Growing up, my mom did not own a pressure cooker, so I had very few ideas about what you could cook with such a gadget. I have a feeling that many of my friends have very little knowledge about how to use one as well. For example, during a cooking challenge at a friend’s house, we drew knives to select our cooking method (can you tell we watched a lot of Top Chef?). One of the methods was the pressure cooker and everyone stayed away from that one. A few years later, I would be ready to delve into using such a device, albeit an electronic one.
My husband and I had an Instant Pot on our wedding registry and received it as a gift. Up until recently, I had only used it for cooking rice, which it cooks perfectly. While my mother-in-law was visiting last October, she and my husband made pressure cooked ribs in it and they were AMAZING. They were so tender and fell off the bone. Here’s the link to that recipe: http://instantpot.com/instant-pot-bbq-ribs/
Below is a picture of the Instant Pot in all it’s glory! Seriously though, this gadget could replace many in your kitchen. You can see all the functions it has: from sauté to slow-cooking to specific proteins. It’s got a function for everything. If you don’t like the amount of time programmed for a particular function, you can change it, so it’s fully customizable and wonderful!
Fast forward 5 months after the rib adventure and I decided to make pressure cooker Macaroni and Cheese after a friend and neighbor made it for my birthday. He gave me the recipe, but his recipe called for cream cheese, which I did not have. As it was a cold and rainy night the evening I made this recipe, I did not feel like going out to get cream cheese, so I found another recipe. I searched for recipes specific to the Instant Pot that I owned and found one that looked good.
In addition to the ingredients required, I also added dried chopped onion and a few sprinkles of garlic powder. I find that dried chopped onion really adds a nice flavor and texture to macaroni and cheese. I even add dried chopped onion along with other dried herbs to the boxed macaroni and cheese when it’s cooking to soften them and give the macaroni more flavor.
For this recipe, you cook the macaroni for 4 minutes, YES 4 MINUTES! Of course, the pressure has to build up first which takes 5-10 minutes, but I was amazed at how little cooking time was required!
When serving, I added some freshly ground pepper and more hot sauce. I used Frank’s Red Hot, because you know, “I put that #^&* on everything!” I give the finished product 3.5 stars. I’m not sure whether it was the pasta I used (it contained artichoke), or the extra dried onion and garlic that I added, but it wasn’t as good as I imagined it to be. Next time, I’ll follow the recipe my friend gave me and go with something I know is going to be good! After playing with the Instant Pot more, I’m definitely a pressure cooker convert and hope to make many more recipes using the it!
Here’s the recipe: http://www.copykat.com/2016/01/10/instant-pot-macaroni-and-cheese/ Enjoy!