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The Instant Pot, an electric, multifunction cooker, defines the latest cooking trend. The device can act as a slow cooker, pressure cooker, yogurt maker, rice cooker, big sauté pot and steamer. Available in three-quart, six-quart and eight-quart sizes, you can find the right size to fit your household.

I’ve heard great reviews of the Instant Pot. One woman said it makes cooking fun, but admitted she hasn’t been successful at cooking rice in the pot. Healthy cooking is on the front burner with the Instant Pot, but you don’t have to sacrifice flavor.


3⁄4 cup beef broth

3 tbsp regular or reduced-sodium soy sauce

3 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar or 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp ground dried ginger

1 lb frozen ground beef

11⁄2 lbs frozen unseasoned mixed vegetables for stir-fry (6 cups)

2 tbsp water

Crunchy chow mein noodles, for garnish

Stir the broth, soy sauce, vinegar and ground ginger in an Instant Pot. Set the pot’s rack (with the handles up) or a large, open vegetable steamer inside the pot. Set the block of frozen ground beef on the rack or in the steamer.

Lock the lid onto the pot.

Option 1: Max Pressure Cooker Press Pressure cook on Max pressure for 17 minutes with the Keep Warm setting off.

Option 2: All Pressure Cookers Press POULTRY, PRESSURE COOK, or MANUAL on High pressure for 20 minutes with the Keep Warm setting off.

Use the quick-release method to bring the pot’s pressure back to normal.

Unlatch the lid and open the cooker. Remove the rack or steamer from the cooker, letting the block of ground beef fall into liquid. Break up the ground turkey with the edge of a large, metal spoon and a meat fork, getting it into small pieces (rather than longish threads). Place the vegetables on top of the meat but do not stir them into the ingredients below. Lock the lid back on.

Set the machine for POULTRY, PRESSURE COOK, or MANUAL and set the timer for 0 minutes. The valve must be closed.

Again, use the quick-release method to bring the pot’s pressure back to normal. Unlatch the lid and open the pot again.

Whisk the water and cornstarch in a small bowl until smooth.

Press the button for SAUTÉ and set for MEDIUM, NORMAL, or CUSTOM 400 degrees F and set the timer for 5 minutes.

Bring the contents of the cooker to a simmer, stirring often. Stir in the cornstarch slurry, then continue cooking, stirring almost constantly, until the liquid thickens, about 1 minute. Turn off the SAUTÉ function and remove the (hot!) insert from the pot to stop the cooking. Set aside for a couple of minutes to continue to thicken. Stir well and serve warm with the crunchy chow mein noodles sprinkled over the top.


16 ounces elbow macaroni uncooked

2 tablespoons butter

4 cups water

2 teaspoons salt

12 ounces evaporated milk 1 can

8 ounces grated Colby cheese

Add macaroni, butter, water and salt to Instant Pot®. Place lid on pot and lock into place to seal.

Pressure cook on High Pressure for 4 minutes.

Use Quick Pressure Release. Stir milk into macaroni and then stir in cheese until melted and combined.


1 tablespoon chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1⁄4 cup dried onion

2 tablespoons bell pepper

2 cups dried black beans

31⁄2 cups vegetable broth or water; plus more as needed

1⁄4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese to serve, optional

Diced green bell peppers, onion, corn chips or raw vegetables

Layer the dry ingredients in the jar in the order listed.

To cook: Place all of the jarred ingredients into the Instant Pot. Add 31⁄2 cups of vegetable broth or water.

Stir to mix. Cover with the lid and ensure the vent is in the “Sealed” position. Pressure cook or Manual on High for 35 minutes. Allow steam pressure to release naturally for 20 minutes. Use immersion blender or carefully transfer the contents to a blender and puree until somewhat smooth, adding additional vegetable broth or water as needed to blend.

To serve, pour the mixture into a serving dish and top with the shredded cheese, if using. Top with diced bell peppers and onions, and serve with corn chips or raw vegetables.


1 bone-in pork shoulder roast visible fat removed, 3 to 4 pounds

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1⁄2 cup good quality regular root beer

1 cup barbecue sauce of choice, divided

Turn Instant Pot® to Normal Sauté. Add the oil and let heat for 1 or 2 minutes. Cut roast into 2 large pieces and add to the pot; let cook for about 3 minutes on each side, until browned. Press Cancel.

In a small bowl, whisk together the salt, root beer and 1⁄2 cup of barbecue sauce; pour evenly over the roast. Place lid on pot and lock into place to seal. Pressure Cook or Manual on High Pressure for 45 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes. Use Quick Pressure Release. Remove meat from the pot and place on a large cutting board; let cool to warm.

Turn pot to High Sauté, and simmer the juices for about 10 to 12 minutes, whisking frequently until thickened and reduced to about 1 cup of sauce. Stir remaining 1⁄2 cup barbecue sauce into the pot.

Shred the meat and place back into the pot; tossing to coat with the sauce.

Serve on buns or as a main dish.

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