We and I use the term loosely as in the “royal we,” are remodeling our kitchen. Think demo day, a la Chip Gaines of the popular HGTV show, Fixer Upper.

Rather than using the sledgehammer method, my husband Harold carefully deconstructed the entire kitchen in order to donate it—cabinets, appliances and even the kitchen sink—intact to our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

Demo Day! Let the deconstruction begin

But before he removed a single screw, my personal home improvement designer/planner/hobbyist and talented woodworker remodeled the laundry room by stacking the full-size washer and dryer to make room for a new sink, more cabinetry, and counters.

Voila! A new temporary kitchen.

It’s small. Think: Barbie’s Dream House. Or cooking in a tent trailer. However, and quite amazingly, it works with just enough space for my Breville Smart Oven, Bunn Coffee Maker, Induction Countertop Burner, and Instant Pot.

I haven’t missed a beat; still making three meals a day, which would be nearly impossible were it not for my Instant Pot. The more I use it the more I learn. I could write for hours about all of the ways it has brought ease to my life—and delicious meals to our table—but I’ll save that for another day.

Today, I want to share recipes for some of our favorite Instant Pot meals.

Instant Pot Orange Chicken

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch chunks (see Note 1)
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce or tamari (see Note 2)
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • scallions, sliced thinly, for optional garnish (see Note 3)

To thicken:

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons water

In a large mixing bowl, combine orange juice, brown sugar, water, soy sauce, ketchup, garlic, and ginger. Mix well. Add chicken chunks and stir until all pieces are evenly coated.

Pour chicken and all of the sauce into Instant Pot. Close the lid. Set to high pressure for 5 minutes.

(In the meantime, mix water and cornstarch together in a small bowl, stirring until you have a very smooth “slurry.” Set aside.)

Once 5-minutes are up, Immediately release the pressure by turning the pressure valve to “Release,” also called the Quick-Release method. Remove the lid. Press “Saute.”

Pour the slurry over the chicken and stir while chicken continues to cook and sauce thickens, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from pot and serve over rice; garnish with sliced scallions. Serves: 6

Notes:

  1. Tamari is Japanese soy sauce, which can be found in the Asian aisle of most supermarkets, or a Japanese food store. Tamari is nearly always gluten-free as it is made without wheat. Many people (I would be one) prefer tamari to Chinese soy sauce. It’s not as strong, but even more flavorful.
  2. Feel free to substitute boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 1-inch chunks
  3. Scallions are also known as green onions. Instead of slicing straight cross to create tiny rounds of scallion, slice diagonally. You’ll create achieve a much more attractive outcome for the final garnish.

Instant Pot Sesame Chicken

  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar (unseasoned)
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • sesame seeds, for garnish
  • scallions, sliced for garnish (optional)

To thicken:

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons water

In a large bowl combine water, ketchup, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar and ginger. Add chicken chunks and stir to make sure all pieces are well-coated. Pour all of the bowl’s contents into Instant Pot. Set to pressure cook on High for 5 minutes.

While cooking, in a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water and stir until you have a smooth slurry.

Once done, turn pressure valve to “Release.” Remove the lid, press “Saute.” Carefully pour the slurry over the chicken, stirring gently until the sauce thickens.

Transfer to serving dish, garnish with sliced scallion and sesame seeds. Serves: 4

Classic Pot Roast

  • 1 (3- to 4-pound) boneless beef chuck-eye roast, trimmed
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 pounds small Yukon Gold potatoes

To thicken:

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cold water

Pat the roast with paper towels to remove as much surface moisture as possible. Season all sides well with salt and pepper.

Select Instant Pot “Saute” and add oil to the cooking pot. When hot, brown roast on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove to plate or platter once browned.

Add the chopped onions to the oil in the pot, which still set to Saute. Cook, stirring occasionally until softened, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Stir in tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Add broth, stir and simmer until slightly reduced about 3 minutes. Scrape up all the browned bits stuck on the bottom of the pot while broth is simmering.

Place the browned pot roast and any accumulated juices in the pressure cooking pot and place potatoes on top of the meat. Lock lid in place.

Select High Pressure and set the timer for 90 minutes. When beep sounds, turn off pressure cooker and allow pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, use a quick pressure release to release any remaining pressure.

Carefully remove the lid. Transfer potatoes and beef to serving dishes. Cover beef loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 15 minutes before carving.

In the meantime, strain juices and skim excess fat from the juices. Return juices to the pressure cooking pot, select Sauté. Place flour and cold water in a small bowl and whisk until smooth.

Once juices reach a rolling boil, slowly pour flour/water mixture into the juice, while stirring constantly. Thicken as desired, adding more water if it gets too thick.

Carve beef, pour thickened gravy over all to serve.  Serves 4-6.

Edited 4-13-18 to correct link to Instant Pot and goofy sentence that made no sense. Whoops!

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