How to Cook Chicken for the Freezer in the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

In the past several weeks we’ve enjoyed a series on how to cook meats and proteins for the freezer in the Instant Pot. We started with Turkey, followed by Beef and Beans. Last week we focused on Pork and this week we’ll wrap up our series with how to cook chicken for the freezer in the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker. Several of you have joined us for the facebook live posts as we’ve cooked each of these in the Instant Pot and talked about ways to serve each meat. Your comments and ideas have made this series even more fun to do together and hopefully, you have been inspired to prep meats and proteins for your own freezer. If you don’t have an instant pot yet, I can’t tell you how much I love mine! You can get one here.

You can find the tips from the rest of this series at the Cooking Meats and Proteins for the freezer in the Instant Pot page. And if you’re a visual learner, you can check out this quick video where we cook a whole chicken in the Instant Pot, step by step

And now, let’s cook some chicken in the Instant Pot

Making a whole chicken is easy.  Take it out of the packaging.  There may be some parts in the cavity – heart, liver etc.  These could be in a bag or loose.  Either way, remove them from the cavity of the chicken.

Place the chicken in the Instant Pot or pressure cooker.  Season with salt and pepper and add at least 2 cups of water to the pot.  Set the cook time for 25-30 minutes.

When the cook time is finished, do a quick pressure release and the chicken is ready to use.  I like to shred or chop the meat and store in freezer bags in the freezer to use for quick meals later.

Need some ideas for how to use up that delicious chicken? Here’s 44 that will get your mouth watering!

Shredded Chicken for the Freezer

  • Chili Chicken Egg Rolls are great anytime, but especially when you need a main course that can be held in your hand, like soccer practice, picnics, football season or fill-in-the-blank ball season. And don’t be intimidated by the rolling process, you’ll be a pro by the third one, and then you’ll be so glad you learned!
  • Chicken and Dumplings are easy, tasty and the ultimate in comfort foods!
  • For a quick little Caribbean inspired sandwich that leaves plenty of time to enjoy the outdoors in the evening, you can’t go wrong with these Jerk Chicken Sandwiches
  • Hawaiian BBQ Sandwiches are an easy twist on an old favorite.
  • Chicken Bacon Ranch Sandwiches are the best of chicken, bacon, ranch and slaw on a bun.
  • The cilantro and lime add a refreshing burst of flavor for these Cilantro Lime Chicken Sandwiches

Chopped Chicken for the Freezer

  • Quesadillas are always a nice option and these Chicken Florentine Quesadillas are a nice break from the usual flavors without going so exotic that you can’t find the ingredients included.
  • This Chicken Fiesta Skillet makes a tasty one-dish meal served over tortillas or corn bread with some tortilla chips to the side.
  • Quick White Chicken Chicken Chili goes from frozen chicken to steaming chili on the table in under 30 minutes. Win win!

  • Chipotle Chile Chicken Nachos are a 15-minute meal that you won’t want to turn your back on once you’ve set it on the table. It will disappear in a matter of minutes!
  • Love the idea of chicken casserole with a crumbly topping but can’t afford all the fat and calories in the usual recipe? Then this lightened version of  Chicken Casserole is the answer to your dilemma.
  • Cheesy Chicken Casserole is the epitome of two simple words. Comfort. Food!

  • This Peach Chutney Chicken Salad is not your usual chicken salad when you add peach chutney, curry powder, and croissants.
  • When you’re craving Chinese, but your clock says no and your arteries can’t afford the deep fried meat, try this Cheater Chinese Chicken
  • Once you make this quick Tomato Basil Chicken Soup, you’ll never want to go back to canned soup again. Ever!

  • Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup is not just for sick days. It’s also for busy days when you don’t want to use canned soup but really want some comfort food.
  • Chili Chicken Egg Rolls are great anytime, but especially when you need a main course that can be held in your hand, like soccer practice, picnics, football season or fill-in-the-blank ball season. And don’t be intimidated by the rolling process, you’ll be a pro by the third one, and then you’ll be so glad you learned!
  • Chicken Florentine Pizza makes for a nice twist on an all-time favorite. Using a prepared crust cuts down on prep time and you can even grill them if you’re feeling adventurous!

  • Garlic Chicken Pizza is the ultimate in flavorful cheesy yumminess!
  • Chicken Shepherd’s pie is the perfect use for cooked chicken and leftover veggies, or fresh veggies if you prefer.
  • Skillet meals are great for quick prep and less mess, and this Cajun Chicken Skillet adds a spicy cajun kick and pasta for a hearty one-dish meal.

  • This Skillet Chicken Curry is a tasty skillet meal with a delightful combination of curry and peach chutney.

As you can clearly see, there’s no shortage of ways to use cooked chicken from the freezer! The sky’s the limit on ways to feed an entire family quickly and inexpensively when you take a few minutes to prep your meats and freeze them ahead of time.

Which of the recipes from the Cooking Meats and Proteins for the Freezer in the Instant Pot have been your favorites? We would all love to hear your favorite recipes and ideas in the comments below. And thank you for joining us!

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3 Things that Work in the Kitchen This Week – April 17

1.  Turkey in the Pressure Cooker – for sandwiches instead of the freezer

The other day on Facebook Live, I showed how to make a turkey breast (or boneless turkey breast roast, in this case) in the Instant Pot.  My intention was to put the meat in the freezer to use for recipes.  We ended up using it for sandwiches and things though.  Mia and I got home late from a soccer game the night I made the turkey.  It was waiting for us, since I’d left it on “keep warm” all day.

We sliced and chopped some of the meat and served it over quick quinoa and brown rice (more on that below), topped with shredded cheddar, salsa, lettuce and sour cream.  Yum!  The rest of the turkey got sliced and put in the fridge.  It made for great sandwiches over the next few days.

2. Quick Quinoa and Brown Rice combo

I know I shared this a few weeks ago, but I’m sharing again because these packets are so good and versatile.  This isn’t sponsored in any way, I’m just sharing a product I love.

I will say that for a family meal, this is not the way to go.  But for 1-2 people that need a quick, nutritious meal these packets are great.  They only have 2 servings in each packet and they cost $2.something  at the grocery.  I picked up a 6-pack at Costco the other day for $10 something. Cheaper but still kind of pricey.

But a 90 second spin through the microwave to have a great base for leftover meat, veggies, eggs, cheese etc – you can’t beat that.

3.  Money Saving Mom is hosting an Eat at Home Challenge

I’m so excited to partner with Crystal from Money Saving Mom for an Eat at Home Challenge.  Crystal will be on Facebook Live every morning this week, cooking from the Eat at Home Slow Cooker Plan.  We’d love to have you join in!

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How to Cook Beef for the Freezer in the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

With the arrival of spring, our days include more outdoor activities than these past few months. It’s a wonderful shift, but if your family is anything like mine, it can make for some crazy evenings trying to get dinner on the table. For the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing how to cook different meats for the freezer in the  Instant Pot Pressure Cooker. Knowing how to cook meats quickly in the pressure cooker and being able to stockpile your cooked meats in your freezer will allow time to enjoy both a healthy meal and family time on these longer spring and summer days.

How to cook beef for the freezer in the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

First up, let’s look at cooking beef in the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker. Here’s a quick video for you with tips for cooking beef in your pressure cooker.

Ideas for using frozen cooked beef

Beef and Noodles

  • BBQ beef for hot sandwiches or Korean beef Haystacks or Tacos.

  • Beef pot pie – Try adapting this Chicken Pot Pie by using beef broth and cream of mushroom or celery soup.  If you prefer, you can make your own white sauce instead of the soup, with this recipe for white sauce.

  • Beef tacos – add taco sauce to the beef to season it.

  • Beef Vegetable Soup

 

Tips for freezing cooked beef

  • You’ll want to have plenty of zip top freezer bags, freezer tape and a sharpie or two on hand. Even though you think you’ll remember what is in each freezer bag, it’s too easy to confuse bags once they’ve been frozen for a bit. Especially since cooked beef can be frozen for 3 to 4 months.
  • Go ahead and label them as shredded beef roast, along with the date you cooked the beef. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did later. If you have a specific recipe in mind for your beef, you’ll find some good ones listed in the next section, then include further prep instructions and sides that you may want to add.
  • Be sure to cool your cooked beef before sealing it in the zip top bags to prevent ice and freezer burn to set in.
  • If you are new to pressure cooking and the instant pot, check out my honest review of two brands I own, the Instant Pot vs. Cuisinart

Which recipe will you start with?

For those of you with an instant pot and the rest of us who now have one at the top of our wish list, it doesn’t take long to see how handy this little powerhouse kitchen appliance can be. So which of these beef recipes will you be fixing for dinner this week? Share with us in the comments and be sure to check back next week for another post on cooking a different meat for the freezer in your instant pot.

And if you don’t own an instant pot, you can use your slow cooker for this too.  Either way, it’s so nice to have the meat cooked and ready to go when you need it.

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Instant Pot Beans for the Freezer

I’ve been making this recipe for years in the slow cooker.  It’s one of my favorites, because you get a lot of bang for your buck and for your time.  Using the Instant Pot makes it really easy too.  Not that the slow cooker is hard to use, but the Instant Pot (or any pressure cooker) makes it faster.

This recipe makes a lot and that’s a good thing!  Freeze the beans in 1-2 cup quantities, depending on your family size.  You can use them just like you would canned black beans.  A quick thaw int he microwave and they’re ready to be added to:

  • tacos
  • quesadillas
  • enchiladas
  • casseroles or soups
  • mash them to make “refried” beans

 

The kids love having these in the freezer for a quick snack or late meal.  Grab a tortilla, cheese and any other fixings you like and you have a healthy, quick meal.

Since I’ve made these a number of times, I’ve learned that you can substitute for the diced jalepeno.  I don’t always have a fresh pepper on hand, so I’ve used a can of diced green chilies or diced jalapeno instead.  Any of these options works fine.

For you visual learners, you can watch the facebook live post on cooking beans for the freezer in the instant pot or slow cooker.

Instant Pot Beans for the Freezer
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. dry pinto beans
  • 1 lb. dry black beans
  • 10 big cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 4 oz can diced green chilies or diced jalapeno
  • 1½ tsp. cumin
  • 2 Tbs. Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs. black pepper
  • water - enough to cover the beans, but no higher than half way mark on pot
Instructions
  1. Sort and rinse beans. Place in the instant pot.
  2. Add remaining ingredients to the pot.
  3. Set manual cook time for 25-30 minutes, depending on how soft you like the beans.
  4. Do a natural pressure release.
  5. Mash or keep them whole.
  6. Can be frozen for later use.

 

Instant Pot Beans for the Freezer

 

 

Pressure Cooker Homemade Apple Sauce

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Of all the delicious things there are to eat in the world, I’m pretty sure that warm, homemade apple sauce is near the top of the list.  You must give this recipe a try soon!

This is the pressure cooker version of my slow cooker apple sauce recipe.  The slow cooker makes great apple sauce, but it does take a while.  That’s fine if it works for your day, but if you decide at dinner time that you’d like homemade apple sauce, you’ll want to use the pressure cooker.

The total time for this recipe to cook is about 20 minutes.  You’ll program the pressure cooker for just 5 minutes, but it will take some time for the pot to come to full pressure.  Still, this is totally doable for a weeknight meal, especially if you have help peeling and slicing apples.  Once you’ve got everything in the pot, it’s all hands-off, leaving you free for other things.

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Instant Pot vs Cuisinart – an honest pressure cooker review

instant-pot-vs-cuisinart-an-honest-pressure-cooker-review

 

If you spend any time at all online looking at recipes, I’m sure you’ve seen the buzz about pressure cookers.  I’ve been a little slow to jump on the pressure cooker band wagon – and honestly I’m not sure I’d say I’m really on the band wagon – but an electric pressure cooker is a great tool for getting dinner on the table.  In this post I want to share with you my honest thoughts about pressure cookers, whether you need to own one or not and what I think of the two major brands.

First of all, I’m only discussing electric pressure cookers here.  I don’t have any experience with the stove top type, but these new electric pressure cookers are safe and easy to use.

The Pressure Cookers I own:

Cuisinart

I bought my Cuisinart pressure cooker a couple years ago.  Most of the time I’ve owned it, I used it for Mac & Cheese (best recipe for that classic you’ll ever eat!)  A few months ago, I decided to seriously try some recipes in it.  I’d been about to write it off as too expensive for just making mac & cheese.  I’ve since made several different recipes in the Cuisinart, most of them adaptations of slow cooker recipes.  My Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker is a six-quart.

Instant Pot

I’ve only owned the Instant Pot for a few weeks.  I bought it specifically so that I could compare the two brands for you.  I’ve used it to make several different recipes during the time I’ve had it.  My Instant Pot is a six-quart.

 

instant-pot-vs-cuisinart

Similarities:

Both the Cuisinart and Instant Pot can be used to brown, saute, and cook under pressure.  The controls for both are easy to use and understand.  Both are easy to wash and care for.

Differences:

Interior cooking pot

The Cuisinart has a non-stick cooking pot.  Clean up is really quick and easy.

Instant Pot has a stainless steel cooking pot.  It’s still easy to clean, and a lot of people prefer the stainless steel.

Slow Cooker function

Instant Pot has a slow cooker function.  One thing about slow cooking in the Instant Pot I didn’t like was not being able to see through the lid.  I really like being able to see my food cooking through the glass lid.  They do sell glass lids for the Instant Pot though, so if saving space in your kitchen is important, you could easily ditch the slow cooker and only use the Instant Pot.

The Cuisinart does not have a slow cooker function.

Delay timer

I love the delay timer on the Instant Pot.  It’s perfect for cooking oatmeal.  I can set it up at night and time it to be ready at breakfast.  Oatmeal cooks better in the pressure cooker than it does in the slow cooker.

The Cuisinart does not have a delay timer on it.

And the winner is:

Instant Pot!  In my opinion, if you’re going to buy one of these appliances, Instant Pot is the way to go.  It’s extra features mean it out-performs the Cuisinart.

But do you even need a pressure cooker?

I don’t think everyone needs one of these.  Here are a few guidelines to know if it would be useful to you:

Do you have 30 minutes before dinner to cook?  Pressure cooker meals – even the fastest that only require 12 minutes of cook time – take at least 25-40 minutes to cook, including the time it takes to reach full pressure.  If you’re cooking a large cut of meat or full pot of something else, it could take longer.  Of course, it’s all hands off cook time once it’s in the pot, so you can go do something else while it cooks.

If you don’t own a slow cooker and want to invest in a multi-function appliance, then a pressure cooker is for you.

If you don’t mind or really enjoy learning to use a new kitchen tool, this is a fun way to do it.  It does have a small learning curve though.  Mostly for me it’s been getting used to it so I can know what it can really do for me.  I had the same experience with the slow cooker.  The more I used it, the more I understood how to cook with it and the more helpful the appliance was to me.

 


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