Need a fast, healthy dinner idea? How about a pressure cooker recipe?
For busy people, cooking under pressure is the norm. But cooking with pressure can shorten cooking time and produce a delicious meal.
Healthy and fast
Healthy, practical dinner ideas are important to us, so we try to use cooking methods that cut down on fat—as well as time. Pressure cookers offer many advantages, including:
- Simplifies the cooking process while producing a delicious meal
- Retains nutrients as well as, or better, than steaming.
Because high pressure cooking is different from high temperature cooking, the dangerous compounds that result from grilling or broiling are less likely to form. Pressure cooking makes some foods more easily digestible by humans and possibly reduces the bioavailability of lectins and phytic acid in food—compounds that can aggravate inflammation in gluten-sensitive individuals.
Although you may have access to a vintage pressure cooker, the newer stovetop models have much better safety features. You can use an electric pressure cooker to start your meal before you get home. The pros and cons of both types include:
- Stovetop pressure cookers are faster and generally more powerful, but they require more hands-on work.
- Electric pressure cookers are great for those with limited kitchen facilities— like students. The secret is to get your college student to use the pressure cooker for the first time…once they use it once, they’re hooked! Electric cookers have heat settings you can dial in to get it right every time.
When checking out pressure cooker recipes, you may need to adapt the recipe to your own type of equipment.
One word of caution: pressure cookers cook under pressure, which also means the water and steam in the cooker is hotter than a normal boiling pot of water. Fortunately, most modern-day pressure cookers have built-in safeties that will not allow you to open the cooker until the pressure (and temperature) inside has dropped to a safe level. It is important to never open the cooker early by forcing or overriding a safety. The act of cooking under pressure has already saved you a great deal of time; so be patient as your cooker cools and your pressure drops. The pressure down or cool down phase is actually a period of time during which the awesome flavors continue to blend and meld into one another. Enjoy!
Pressure cooker recipes: Easy dinner ideas in minutes
Foods are cooked inside of a pressure cooker by moisture, heat, and pressure. The pressurized environment can reduce your cooking time by a third or more. As you become experienced with your cooker, you will create your own pressure cooker dinner recipes, but here are some pointers at the outset:
- Pressure cooking is a wet cooking method. You will need at least a cup of water or liquid in the pressure cooker. You can use your cooker to make your own stock and broths that do not have the sodium or processed ingredients of store-bought stock.
- Be cautious not to overfill your cooker — they usually have max fill lines on the inner pot.
- Tracking cooking time is a little more difficult with a stovetop pressure cooker but can still be easily managed. Pressure is easily controlled with a stove top cooker by turning your burner up or down, or switching burners.
- You can drop the pressure quickly on a stovetop cooker by running it under cold water.
- Because a pressure cooker works like a slow cooker, it is a fabulous method for budget-minded cooks. It can be more affordable; you can buy tougher, less expensive cuts of meat and enjoy a delicious meal.
- Watch the time more closely for seafood and fish (they may cook in 1-3 minutes).
- You can cook a whole large container of greens in 1 minute of cooking time; release the pressure right away to avoid overcooking the greens. Make greens in record time!
Just a few great pressure cooker dinner ideas include:
- Stews: Pressure cookers are a great way to make stews and soups. Enjoy the taste of a homemade stew without the day spent cooking it. Stews and soups are also an easy way to create a colorful, diverse meal that includes grains, vegetables, and protein.
- Carnitas and tacos: Use your pressure cooker to beef up your next taco bar. You can use pork, beef, or chicken to make Mexican-themed recipes tonight—or freeze the meat and save it for later in the week when you are short of time and need some healthy dinner ideas.
- Chicken: Fast, tasty chicken is a pressure cooker specialty. From Honey Sesame Chicken to barbecue, if chicken is a family favorite, the pressure cooker is for you. In the pressure cooker, cook the chicken in wine and herbs or BBQ Sauce for 8-12 minutes (depends on the size and quantity) — transfer the chicken from the pressure cooker to a roasting pan, sprinkle with fresh herb seasoning or BBQ sauce from the pressure cooker; after pressure cooking, let the chicken settle for 10-20 minutes while you are preparing the sides for your meal; then place the roasting pan in a 425 degree heated oven until golden brown or roasted for 8-12 minutes (just remember to check every 2 minutes or so — you don’t want to burn them. Whether chicken breast, thighs or wings — it will be the juiciest and tastiest chicken you have ever made at home.
Reserve the white wine and herb liquid and transfer to a sauce pan; add a thickening agent like flour to make a gravy.
- Vegetables: Try an eggplant and olive spread, hearty root vegetables like potatoes (approximately seven minutes), beets and carrots, or artichokes (about 15 minutes), broccoli, Brussels sprouts and much more.
- Meat: Try Pot Roast, wings, brisket, turkey, pulled pork, and a variety of beef recipes.
HINT — you can be creative and re-purpose the juices from pressure cooking meats or vegetables. The juices can be re-purposed into soups, gravies, a base for baked beans, or marinades for other meals. Be creative!
Cooking with pressure is a healthy go-to method that delivers nutritious food – quickly and easily. Once you are familiar with pressure cooking, you can start creating your own recipes. Get started today and have some pressure cooking FUN!