Are you getting the most out of your Instant Pot?

If your answer is no, you're probably not alone. It can be difficult to use all the features on an appliance that offers so much. A hot gift during the holidays, Instant Pots can steam, slow cook, boil, saute, sterilize and more.

So let us provide you with a little Instant Pot inspiration. Here are three great recipes from Urvashi Pitre, the author of two Instant Pot cookbooks.

You can click here to buy her latest cookbook, "The Keto Instant Pot Cookbook," on Amazon.com. Still thinking about getting an Instant Pot or multi-cooker? Click here to check out some great deals.

Now and Later Butter Chicken

SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 5 or 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons Garam Masala (page XX), divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes, or 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream or full-fat coconut milk
  • ¼ to 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 cups cauliflower rice or cucumber noodles

1. Put the tomatoes, garlic, ginger, turmeric, cayenne, paprika, 1 teaspoon of garam masala, cumin, and salt in the inner cooking pot of the Instant Pot®. Mix thoroughly, then place the chicken pieces on top of the sauce.

2. Lock the lid into place. Select Manual and adjust the pressure to High. Cook for 10 minutes. When the cooking is complete, let the pressure release naturally. Unlock the lid. Carefully remove the chicken and set aside.

3. Using an immersion blender in the pot, blend together all the ingredients into a smooth sauce. (Or use a stand blender, but be careful with the hot sauce and be sure to leave the inside lid open to vent.) After blending, let the sauce cool before adding the remaining ingredients or it will be thinner than is ideal.

4. Add the butter cubes, cream, remaining 1 teaspoon of garam masala, and cilantro. Stir until well incorporated. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon when you're done.

5. Remove half the sauce and freeze it for later or refrigerate for up to 2 to 3 days.

6. Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces or shred it. Add it back to the sauce.

7. Preheat the Instant Pot® by selecting Sauté and adjust to Less for low heat. Let the chicken heat through. Break it up into smaller pieces if you like, but don't shred it.

8. Serve over cauliflower rice or raw cucumber noodles.

TIP: To make this dish later with the extra sauce, use leftover cooked chicken and mix it in with the gently heated sauce, let it simmer for a few minutes for the flavors to meld together, and there you go. Add the cilantro on top.

  • PREP TIME - 15 minutes
  • SAUTÉ - 5 minutes
  • PRESSURE COOK/MANUAL - 10 minutes high pressure
  • RELEASE - Natural
  • TOTAL TIME - 55 minutes
  • MACROS 63% Fat 13% Carbs 24% Protein

Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake

SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS

  • Unsalted butter or vegetable oil, for greasing the pan
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup Swerve, plus 1 teaspoon, and more as needed
  • 1/3 cup full-fat or part-skim ricotta cheese, at room temperature
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream

1. Grease a 6-inch springform pan extremely well. I find this easiest to do with a silicone basting brush so I can get into all the nooks and crannies. Or line the sides of the pan with parchment paper.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese, ¼ cup of Swerve, ricotta, lemon zest, lemon juice, and lemon extract on high speed until you get a smooth mixture with no lumps.

3. Taste to ensure the sweetness is to your liking and adjust if needed.

4. Add the eggs, reduce the speed to low and gently blend until the eggs are just incorporated. Overbeating at this stage will result in a cracked crust.

5. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and cover with aluminum foil or a silicone lid.

6. Pour 2 cups of water into the inner cooking pot of the Instant Pot®, then place a trivet in the pot. Place the covered pan on the trivet.

7. Lock the lid into place. Select Manual or Pressure Cook and adjust the pressure to High. Cook for 30 minutes. When the cooking is complete, let the pressure release naturally. Unlock the lid.

8. Carefully remove the pan from the pot, and remove the foil.

9. In a small bowl, mix together the sour cream and remaining 1 teaspoon of Swerve and spread this over the top of the warm cake.

10. Refrigerate the cheesecake for 6 to 8 hours. Do not be in a hurry! The cheesecake needs every bit of this time to be its best.

  • PREP TIME - 10 minutes
  • PRESSURE COOK/MANUAL - 30 minutes high pressure
  • RELEASE - Natural
  • TOTAL TIME - 1 hour 10 minutes, plus 6 to 8 hours to chill
  • MACROS - 71% Fat 18% Carbs 11% Protein
  • GLUTEN-FREE VEGETARIAN SOY-FREE

Ground Beef Shawarma

SERVES 4

  • 1 pound 80 percent lean ground beef
  • 1 cup sliced onions
  • 1 cup thickly sliced red bell peppers
  • 2 tablespoons Shawarma Spice Mix
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups chopped cabbage

1. Preheat the Instant Pot® by selecting Sauté and adjusting to high heat. When it is hot, add the ground beef and break down the chunks into smaller bits, 3 to 4 minutes. Your goal here is to break it down so that it doesn't cook as one big chunk. You're not really spending time browning it.

2. Once the beef is in smaller bits, add the onions, peppers, shawarma spice mix, and salt. Place the cabbage on top to keep it from overcooking. You won't be adding any water to this recipe, as the meat and vegetables release enough water on their own.

3. Lock the lid into place. Select Manual or Pressure Cook and adjust the pressure to High. Cook for 2 minutes. When the cooking is complete, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then quick-release any remaining pressure. Unlock the lid.

TIP: Note that the cabbage tends to cook up very soft in this dish. If you prefer cabbage with a little more crunch, cut the cabbage into large, thick slices rather than chopping it, and place it on top of the meat rather than mixing it in.

  • PREP TIME - 5 minutes
  • SAUTÉ - 4 minutes
  • PRESSURE COOK/MANUAL - 2 minutes high pressure
  • RELEASE Natural - 5 minutes, then Quick
  • TOTAL TIME - 30 minutes
  • MACROS - 65% Fat 5% Carbs 30% Protein
  • DAIRY-FREE GLUTEN-FREE SOY-FREE 5 INGREDIENTS OR LESS UNDER 45 MINUTES

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