How My Instant Pot Saved Dinner (& Lots Of Money)
Around the time of Black Friday 2016, every person on the internet was raving about the Instant Pot. I’m a ruthless skeptic, so I figured it was just another trend that would likely die off before it ever got around to me. After all, I already had a crock pot, an oven, and a microwave. Why would I need yet another kitchen appliance that collects dust and takes up space?
Although, I didn’t feel a compelling need to make my own yogurt, the buzz still got to me. I caught the fever and succumbed to Prime.
I was slightly concerned about the possibility of a user-error-induced explosion, so I joined a couple of Facebook groups and decided to start simple: chili. Lo and behold, it did (in 15 minutes) exactly what takes my slow cooker eight hours.
Instantly, I understood the allure of the Instant Pot. (See what I did there?) My chili was good, y’all. And 15 minutes!
I’ve since retired my crockpot entirely, and in fact, I rarely use my oven! I’ve been trying all sorts of recipes and really enjoying “George” (that’s what I’ve named my IP, don’t judge). Now, when meal-planning, I consider what works for George and When I meal plan now at least two of my weekly meals are IP-friendly. Still skeptical? Allow me to count the reasons I love the Instant Pot:
1. Energy Efficient
Did you know that the Instant Pot uses up to 70% less electricity than other kitchen appliances? It uses less water, is insulated, reduces cooking time (and therefore overall energy use), and my kitchen doesn’t get hot in the summer when I use it!
2. Frozen, Not Fresh
I’ve never been great at using my freezer — it tends to be a black hole that leftovers go into and emerge years later with 10 layers of freezer burn. The act of taking meat out and letting it thaw in the fridge for a day seems to elude me.
As soon as I found out that you can put frozen meat directly into the Instant Pot, my life was changed. You can put chicken breasts, thighs, roasts, you name it, into the IP and add a little more time and it will be indiscernible from fresh meat. Which means I can buy more meat in bulk (yay, Costco!) and save it. I’m saving a ton of money on meat because I’m actually using all the surplus.
3. Less Water Usage
This might seem minor, but when the Instant Pot can do the work of a bunch of appliances in one, I have fewer dishes to wash. I pop my IP in the dishwasher and have no need for extra saute pans. In time, this will save me money because dishwashers aren’t cheap to run!
4. Defrosting and Reheating
Creating batch freezer meals (Once a Month Meals has a good guide for this) is helpful, but being able to reheat them directly in the Instant Pot is great. It means I’m eating out less because I have Ziploc bags of meals pretty much always available in the fridge for me. For a single mom of a toddler, creating large batches of food that can be eaten for weeks to come is a huge time and money saver!
5. Beans, Beans, the Magical Fruit
With the Instant Pot, I can use dried beans instead of canned which turns into tremendous savings. Dry beans can be purchased in bulk at significant savings at just about any grocery store. Beans are some of the cheapest ingredients and a major component of a lot of IP recipes such as soups, stews, and casseroles.
6. Homemade Stock
You can also make your own homemade beef, chicken, or vegetable stock. This saves precious pennies over buying the pre-made versions.
7. Which All Adds Up To Saving Money!
There’s a ton of ways to save money with the Instant Pot. If you’re the type of person who typically buys pre-hardboiled eggs, you’ll find it’s so easy in the IP that it’s totally worth doing (and they peel SO nicely!) Not to mention, yogurt and rice, and the list goes on…
If you’ve been hesitant, just go for it. It will transform your meal planning, simplify dinnertime (or all the meals!), and, of course, save both time and money.