Those of you who love your pressure cookers really love your pressure cookers! I don’t need to tell you folks that pressure cooking is about more than just saving time. For those of you, on the other hand, who have wanted to try pressure cooking (maybe you have one in a box somewhere waiting to be opened?), or have wondered what all the hype is about, let me tell you why there is such an avid Instant Pot® following.
Pressure cookers do save you time, it’s true. They cook foods in about one third of the time it would otherwise take, but more importantly, pressure cookers infuse the food with flavor. It’s intense. There’s no evaporation in a pressure cooker and all the flavors inside are forced to play with each other. Flavor is the number one reason to pressure cook. Saving time is a fantastic bonus. Here’s a week of recipes that will not only prove to you that pressure cooked food is delicious, but also show you how easy it is for any home cook. Give me a week, and you’ll be a pressure cooker fan too.
If you want to learn more about pressure cooking, check out the pressure cooking section of the cooking school here. There you can find my Pressure Cooking 101 video where I explain everything about pressure cooking to you.
Don’t forget to “Grab Your Shopping List” by clicking the button above. I’ve listed everything so that you can be sure you have all you need. This week, I’ve given you the choice to pick up just 4 long crusty rolls for the beef dip sandwiches, or 8 if you’d like leftovers for lunch the following day.
(The planned menu and grocery list has quantities for a family of four. You can alter the recipe quantities by clicking on the plus or minus buttons next to the serving size on the recipe card.)
Monday: Penne Carbonara
Kick off the week with an easy pasta that lends itself very well to variations. This recipe will work with any shape pasta. For meatless Monday try omitting the bacon and subbing in some asparagus, broccoli or other cooked green vegetable instead. Serve with a green salad and some crusty bread.
Tuesday: Salsa Chicken Thighs with Rice
This is a sneaky recipe – it seems so simple, but is so tasty. It’s one of my most popular pressure cooker recipes and always satisfies. The recipe calls for chicken thighs (because they are my favorite) but will work with chicken breasts or boneless, skinless thighs too. Keep the timing the same.
Wednesday: Spaghetti and Meatballs
You can make your own meatballs or use store-bought frozen meatballs for this classic-made-quickly pressure cooker meal. Whichever you use, reduce the number of meatballs to suit your serving needs – the timing stays the same. You can also make the easy pasta sauce but a jar of marinara will work too (as noted on the bottom of the recipe). The whipped ricotta is optional, but worth it!
Thursday: Orange Marmalade Pork Chops
This mid-week pork chop dinner has an Asian flavor and includes all your veggies – carrots, water chestnuts and sugar snap peas. If you don’t have those particular vegetables on hand, substitute what you have. The only other thing you’ll need to do is cook a little rice to go alongside.
Friday: Beef Dip Sandwiches
Beef dip sandwiches were my favorite sandwich growing up, but one that I only ever had when I was out to lunch with my mum. It’s a real treat at home. Serve with coleslaw or make some homemade French fries or potato chips in your air fryer or oven. The recipe is written for 8 servings, but it makes great leftovers for lunch – keep that in mind when you’re shopping and pick up some extra rolls if you’re game.
Saturday: Chili con Carne with Instant Cornbread
A big pot of chili is always a welcome meal. Accompany it with some homemade cornbread and you have a big winner! For the chili, you can substitute ground turkey or chicken for the beef if you prefer. Hot Italian sausage will work instead of the chorizo sausage, or you can omit the sausage altogether and an additional pound of ground beef.
Sunday: Chicken Cacciatore
Sunday dinner! Cacciatore is a classic and only takes 10 minutes of pressure cooking time, or about 35 minutes total time. The classic “hunter’s style chicken” includes peppers, tomatoes and herbs, but you could add other vegetables if you like – potato chunks or butternut squash chunks would be nice. You can serve this over egg noodles, mashed potatoes or rice. If you don’t want to break down a whole chicken yourself, buy it already cut up or use whatever chicken pieces you prefer – breasts or thighs.