by Geoff Rand

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Time.  I challenge anyone to truthfully tell me they think they have enough of it.  I often find lack of available time an obstacle to preparing, cooking, and ultimately eating, healthy meals.  So when I recently heard about the Instant Pot and its insanely short cooking times, I was intrigued.  Previously, I only knew of pressure cookers’ more nefarious purposes, but after some research into their cooking history and safety features, I felt comfortable purchasing one.

Now, I’m a complete idiot when it comes to most things in the kitchen, but I can follow directions.  One Amazon search later, and boom, Paleo Cooking with your Instant Pot was on its way to me.  I’m still going though the book, but there are 80 recipes, most only taking 6-10 minutes to cook.  Awesome!

The sirloin steak recipe I chose to try used some very simple ingredients and just a three-hour marinade.  It suggested a 4-minute cook time for a medium steak.  I prefer my steak to not have that “meat taste” and always ask for it to be cooked to “dental records” when I eat out.  So, I opted to double the cook time.

Eight minutes later, the Instant Pot finished, but a check of the steak still showed some red inside.  It was probably between a medium-well to well-done level.  I put it back in for another 2 minutes and reset the timer.

Bingo.  Grey throughout and surprisingly dry even after being cooked in the marinade.  It was nearly perfect.  I found the ability to check the meat and easily put it back in for additional time a great attribute of the Instant Pot.  I still prefer the charring only a grill can provide, but the time savings and ability to cook indoors when outside temperatures are uncomfortable for grilling, make up for the Instant Pot’s shortcomings.

While I'll never understand why someone would want his or her steak to be juicy or have red showing inside, I’m confident the Instant Pot could provide those results if you reduced the time to what the recipe suggests.

I added some previously cooked sweet potatoes and some spring greens to complete the meal.  Quite tasty, and so quick and easy.  I’m looking forward to trying other recipes in the book.

The Instant Pot comes in several sizes and there’s even a Bluetooth version that allows you to start, stop, or monitor your Instant Pot remotely, if desired.  The functions are simple enough that you could prepare the meal in a bag and leave directions for a spouse or responsible child to start the cooking so it is ready when you get home.  However, most of the recipes have such ridiculously short cook times that you’d often be able to throw it in the cooker right as you walk in the door and be just fine.  Another benefit of the Instant Pot is the ability to be used as a slow cooker if you prefer to not use the pressurized settings.  The Paleo Cooking With Your Instant Pot cookbook also has a slow cooker variation for each meal if you want to use that instead.  I've also found endless Instant Pot recipes on Pinterest.

Preliminary results show the Instant Pot might be a game changer for me that could potentially eliminate the obstacle of time that I’ve been experiencing when trying to eat better.   Whether you are new to healthy cooking or a veteran, an Instant Pot and this cookbook might be a worthy purchase, especially if you plan to participate in the Eat & Exercise Challenge, which is just around the corner.  Making healthy eating more convenient is a key hurdle to overcome on your way to creating long-lasting, healthy habits.  

Have a favorite pressure cooker recipe?  Share a link in the comments.

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