad because salad is good.
    Wed: leftover soup and pasta (only sort of leftover the latter, because I had to make more pasta and a bit more white sauce too…)
    Thurs: Arby’s because meat is good and because we figured some celebration was in order since we told the kids we’re expecting. Only one this time, thank goodness. I begged the OB to do a quick ultrasound because I just couldn’t stand wondering if it would be twins again until the standard 20-week ultrasound. Anyway, vaguely morning sick, but still so hungry, hence all my “x food is good” obsessions all week.
    Fri: salmon bake, rice, apples.

  2. We did not get a dispensation for St Patrick’s Day, our bishop must be anti-Hibernian. Anyway.
    Monday I honestly cannot remember what I made. I *think* we had rotisserie chicken from the store, but honestly there was a low-grade virus going around–a cold virus–and I think we were all tiptoeing around, wondering if it was going to explode into something horrible.

    Tuesday night I went running and I had thoughtfully left hot dogs and burgers to cook, but forgot to get hot dog buns, but my resourceful children showed their father how, in desperate times, one can wrap a tortilla around a hot dog and it is delicious.

    Wednesday night I redeemed myself by making pork chops, mashed potatoes and gravy, and a delicious red cabbage slaw from Smitten Kitchen. Which only three of us like, but the red cabbage wasn’t getting any younger in the fridge, so it was time. I’d forgotten to pick up Shake and Bake, which I usually put on pork chops, so we had them plain. Nobody minded, which I noted for future shopping trips.

    Thursday night, because of the lack of dispensation on Friday, we had breakfast for dinner–bacon, hash brown patties, scrambled eggs, fruit salad and homemade soda bread. Real soda bread, by the way, without the dreaded raisins and caraway seeds that Americans have added. The eggs got semi-burned because my son and husband and I got into a spirited discussion about, I believe, the Marvel Cinematic Universe or something equally important. The eggs got eaten anyway.

    Friday–we started a Lenten tradition of going to confession/Mass at a parish downtown that has a nice noon mass, usually not too crowded, and wonderful priests for confession. However, I didn’t realize that a church named after St Joseph was going to have a huge St Patrick’s Day Mass–my first clue was the overcrowded parking lots, my second clue was the elderly usher wearing a plastic green top hat, and the gaggle of Knights of Columbus (wasn’t he Italian?). We lasted through the Irish choir, and then the bagpipes* started for the entrance, and by the homily, during which the priest exhorted us to pray for Ireland, which is getting too secular for its own good, I started wondering if I could get away with chicken for lunch, having done my penance. But I didn’t. We went out to eat and I had salmon and a salad.

    Dinner that night, since everyone was still full from restaurant food, was cream of broccoli soup and more soda bread. Or whatever people wanted. I wasn’t picky.

    *I had never heard bagpipes in real life before, only heard them on movies and TV where the audio is nicely filtered. I can verify that in real life, bagpipes do indeed sound like a dying cat is being mauled inside that bag. My teenage son was of the opinion that bagpipes must have served the Scottish well when repelling the English from their land.

  3. Ps when I put it in cake pans I don’t push dough to the edge…instead leave 1-2 inches from edge…it will spread and fill pan when baking…

  4. My kids go absolutely crazy for Irish bread!!! 5 cups of white flour, 1 1/2 cups sugar, one teaspoon salt and one of baking soda, 2 cups of buttermilk and 2 sticks of butter (soft or slightly melted)… mix it all up in a bowl by hand (it will be lumpy and glumpy), divide dough in half and bake in two greased circular cake pans…don’t shape in a ball or anything…just kind of scoop it in and pat it once or twice into a flat circle (flat/even/no hill shape helps with quick and even baking)…hope that makes some sense…bake at 325…check after 30 mins…think mine baked for 45 mins last night but I don’t know…take it out when very lightly browned/toothpick clean etc…it is amazing with some butter!!! I don’t add raisins or currants bc my kids don’t want them and I certainly don’t add caraway seeds like my mom because I can’t stand that taste…give Irish bread another chance!! Love your writing!!

  5. My husband is in the kitchen making Corned Beef and cabbage right now. I’m really surprised that he was willing to dive into such an Irish dish. I bet my bottom dollar he’ll manage to make it spicy and there will be sliced avocados and radish with a shefenad (how the heck so you spell shefenad?) of fresh herbs.

    The day before that he made Pho . He bought beef bones and roasted them for a couple of hours, then boiled them for TWELVE HOURS. (Who does that??) Along with the noodles, beef, shrimp, cabbage, fish sauce and Siracha, he served it with big bean sprouts a shefenade of herbs, sliced jalepeno, radishes, green onion and of COURSE avocado. It doesn’t matter if it’s Irish or Vietnamese he can’t help but South Americanize.

    And you might ask yourself, why is Anna Lisa’s husband cooking so much? Because corporate raiders took over the company he worked for, and released him from math so that he can cook. Some blessings come in the disguise of hedge funds from hell. I think that’s going to be the title of my new book: Hedge Funds From Hell Round Two.

    Sad reality– he will probs have to commute 5 hrs to the north or two to the south when reality comes home to roost. The current happy hour menu will need to come back to earth with a hard landing (and a Prius, not a Tesla).

    1. @Anna Lisa – So sorry to hear your news. Last night, I started a Novena that your husband will find a good job close by and find it quickly. Hang in there!

  6. “Last year, I looked up authentic irish desserts, and quickly discovered why people usually just go with, like, brownies with green frosting.” Hahaha! I’ve had the same issue in prior years. This year I am spending the evening quilting and crocheting with friends, so no attempt at an Irish feast for me. I preemptively made up for it on Tuesday, with chicken pot pie, spinach-feta handpies, and chocolate marshmallow pie (YUM).

    Stop making instant pots sound great; I don’t have the room for another appliance.

  7. I like soda bread! With butter. Lots of butter. I’m of Irish stock and I’m telling ya corned beef is not Irish. More Jewish delicatessen. A real Irish dinner would be smoked pork butt with boiled potatoes and some other boiled vegetable. And maybe some lettuce in a cereal bowl for a family sized salad. With a side of “Russian” dressing, of course.

    Anyway, our food this week was basically plain meat (with salt) and vegetables every night. Only I’ve been microwaving our vegetables because I’m a much, much more advanced cook than my Irish mother. 😉 But I actually do have a tip that maybe normal cooks already know, but in case there are some folks out there who cook at my level, I’ll post it. If you’re hard boiling eggs, throw some vinegar into the water before boiling. When they’re done, soak the eggs in ice water. The shells peel off so easily. I’ve been making deviled eggs every Friday this Lent. And now I’ll probably make them throughout the year now that I know how to get those shells off.

    1. One of my kids made a joke last night about “Irish dessert” and since the joke didn’t involve alcohol and has more than a touch of truth to it, I figured I’d post it here. Growing up, one of my family’s favorite desserts (and breakfasts, and late night snacks) was a teaspoon of sugar on buttered toast. We’d wash it down with tea, of course. If we felt like being fancy, we used a little cinnamon too. Back in January and February when we were really feeling the bite from the tax man and tuition payments, cinnamon sugar was the only sweet treat in the house for my dessert addicted children. And because one day I had a ton of corn tortillas lying around, I decided to give the dessert a little Mexican flare and those have now become a staple – butter, cinnamon, and sugar all in one place – what’s not to love? The pan fried tortillas break nicely into 4’s. I keep them in a jar on my counter now. The kids call them cinnamon crisps.

  8. Looking forward to the Oscars dresses post! Try putting the disc film camera in the instant pot. You’ll sleep so much better when it’s finished.

  9. Saturday: Hashbrowns with chorizo, spinach, cheese, and sunny side up eggs on top. Breakfast for dinner is always a favorite!
    Sunday: Made a double batch of family favorite kielbasa skillet stew so I could bring some to a family from church who recently had a baby. Accompanied by garlic bread–we decided we’re not a fan of the basic garlic bread from Aldi but I decided to give the cheesy one a try and I’m glad I did! Pretty tasty. Was supposed to be a salad but my husband declared stew and bread was “quite enough food” so I didn’t push it.
    Monday: Coconut curry creamed pork adobo and sticky rice from Fr. Patalinghug’s Spicing Up Married Life cookbook. So so good!
    Tuesday: the only new recipe we tried this week, was pretty good (left out corn because I don’t like corn in recipes): http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/chicken-summer-vegetable-tostadas
    Wednesday: Glorious, wonderful Italian stuffed meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and I insisted on the salad.
    Thursday: redeemed a previous horrible attempt at jalapeno cream cheese chicken and rice by not letting tons of pepper accidentally stream into the dish.
    Friday: While our archdiocese does have a dispensation available, we are not Irish (my husband is actually from Scotland and gets seriously annoyed when people act like it’s the same thing) and we’re not going to any festive gatherings so I thought it would be easier to just keep our meatless Friday in place. Pasta with sun dried tomato pesto and feta tonight!

      1. Sorry, I just saw this–busy week! It is a great recipe and pretty easy. Ingredients:
        5 pieces bacon
        1 onion, chopped
        1 lb. kielbasa, sliced
        2 carrots, sliced
        1 small can tomato sauce
        oregano
        basil
        2 cans great northern beans (undrained)
        Cut up bacon and fry in large Dutch oven. When bacon is crispy, remove and cook onions in bacon grease until soft. Add carrots and kielbasa and sautee for a few minutes. Add all remaining ingredients. Simmer for 2 hours with lid on or until carrots are soft.
        It can be made in the slow cooker as well, if I’m planning on doing that I still like to sautee everything first though!

  10. Simcha so glad i found you again. I had been missing your posts on my facebook feed. Anyway we can get these posts on facebook instead of email. You always make me laugh. Sorry the rigid stuffy catholics don’t appreciate you. Eventhough I don’t always agree with your opinion, I think it’s so good that you challenge others to think about issues and ideas. And your recipes, I think I like to mix it up but wow you encourage me to do more. Unfortunately my kids don’t always appreciate that. Thank you, thank you! Keep strong.

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