The Instant Pot Saves Time And Money
We’re all busy and spending less and less time at home. As a result, it’s hard to find the time to cook a nice home cooked meal. We simply can’t spend hours and hours in the kitchen stirring pots. Heck most of us don’t even have the time or energy at the end of the day for a quick 30 minute meal cooked from scratch.
The end result is that we rely on convenience food and takeout. While those options certainly save a good bit of time, we end up paying a lot more for our food. Let’s not even mention the fact that it isn’t always the healthiest food out there and we’re not sure what ingredients and preservatives are in the food.
What if there was a way to save both time and money, and still get wholesome, home cooked meals on those nights when you don’t have a lot of time or energy left. There is and the solution to your problem is the Instant Pot. Not only does it cook your food faster than just about any other method of cooking, it is also very hands-free. You can even cook frozen meat and veggies for those days when you forget to thaw ahead of time.
This means that you can come home, throw some ingredients in the Instant Pot, turn it on, and then focus your attention on something else. This means that you can help your kids with homework, start a load of laundry, catch up on work email, or just sit back and relax for half an hour before dinner is served.
In other words, the Instant Pot saves you time in two different ways. It will take less time overall to cook the food, and most of the cooking time doesn’t require you to be there, stirring pots and playing an active role in the cooking process. That’s a big deal and something you’ll come to appreciate when you start to use your Instant Pot regularly.
Now it’s time to talk hard, cold cash. An Instant Pot is a bit of an investment, even when you can find a great “Black Friday” style deal on it. On average, you can expect to spend about $100 for this electric pressure cooker. The good news is that it won’t take you long to recoup this investment.
An instant pot allows you to cook more at home instead of going out to eat, or ordering takeout. This alone will save you anywhere from $5 to $50 per family meal. But it doesn’t stop there. The Instant Pot really shines with inexpensive cuts of meat like roasts, whole chickens and even more frugal fare like beans and rice. If you get in the habit of making just one frugal meal per week using your pressure cooker, those savings will quickly add up.
You can go even further by cooking double batches and taking leftovers for lunch instead of buying it. Saving time and money with an Instant Pot is quick, easy, and almost automatic. The only trick is that you have to actually get in the habit of using it regularly.
How to Meal Prep With an Instant Pot
When you read about meal planning, you may be left with the idea that everything starts and stops with the meal planning step. The truth is, meal planning has several steps to the process that culminate with prepping certain aspects of the dinners, lunches, and prepping ahead for even breakfasts. Meal prepping is vital if you are trying to stay on your meal plan and stay on track. Here are some ways that you can meal prep with an Instant Pot, keep to your meal plans, and keep things on track for the week.
Spaghetti Squash Pasta
Pasta is one of the main ways that larger families make it by during the week while staying on budget. You may be wondering how you will be able to do the same thing when you switch to a low-carb meal plan. One way to do this is to go with pasta free options by replacing the pasta with vegetables. You may already know about using cauliflower to replace rice, but one of the other ways is to use spaghetti squash. Simply cut the squash in halve and roast it in the Instant Pot for 5 minutes on high pressure. Remove the squash and use a fork to remove the squash meat. It will come out in a pasta like form that can be used for pasta throughout dinners and lunches through the week. Use just like you would regular pasta.
Shredded meat is one of the easiest and most versatile foods you can make in the Instant Pot for low-carb meals. All you need for this is the meat and some water. You can add salt and pepper to taste as well. Place the meat into the Instant Pot along with a quarter cup of water. Most meats will produce their own juices. Remember to save the run off juices and water as a broth for other recipes later in the week. Set the timer for 1 hour on high pressure. When the meat is fully cooked, shred with a fork, and added the spices. You can use this meat in pasta style meals, salads, low-carb sandwiches, and other meals throughout the week.
When you are prepping for your lunch and snacks through the week on a low-carb diet, one aspect that should not be overlooked is the need for protein. One way you can do this is through boiled eggs. One boiled egg to two a day can be fit into your lunch or snacks. You can make these for the whole week by placing the eggs in a steamer basket in one cup of water in the Instant Pot. Put the Instant Pot setting to 13 minutes on low pressure. Remove the eggs and allow to cool. Add them to your lunches for each week.
A meal that is easy to make and can be used in either lunches or dinners is soup. You can prep several soups for the week using your Instant Pot. Each soup takes about an hour from start to finish, so you could easily prep all your soup based lunches for the week in about two hours, switching between two recipes. The two basic options are the broccoli and cheese Instant Pot soup and the chicken vegetable soup. Start off with your vegetables on sauté in the Instant Pot for about 10 minutes. Add the broth, meat, and other ingredients to the sauté and cover the pot. Set the Instant Pot to 5 minutes on soup.
Keep in mind, with meal prep you need to keep a solid focus on your meal plan. Try to plan meals that use the same meat at least twice during the week. This way you can cook larger amounts and make sure all your meals are covered. Also, make sure the ideas you have during your meal planning stage translate well to Instant Pot options.