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As you may know, I'm a little obsessed with my Instant Pot. It has changed our family's eating habits and saved us thousands of dollars in the six months we've had it. We've gone from eating dinners out 4-5 nights a week to less than that many times in a month. (You can read more in my first Instant Pot Diaries post.)
For a busy family like us, anything that can cut the time spent thinking about, preparing, or cleaning up is a Godsend, so when I saw someone in the IP Facebook group mention her bulk Instant Pot meal prep, I knew it was something I had to try for myself. The first couple of sessions were experiments, figuring out which recipes work and which ones don't work as well, so I'll be sure to keep you updated as we learn more.
First things first, the most important part is the correct freezer containers for your meal prep. We bought 16 of these, which is as many as we can fit in the freezer. If I had a garage deep freeze, I'd pick up more, but for now, it's enough for us. These freezer containers are perfect; they just fit in the 6 qt Instant Pot, and the recipes included here are just right to fill either one or two of them, depending. (You don't cook in this container, it's just to freeze your meal in a shape and size that fits well in the IP. It will slide out easily, leaving a big puck o' food ready to cook.)
Jamie and I spend an afternoon shopping and prepping these meals, working together means we can knock out 15 or so dinners in about 4 hours.
When cooking frozen foods in the Instant Pot, cooking times don't necessarily need to change, it will just take longer for it to come to pressure, which will cover for the time difference. We also split the cook times into two parts; if the recipe originally calls for 15 minutes, for example, we'll cook the frozen brick o' food for 10 minutes, open the pot, stir it to break apart anything that might still be stuck together, then give it another 5 minutes at pressure.
Serving these is easy; remove the container from the freezer and put it in the IP. Turn on sauté for a few minutes to let the liquid thaw a bit, so there's some liquid in the bottom of the pot, and then your frozen food. That liquid is important to help the pot build pressure, so don't forget this step! 🙂
We use green painters tape and a Sharpie to label our containers; some people use a grease pencil directly on the plastic, but we had the tape and marker on hand, so we went with that instead. The tape sticks well, but also peels off easily to reuse the containers.
I write notes to myself, so I can remember how to prepare the dish in case there are additional steps, or if there are ingredients that need to be added at the end.
Chicken Taco Soup: We add about a can of chicken stock to the pot when we cook it; thins it out just a bit to a more soup-like consistency. Delicious with cheese and sour cream on top!
Chicken Parmigiana: The instructions say to QR this, but I think it's better with about 10 mins of NR first.
Have you tried freezer cooking with your Instant Pot? What are your favorite recipes?
Follow my Instant Pot Pinterest board for more ideas!