Dinnertime is one of the most challenging times of the day for me — sometimes it can be a real struggle to get a fresh and healthy meal on the table!
I resort to techniques like meal planning and one-pot meals to try and save some time in the kitchen, but some days I need more than that. With three children ages five and under, I don’t have the time to spend a hour in the kitchen overseeing dinner — I need meal options where I can set it to go and then forget about it.
I recently purchased an Instant Pot in hopes of making meal times go even smoother. If you’re not familiar with the Instant Pot, it’s a kitchen appliance that has seven different functions.
This machine is everything from a pressure cooker to a steamer, slow cooker, and yogurt maker. The hallmark of the device is its pressure cooker function, which can reduce cook times by up to 70 percent. Still not sure this is the new kitchen appliance for you? Check out my full Instant Pot review plus three easy Instant Pot recipes to get you started.
Is the Instant Pot a time saver for busy moms like me?
After incorporating the Instant Pot into my everyday cooking life, I can confidently say that this appliance is a real time saver in the kitchen.
To test out whether the Instant Pot was worth the investment, I started simple by making applesauce.
Normally, I’d spend 30 plus minutes standing over the stove to make applesauce, stirring constantly and watching that the sauce didn’t burn. In the Instant Pot, my applesauce was ready in just 10 minutes of hands-off time. Best of all, it tasted great! Want to try making your own? Follow the Instant Pot applesauce recipe I used at Provincial Paleo.
Emboldened by my new pressure cooking knowledge, I got a little more ambitious and put a whole five-pound chicken in the pot.
Normally, a five-pound chicken would take over an hour to cook in the oven — in the Instant Pot, it cooked to fall-off-the-bone tender in just 30 minutes. My whole family devoured the final product, it was a huge success. You can find the Instant Pot Chicken recipe I followed at Healing Gourmet.
Things I love about the Instant Pot
- Easy to clean
- Fast cook times
- Food cooks evenly
- Automatic warming feature that switches on when the food is done cooking
- Hands-off cooking, which means more time to spend with the family
- Versatility of the 7 different functions
- Electronic display is easy to read and use
- Tons of safety features — this is not your mother’s old-fashioned pressure cooker!
Things to consider before buying an Instant Pot
- This is a large countertop appliance, a little bigger than a slow cooker, so make sure you have enough countertop or cabinet space.
- The instruction manual is thorough with lots of do’s and don’ts, make sure you take the time to read it completely before you get started.
- The cooking times in some recipes do not take into account the amount of time it takes for the device to reach full pressure. The pressurizing process can add another few minutes onto a cook time.
Are you ready to introduce your family to amazing Instant Pot meals? We shopped around and found great prices for this kitchen miracle at Target, Walmart, and Amazon — and you can save even more with Target coupons, Amazon promo codes, and Walmart coupons, too!
After I got the basics down, I started experimenting with creating my own recipes. This Chicken Taco Soup is a great way to have an entire meal cooked and on the table in about 20 minutes. Serve it with your favorite taco toppings for a speedy family friendly dinner!
Instant Pot Chicken Taco Soup
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 15-ounce can of black beans, drained
- 1 10-ounce can of diced tomatoes with chilies, undrained (a 14-ounce size can will also work)
- 1 1/2 cups of frozen corn
- 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 Tablespoon of taco seasoning
- 3 cups of chicken broth
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Your choice of taco toppings (tortilla chips, sour cream, cheese, avocado, cilantro, olives, etc.)
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- Set your Instant Pot to sauté mode, medium heat. Add the olive oil and onion and cook for 3-4 minutes or until onion is softened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Cancel sauté mode and add the black beans, tomatoes, corn, chicken breasts, taco seasoning and broth to the pot; season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Cover the Instant Pot with its lid and set to sealing position.
- Select soup mode and set the timer to 8 minutes.
- After the timer goes off, turn the lid to vent to manually release the pressure (watch out for the steam!).
- Shred the chicken with two forks then serve the soup, garnished with your selected taco toppings.