1. Why You’re Here
2. Here’ How This Works
1. Quick Start Guide (fill-in-the-blank)
2. The UK Roadmap (fill-in-the-blank)
3. Percolate Kitchen Resource Library
4. COUPON: 1 free month in Prep Sesh
STEP 1: MEAL PLANNING AND PREP
1. Here’s What You’ll Learn
2. 8 Types of Meal Plans
3. Dealing with Different Diets at Mealtime
4. Creating a Meal Prep Structure
5. Meal Prep Equipment
6. Meal Plan Services and Databases
7. The 5 Minute Meal Plan
8. How to Share Saved Notes in Evernote
[BONUS] Done For You Meal Plan #1
[BONUS] Done For You Meal Plan #2
[BONUS] Done For You Meal Plan #3
STEP 2: MASTERING ONE-POT AND ONE-PAN RECIPES
1. Here’s What You’ll Learn
2. Instant Pot 101: Common Issues and Troubleshooting
3. Sheet Pan Meals
4. Crockpot and Stovetop Meals
[BONUS] 80 One-Pot and One-Pan Recipes
STEP 3: SET ‘BACKUPS’ WITH PANTRY AND FREEZER MEALS
1. Freezer Meals Breakdown
2. Batch Cooking for Freezer Meals
3. Freezer Meal Kits
4. Safe Thawing Practices
5. Pantry Meals
[BONUS] 30 Freezer Meal Kits
[BONUS] 200 Freezer-Friendly Meals
[BONUS] 35 Pantry Meals
Instant Pot 101: Common Issues and Troubleshooting
So you’re new to the Instant Pot!
First off, I TOTALLY get why it can feel intimidating and scary when you first open up that box, man. I felt the same way, and I’m pretty comfortable in the kitchen, as you might imagine!
I’m going to go through today some of the common complaints, questions, issues, and troubleshooting methods that I hear from people ALL.THE.TIME!
One great place I recommend you start is in the Facebook Instant Pot Community group. It’s free to join and open to the public, and it’s the perfect spot to put any random questions or issues you might have that I don’t address, and you can find some fabulous recipes in there, too!
When you first open your Instant Pot and take it out of the box, it can feel mega intimidating. There’s this weird heavy lid and all the buttons and some little accessories like the trivet and the scrapey thing and what do I do with it all!?
And there are 3 really common questions I hear from people when they are getting comfortable with their Ips for the first time. I like to call them …
The 3 WTFs of the Instant Pot
So this brings me to my first common question: WTF with all these buttons!?
There’s the front panel of the Instant Pot, with buttons for saute and chicken and soup/stew and everything else and like, what’s the difference? It can be really overwhelming.
But think of it like this: an Instant Pot is basically a microwave. I mean, really: you figured out the defrost setting. You figured out the popcorn setting. And at the end of the day, if you need to add more time to something, you just punch in a few more minutes can wait.
The IP is really no different when you get right down to it!
Yes, it may look a little more complicated due to the lid and the valve and everything, but honestly, it works just like a microwave in that you add the ingredients, push the buttons to determined the heating time and type, and let it cook in the way it as programmed to do.
Honestly, I recommend you just kind of ignore the specific buttons at first. Get comfortable with the High Pressure time, with the Saute, and Cancel buttons.
Later, once you’re feeling more comfortable with how the machine works, get moving into the buttons for Beans and Yogurt and everything.
There is a Time Chart in your little Instant Pot booklet, and if you lose that, they’ve got printable PDFs on their website, InstantPot.com.
So this moves us onto the next big question I hear from people new to the Instant Pot, and that’s this:
WTF do I DO first!?
You’re probably wondering, do I…. just hop into a recipe? Do I need to clean the thing?
The Water Test is simply putting water in the Instant Pot, setting it to pressure, and making sure the thing works, you’re comfortable with it, and seeing it do something that is literally impossible to screw up. You’re just boiling water to make sure the pot itself comes to pressure as it’s supposed to.
Bonus? Doing the water test sanitizes your pot right out of the gate, so you don’t have to worry about going to town cleaning anything weird from the factory before you can start cooking.
So the water test is a basic test to make sure your pot works. It also gets you comfortable with it for the first time!
Common question at this stage: This take way longer than 2 minutes. And I KNOW.
That’s the thing that drove me nuts about the IP when I first got it. I’d get all excited about a 20 minute short ribs recipe, but never mind that the machine took 10 minutes to get to pressure- IF I didn’t forget to put the Valve on “Sealing”, and then cook for 20 minutes, AND THEN it has like 25 minutes of release time! Talk about WTF.
So the thing is: you have to remember there are three sets of timing amounts when it comes to a Instant Pot recipe:
1. The time it takes to get to pressure.
2. The time it takes to cook.
3. The time it takes to come back down from pressure.
That means you need to ALWAYS read right through to the very end so you can have an accurate understanding of how long it will take.
And here is one of my fave tips for the IP: Hit the “Saute” button!
It starts the heating process without needing to secure the lid first. I’ll set the lid on top without sealing and locking it, and let the heat build inside the pot while I prepare my ingredients to go in.
Starting with a hot pot will cut way down on the amount of time you need to bring the pot to pressure. “Bring to Pressure” means building up enough steam to pressure cook the food, right? And heat makes steam, so you’re giving it a head start with the Saute feature.
And then we can move on to the third WTF….
“WTF do I COOK first?”
Eggs are perfect for a first time!
Here’s a super basic egg recipe for hard boiling them with the Instant Pot. You will not BELIEVE how easy it is to peel these eggs, for real.
1. Trivet in the bottom of the pot.
2. Add 5 eggs.
3. Pour in 2 cups of water
4. Secure and lock the lid, make sure valve is set to “Sealing”
5. High pressure for 5 minutes.
6. While eggs are cooking, fill a bowl with ice water.
7. Once the machine beeps 3 times, do a manual release of the pressure.
8. Let the eggs sit in the ice water for 5 minutes.
9. Peel and go!
So another question I’m asked often is the difference in some “slang” terms for the IP.
Such as… What is NPR? What is MPR? What is QPR?
These are terms related to how the machine release steam pressure, which will trigger the safety mechanism on the lid to unlock, so you can access the inside!
NPR is natural release pressure, which is when you just let the machine sit and chell there and come down from high pressure on its own. Sometimes you let it come down until the lid opens, sometimes you let it come down for a specific amount of time and then you do an MPR or QPR to finish.
Which brings me to MPR and QPR, which are manual and quick pressure release. Now, with these types of release, you need to be safe because what you’ll be doing is letting the steam out of the machine. And when that happens, you have a risk of burning yourself. So make sure to always approach MPR or QPR release methods (btw, they mean the same thing), with an oven mitt, or a towel, or a wooden spoon, or similar.
See that little silver pin to the right of the valve? That’s one way you can do a MPR- by pressing that pin down. I do this with the stem end of a wooden spoon so my hand is kept far away from the steam.
You can also turn the valve to “Venting” which lets the steam out that way as well. It’s up to you; they’re both there to do the same thing so there is a backup method for letting the steam out.