If tired, stressed out, overwhelmed, and overworked applies to how you feel most evenings, this post is for you! Three examples of how I use my freezer and my Pressure Cooker to make dinner on nights when I just don't want to.
Did you know when you got your Electric Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot), freezer meals were going to become your new best friend?! This here freezer trick is my busy weeknight dream come true!
Meal Planning can be such a hassle. As much as I like to cook, I really don't like to plan it. In an attempt to make it easier and more enjoyable, Cami and I started with breakfast with my recipe for (Instant Pot) Pressure Cooker Ready Made Steel Cut Oat bags and Cami's Breakfast Meal Planning Worksheets (how does she think of these things!). Now let's move on to dinner!
Dinner is my favorite meal of the day and my chance to let all my creative energy work it's magic . . . except typically by that point of the day, that energy I felt in the morning is gone and I feel more as if I'm unsuccessfully treading water until bed time. Which if you've ever seen me swim you would know, my treading water more resembles drowning.
I am not fond of the appearance of raw meat, but for the sake of this post, bear with me. Even good lighting and photo shop couldn't make raw meat look appetizing (for me anyways, there's a possibility I have an unrealistic fear of touching or looking at raw meat. Maybe my brothers teased me with it as a child? Who knows).
How to Prep and Freeze Meat Meals for Instant Pressure Cooker Dinner Magic
Start with your favorite meat recipes making sure they don't include items that would be ruined by freezing. I would avoid freezing any dairy or vegetables that aren't already frozen or that are a key ingredient to the dish. For example, I think this Creamy Chicken Enchilada Soup would be a great freezer meal because the vegetables that are included will get pureed in at the end.
When preparing your favorite meals for dinner, buy twice the ingredients. That way you can make the meal twice at one time. One will go in the pressure cooker for dinner that night, the other into a freezer bag to be frozen for another day. I know, mind-blowing, right?!
For these examples I am using Pepperoncini Beef Sandwich, Smoked Paprika “Roasted” Chicken (recipe from our book, Master the Electric Pressure Cooker), and Fajita Bowl Chicken (a recipe that will be coming soon).
Add your meat and other ingredients to a freezer safe bag. I typically double bag it just to be safe.
Here is the Pepperoncini Beef plus all the other ingredients, minus the toppings of course
Fajita Chicken with all the spices plus some soy sauce and liquid smoke
Smoked Paprika “Roasted” Chicken covered in lots and lots of seasonings
Once all of your meals are sealed in freezer safe bags, place them inside your pressure cooker pot. Press the meat down to cover the bottom surface of the pot. This is very important because now, that whole pot will go into the freezer. Once completely frozen, remove your frozen meal from the pot and behold your perfectly shaped bag of food that will return to the pot slick as can be when ready to cook on a later day. Rich Lum was the one to open my eyes to this trick with the whole chicken idea and I plan on doing that with this Turkey Breast recipe as well. Genius that Rich Lum is.
DON'T freeze two bags in 1 pot like I did below. The meat needs to be in an even layer across the bottom in order to cook evenly through. I learned this lesson the hard way.
When it's time for an emergency throw together dinner meal, remove the food from the freezer bag and plop your perfectly pot shaped meal into your pressure cooker pot and cook, adding 5 – 10 minutes of extra cooking time depending on the size of your meat (for example, the pepperoncini beef and chicken I added 5 minutes because they were smaller pieces of meat, the whole chicken I added an extra 10 minutes).
Open your pot and reveal your utterly delicious meal that took you 1 minute of prep time but looks like you slaved away in the kitchen for hours! Rockstar status for sure.
Would you just look at this Pepperoncini Beef Sandwich covered in melty provolone cheese, chopped giardiniera, and Sir Kensington Chipotle Mayo. Are you drooling? Totally acceptable, understandable, and justified.
Then there's this “Roasted” Chicken beauty. This baby even made front cover of our Master the Electric Pressure Cooker cookbook and it is well deserved. I adore this Smoked Paprika Chicken more than I can say!
If you need any help with how to freeze your favorite pressure cooking meals for a later day, ask away! I'd love to help out!
Tools used to make (Instant Pot) Pressure Cooker Meal Planning – Dinner
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Other Meals That Would Make Great Freezer Meals
- Egg Roll Bowl
- Creamy Chicken Enchilada Soup
- Triple Bean Chili
- Easy Moo Shu Pork (this recipe is also found in The Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook by Barbara at Pressure Cooking Today)
- Turkey Breast