About a year ago I purchased this Elite 8 qt. electric pressure cooker, and I can tell you that I have been in love ever since. Seriously, how does anyone survive without one of these?
There are so many different models to choose from, and I did my research before selecting this one. The major selling points for me at the time were that it was large enough to cook for large family gatherings (which it has), that I got it for a ridiculous pre-black Friday sale price (under $40 – HONESTLY!), and that I could use it for canning (which I never have). The only downside to this model for me is that it doesn't come with a steaming rack, something I wish that I had so that I could pressure cook eggs and other things that need to be up and off of the bottom heat plate. I can easily go out and purchase a steaming basket, taking care that it will meet the measurements to fit into my electric cooker.
Now that I've had this baby for a year, I've had a lot of people asking me questions about it, wondering if they should take the plunge and buy one. I answer their questions honestly, and have developed a list of the things I love about using my electric pressure cooker:
5 Things I Love About My Electric Pressure Cooker
1. It makes terrific tasting food, quickly!
After I purchased the pressure cooker and gave it a good washing, I made our first meal, without using a recipe. I dumped in some frozen chicken breasts, a jar of Alfredo sauce, frozen broccoli, and pasta. I read the directions carefully about cooking pasta under pressure, set the timer, and waited. We waited a long time (probably longer than the cooking time) before I realized that pressure couldn't be reached until a certain temperature had been reached, so starting with all frozen foods made it a much longer process. But, when it was finished and I opened the lid, everyone in the family looked inside with a smile on their faces. It was SOO good!
The next meals I made were also hits. In fact, there hasn't been one bad meal from the electric pressure cooker! My kids have loved everything I've made. I've made soups, beef rouladen, pork roasts, pork chops, ribs, chicken wings, and our family's favorite, Swedish meatballs. When my children ask, "What's for supper?" and I answer with, "a pressure cooker meal," they reply with, "Yum!" and it doesn't matter what I'm making.
I can make a homemade meal in less than thirty minutes that tastes like I've been cooking all day. All of the infomercials say this for one reason, it's true!
2. I can raid the freezer and start with frozen meat, NO THAWING folks!
Yes, that first meal took a longer time to cook than later meals. I have learned that the cooking time goes much faster when I brown the meat first and then add warm liquids for cooking, but the fact is that if I'm in a hurry for a last minute meal, I can dump frozen ingredients in the thing and just wait a little longer than I would have by using thawed ingredients.
I've also used it to make what my family now refers to as "pantry meals" or "freezer meals." Basically, I hunt for extra ingredients that have been sitting around in the pantry and the freezer combining them with whatever meat I have available to make some pretty fabulous dishes. We have fun trying to name them!
3. I can take it with me when I travel.
In the past year, I have used the pressure cooker in a hotel room and while camping. Often, while traveling, the routine of fast food and other restaurants breaks our hearts while also breaking the bank. Fast food is rarely satisfying, and it's expensive. My pressure cooker has given us good meals on the road, saving money and making our meals out more special.
Yes, I have cooked in my hotel room. I also have a travel kitchen stocked with the things that I need. I wash out the inner cooking pot in the bathroom sink and pack it away when I'm finished. I have heard of people using slow cookers in hotel rooms, but I'm afraid to leave it out in the open when housekeeping comes knocking on the door. My pressure cooker stays packed away until I need it, and I'm right there during the entire cooking process, should anything unexpected happen (and it never has).
This past summer we took our camper "Out West" to Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone. To keep the electric pressure cooker safe while driving, I packed it carefully in our truck. Our first meal in the camper with the pressure cooker was Swedish Meatballs – super fast and easy! I got everything set up, and pressed start. A few minutes later, I blew a fuse in the camper. Lesson learned: When using the outlet on the camper to run the pressure cooker, make sure that the A/C is turned off. They electrical system cannot handle both. A few minutes later, we reset the circuit, turned off the A/C and everything ended up fine. I've since used it camping several times since without any problem (after always remembering to turn off the A/C if we are using it). Our favorite meal in the campsite was a seafood boil complete with lobster, crab legs, shrimp, corn, potatoes, and sausage. YUM!
4. I know what I'm eating!
There has been so much more awareness towards the things that we consume and knowing how something is made and what is in it. I have always preferred cooking from scratch whenever possible, so that I know what ingredients and chemicals I am feeding to my family. By using the pressure cooker, my meals are homemade with ingredients that I have chosen. If I want low fat, I can use low fat ingredients, or low sodium, or organic. This way I always know what I'm eating!
5. It cooks hands free, so I can do other things until the meal is DONE!
The final thing that I love about my pressure cooker is that once it is locked and started, there is nothing for me to do. I can help my kids with homework, fold a load of laundry, watch a TV show in another room, even run a quick errand! The pressure cooker does not need babysitting. There is no boiling over, no reducing temperatures, you just wait. I didn't expect this benefit when I bought it, and it has been a lovely surprise!
So, if you are in the market for an electric pressure cooker, I encourage you to find the model that will be the best for you. There are a lot of resources on the Internet to answer your questions before making the purchase. After you have taken the plunge and used your electric pressure for the first time, you will wonder how you ever lived without it!