The Day of the Pressure Cooker....and the day of it's demise8:31 PM
Do you always find that you are stressed out about what to make for dinner each night? Or , are you once of those people who start thinking about dinner at 3 pm , frantic about what wholesome meal you can actually fix, yet end up with fast food or something thrown together? I used to be that person as well, then several years ago I started meal planning. That still was not exactly cutting it all the time though and I would inevitably forget to thaw meat or start the slow cooker.
Several months ago, I decided to take the "Pressure Cooker Plunge" as my husband likes to now call it. . I was always worried about having the pressure cooker explode on me, or one of my kids getting to close when the pressure was releasing, I had a whole slew of "What ifs "
Since the day I made my very first meal in my Digital Pressure Cooker, I have not looked back. The first meal I made was Pot Roast with veggies, a True Southern Style Pot Roast that my kids insisted was only good if it was made in the Slow Cooker like Grandma makes it. I tried it in the Oven ( I forgot to start the Slow cooker that morning) , that was a o-Go, it just didn't taste the same they said. Even when I would make it in the Slow Cooker, they said it wasn't as good as Grandma's.
I have to be honest and say that I knew this was going to be a bust, I was certain that it still would not get the thumbs-up sign from my kids, or that the meat would be tough. I personally do not usually eat Red Meat but will try things when it is a first time cooking them, or a new twist to a recipe.
You all know, I cook for a large family, so anything I cook is usually doubled in size or even tripled. Feeding 5 teenagers ( It was 7 until a couple moved out , FINALLY!! ) So The plan was based on what I had read, to cook the very large Roast for 90 minutes, release the pressure , add the potatoes and carrots and cook for another 90 minutes. I know that sounds like a long time , especially in a pressure cooker, but keep reading to see how that turned out.
The Pressure Cooker miraculously did NOT explode on me! Chris has been salivating for the past 9 minutes that the Roast was cooking. I added in my Potatoes and Carrots ( Seasonings had previously been added to the Pressure Cooker with the meat so that the flavor could soak in to the meat as it cooked- This was my contribution to the recipe in the booklet as I have always did it that way in a slow cooker) then set the time for 90 more minutes. This was overkill on the time based on the booklet that came with the Pressure Cooker,however, the booklet measurements did not go up to a large as Roast as I was cooking, so I was winging it, on top of the fact that I was doubtful anything could cook such a huge hunk of meat in under 2 hours and was still hesitant about even 3 hours.
During the last 90 minutes, all the kids kept coming in to the kitchen, is it working Mom? It smells so good, is it time to eat? I can admit, by this time, even I wanted to taste that Roast because it smelled amazing and I was preening around as well, because at least the kids were excited about Pot Roast this time. I made up some good Southern Style Cornbread, another smaller pan of sweet cornbread for my Yankee's , and heated up some Pinto Beans I had previously canned for myself so I could be sure to get in some protein.
Finally..that Glorious timer went off! I had already decided to let the pressure release by the valve opening and not just by letting it do the 8 minute countdown ( Yeah, still not taking any chances that it wasn't going to blow up in my face ...you think the same thing , don't you? It's okay to admit it...)
After 5 minutes, it was time to unlock the lid and see what this Pressure cooker really had to offer. I already knew that it was probably a waste of money.
I went to cut the meat, got out my big carving Knife and carving Fork, stuck the form in the meat....and the meat just started falling off. No Joke, that was easily the most tender meat I had ever seen, even from a 5 start restaurant !! Score : One for the Pressure Cooker, Mom Zero! I guess you can already tell that this is not looking good for me and my predictions as the potatoes and carrots both did the exact same thing to an extent. The Gravy...oh that glorious, thick Brown gravy ....Yes, that gravy looked amazing also. So it's time to put it to the test now that I have dished it up on every one's plates, including a small piece on my own plate. ( Okay- I admit it, I took a small taste before adding any to my plate and without mentioning this fact to my husband or kids because well , yeah )
It was quiet clear to me that after the 3rd time of hearing " Wow, Mom this is great!!" That the Pressure cooker had beat me. Not only had it not exploded as I fully expected it too, but it had made the most tender, the most aromatizing, the most amazingly delicious Pot Roast I had ever had , and it seems, the kids could say the same. Yes, you see, not only did they not say it was not as good as Grandma's, thy actually said and I quote " This was the best Pot Roast ever "
So even though the Pressure Cooker beat me, I think I came out a winner in the end.
Since that faithful day in early April, I have had to replace that Pressure Cooker after only 4-5 uses. The company actually sent me a replacement when the pieces literally fell apart in to my food causing me to lose $40 worth of meat .That did not turn me off the Pressure Cooker though..even though I am now in the market of replacing the replacement because the replacement seems to be dying a long, slow death after only a few months of several times per week use. Was it an expensive Pressure Cooker? I honestly thought so when I first heard the cost, but now that I know what I didn't know then, I would have gladly paid double the original $79.99 price tag just to get a good Pressure Cooker that would last a long time.
If you have ever been like me, scared of the Pressure Cooker, worried if the food will taste good, or if it will be worth the expense, then stop worrying! I plan to regal you all with enticing Pressure Cooker recipes, hits and misses, all fall and Winter as I keep plunging in to the unknown and untapped world of Pressure Cooker cooking ( At least my untapped world that is)
One of our favorites other than Pot Roast, is BBQ Pulled pork . You can literally have Restaurant quality ( or better) Pulled pork, in as little as 2 hours. Make extra because you can make sandwiches and more out of this for as little as $0.39 cents per serving. I will do that recipe next week for you all.
You can also use meat from a totally frozen state if you are out of options, you will just need to allow plenty of extra time based on the size of the meat. I recently added Chicken I had purchased fresh on sale and put in the freezer and added an extra hour for 10 extra large Chicken Breast that were frozen, and they turned out scrumptious and just as tender as they do when I add them fresh and unfrozen.
We actually use the Pressure Cooker no less than twice week but more often than not you will find me suing it more. Chris has even taken to using it and helping with dinner ( give the man a cookie that he can put some meat in that pan and turn it on!! ) I have found that you can do so much with the pressure cooker and not just meat, but beans, veggies, Lasagna, Chili and more. It's very much like an unopened cookbook or a long lost friend.
It really is a sad day that I now have to go on the hunt for a better Pressure Cooker. Even though this particular Brand & Model are not one that I would have purchased had I have known ore about Pressure Cookers, it's still like saying goodbye to a long time friend, even if a pesky one. SO now that I know what to look for, I will spend the time to make sure I am getting a trusted and tried Pressure Cooker that should last quiet awhile and hopefully not have to dip in to the college fund to pay for it, and I totally would, that is how much we have come to rely on and enjoy our Pressure Cooked meals. , although time is essential to me now because I can't be without a Pressure Cooker for more than a week, tops, preferably less.
So Save yourself some time, money and stress and invest in a good Pressure Cooker and I will take you a long for the ride and help you in preparing some delicious meals for you and your family that will take you through the Holiday season and beyond and give you one less thing to worry about.
The moral of this story? Face you fears because it may save you, quiet literally not only time, but money and more importantly...Sanity! And yet another way I find that I am Saving My Sanity day by day!