Ever since that whole bisphenol-A (BPA) scare a few years back I have tried to eliminate anything canned from our pantry. At first, this was a challenging task as I am a huge lover of soup and beans. I did however, find a few items that were available in cartons or glass containers but yowza these were expensive and also they were laden with sodium and other hidden critters I prefer not to have as part of my healthy recipes.

As you all know, I am a kitchen gadget freak so I researched and researched till I find a solution. I have to say the solution I found was not only a stellar one, but it has also turned out to be one of my most used gadgets in my kitchen.

This amazing little gadget is called the Insta Pot. Isn’t that the catchiest name you have ever heard?  Here are some of the features of this favorite of mine.

  • User interface that provides the most convenience and ease-of-use
  • 3-ply bottom stainless steel cooking pot for durability
  • Finger-print resistant brushed stainless steel exterior
  • 6-in-1 Multi-Functional Cooker (Pressure cooker, Slow cooker, Rice cooker, Steamer, Saute & Warmer)
  • 10 Proven Safety Mechanisms, UL and ULC certified
  • 10 Micro-Processor controlled programs: Meat/Stew, Soup, Saute, Poultry, Bean/Chili, Congee, Steam, Multigrain, Rice and Slow Cook
  • 3 Adjustable Modes for most functions. 3 Saute temperatures and 3 Slow Cook temperatures
  • Delay Cooking Timer: Up to 24 hours
  • Automatic Keep-warm
  • Manual setting: Up to 120 minute cook time
  • Reduced cooking time by up to 70%
  • Highly energy efficient saving up to 70% of energy
  • Accessories included: stainless steel steam rack, rice paddle, soup spoon and measuring cup
  • Instructions, recipes and cooking time table in English, Spanish, French and Chinese are included

To avoid canned beans, I buy whole dry organic beans, I wash them up, strain them, then place them in the Insta Pot on the manual mode of the pressure cooker for 49 minutes. THAT’S IT!

If I want to make my version of refried beans this is what I do:

  • Cook the beans as stated right above
  • Place the beans in my Blendtec with a little of the water from the Insta Pot
  • Add 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp taco seasoning, 1 tlb garlic, 1 tsp salt
  • Blend away!

They come out amazing. I add spices according to my current taste bud cravings

When I want to make soup I use the Insta Pot in various ways depending on the type of soup I am making. My favorite recipe is vegetarian chili. This is how I do it in the Insta Pot:

  • I love beans in my chili so I usually throw whatever dried beans I have in my pantry into the Insta Pot and cook them first (The cooking time varies on the bean’s size). After they are cooked, I place them in a large bowl and set it aside till I am ready to add them to the chili.
  • Next I use the “Browning” function of the Insta Pot to saute the onion. I always use a whole onion whenever I am making soup. I adore the taste of onions in soups. I LOVE that the Insta Pot is stainless steel so I can cook without worrying about chemicals leaching into my food.
  • Next I throw in 1 cup of diced peppers using all the colors available. My biggest thing with peppers is trying to find them local and finding them organic. This is sometimes difficult.
  • Next I take about 6 large organic plum tomatoes and pulse them in my Blendtec then add them to the Insta Pot. I also usually add about 1-2 cups of water according to how thick I want the chili.
  • It is at this time I like to marry the ingredients. I plunge the beans, tomatoes and water in with the sauteed vegetables and now it is time to spice it up.
  • The only “processed” ingredient I use in this soup is the tomato paste from Trader Joes. Now the Trader Joes Tomato Paste is really not really processed but it does come in a tube so, in my book, it is. This paste is awesome and really convenient to add to dishes. Normally tomato pastes come in a can and, as you know, this is a NO NO in my pantry. I add 3 tsp of tomato paste, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp basil, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, now this may sound crazy but the last two items I add are 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 square of dark chocolate. Hey don’t judge me till you try it.
  • Now as these lovely ingredients are all getting cozy in my pot, I give it one last stir and then put it on slow cooker for about 3 hours. Technically everything is cooked so it is just getting warm and the flavors are getting to know each other so you can vary the time according to your time schedule. This is a recipe that you can modify according to your taste.  This is a pot meal. Its a bonus for dishwasher Mike on soup night. His job is easy.

We do not cook a lot of grains anymore, but when we did, I used this all the time for cooking rice, couscous, millet, and quinoa. The things you can do with this great kitchen gadget are almost endless. I even often made my AM oatmeal in it. It is a fantastic kitchen gadget and I highly recommend you put this on your holiday list!

Can you guess what is for dinner tomorrow night?

 

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