How to cook Pork for the Freezer in the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

By now I hope you’ve recovered from all the excitement of the Easter weekend. Leftovers have been enjoyed as creative new dishes. The house has been set back to rights and there were plenty of moments together to make you smile for days to come. I also hope the last few weeks have made you more familiar with your Instant Pot and the handy tool it can be in relieving dinnertime stress. You’ll find a page with links to the tips and recipes for several types of meat and proteins in the past several weeks and today it’s all about how to cook pork for the freezer in the Instant Pot pressure cooker.

How to Cook Pork Roast in a Pressure Cooker

Here’s a quick video on cooking a pork loin roast in the Instant Pot, along with lots of ideas for how to use your cooked pork when you pull it out of the freezer

The Instant Pot or other pressure cooker makes a great way to cook pork for the freezer.  I will say, it’s not going to be much faster than doing it in the oven, but it is more convenient.  I love that I can set up the Instant Pot right after bringing the meat home from the grocery and start it cooking.  I let it switch to keep warm and then come back on my own time table to shred the meat and put it in the freezer.

For a pork roast or pork loin, add 2-4 cups of water to the instant pot along with the roast.  Season the roast in any way you like.  Simple salt and pepper is the most versatile, but you might also like dried herbs, paprika, crushed red pepper or other seasonings.

Set the pot for a cook time of 55-60 minutes.  If the roast is frozen, add 5-10 minutes of cook time.  It will take longer for the pot to reach pressure when cooking from frozen so you’ll also need to factor that in.

Most of the recipes below are different ways to cook pork, but they make a great jumping off point for using pre-cooked pork you have on hand.  For instance, instead of making the taco recipes from scratch, use cooked and shredded pork, add barbecue sauce and serve in tacos topped with your choice of fixings. We love sauteed green peppers and onions on barbecue tacos!

A Few Classics

  • This Italian Herb Salted Pork Roast only takes a few minutes to prep and the results are fantastic!
  • When cumin is involved, dinner is pretty much guaranteed to be tasty.  This Cumin Pork Roast also calls for black beans so you get even more bang for your buck.
  • My Pulled Pork recipe starts with cooked pork, some tasty spices and the crock pot for a fuss-free dinner that’s sure to please a crowd.
  • Pulled Pork Stuffed Sweet Potatoes are a great way to use cooked pork for a quick and healthy dinner

Mexican Inspired Pork Dishes

A Collection or Pork Sandwiches

Some Tasty Pork Recipes from around the World

  • Slow Cooker BBQ Tacos will make you wonder why you’ve never tried a Korean BBQ taco.
  • Mediterranean Pork with Couscous is a comfort food dish that can be prepared in the Instant Pot but will taste more like it’s been cooking all day long.
  • Brazilian Feijoada is one of those recipes that takes a little more time, but it is so very worth it!
  • If it’s an Asian twist that you prefer on dinner, try this Thai Style Pork that pairs well served on a bed of Basmati rice

The more familiar you become with your Instant Pot, the more recipes you’ll find to tweak slightly and use some of the pork that you’ve cooked and frozen to cut down on dinnertime prep.

Let your imagination be your guide for these ideas, but I promise if you have the pork ready in the freezer, you’re just minutes away from having dinner on the table!

 

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10 Graduation Party Menus Plus Desserts and Snacks!

It’s that time of year when our graduates take the stage with caps and gowns and march off to get their diplomas and take on the world! Graduating is a great milestone and it’s something that should be celebrated.

But planning a graduation party menu can feel a bit overwhelming. Feeding a crowd can be a lot of work, and picking a menu that pleases everyone isn’t always easy. But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered!


Whether you are looking for a casual feast in the backyard, a pizza party, or a special sit down family dinner after your Grad gets home, these ten menu ideas will inspire you with some fun ideas and make planning your meal easy and fun. There’s plenty of different kinds of meals to fit all kinds of personalities and preferences, and I must say that they all have me drooling.

Don’t forget to read to the bottom for all the dessert and cookie ideas! Instead of adding one idea to each menu, you can pick your guest of honor’s favorite…or make it a dessert bar and serve a few!

Easy and Casual BBQ Feast

Super easy BBQ Peach Pulled Pork in the slow cooker, or any other easy slow cooker BBQ sandwich for that matter!

The pork can be made ahead of time and frozen, then heated in the crockpot.  The baked beans cook in the crockpot and are easy to put together.  The only thing that will have to be done the day of the party is tossing the dressing on the Asian Broccoli Salad.

Pair this with favorite sides like these:

potatosaladdone_thumb

bakedbeansdone_thumb

asian broccoli salad done

Asian Broccoli Salad

Add desserts and probably potato chips and perhaps some cut fruit!

Grill Out

Get out the grill and make it a backyard party!  Serve any of these and your crowd will be raving.

And when you pair these smoky meats with some classic sides, you have the makings of a winning combination!

Plus, you can get more backyard barbecue side dish ideas in this post here!

Nice Family Dinner

If you are thinking a nice sit-down dinner at home after the ceremony is the way to go, these recipes are mouthwatering and so easy!

italian seasoned salt pork tenderloin done

To make this meal easy and special, pair the tenderloin or chicken with:

Enchilada Buffet

Make a buffet of a couple big pans of different kinds of Enchiladas and let everyone serve themselves!

Some of our family favorites include:

white enchiladas

enchiladas with chili-tomato sauce

Serve these with fresh things like:

Need more side dish inspiration? Check out this post about what to serve with Enchiladas!

Build-Your-Own Fajitas or Tacos

Cook up meat in your crock pot or instant pot. Set out the meat, grilled veggies and a plethora of favorite toppings and let everyone build their own fajita or taco!

You could also grill up some chicken breasts in advance or buy a few rotisserie chickens and have them all prepped and ready to go for the big day to make one of these tasty options.

Serve them up with:

Teens Party Menu

Convert this snackadium into a teen’s dream meal! Both of these strombolis were part of a meal I made for super bowl, but with a few little tweaks it’ll be a great “main course” for your graduate and his or her friends.

Keep it simple and add a variety of chips and dips, chilled drinks and cookies and candy.  Anything they can grab, munch and head back out to dance or talk with friends.

Sandwich and Salads Buffet

Make up some easy sandwich trays that your crowd can pick and choose from!

  • Get a bag King’s Hawaiian rolls or other small buns to make a plate of small ham sandwiches and a bag of croissant rolls for Chicken Salad Sandwiches. You can get Virginia Brand ham in the deli section and have it shaved.
  • We love this easy Peach Chutney Chicken salad for sandwiches. So delicious and moist!

Serve these with a plate of assorted cheese slices, mayonnaise and mustard and almost homemade pickle slices.

 

Round out your menu with an easy pasta salad, a veggie tray with dip and some chips.

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Pizza Party

Whip up a bunch of homemade pizza and make a party out of it! You can make this easy dough in advance, and even make super easy awesome pizza sauce. Or buy your favorite premade crust and sauce and top the pizzas in any way you like. Here’s a few of our favorite pizza combos.

Serve this with a veggie tray with ranch dip, and a fresh fruit tray and fruit dip and some favorite chilled drinks.  I love root beer floats as a dessert option with pizza!

Spaghetti Feast

Cook up a bunch of pasta and serve it with one of these easy and delicious homemade sauces and meatballs! These meatballs are freezer friendly so you can make up a big batch in advance and they are absolutely delicious!

Round out the menu with garlic toast and an easy salad! Here are a couple more side dish ideas, too.

Brats or Dogs Your Way

Cook up a bunch of dogs and brats on the grill or stove top and let your people go to town topping them however they like.

You can serve this with:

Add a bowl of chilled melon balls or just an easy plate of watermelon slices and cantaloupe chunks.

Snacks

Want to have a few snack foods on hand for easy munching? Here are a couple of our favorite snack mixes and other snack ideas that are really easy to make!

Dessert Ideas

Clearly no celebration is complete without dessert! Or better yet – desserts! Make one or more of these and your graduate will feel like the party is complete.

derby-pie

peanut butter fluff pie done

lemon cheesecake dessert slice

tuxedo bars done 2

blue velvet cupcakes 2

School color cupcakesBlue Velvet Cupcakes, Red Velvet, Green Velvet, Orange Velvet, Purple Velvet

Here’s a handy tip on how to cut cake to feed a crowd!

Cookies

Narrowing down your favorite recipes to include in your menu is sure to be easier than choosing a college major these days. Especially since any of them will leave you at the top of the class when it comes to a graduation party!

Pin this post!

 

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Hawaiian BBQ Sandwiches (inspired by Earl of Sandwich)

When we were in Disney World a few weeks ago, we had dinner one night at the Earl of Sandwich in Downtown Disney.  My oldest son and I shared a Hawaiian BBQ Sandwich.

It’s stacked with thinly sliced ham, grilled chicken, Swiss cheese, pineapple and barbeque sauce.  Amazing!

Here’s what you’ll need:   [Read more…]

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23 Grill Recipes for Weeknight Dinners

Grill recipes for weeknight dinners

I love using grill recipes to get dinner on the table.  It’s quick.  There are no pans to clean.  And it doesn’t heat up the kitchen.

Although I like to grill chicken legs or other cuts of meat with bones, I usually stick with quicker-to-cook foods for our weeknight fare.  I’m a lazy griller.  I like to throw the meat on, walk away to finish the side dishes and come back to flip the meat to the other side.  I know this isn’t the way the experts do it, but it works for getting dinner on the table fast.

(I do have a fantastic BBQ Rib recipe that requires a bit more babysitting.  It is so worth it though!)

One of my favorite time savers is to grill a lot of boneless chicken and store it in the freezer for quick meals.

freezing barbecue chicken

And recently, I stumbled on this super, simple way to marinate chicken for grilling.

easy freezer marinades

Let’s get to some quick weeknight recipes:  [Read more…]

Teriyaki BBQ Chicken Legs in the Slow Cooker

3 ingredients and a slow cooker.  This couldn’t be simpler to throw together.

And it’s really good too!  I’m not sure why I thought to mix Teriyaki  and BBQ sauces, but the combination makes a flavorful sauce that was a hit with the kids.

Here’s what you’ll need:  [Read more…]

How to Make Lick-Your-Chops, Gnaw-the-Bone BBQ Ribs

I didn’t think I liked ribs.  I only made them because I had them in the freezer and I knew the men and boys in the house would like them.

But, oh my goodness!  These were delicious.  Perfect summer meal.  4-napkin meal.  Wow!

I asked all of you how to fix ribs back in May.  You came through with all kinds of great recipes and methods.  Check out the comments in that post.  Readers also emailed me and added recipes to Facebook.  Someone mentioned a dry rub from Pig Stand, a restaurant in Oklahoma.  My family was *this close* to making a detour on our Colorado trip in search of Pig Stand.

I took parts of many recipes to come up with this method of cooking the ribs.  It was easy, but does take several hours.  Here’s what you’ll need: [Read more…]

The Secret of Barbecuing Chicken Legs on a Gas Grill

It could be that I’m the last one in on this secret.  But just in case there’s someone else out there who doesn’t know, I’m going to share it with you.

I’m a very impatient cook.  You might have caught on about that fact since most of the recipes on this site can be made (hands-on prep) in just a few minutes.

For this reason, I’ve never had luck grilling chicken that has bones.  I do great with boneless chicken breasts.  Pork chops aren’t too hard (not including one fire incident the neighbor kids still talk about).  Smoked sausage or ham slices are no problem.

But chicken with bones is a whole ‘nuther deal.  Memorial Day weekend we had lots of company and I bought a bunch of chicken legs.  I planned to do them in the oven, just because I feared burning them beyond recognition if I put them on the grill.  But my mom talked me into doing it and I’m glad she did.  Those legs were scrumptious – smokey and sticky with bbq sauce.  Mmmmm!

The secret?  [Read more…]

Stocking Your Freezer with Grilled Chicken and Using it for BBQ Chicken Fajitas

When we went to Gatlinburg with family a few weeks ago, we took turns preparing a meal for everyone.  I decided to bring BBQ Chicken Fajitas, but I wanted to do most of the cooking at home.  I ran across this post on $5 Dinners, where Erin talks about batch cooking on the grill.  This method made it possible for me to take dinner for 16 people and have it prepared quickly and with very little effort.

[Read more…]

BBQ Ham Steak on the Grill

bbq ham done

In the quest for a quick summer meal, I don’t think you can do better than ham steak on the grill.  It doesn’t heat up the kitchen, there are very few dishes to wash and it’s quick.  You can even throw it on the grill frozen, which is great if you fail to plan ahead to thaw it out.

[Read more…]