I used to think cooking pasta dishes in an Instant Pot was ridiculous until my family gave me one for Christmas.
I’m always a late adapter to trendy things; from creating a Twitter account to using bath bombs to getting an Instant Pot.
This all changed last month when I was trying to prep beef stew in the crock pot before work. Nine hours later, that dreaded thing happened. I walked back into my house and didn’t smell a thing. Upon opening my front door, the hopeful waft of cozy, fragrant slow cooked beef didn’t hit my face. Just the normal everyday smells of our dog and traces of my hollyberry wax melt. Noooooooooo.
“That’s it” I exclaimed. “This would never have happened if I had an Instant Pot.”
People may make mock me for microwaving scrambled eggs in the mornings, but if I can’t remember to turn on a crock pot, I’m not sure I want to juggle a hot pan. Chef Mike is all I want to deal with at 5:30 in the mornings before running to the bus stop.
Jake sees my struggle each morning which inspired him to give me three microwave egg cookers. He ordered them from Amazon. All of them are made by Nordic Ware, a good ole Minnesotan company. Here’s a summary of my impressions:
- Eggs N’ Muffin Breakfast Pan: Let’s be real, there’s nothing earth shattering about this tool. It’s a sturdy, shallow pan in which you can stir 1-2 eggs and microwave until cooked. The lid is nice, the material is non-stick, and costs about $3.50 at Target. I’ll use this a lot so I consider it worthy.
- 2 Cavity Egg Poacher: Nordic Ware instructs you to crack an egg in the cavity, poke the yolk, and add 1/2 teaspoon of water before microwaving for 30-seconds (more for two eggs). While I wouldn’t declare this a poached egg, the tool created something closer than what I imagined. You’ll have to experiment with cooking time to get that perfect runny yolk, though. This gadget costs around $6.
- Egg Boiler: I was most skeptical about the microwavable hard-boiled egg maker. The egg-shaped design is fantastic. The top opens to a cavity in which you add water and then place eggs above on the small rack. Microwave for the suggested number of minutes (based on your wattage) and cool under cold water. I hard boil eggs on a regular basis – these microwaved eggs tasted the same as regular hard-boiled eggs. It worked so well I felt kind of terrible getting so excited about this gadget. Oh well!
And finally, the Instant Pot!
Jake picked out a recipe and ingredients to make this first beef stew. After flipping through the instruction booklet, I began. I felt most intimidated by the pressure valve and safety features. Once you walk through that first use, you’ll feel comfortable as you proceed with more recipes.
Typically beef stew in the crock pot is an all day affair. From placing the prepped ingredients in the Instant Pot to serving, the beef stew took about an hour and a half. This particular recipe required a second cooking period where you add the vegetables. And I’m still trying to understand when you’d want to use each type of release. Using the 10-minute natural release is still faster than allowing the pot to depressurize on its own, but adds 20 minutes to a two-step recipe.
Initial Instant Pot Thoughts:
- All in all, I found it easy to use and look forward to trying more recipes.
- I’ll probably gravitate towards recipes that don’t require the second cooking period.
- Keep in mind the amount of time it can take for the pot to pressure before cooking – the manual says anywhere from 20-40 minutes. A recipe may state a three-eight minute cooking time, but realize the process can take longer. So, maybe don’t use it to make that 3-minute asparagus side dish recipe.
- The browning function is a beautiful thing that some crock pots don’t have that lets you create that true, one-pot meal.
Do you have any thoughts on microwave egg cookers and Instant Pots? Feel free to share any thoughts below!