How to use a Pressure Cookeruse your Pressure Cooker Safelypressure Cooker Cooking

The modern pressure cooker is not the mocking, spurting, dangerous monster it once was. There are many clever innovations being used in the manufacturing of these magical cooking pots. They are now creating safe, upbeat, and stylish models which are easy for almost anyone to use. Once you find out how fast and safe the new pressure cookers are, you will never go back to the crock-pot!

By using a pressure cooker you will be able to take the toughest old rooster and stew him up easily making delectable dishes like chicken and dumplings, a savory fricassee or even make fried chicken from that old bird, all in the modern pressure cooker.

Cooking with a pressure cooker will save you money because it will enable you to buy the less expensive cuts of beef, pork, and poultry and then bring out the deep flavors of the meat by cooking them under pressure.

Busy cooks save time by using a pressure cooker because this method of cooking is marvelously fast; you can make a stew in 10 minutes, cook potatoes for mashing in 7 minutes and even cook a whole roast in 20 minutes.  Plus you can create delicious sauces and gravies by using the cooking juices which are packed with the good flavors from the meat or vegetables you have used.

The instructions that follow are the simple and general directions for use.  Recipes and cooking times will vary with each dish being prepared. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions and recipes which come with every new pressure cooker and follow them precisely.

Find a recipe for the item being cooked. Pour the specified amount of liquid into the bottom of the cooker. Add the cooking rack if using. Add the food products you will be cooking.

Make sure the vent hole in the lid of the cooker is clear; you should be able to see light through the hole.

Place the lid on the cooker unit and lock into place.

Place the regulator in place on the stem located on the top of the lid.

Bring the heat under the cooking unit to high heat and allow the unit to heat until the regulator begins to jiggle. Reduce heat until the regulator rocks gently.

Cook for the specified time per directions.

Turn off the heat and allow the cooker to reduce the pressure naturally if called for in the directions; this is done by turning off the heat and allowing the cooker to sit undisturbed for around 20 minutes. Or you may need to reduce the pressure quickly by running the unit under water until pressure is relieved; don’t worry, it will not explode.

Before opening the unit, make sure all pressure is gone by checking the locking device, it will have dropped.

Here is a quick chart listing the cooking times of some foods generally know for taking a long time to cook.

Beef, pot roast, rump, round, chuck, blade or brisket, 1 1/2 lb to 2 lb. 35-40 minutes

Whole bone-in chicken, 3 lb. 12-18 minutes

Pork roast 2-3 lb. 35–40 minutes

Turkey breast, whole bone-in 30-35 minutes

These meats will be done to perfection and many will come out of the pressure cooker fall apart done.

Vegetables will retain their shape and texture in a pressure cooker, plus you will be left with all the nutrients they had, in the cooking juices left in the bottom of the cooker.  Save these to use in sauces, soups, and to flavor gravies.

Here is a quick overview of cooking vegetables and beans in a pressure cooker.

Fresh green beans 2 lbs. 2 -3 minutes

Carrots cut in chunks 2 lbs. 4 minutes

Corn on the cob – 6 ears 3 minutes

Whole potatoes (For mashing) 5 -7 minutes

Do not be afraid to try cooking almost any food in a pressure cooker.  All it takes is a well maintained pressure cooker, and following the manufacturers instructions, recipes, and directions to make quick, easy, flavorful meats, vegetables, one pot meals, and even desserts in mere minutes using your handy-dandy, modern pressure cooker!

Sage meatloaf: One of many tasty and inexpensive ground beef recipes

“Cheap dishes to make with ground beef” sounds like not only didn’t the beef cost much, but also the dish itself isn’t going to have much beyond an average taste. It might be preferable to call this – Sage Meatloaf – an inexpensive dish.

With eight ingredients, plus salt and pepper – most of which are already in the typical home – ground beef might turn out to be the only expenditure required. Plus maybe an onion, if one can’t be found in the cupboard at the moment.

Cheap, or inexpensive, might also imply that there won’t be an appealing taste or texture to the dish. The use of too many ingredients and too many additives, and in improper proportions, is more likely to detract from the success of this entree, so keep in mind that less is more.

Consider the contents

Facing the many choices in packaging of ground beef may seem intimidating. There is 80% lean ground beef, 90% lean, and 95% lean. These days, for health’s sake, the leaner the beef (or any other food, for that matter), the better. Lean beef is definitely not cheap.

Take heart, because in this dish a certain amount of fat is needed for the proper taste, texture and moistness. Stick with the cheaper 80% lean ground beef. Once it’s out of the oven, the meatloaf can be lifted out of its pool of pan drippings and placed on a stack of two or three paper plates to drain away more of the greasy substance.

There’s no end to bread choices. Everything from inexpensive, all-American white breads to the more costly 100% whole grain breads will do the job of helping to even the balance of wet and dry ingredients.  

Keep the seasonings simple. Traditionally meatloaf has ketchup, salt and pepper. This recipe also features Worcestershire sauce and dried sage. Worcestershire sauce complements beef nicely. Sage is typically added to chicken and turkey dishes, yet is surprisingly good in meatloaf.

What would a meatloaf be without onions? Most people like them. Some pick out the onion chunks as they eat. By placing these inexpensive little veggies beneath the meatloaf, where they can be eaten or not, everyone is happy.

Sage Meatloaf (Serves 3-4)

Ingredients:

1 pound (or a bit less; not more) 80% lean ground beef

1 slice bread, cut in 1/4-1/3 inch cubes

1 egg

3 tablespoons ketchup

2 tablespoons fat-free milk

1 heaping teaspoon dried sage

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon salt

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 small, medium or large onion (your choice), thinly sliced and then separated into rings

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Spray loaf pan with extra virgin olive oil spray. Spread onion rings evenly on bottom of prepared pan.

3. Remove ground beef from refrigerator and let sit on counter while preparing rest of ingredients.

4. In large mixing bowl, combine egg, ketchup, milk, sage, Worcestershire, salt and pepper. Add bread cubes and mix thoroughly.

5. Add ground beef to bread mixture. With clean hands, mix thoroughly but lightly.

6. Place mixture in loaf pan and gently pat to slightly flatten top. If using a larger pan, such as a 5×9-inch pan, fit the mixture into one end, only filling about 2/3 of the pan; then use a turner to slide it to the middle.

7. Bake 35-45 minutes. Remove from pan and place on 2-3 stacked paper plates for at least ten minutes. Any onions remaining in pan can be placed on top or served separately. 

What makes this meatloaf different from others is the subtle sage taste–always there, but never overwhelming. While Sage Meatloaf is definitely a cheap dish to make with ground beef, it is also easy to prepare, reasonably healthy and beautifully moist.