Instant Butch Cooking
In the past I’ve written about ways to woo in the kitchen by making a great meal or even just a simple pot of perfect coffee. At this point in my life, my thoughts on kitchen work are what I think might be the same for covert military operations; get in, get out, leave no trace.
I mentioned in the last post that we are now a family of 4 and that I work out of the home and my wife works (so so hard) making sure my kids (and me) are taken care of. Both are challenging roles but we both end the day with the same question – What’s for dinner?
I bought, on the recommendation of many friends, this Instant Pot from Amazon when it was on sale during Black Friday/Cyber Monday. I figured if it helped cut down on cooking times just a few times a week it would be worth it.
What we’ve found is we’re not just using it for breakfast or quick dinners (which it does, beautifully) but for staples of our diets that normally come from a can or take hours to make, like black beans. Now we can make a huge amount of perfectly cooked black beans that stay in the fridge all week for us to make quick meals out of.
It makes perfect rice. You can make (with jarred sauce and chicken parts) a passable tikka masala meal (and rice cooked in a separate bowl in the pot) in less than 25 minutes without having to stir or watch. Things that were once delicious but annoying to do while having to do a zillion other things have become quick and simple – seriously – I can make a weeks worth of steel cut oatmeal for breakfast in less than 20 minutes without doing anything but putting a bowl with oats and milk/water inside the pot and hitting the start button.
It sounds silly to wax poetic about a beefed up crock pot on steroids, but honestly? It’s giving me back little pieces of my life. I think the same is true for my wife – more time together, just playing with the kids as a family, or having time to spend an extra 10 minutes just talking to each other is changing how we do things – for the better. I can spend a few extra minutes a day working on art/music/reading without feeling like I’m ignoring helping out in the house. We get all of this AND we still get to eat well, which can be a struggle.
I won’t front and say that dinner sometimes isn’t chicken nuggets and leftover kids mac and cheese – but lately, more often than not it’s delicious ribs we cooked in 40 minutes without watching, or a pulled pork shoulder that was done in an hour instead of six of them – and leaves decent amount of leftovers so I’m not spending money buying lunch at work. And by having breakfasts ready to go in the morning we are feeling less stressed AND getting where we need to be (mostly) on time.
And, ok, if you still want to be fancy and impressive? I made the stock for pho by using some simple veggies/spices and roasted beef rib bones that were left over from our Christmukkah feast. It took about 5 minutes of active prep time, cooked for 90 minutes or so, and was perfectly fragrant and delicious. It took more time to clean and prep the cilantro and other pho add-ins than it did to cook!
The IP takes on dessert too – these mini cheesecakes were made in no time by one of our IP pushing friends who brought them over for a family meal recently, and they were DELICIOUS.
While this post may not be sexy – and also may come off as my own personal infomercial – I’m hoping to turn some reluctant cooks into owners. It’s great for keeping heat out of small kitchens/apts/warm weather locations, it only uses one pot to make your whole meal, and doesn’t require anything but an outlet to work. It’s helping us save some money, which is a constant struggle, eat well and healthy, which is also a constant struggle, and is helping us find more time to be a family – or to take a few minutes for ourselves. Which is, for me, right now at this point in my life one of the sexiest things I can think of.
Have an IP? What do you LOVE cooking in it?