Black Friday thoughts in a delicious direction …

It’s that time of year again and Black Friday is around the corner with deals already being thrown around to entice us.  Shoes, watches, holiday gifting, big ticket items for a fraction of the price, video consoles, TV’s and so much more! Yet in my opinion there is one sure fire item that everyone needs to consider purchasing and believe me, it took a while for this foodie to figure it out!

Last year on Black Friday my oh so thoughtful husband came home after shopping and offered me his best deal ever, found at his favourite store and yet it was for me.  Now what in the world would I need from his favourite store?  He built up the excitement and made me guess, which I couldn’t in a million years.

He decided I needed an Instant Pot!

Now, I know how you feel if you are a non IP user. I felt the same way.  I left it in the box, sat the box in the corner and really couldn’t understand why I needed an Instant Pot.  I had a rice cooker, I had my favourite deep-dish fry pan, had my well seasoned Pampered Chef stones so why in the world would he fathom that I needed a digital 7 in 1 appliance taking up precious real estate space on my counter.

After about two weeks of looking at the box and encouraging him to perhaps take it back, I decided to give it a step by step try.  Out comes the manual to begin what to do.  The IP gets a good wash and wipe down, check out all the little extras and slowly walk through the ‘water test.’ I still didn’t understand how I might use this new fad item, yet I was starting to remember the smell of home-cooked stew simmering under pressure back in the 70’s.  It was a gorgeous smell of beef and onions, with carrots and potatoes and of course one bay leaf, salt and pepper.  It was a fine art and that crazy old pressure cooker although stressful because of it’s rocking mechanism on top, it sure did offer a delicious, tender dinner made with love.  It was all starting to come back to me.

I decided to begin at the beginning with something familiar, Beef Stew.  I searched the recipe guide and found what I was looking for. The ingredients were purchased and most I already had in the house.  Onions, potatoes, carrots and a bay leaf.  All I needed was a visit to Carl’s Choice Meats for a pound of stewing beef and we were set. Before I began, I went to trusted Google to search for an Instant Pot Beef Stew recipe.  I have to admit as a new IP user, I loved being able to read on the screen, see pictures and follow step by step. The stew was simple to prepare. Simmering the beef and onions on the ‘saute’ setting, adding one cup of water, adding the chopped vegetables,  the directions for setting the Instant Pot digital display made sense and the cooking began.  We watched carefully as the valve began to rise, the pressure was let off and the countdown to readiness was underway.

The aroma of my childhood filled my kitchen and I was feeling eager for the final taste test.  Would it be as tender as I remember. Would I be able to make a gravy at the end like I remember watching, with a little corn starch and water and quick stirring action. The timer counted down, the gravy was made with a few gentle stirs and the meal was incredible as I walked down memory lane with every bite.

The moral of this story is, this Friday when you ponder the purchase of the Instant Pot wondering if that deeply discounted price is worth it, remember the good old days when you were sure the pressure cooker would explode in your kitchen and this is a hundred times more efficient, faster and safer!  From soups, to stews, to seafood, to chili, to whole chickens, to cheesecake, to boiled eggs and so much more. This cumbersome appliance cuts down kitchen time, offers efficiency on your electricity bill, doesn’t heat the kitchen and creates consistent meals recipe after recipe.   Yes, I have had a few fails yet for every fail I have 20 awesome simple dishes for dinner all thanks to the Instant Pot.

I say go for it.  I don’t have shares in the company or receive perks to promote the Instant Pot but I can’t wait to share some of my favourite simple recipes as we walk into the winter season of soups & stews and simple home-cooked meals. I love that Black Friday shopping has officially arrived in Canada, finally!  #instantpotforthewin #cookathome #spicyjanreallydoescook #healthyeating

Follow what’s cooking in Spicy Jan’s kitchen on Instagram and Facebook @Spicy Jan Cooks 

More Instant Pot recipes to be posted weekly for great ideas to cook and share.

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