A few years ago it seemed like Instant Pot was all the craze. I got one, but honestly never really used it. Since I had baby #3, I have been getting better at planning dinner for my family ahead of time for the week. On Sundays I plan out my meals while I am making my grocery order. Recently, I decided to revisit my Instant Pot in hopes it’ll make dinner easier for me during the week.
I don’t know about you, but the minutes fly by between school pick up and bedtime. I find myself constantly watching the clock to keep on track to get them in bed a decent hour. So when I broke out the Instant Pot to assist with dinner, I was pleased to find out it is what I’ve needed to make some of my meals easier, faster and a lot less involved so I could be more present with the kids.
I’m sharing 3 super easy recipes that are our family’s favorites, and my favorites for quick meals. One thing that frustrated me when I first started searching Instant Pot recipes was that they often involved multiple steps, like sautéing or pressure cooking then removing something to pressure cook something else. But thats not what I was in for. I wanted a chop, dump, press the button and done meal.
I am not a professional cook by any means. I don’t really measure too much when I cook either so you will see a lot of ‘”abouts” in my recipes. I am all about simple home cooked meals for my family because I know what is in it for the most part and it doesn’t involve us doing take out every night
First is a classic NOLA favorite: Red Beans and Rice.
Ive tried it a couple of different ways in the instant pot, and here is what worked best for me:
Over night: Soak 1lb of beans
Morning: drain, and rinse and put to the side.
To the pot add :
- about 1 tablespoon of butter
- about 1 cup of the creole chopped mix. Any one with onions, bell peppers, celery etc.
- About 2 tablespoons of minced garlic,
- About 1 tablespoon of Tony’s
- 2 bay leaves
Add back red beans and cover with water about 2 inches.
Use the slow cook option on this until you get home.
Afternoon: As soon as I get home, I stir and add 1lbs of sausage and pickled meat or 2 lbs or sausage, whichever you prefer.
I then start the pressure cooking. If I slow cook for about 4 hours, I pressure cook for 40mins. If I slow cook for 8 hours or so, I pressure cook for 20mins. While the beans are pressure cooking,I get the easy 10 minute rice bag going.
Once its done, I release the pressure, stir really good and let sit about 30 minutes to cool off. I find they thicken up if I let them sit for little bit.
I like my beans creamy with some beans still intact. I have tried just pressure cooking, but then I had to smash some beans and that is just one more step I don’t want to have to do.
Once its cooled a bit, its ready to go! For our family of 4 eaters right now, I get two dinners of red beans with this batch. After everyone eats, I freeze what’s left and save for another Monday!
Second in another NOLA classic: Jambalaya
This is one of my favorites. My grandmother had a recipe growing up that consisted of putting all ingredients into a pan in the oven and cooking. It would take almost 2 hours but I recent moved it to my instant pot and its one of the simplest quickest recipes I can make.
- 3-4 chicken breasts chopped
- 1lb of smoked sausage (I use turkey sausage to be healthier)
- 1 can of beef broth
- 1 can of French Onion Soup
- 1 8oz can of tomato sauce
- 1 small can of mushroom pieces
- 1 can of mushroom gravy
- 3/4 stick of butter
- 1 cup of creole chopped mix (onions, bell pepper, green onion mix)
- 1 tablespoon of Tonys
- 2 cups of brown rice
Put chicken and sausage in the pot first. Then add everything else. Put rice in last and stir slightly. You will get the dreadful “burn” notice if you put the rice in first. If you are a family that likes more meat, add more chicken or sausage to your liking.
Pressure cook for 23minutes, release pressure and stir! It’ll look watery at first but stir and let sit and the rice will soak up the flavor!
Third is any home classic with kids: Meatballs and Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce.
What’s great about this recipe is there is no precooking meatballs!
To make the meatballs:
In a bowl combine:
- 1lb of ground turkey (or beef. Note – I haven’t tried this with ground beef because I usually make turkey meatballs but I think it can work the same)
- 1 egg
- About 1/2 cup of Italian bread crumbs
- About 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
- About 1/2 cup of creole mix (onion, bell pepper etc)
- 1 big tablespoon of minced garlic
- Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste.
Mix in the bowl and make into small meatballs. Mine are bigger than a golf ball but smaller than a baseball for reference.
In Instant Pot:
For the tomato sauce:
- Add about a tablespoon of olive oil to coat the bottom
- add 1/4 cup of the creole onion mix
- a tablespoon of minced garlic
- 28 once can of crushed tomatoes
If you are feeling like me on most days, just add your jar of your favorite tomato sauce already made!
Next, place the uncooked meatballs on top of the sauce. You can compact them a bit and even place a few on top of each other but don’t smash them. And don’t stir.
Add about 3/4lb- 1lb of your favorite pasta on top.. I use a box of Elbow or Penne most times.
Lastly add 2cups of chicken broth
Close the lid and set to pressure cook for 8 minutes and you are done!
It may look watery when you open the lid but just stir and it will thicken up!
I hope you enjoy! And I hope you enjoy a less stress meal for you and your family!
I am always looking for more easy family favorite meals. Do you have any to add to my list?? If so, let us know!