Saturday, January 9, 2016

It's Not your Mom's Pressure Cooker

Most years for Christmas I get a new kitchen toy something to make my life easier. In the past it's been things like a new crock pot, a big roaster, an immersion blender, and last year I got a new  Kitchen Aid mixer. This year it was a electric pressure cooker, I am having so much fun with it learning how to use it and once again enjoying being in my kitchen, Sometimes I think my husband gets me new kitchen toys in order to re spark my interest in cooking. 

So far I have made red beans and rice w/ sausage using dried beans, a beef stew/soup, plain rice , chicken soup, and a ton of turkey broth. 

I have had in the past a stove top pressure cooker just like my mom and grandma used to , that saved many a dinner but it met a untimely death by falling to the floor one to many times with the kids doing the the dishes. I loved it but it did have it limitations, mainly that I had to stand there and watch it closely and in a house full of kids standing at the stove at dinner prep time, also known as the crazy hour that isn't a easy thing to do. It's the time of day when kids are hungry, homework needs to be done and more often then not someone needs to be picked up or dropped off. Plus I was always a little worried I would blow up the kitchen.

With my electric pressure cooker all this is solved for example the other day we had company over and I really hadn't thought out lunch out ahead of time. So while eating breakfast I thought of soup, an easy meal to feed a lot of people and I have the ingredients needed on hand, and it was a chilly day. But my chicken thighs were in the freezer, we were getting ready to take the kids on a walk to channel some of their energy, and lunch was going to need to be ready when we got back. So I set up the 6 year old and 9 year old that were on hand with a cutting board and knifes and set them to work cutting up celery, the 3 year old was given the job of washing carrots, and I chopped up an onion. All of this was placed in the pressure cooker along with 8 very frozen chicken thighs some seasoning, water and the lid was placed on top. The pressure cooker was set to the right setting and off we went for our walk, when we got back the soup was done. I boiled up some noodles on the stove, I could have added dry noddles to the soup to cook for a few minutes but we needed to use gluten free ones and regular so on the stove was easier. I pulled out the chicken and de boned it adding the chicken back into the soup, adjust seasoning and lunch was served. No need for me to watch it cook, to even be in the house, and my lack of pre planning was not an issue.

I have also enjoyed the timer on mine, one day I wanted to meet my husband at the gym when he got out of work so we could encourage each other to get some exercise but that was during the dinner prep crazy hour. So earlier in the day I tossed frozen beef, potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, beef broth, and seasoning into the pressure cooker and set the delay for 2 hours and when we walked into the house 3 hours later dinner was done. Yes I could have used my crock pot but once again that issue with pre planning once I was so good at it, but now not so much, the meal would have needed to be in the crock pot first thing in the morning not at 2 in the afternoon with dinner planned for 5.

There are many models of electric pressure cookers out there that all do different things, making it a multi use item. The one I have I would consider a entry model, it will do a lot but not as much as say a One Pot Pressure cooker will do. It may replace my rice cooker and I think will serve the need of a second slow cooker time will tell.

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