Please help me with simple Instant Pot recipes to support bodybuilding
June 25, 2017 4:54 AM   Subscribe

Here's the layout: I recently purchased an Instant Pot. I made a few things with it so far and they came out edible. I'm about to start a fitness program intended for bulking up (i.e., building muscle). To achieve my goals, I'll need a stock of meals with a strong protein bias. See inside for minor constraints and a plea for mercy.

To my limited knowledge, I think good dishes might include casseroles and chiles—a casserole can contain, say, chicken, legumes, veggies, and leafy greens. The point is single dishes that function as an entire meals.

Before the suggestions fly, I'd like to make one humble request: please don't "use Google" me, ok?

Google is wonderful, but it doesn't solve this problem.

The sheer volume of Instant Pot recipes on Google is absolutely staggering. Between work and commitments, it would take me weeks, maybe months, to dig through them and find a few that advance my cause.

Also, nearly all of them claim to be "simple" or "30-minute meals" and then they describe the fucking Manhattan project. Maybe they're "30-minutes" if you have the faintest idea what a "colander" is, you own one, and when you're done you just toss it. Michelle Tam needs to start being honest about prep times.

Cookbooks, same deal. I've purchased several, most having "Quick," "On-the-Go," or "Budget" in the title. Then you open it. I've played RPGs that are less confusing. Dozens of steps, endless obscure, expensive ingredients that I'll rarely use, many of them perishable. Photo of three sticks sitting on some lettuce.

Ok, sorry. None of that is your fault. I'm dealing with a lot of "Arrrrgh" right now.

I guess what I'm saying I'd be grateful for some experienced guidance from real people who understand what "busy" means and aren't trying to make me click a "Like" button.

For example: "This casserole is legit. You can make it in 90 minutes. A colander is that thing with holes in it."

Again, this is part of a workout program to build mass. There's so much eating involved that you really can't pull it off unless you prepare your meals in advance. The fitness mags vary on details, but they're unanimous on the essence: eat a a lot protein but don't neglect the other food groups.

I mentioned casseroles and chiles, but I'm totally open to other suggestions.

The only things I avoid are pork and red meat—cholesterol issues. And I'm not super into fish.

But turkey or chicken are fine, and I'm down for vegetarian options as long as they cover the essential amino acids.

Thanks in advance for the help!
posted by trevor_case to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
 
You can cook a whole chicken in about 20 minutes. And then you can use the cooked chicken in salads and many other meals.

Hardboiled eggs are apparently easy to do in a pressure cooker, and are a good source of protein.

My goto source for cooking times is https://www.hippressurecooking.com/
posted by kjs4 at 5:58 AM on June 25, 2017 [3 favorites]


This instant pot green chili chicken recipe has two steps - cook all but two ingredients under pressure for 15 mins, then remove the chicken, add back the last two ingredients and blend. Its one of the only things ive made in the IP that is genuinely better than my attempts using other tools. I have and use an Instant Pot often but mostly for convenience and speed, not quality, sadly.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 6:21 AM on June 25, 2017 [4 favorites]


Here's a simple Italian-style chicken sausage stew. You don't mention being low carb so it's got potatoes for its base carb. You can easily omit them if you are doing low-carb and just figure you'll get fewer servings that way. I also do a similar deal with pasta but I pretty much guestimate my water ratios there and I don't want to lead you astray by giving you the wrong amounts.

1 can Italian-style diced tomatoes
1 chopped medium onion
1 chopped green pepper
1 12-oz package chicken sausage (these come in several flavors--something like garlic, Italian, or feta and spinach will work for this recipe)
~2-3 cups potatoes cut into bite-sized chunks (2-3 medium potatoes)

Dump everything into the pot, add 1/2 can water and about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, close the steam vent, hit "steam" and use the +/- to adjust to 7 minutes. Do quick release when the timer is done. It will be eat-out-of-a-bowl stew consistency right off the bat; you can hit "cancel" and then set on "saute" and cook it down a bit, giving it an occasional stir, if you want serve-on-a-plate consistency. Top with some grated Parmesan if you're feeling fancy. This makes 2-3 servings.
posted by drlith at 6:43 AM on June 25, 2017 [4 favorites]


We made this chicken stew yesterday and it was straightforward, simple, and surprisingly tasty. Not much in the way of fat or carbs, which sounds like it's not a big deal to you anyway.

There's also the frozen chicken breasts + basically whatever sauce recipe; I've heard a lot of recommendations for salsa chicken made this way, and we're going to try using curry later this week. You can serve with whatever pre-made carb strikes your fancy, e.g. tortillas or pitas or rice. (Cooked rice generally freezes well; put it in small containers and add a little bit of water when reheating.)
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:48 AM on June 25, 2017 [1 favorite]


Rather than than a specific recipe (or recipes), I'll give you the basics of how I use my Instant Pot to make entire meals. You can plug in different specifics according to your tastes.

(I know this looks like a lot of steps, but it's really not difficult. Instructions or recipes in text always seem overwhelming just due to the nature of explaining things in writing.)

First, a few basics to keep in mind:
-The Instant Pot is wonderful and is probably my most-used cooking implement (a cast iron pan coming in a close second). However, don't be fooled by the word "instant." The cooking process doesn't really take that much less time than other methods, but it does allow less babysitting of the process, and can provide more tender proteins than other methods. So, you still need to allow adequate time to prepare your meals

-Keep in mind that even though you can throw everything in together and let it cook, some things are better with different cooking times. For example, if you let carrots cook as long as you want your meat to cook, they can come out mushy. It's ok to allow some items to cook for a while, then add other items later.

-Get familiar with using the included to trivet to cook rice (or an alternative) in its own bowl at the same time as the proteins and veggies. It adds a ton of versatility.
Here are the steps I usually follow:
1) Use the saute setting with a little olive oil to brown the protein with salt, pepper, and whatever spices you want.

2) When browning is done add veggies and some stock, along with any sauce you like (teriyaki, bbq, salsa, etc). Keep in mind you might want to hold back some vegetables and add them later if you want them more firm. There will be trial and error!

3) If you are cooking rice with the trivet, add rice and stock (or water, but stock is better) to a metal bowl and place it on the trivet. I have found that you need less stock than cooking on the stovetop, because the moisture from the main part of the dish helps cook the rice. About 1:1 for white rice, and 1:1.25 for brown. (rice:stock) Brown rice will also take longer to cook.

4) Set the cook time for at least 10 minutes. 15 minutes if brown rice is being cooked. Again there will be trial and error. (If you're adding any veggies, stop the cooking 2-3 minutes early, manually depressurize, add the veggies, then re-start the cook for the remaining time.) Once cooking is done, let the the pot depressurize on its own. This is especially important if you're cooking rice at the same time; otherwise it will not be done.

5) Optional depending on your preference: Remove the rice and trivet, set the pot to saute again and add a corn starch and water mix to thicken the sauce.

6) I like to add something crunchy on top for texture. (Sliced almonds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, French's onions, crushed nacho chips, etc. depending on your flavors.)
Ready to serve!
posted by The Deej at 7:54 AM on June 25, 2017 [2 favorites]


I hard-boil eggs in mine all the time.

Your appliance probably came with a trivet. If not, that Amazon link has several inexpensive options.

Place the trivet in the bottom of the pot, add about an inch of water, and place as many eggs as will fit in a single layer on the trivet (or fewer if you only want to make, say, three).

Secure the lid onto the pot, press the Manual button, and choose three minutes.

After it's worked it's way up to pressure, the timer will count down three minutes, beep, and send itself into "Natural Release" mode.

After 10 minutes on Natural Release, open the lid and remove your eggs into a bowl of ice water to cool them down.

Pull them out after about five minutes, dry them off, and store them in the fridge.

When you're ready to use them, marvel at how easily the shell peels off.
posted by _Mona_ at 8:53 AM on June 25, 2017 [1 favorite]


omg ty guys. It's gonna be cooking mania up in here.
posted by trevor_case at 11:26 AM on June 25, 2017 [1 favorite]


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