Holding true to the Black Friday tradition of impulsive buying, I decided to purchase an Instant Pot. Shortly after purchasing, however, I realized I was terrified of the appliance exploding due to my ignorance of its usage so I resisted using it.
I had lessened my fears slightly when I performed the water test on it. I informed my cousin of this, as she is an avid user of the Instant Pot, and refers to herself as such. She was quite proud of me, but then challenged me to make some hard-boiled eggs. I tried it and they turned out perfectly. I have never made hard-boiled eggs where the shells came off smoothly and consistently.
Still hesitant to cook a real meal, I reminded myself that this is technologically advanced equipment with many safety features and protocols that are built-in to prevent explosions. These rational, sensible thoughts stayed with me as I perused the recipes online for the Instant pot. One of them jumped out at me.
“Creamy Tuscan Garlic Chicken.”
If that doesn’t sounds appetizing and comforting all at once, I don’t know what does. I read on further and the description alluded to this being a quality meal that I could prepare any night of the week in less than 30 minutes – start to finish.
I’m a very busy working parent, as many of you are as well, so this interested me to the point of actually clicking the link and reading down the list of ingredients to see how many of them I had on hand. I had most of them, but not the chicken. Luckily, chicken was on sale at the store.
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved, and pounded thin.
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
3/4 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 cup parmesan or asiago cheese
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons cream cheese (optional)
I prepped all of the ingredients in less than 10 minutes. The tricky part was referring to the instant pot manual to make sure I didn’t accidentally override any safety mechanisms and cause a small explosion. This ended up being an unnecessary worry. The recipe has simple step-by-step instructions for what to do, and even how to program the pressure cooker to cook the food to turn out the way you’d like it to.
Here is the method:
1. Slice the chicken
2. Add chicken to a mixing bowl and add your oil, seasonings, and massage into the chicken. Set that aside to marinate 5-10 minutes
3. Wash and chop the spinach.
4. Add seasoned salt to the cream and set aside.
5. Select ‘Saute’ or ‘Browning’ on your instant pot and allow it to heat.
6. Place the chicken and marinade into the pot and brown the chicken on both sides.
7. Pour in chicken broth and deglaze the pot.
8. Lock lid and close pressure valve.
9. Cook at High Pressure (Manual) for 3 minutes.
10. After 3 minutes, carefully do a Quick Release (use a spoon handle to open the vent)
11. Select ‘Saute’ or ‘Browning’ again on your cooker and pour in the cream/salt mixture as well as the optional cream cheese. Adding the cream cheese makes the sauce much thicker and creamier. (I added an entire brick.) Simmer for about 5 minutes.
12. Add in the cheese and stir. Toss in the sun-dried tomatoes and spinach, simmer until spinach wilts.
Your food will have a lot of liquid, so you can technically serve this as a soup or pour it over some garlic mashed potatoes. I had leftover fettucine alfredo and I poured it on top of that. This recipe yields four servings. I served it to my kids and they ate it! Even with the sun-dried tomatoes and spinach in there!
This sounds like a long recipe, but it took me less than 30 minutes. Most of that time was spent chopping up the chicken because my kids like their chicken in nugget form. The recipe instructs you to slice chicken breasts in half and pound them out. I bought chicken “tenderloins” and chopped them into bite size pieces. It still looked and tasted amazing.
I felt so good about making this dish for a couple of reasons; the first being that I finally made a beautiful meal in a pressure cooker. The second reason was that this meal was beautiful, and my kids ate it – even though it wasn’t deep fried! Usually it’s very time consuming to make something like this and when you’re busy constantly running kids around or working – you don’t always have time to make satisfying, Instagram-worthy meals.
Unfortunately, I don’t get a kick-back for recommending you to buy a programmable pressure cooker, but it is definitely worth it! It saves so much time when it comes to making healthy, filling meals and there are countless recipes available online. You can also buy e-cookbooks that include a lot of creative and delicious ways to use the pressure cooker.