So, I’m still a newbie when it comes to using my Instant Pot, and as I revealed in a prior post, I received my Instant Pot Duo as a birthday gift back in the summer of 2018; shamefully, I didn’t actually use it until January of this year because I was intimidated by all the settings and with my family in the midst of a move, I felt I didn’t have time to read all the instructions. Ironically, if I’d spent a few minutes reading about it, it probably would have saved me a lot of time cooking dinners in the long run. Ahh, hindsight. Since most instant pot recipes I’ve found online give instructions for the pot settings, it makes the whole process super easy.
Now, I LOVE my crock pot and am a huge fan of making “dump meals” to make my life easier as a full-time working mother of three. But, the crock pot has some major drawbacks when it comes to cooking dinners during the week. If I’m lucky, I’m home by 4:30 most afternoons which leaves me no time to crock a meal. I know many people are cool with leaving their crock pot on the counter while they’re away at work, but I don’t own a fancy one with a timer shut-off, and in my irrational mind, burning the house down for some slow-cooked BBQ chicken is a real possibility. So, that leaves the “crocking” ’til the weekend when I can leave it on while I’m home. I bring the crock pot up only because I think many people assume they are spending $100 to buy a fancy crock pot, and that’s not the case. This baby can saute, crock, and arguably the best function, pressure cook.
Now, onto some of my favorite recipes!
#1: Shredded Buffalo Chicken
This recipe comes from my go-to website for Instant Pot recipes. Author Brittany Williams of the blog Instant Loss has curated quite the recipe book following a year long resolution to cultivate a healthier lifestyle for herself and her family. In the process, she lost over 100 lbs by cooking with her Instant Pot. How’s that for motivation?
I was drawn to Instant Loss because her recipes were super easy to follow for the beginning Instant Pot user, but I will say, I was skeptical of how good they would taste. Time and again, she has proven me wrong. A few of her recipes have become weekly staples in my home because they are healthy, delicious, and kid-approved.
Back to the Buffalo Chicken. I make this recipe once a week, either for dinner, or to set myself up with easy lunches for a few days. This recipe comes out fabulously every time.
Here is the recipe for Brittany’s Buffalo Chicken:
Now, I do make a few substitutions. I tone down the amount of butter, only putting in 1 TBS. I also add about 1/2 cup of chicken broth, and I’ve alternated using Franks Red Hot with Sriracha. If you do this, I would put less than 1/3 a cup in. I’ve also made this with Apple Cider Vinegar as opposed to Red Wine Vinegar, and it is just as delicious. Brittany also has a homemade Ranch recipe on her site, I have not made that, I choose to use a little bit of Ken’s Blue Cheese on top.
Now, here’s the great part for those of you doing Weight Watchers. Because chicken breast is 0 points, a good size serving of this is only 1 point. I’m talking 4-6 ounces of chicken, which is a lot. With 1 TBS of Blue Cheese dressing, the it comes to 4 points and is SO GOOD.
#2: Balsamic Dijon Chicken
Ok, so this recipe also comes from Brittany Williams’ Instant Loss blog. Like I said, I’m a big fan. What surprised me about this recipe was that it felt fancy and all three of my kids scarfed it down. These guys are normally very picky about eating anything chicken any way other than in nugget form, and needless to say, dinner was quiet because everyone was eating. Score!
From the Weight Watchers standpoint, this was also a great recipe because it was low in points. For a normal sized serving (4-6 ounces), this will only set you back about 1 point. That is assuming that you cook with chicken breasts as opposed to thighs. Brittany also suggests serving this with zoodles, which is WW friendly, however I didn’t have any on hand. Instead, I served mine with broccoli and a side of Garlic Parmesan Oven Roasted Potatoes.
Get the recipe here!
I did also make one substitution to this recipe. I didn’t have dates on hand, so in place, I used 1 TBS of honey and that was plenty of sweetness.
#3: Lemon Chicken
This next recipe comes from a blog that I stumbled on while googling “healthy instant pot recipes”. I love a good lemon chicken, and this one doesn’t disappoint. The author suggests using chicken thighs, which I’m sure make this recipe even more delectable, however, since I’m trying to cut calories and points from my life, I also opted to make this recipe with chicken breasts and it still had a lot of flavor. I also served mine with a side salad and quinoa. Similar to Instant Loss, Life Made Sweeter also has easy to follow directions, and even with some small modifications, the result is a delicious and kid-friendly dinner.
Here is the recipe!
#4: Chicken Taco Bowls
Ok, so this recipe comes from Tastes Better From Scratch, another blog that I recently stumbled upon, that has fantastic and easy to make recipes. Author, Lauren, also gives some great adaptations if you don’t want to make the taco bowls exactly this way. For me, I ended up serving them with soft tortilla shells which also makes this a meal that can easily turn into a leftover meal for lunch or dinner the next day. What I also love about this recipe is that it could easily translate to the crock pot, but again, the big draw with the Instant Pot is the ability to to make this dinner in 30 minutes or so.
For those of you following Weight Watchers, this recipe, without the toppings and rice is 0 points! If you want to add the rice, what I would do is cook the rice separately so that you can adequately measure how much you are actually serving yourself. For toppings, using low fat or fat free cheese will cut back on the points. I LOVE avocado, so although that can be heavy in points, it is really healthy fat, so I include it, but my trick, is to measure it out in grams, rather than ounces. I find that 28 grams, which looks like about 1/4 of an avocado is only 1 point. If you eyeball it and put in 1/4 of an avocado, Weight Watchers will tell you it’s 3 points. So, measure your food first so that you aren’t charging yourself for points that you’re not actually using. Another point saver, if you love to use sour cream, is to substitute fat free Greek yogurt for 0 points. I like the taste of sour cream, so I do give myself 1 TBS of light sour cream for 1 point, and it is totally worth it. Lastly, I served these taco bowls with tortillas. A good substitution for a flour tortilla that is low in points are Joseph’s Pitas. They are 1 point for a whole pita and quite filling.
Here is the recipe!
#5: Stuffed Peppers
Last on my list are these fabulous stuffed peppers from Sandy over at Simple Happy Foodie. With my other 4 recipe suggestions involving chicken, I wanted to throw something a little different in that is versatile, healthy, and certainly, Weight Watchers-friendly. If you choose to use 99% fat free ground turkey and low-fat for fat-free cheese, these peppers will come out to about 2 points a piece. If you choose to use ground beef or a ground turkey that has a higher percentage of fat, one pepper will cost you around 5 points, which, in my opinion, is still a win for a healthy and on-plan dinner.
Here is the recipe:
I hope you enjoy the ease and taste of these recipes as much as I do. These have all made it into my weekly rotation of meals at various points. Stay tuned for my next blog post coming next week that will feature some of my favorite low point/low calorie lunches!