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

Welcome back to our next post in the Cooking Meat for the Freezer in the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker! If you happened to miss last week’s post you can catch up by clicking on this link: How to Cook Beef for the Freezer in the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker.

This week we’ll be sharing some tips and recipes focusing on turkey. And just in case you didn’t know, turkey is great every month of the year, not just in November. One of the beautiful things about turkey is that you can easily use it in place of chicken in so many recipes. It allows for a slight change of pace and it’s really easy to cook up lots of it to freeze ahead and add to recipes in a flash. You will want to consider using a smaller turkey, or cutting it up before cooking because they are so much larger than chicken and typically will not fit in an instant pot whole.

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

The Instant Pot Pressure Cooker is a great way to cook a turkey breast.  Be warned though – a whole turkey won’t fit inside a pressure cooker, unless it’s very small.  You’ll want to use a turkey breast or boneless turkey roast instead.

Add at least 2 cups of water or more.  You can also add onions, celery, salt, pepper and other seasonings as you like.

Turkey cook times:

  • Boneless turkey roast: 15-20 minutes thawed or 30-35 minutes frozen
  • Turkey breast with bones: 25-30 minutes thawed or 35-40 minutes frozen

Here’s a quick video for you with tips for cooking a turkey breast in your pressure cooker.

Ideas for using frozen cooked turkey

Substitute the chicken in any of these for Turkey cooked in the instant pot.

Turkey Broccoli Picnic Pita Pockets

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

Creamy Turkey Florentine Quesadillas

White Enchiladas

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

15 Minute Skillet Turkey Curry

Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

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

Easy Turkey and Tortellini  Kale Soup – substitute turkey for the chicken in this recipe.

Turkey Casserole

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

Quick and Easy Chipotle Turkey Bowls

Mandarin Turkey and Rice Bake

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

Easy Turkey Alfredo Pasta Bake

Get more ideas for recipes you can swap Chicken for Turkey in this post of 30 ways to use up leftover Thanksgiving Turkey.  And then there’s also this post 10 Recipes to Use Costco Rotisserie Chicken (or Leftover Turkey) and you’ll find even more ideas for using turkey in this post Ingredient Spotlight: How to Use Leftover Turkey

Tips for freezing cooked turkey

  • Zip top freezer bags, freezer tape and a sharpie or two are your best friends here. Since cooked turkey can be frozen for 3 to 4 months, you’ll want to label each bag and include the date it was cooked.
  • A good rule of thumb is about 3 cups of cooked turkey per bag. If you have a specific recipe in mind for your turkey, 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 turkey before sealing it in the zip top bags to prevent ice build up and freezer burn.
  • 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

What are you cooking in your Instant Pot?

If you own an instant pot, what meats have you already cooked in yours? And if it’s still on your wish list, where would you start? New appliances can be a bit intimidating, but hopefully, you’ll find enough inspiration here to tackle you Instant Pot and be an expert in no time. And for those of you still dreaming of your Instant Pot, you can use your slow cooker in the meantime. Whichever method you choose, having your meats already cooked and frozen sure does cut down the time and stress of fixing dinner.

We’ll have more meats, tips and recipes for you in the coming weeks, so be sure to check back.

 

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Pressure Cooker Homemade Apple Sauce

pressure-cooker-apple-sauce-ingr

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.

[Read more…]

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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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Pressure Cooker Mediterranean Chicken

Pressure Cooker Mediterranean Chicken with Feta

This recipe for Pressure Cooker Mediterranean Chicken started out as a slow cooker recipe.  Then I created it as a skillet recipe.

Now I’ve turned it into a pressure cooker meal.  Every version tastes great, so how do you choose which to make?  It depends on the time you have available.  I know I probably sound like a broken record, but I really want to make this clear.

Even though many pressure cooker recipes call for 15 or less minutes of cook time, it takes much longer than that in total.  You have to factor in the time it takes to reach full pressure and to release the pressure.

For a recipe like this one, the total time is about 35-40 minutes.  That’s starting with frozen chicken tenders.  It’s very convenient and easy to put all the ingredients in the pressure cooker.  And once they’re in there, you can do other things while they cook.

If you have 30-40 minutes at home before dinner time, using the pressure cooker is the way to go.

If you have time in the morning to load a slow cooker, but will be coming in ravenous at the end of the day, use a slow cooker.

If you only have 15 or 20 minutes to fix dinner at the end of the day, use the skillet method.  Speed that up even more by using rotisserie chicken or cooked chicken from your freezer.

Here’s what you’ll need for the Pressure Cooker Mediterranean Chicken:   [Read more…]

Pressure Cooker Chicken Cacciatore Sandwiches

Chicken Cacciatore Sandwich in the Pressure Cooker

I’ve been trying to experiment with the pressure cooker more lately. As I’ve said before, the decision to use a pressure cooker or slow cooker is entirely dependent on your timing. If you would rather get your prep done early in the day and/or you want to eat as soon as you walk in the door in the evening, the slow cooker is the way to go.

On the other hand, if you have 30-40 minutes before dinner and/or you forgot to load the slow cooker in the morning, drag out the pressure cooker.

Recipes often state the cook time for the pressure cooker to be mere minutes. While this is true, it isn’t the whole truth. The cook time doesn’t take into account the amount of time for the cooker to reach full pressure or how long the pressure release takes.

This recipe for Pressure Cooker Chicken Cacciatore Sandwiches is based on the Slow Cooker version. Instead of serving it with pasta, I decided to make a sandwich out of it. We love hot sandwiches, and this was no exception. Sandwich meals are great if you need to eat in shifts or if you’re in a hurry. Sides can be kept simple and it’s easy to pile the filling on a bun.

The ingredients are all very basic, but I failed to snap a photo of them this time.

Chicken Cacciatore Sandwich

I started this with frozen chicken tenders and it worked great.

Pressure Cooker Chicken Cacciatore Sandwiches

Serves: 6-8 servings

Ingredients
  • 2 lb. frozen chicken tenders
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • ¼ cup red wine, broth or water
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • ¾ tsp. basil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Sandwich buns
  • Sliced mozzarella or provolone cheese
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in order listed in pressure cooker, except cheese and buns.
  2. Cook on high pressure for 14 minutes.
  3. Do a quick pressure release.
  4. Remove lid and shred chicken with two forks.
  5. Serve meat on buns topped with cheese.

 

Pressure Cooker Chicken Curry

Chicken Curry in the Pressure Cooker

One of my favorite slow cooker recipes is Chicken Curry.  I’ve also made a quick skillet version of this recipe.  It’s just so good!

This time I decided to try chicken curry in the pressure cooker.  I’ve been experimenting with altering slow cooker recipes for the pressure cooker.  Over all, this works really well.

For this recipe, I started with frozen chicken tenders.  On top of the chicken, I added salsa (nearly any type will work) and curry powder.  I set the pressure cooker to high pressure for 12 minutes.  It takes around 20 minutes to reach full pressure though, so the total time for this recipe is about 35 minutes.  That’s pretty fast, especially since it started with frozen chicken.

Which method you choose – slow cooker, skillet or pressure cooker – entirely depends on the amount of time you have available and when you have that time.  If you have a few minutes to load the slow cooker in the morning, but need dinner done as soon as you walk in the door, then that’s the best method for you.  On the other hand, if you have 35 minutes to wait on dinner to cook in the evening, the pressure cooker is the way to go.

Pressure Cooker Chicken Curry

Serves: 6-8 servings

Ingredients
  • 3 lbs. boneless chicken
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 3 Tbs. curry powder
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 cups rice, cooked
Instructions
  1. Place chicken, onion, salsa and curry powder in pressure cooker.
  2. Set the pressure cooker on high pressure for 12 minutes.
  3. When the cook time is up, do a quick pressure release.
  4. Remove the chicken from the pot.
  5. Add coconut milk to pressure cooker. Stir into sauce.
  6. Return chicken to pot.
  7. Serve over cooked rice.

 

Pressure Cooker Re-do – Jerk Chicken Sandwiches

Pressure cooker jerk chicken sandwiches done

The other day, I decided to alter the recipe for Slow Cooker Jerk Chicken Sandwiches with Cucumber Mango Salsa and make it work for the pressure cooker.  Honestly, I didn’t have high hopes.  I’ve been thinking that all this pressure cooking frenzy going on around the interwebs was a bunch of craziness.

And then I tried it for myself.

Now, I will say that the sandwich meat isn’t as tender in the pressure cooker, but it was still good.  The key to know which appliance to use is know what the timing of your day is like.  If you have time to put the food into the slow cooker in the morning, then that’s the way to go.  But if you have more time in the afternoon (hands on time is still short), and can wait 30 or so minutes for dinner, then the pressure cooker is your friend.

Pressure cooker jerk chicken sandwiches

I used chicken tenders that were still frozen.  I gave them set the pressure cooker for a 12 minute cook time.  The total time it took was about 30 minutes, including the time to come up to pressure, cook and pressure release.

Pressure Cooker Jerk Chicken Sandwiches

Serves: 6-8 servings

Ingredients
  • 2 lbs. frozen chicken tenders
  • 16 oz. jerk marinade
  • 1 mango
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1-2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Rolls, for serving
Instructions
  1. Place chicken, still frozen, in pressure cooker.
  2. Pour jerk marinade over chicken.
  3. Set timer on pressure cooker for 12 minutes.
  4. When cooking time is done, do a quick pressure release.
  5. Shred meat and serve.
  6. While chicken cooks, peel and dice the mango. Dice the cucumber. Toss together with lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

Using a Pressure Cooker

pressurecooker

Several months ago I bought a pressure cooker (here’s the link to the Cuisnart Pressure Cooker I bought).  I purchased it because I was curious.  People had left comments on the blog and Facebook mentioning that they were using one or asking questions.  So in the name of blog research, I hit the “buy now” button on Amazon.

I’m still learning to make full use of it, but I’ve discovered a few things that I really do like it for.   [Read more…]

Pressure Cooker Macaroni and Cheese

I bought a pressure cooker several months ago. I’ve been slowly learning to really make use of it and recently I decided to make more of an effort to try some new things.

I’ve got a post planned soon with some general info and ideas on using a pressure cooker, but first I wanted to share this recipe for Pressure Cooker Macaroni and Cheese.

Pressure Cooker Macaroni and Cheese

 

Of all the different mac and cheese recipes I’ve tried, this one is the winner.  It’s creamy, cheesy and homemade.  And it’s faster than the other methods.  I think it’s even faster than my other mac and cheese.  You know, the one with the processed cheese product, which I do love, but isn’t very healthy.

I love that this recipe is homemade, but doesn’t require you to make the sauce separately from the macaroni.  It’s fewer dishes to wash and easier prep.   [Read more…]