I Upgraded My Electric Pressure Cooker, And I Am Kind Of Geeking Out.

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Within this box is my new pressure cooker.

My old one was a little old, and I certainly used it until it’s dying breath.  The green LED display was half working, and the timer was shoddy.  Sometimes it counted down, sometimes it got up to pressure…but there were too many times when I put in a chicken for 25 minutes, and came back to partially cooked chicken.

And that just ain’t flying on my kitchen turf.

So, one of the things to leave behind was my beloved pressure cooker.  I didn’t know what I was going to replace it with, and I wasn’t sure what other models were out there.  The last model I had was the cheapest I could find, and it did the job pretty well for the number of years I had it.

But times have changed, and I have a better understanding of what electric pressure cookers can do now.

And, baby: I’m driving a Ferrari this time.

 

Before we get too far into this, I have a bunch of recipes for electric pressure cookers over at Tamarah.org!

Here is one of my favorites, Down Home Chili.

Okay, let’s go!

 

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Check this out.

This is the Elite…Platinum…Multi-Function Digital Pressure Cooker.

HooDoggy is this nice.

Specifically, I got the

MaxiMatic EPC-808 Elite Platinum 8-Quart Pressure Cooker

and I ordered it on Amazon. (*linky!)

 

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This baby has so many more buttons and features than my last one.

The last pressure cooker I had only had “high” and “low” and “time.”  This sucker has “hours” and “minutes” and a whole bunch more stuff.  Looky!

 

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So this is the inside.  The pot is removable, which is nice for cleaning.  Also dishwasher safe.

 

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This is the release valve, which is super swank.  The last one I had was just a jiggle top.  This one has a whole labeled dial, and it doesn’t look like it will fall apart!  Bonus!!

 

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This monster is huge.  But it has to be, because it is 8 Quarts.  The last one I had was 6 quarts, and I could fit a whole chicken in there, if I squished the legs down.  This one is HUGE, and I LOVE it.

I have been thinking for a while now that I needed to get another pressure cooker, because the one pot was kind of covering a meal for all of us…but the little people are getting bigger and starting to eat more.   One pressure cooker meal for 7 people was not really cutting it, entirely, anymore.  But with this one, I think I can do one meal again!  Bigger is definitely better for us.

 

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This is starting to warm up, and it just looks like “The Future.”

What I want to point out is how many features there are on this futuristic machine:

Reheat. Beans. Brown Rice. White Rice. Ancient Grains. Stew. Poultry. Pork/Ribs. Soups. Beef. Potatoes. Desserts. Veg/Fish.

It also has a Delay Timer!

I am so in love with this.

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This is what it looks like when it is closed and warming up.

Very quiet, very safe.  The outside isn’t warm to the touch, and the lid is locked.  This means I don’t have to worry about the kids being around it, or knocking it off or getting hurt.

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It is now up to pressure and that is when the timer starts!  I set it for 10 minutes just to get it going.

I was very impressed with how quickly it came to pressure, and how accurate the timer was.  Both were spot on.

 

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Okay, so after I played around with it enough, I went ahead and made dinner with it.

And if you thought I was messing around, then you just don’t know how I work.

First meal: Corned Beef!

Now, normally Corned Beef takes around 8-9 hours on low for a Crock Pot.  But that isn’t how electric pressure cookers work…we work in minutes, not hours.

So I put the Corned Beef in, added 6 cups of water and the seasonings, and set the timer for 55 minutes.

And walked away.

It came up to pressure very quickly, sealed and cooked for exactly 55 minutes.  When it was done, it beeped a few times and I came back to let the pressure release.

And what came out…?

 

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This lovely dish!  Perfectly cooked.  Not soggy, not raw, not mushy.  Just a perfectly cooked roast of Corned Beef.

 

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We enjoyed this meal thoroughly  🙂

 

Now, just to finish this off…here are some of the cooking times for different foods.

This will give you a better idea of how long it takes to cook meals.  Not in hours.  In minutes.

And then you can go buy one on Amazon and change how you ever cooked food  🙂

 

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*I wish I was getting paid for these reviews, but I’m not.  I just sincerely believe that good, wholesome food, from scratch, can be an awesome and uncomplicated experience for everybody.  

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Guardians of the Kitchen Galaxy: Mini Cast Iron Pans

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I spend a good amount of time during the day making meals for the family.

I also have, like, other stuff to do during the day.

So if you think I want to spend hours prepping, cooking, baking, and cleaning up afterward…you got the wrong gal.

My kitchen was revolutionized a few years ago when I discovered the electric pressure cooker (link to my article on that!!), and our meals have been ridiculously amazing ever since.

But that was a few years ago!

What else could I do to make meals a little easier, a little more down home, and a little more exciting?

WELL: a few months ago we went out for the night.  We stopped by the pool for a little bit of family swimming after work, and by the time we were done it was too late to get dinner started at home. So, we dropped into a nearby pub for an easy dinner.

I can’t say pub food is the most gluten free food on earth, for what it’s worth. #salads

Nevertheless, I particularly noticed the dish one of the kids had. They had ordered shepherd’s pie, and it came out in an individual baking dish.

And that got me thinking…

What if I had individual baking dishes at home??

Unfortunately, the ramekins (which is what these dishes are called) I could find were all way too small for what I wanted. I didn’t want a side dish sized ramekin; I wanted a one portion sized ramekin.  So, I was striking out on that search…

You know what I did find, though? MINI-CAST IRON PANS!

I cannot even tell you how awesome these things are.

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I got 7 pans, which are 6.25 inches across, so everyone had one pan, and, indeed, I could fit one portion into each pan! This is a dinner of baked chicken with garlic tomato and chickpeas.

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So beautiful 🙂 But what I really wanted to make was shepherd’s pie!

(here is my shepherd’s pie recipe!)

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Which turned out amazing!! 

The problem with making shepherd’s pie for the family our size is that I don’t have a casserole dish big enough to feed everyone. I could make two shepherd’s pie dishes, but then I would have too much. Consequently, I haven’t made it, or any other casserole-dish, for a long time. Either it is a size/portion issue, or the baking is uneven for larger dishes and the middle is squishy. Plus, when you are dishing it out it gets all messed up and the presentation isn’t nice.

And even though presentation doesn’t affect the quality of taste, it significantly affects the quality of life (yes it does).

Which is why these mini-cast iron pans solve a multitude of issues!

But…are they deep enough for shepherd’s pie? Because no one wants a thin shepherd’s pie. That’s just sad.

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Awwww yeaaahhhh!!

Cooking for large families doesn’t have to consist of boxed rice and cream of bland soup.

Once you start thinking outside the box, you’ll find yourself in pre-seasoned cast iron heaven 🙂