Friday, October 27, 2017

Potato Pancetta soup in the instant pot

This was my first time winging it for the instant pot! I felt brave. It was delicious.

It was loosely based on a crockpot potato soup I've been making for years but now adjusted for my instant pot!

I took this photo before putting cheese on top!

1-2 TB of olive oil
1/2 tsp of chopped garlic (I use the jar kind, like this)
8 oz of pancetta (2 packages)
5-6 russet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (you can use another kind but you might need more if they are smaller)
1 quart of chicken broth
1/2 head of broccoli chopped (could omit if you don't like it, I added it to sneak in some veggies)
1/4 tsp of celery seed
pepper to taste (I didn't add salt because the pancetta is salty, you can if you want it saltier)
4 oz of cream cheese, cut into small cubes
cheddar cheese for garnish (optional but yummy!)

Turn on your instant pot and set to saute on high temperature. Add olive oil to pot and when it's warm add the garlic. Saute garlic for 1-2 minutes and add pancetta. Cook the pancetta 5-7 minutes until fully cooked. Add the chicken broth, potatoes, broccoli, celery seed and pepper to the pot. Ensure there is enough liquid to cover the contents of the pot and if not add additional broth or water. Turn the instant pot to pressure cook on high temperature and set the time for 12 minutes. Make sure the vent is set to sealing.

After the pressure cooking is finished do a quick pressure release. When the pressure has released, change the pot back to saute and add the cubes of cream cheese, stirring as you do so. Allow soup to simmer for 4-5 minutes to melt the cream cheese into the soup, then serve with shredded cheese on top!

Note: I used a 6 qt instant pot.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

How to cook an almost whole butternut squash in your instant pot

I love butternut squash (see past recipe butternut squash soup here) but I absolutely hate cutting it up. It's hard, especially peeling it. Making it in the instant pot or other electric pressure cooker, you don't have to peel it! It's amazing.

It doesn't quite have the flavor of an oven roasted butternut but it's still pretty good and it's prefect to use for soups or twice baked or just eating on it's own. It's so healthy and easy.

Too big for the pot!
You can put it in your instant pot without peeling it but you need to cut it up enough so it fits inside. For my 6qt pot, I had to cut mine in fourths. I don't recommend putting it in whole, even if it fits because it won't cook very evenly.

I had one small area where my squash was thick that wasn't cooked all the way after my cook time, if you have a thicker squash, add 1-2 minutes. After this trial, I have suggested 13 minute cook time (I had tried 12 minutes). Or use a few minutes of natural pressure release (ie let the pressure come down without opening the valve) if you have a thick squash.
Ready to go!
Cut squash into fourths and clean out the seeds. Place trivet in bottom of instant pot and pour in 1 cup of water. Place your squash on the trivet and close the lid. Set instant pot for high pressure, 13 minute cook time. Make sure the valve is set to sealing. After the cook time has finished you can do a quick pressure release by opening the valve. The overall cooking time including for the pot to get to pressure is about 20 minutes.

**If you have a thicker than normal squash, you can add 1-2 minutes cooking time or allow it to do a natural pressure release for a few minutes so it cooks a little bit more. Be advised 2 minutes is a lot in pressure cooker time!

Now you have a perfectly cooked squash with very little fuss!

You can scoop it out eat it as it is (yum!) or use it, for example, for a butternut squash soup! Just remove the squash from your pot. Pour out the water from the bottom and remove the trivet. Scoop the squash back into the instant pot and turn on the saute function and follow this recipe as if you were on the stove top.

My almost instant love affair with my instant pot!

I first heard about the instant pot about two years ago, and I didn't have any experience with pressure cooking. My mom didn't do it, I wasn't into canning and I'd never encountered one before but I was intrigued by the quick cooking times. Then my work-wife got one and kept bringing delicious instant pot leftovers for lunch and I knew I needed one too. Now, I am totally in love with it!

If you are thinking about getting on the instant pot bandwagon, here are some tips for you!


We are a family of two but like leftovers, so we got a 6-quart. Since you can't fill the pot as full as say a crock pot, it's good to have some extra space, personally I wouldn't bother with a mini. If you have several children (especially teenagers!) you will probably want an 8-quart, or if you do a lot of big batch cooking. They have a 5-quart but if you are thinking about that size, you might as well get a 6. If you are on the fence about size, check out the post I wrote devoted to what size Instant Pot to buy!

Keep in mind it does take up a fair amount of space, our 6-quart is about the same size as our toaster oven and basically lives on our counter because we use it enough.


You definitely need to give a cursory read to the manual. I have never read a manual for a cooking appliance before that but I was really glad that my work-wife told me to do it when I got mine. Otherwise, you will not take it out of the box.

What can you make with the instant pot?

You can make the same kinds of things generally in an instant pot that you would make in a crock pot but much faster. If you generally like crock pot meals, you will probably like instant pot meals too. There are some additional things you can do in the instant pot too however.

It's great for soups, stews, pulled pork and shredded chicken that taste like they have been cooking all day but are ready in less than an hour. Often much less.

Some of the cook times you see for the instant pot are a little misleading because they only list the 5 or 10 minute cook time but you also need to wait for it to come to pressure, which can take a while if it's really full. However, for certain items I feel like it's still a huge time saver (ie baked potatoes, winter squashes).

You can speed up the amount of time it takes to build pressure by warming it up using the saute function while you are adding your ingredients. Also, keep in mind that your oven also needs to preheat. :-)

So where is the instant pot advantage?

There are 2 big areas where the instant pot kicks a crock pots ass!

1) Cook time: have you ever planned on having a crock meal for dinner but then you were too busy in the morning to get it ready or just plain forgot to do it? Well with an instant pot you can still have pulled pork in an hour and a half if you want.

2) Saute mode: You can braise or cook your meats or other items right in the same pot before you pressure cook everything else. Fewer dishes! I really love this feature also for melting cheese on things after it pressure cooks, it's really fast too because it's higher temp (there are multiple temp choices) than even a slow cooker on high.

And it kicks my oven's rear in area number 3:
3) Not watching it: In this area it's like a slow cooker. You turn it on and go about your business, then it will beep, you release the pressure and it's ready to go. This is really great for pasta for example that you'd watch on the stove to make sure it didn't cook over.

The one thing that was weird when I first got it was not only do you not have to watch it, you can't see what it's doing at all. You can't open it to check it while it's pressure cooking. Now I trust it to work but at the beginning I was like what is this? What's happening in there?

There is definitely a learning curve with the instant pot but I am really glad I got one, even though I didn't need it, I love it.

Check out my suggested recipes for new instant pot owners and which accessories are the most useful.

This post contains some affiliate links, I will receive a small commission if you buy from these links. Thank you for your support.