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Slow cooker/Instant Pot recipes for busy families

It seems there are fewer minutes in a day when it comes to work, family and outside activities.
Manufactures of kitchen appliances have seized upon this concept and have created more new gadgets to cut down on preparation and cooking time for those who have less time, but still want to serve a good, homecooked meal to their families.
From slow cookers to air fryers, time-saving devices are all the rage in the kitchen.
The slow cooker has been around for a long time and has been a staple for busy parents. The cookers have been improved upon and joined now by several time-saving gadgets that aid in meal preparation.
The Insta Pot is the latest of these appliances and is all the rage right now. But what does it do? It is a small appliance that is a multi-cooker. It is a combination of a pressure cooker, slow cooker, steamer, and more. It can be a rice cooker and cake maker at the same time. It comes with preset programs that are specifically designed to cook food to perfection, whether it be cake, stew or a pot roast.
The following are some recipes for all-time favorites, some with a new twist, that can be prepared in the slow cooker or Insta Pots. In the coming weeks, we will also be showcasing recipes for air fryers and sandwich makers.

Slow Cooker/Instant Pot Recipes

Italian Beef
3 pounds beef chuck roast
3 1-oz packages dry Italian salad dressing mix
1 cup water
1 16-oz jar pepperoncini peppers
8 hamburger buns, split
Place the roast into a slow cooker, and season with Italian dressing mix. Pour in the water. Cover, and cook on High for 6 to 7 hours. During the last hour, shred the meat with two forks. If it does not shred easily, cook longer. Add the peppers, and as much of the juice as you like for additional flavor. Serve on buns.

Beef Stroganoff
1/4 cup butter
2 lb boneless beef sirloin steak, cut into 3×1/2×1/4-inch strips
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 10.5-oz can condensed golden mushroom or cream of mushroom soup
1 8-oz carton sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 oz cream cheese, cubed (from 8-oz package)
1 8-oz container sour cream
6 cups hot cooked noodles or rice
In 12-inch skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add beef strips, onion and garlic. Cook 7 to 9 minutes or until beef is browned.
In 3 1/2- to 4 1/2-quart slow cooker, mix beef mixture, soup, mushrooms, salt and pepper.
Cover. cook on low heat setting 5 to 6 hours or until beef is tender.
Stir cream cheese into beef mixture until melted. Stir in sour cream until well blended. Serve over noodles.

Italian Mac and Cheese
Step 1
17 oz elbow pasta
2 Tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 cup diced tomatoes
4 cups water
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chili flakes (optional, can be less)
Combine everything in the Instant Pot, stir thoroughly and pop the lid on top. Lock and set to Manual, High for 4 minutes. After 3 beeps, the Instant Pot will start the cooking process. Once the timer goes off, allow the pressure to release naturally for 5 minutes and then use the quick release method to let off the rest of the steam. Don’t leave the natural release for too long as that will keep cooking the pasta and you risk having a soggy mess!
Step 2
10-12 black olives, sliced
10 sun-dried tomato halves, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
1 cup marinated artichoke hearts, diced roughly
1 cup almond milk or regular milk
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1 cup grated cheddar or other strong cheese
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/4-1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onions/scallions (about 1-2 onions)
4 Tbsps of fried shallots
Basil or parsley to garnish with, optional
Add the diced olives, sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, milk, extra tomato sauce and half of the grated cheese to the pasta and press the Sauté function key. Stir together for a minute or so, until the cheese has melted into the pasta. Add the rest of the cheese and stir in again for 30 seconds or so. Turn the Instant Pot off and serve the pasta topped with chopped green onions and fried shallots on top. You can add some basil or other herbs as well.

Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 red or green bell peppers, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen corn
For garnish
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro
4 small corn tortilla, cut into strips
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack
1 avocado, diced
Preheat oven to 350°. Turn Instant Pot to Sauté setting and heat oil. When oil is shimmering, add bell peppers and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, oregano, cumin, and chili powder. Season chicken generously with salt and pepper then add to Instant Pot. Add remaining soup ingredients and close lid. Set Instant Pot to Soup setting and set timer for 7 minutes.
Meanwhile, on a large baking sheet, toss tortilla strips with oil and a pinch of salt. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes.
When cooking is complete and air has been naturally released from Instant Pot, carefully remove lid and use tongs to remove chicken breasts onto a plate or cutting board. Using two forks, shred chicken. Stir chicken and cilantro into soup. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Garnish soup with tortilla strips, avocado, and cheese to serve.

Instant Pot Pot Roast
3- to 4-lb chuck roast
Black pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 large yellow onions, peeled and quartered
6 carrots, washed, scrubbed, and cut into large pieces
2 cups beef stock
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 cup red wine (optional)
Set the Instant Pot to “Saute” and allow to warm.
Season roast generously with salt and pepper. When the pot is hot, add in olive oil and sear roast until browned on all sides. Set aside.
Add in onions and carrots and cook for an additional 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Deglaze with red wine or beef stock, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of pot. Add in the rosemary, thyme and the beef.
Lock the lid into place, place vent to sealing, push “Manual,” and set time to 60 minutes. When the cooking time is done skim as much fat off the top of the liquid as you can before removing the roast to a cutting board for slicing to serve. Serve alongside carrots and onions, topped with the pan juices. Serve with mashed potatoes.