I LOVE to cook, bake, can, mix, and create in the kitchen, so I am all for trying new products to keep food interesting. So, when I saw other friends posting about their Instant Pots, I had to get one. There were some passionate feelings about this life-changing gadget. At the time, I was working outside the home and was anxious to try something that would make cooking easier and faster.
A few months later, I read an article about Air Fryers. It was a product on Amazon that had incredible reviews. Having raised two chicken nugget aficionados, I had to try it. And of course, if someone needed to borrow a crockpot, I was the go-to person. I have four—different sizes and abilities.
What’s a mom to do with all these choices? I found myself getting lost on the internet searching for recipes and reading forums on all these new products. Here are my honest opinions on what works for my family.
The Instant Pot
I tried to like it; I really did. Every once in a while I will use it (other than the crock pot feature it has) but it was not the time saver I was hoping for and the first dozen recipes I tried were disappointing. I even bought separate rings to use for cooking savory or sweet foods, the rack to keep things off the bottom and a springform pan to attempt cooking a cheesecake.
I did find an awesome recipe for Steel-Cut Oats with Strawberries and Cream in 175 Best Instant Pot Recipes. I will be trying Cheese Grits with Chiles and Bacon later this week and supposedly you can make wine in your Instant Pot—so there is that!
The Air Fryer
Now, this was more up my family’s alley! At first, I bought it to cook foods like chicken nuggets and french fries for my kids but there is a whole other world of air fryer cooking we have yet to try in the Healthy Air Fryer Cookbook—things like homemade corn tortilla chips and a cayenne sesame mix, as well as quinoa-stuffed peppers and chocolate lava cakes.
At this point, though, I do feel like I need to buy another air fryer and all the accessories for it because the one I have has been “seasoned” for my kids. To me, it will be worth the investment.
The Crock Pot
My tried and true love in the kitchen! I first used my crockpot to make a mean chili and pot roast, but I have evolved and use it to cook a whole roasting chicken (it comes out so juicy) and to make all day apple butter. I use it to cook ribs all day and then take out just before serving to thrown on the grill with BBQ sauce. For me, there is something about knowing dinner has been cooking all day and filling the house with yummy smells.
I have a few crockpot cookbooks, but I find myself creating things (aka throwing whatever I have that sounds good together) that my family loves. My crock pot has also been my savior at the holidays when trying to cook so many different things at once.
What works best for you and your family? If you could only have one, which would it be?