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Meal Prep Benefits of Air Fryers and Instant Pots

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When it comes to eating healthy, convenience and budget are always something to consider. Nowadays, more and more people are looking to incorporate home cooked meals to help achieve their health goals. As with any new change in lifestyle, most people naturally will try to find ways that will be feasible for them.

Here at PrepYoSelf, we often create recipes utilizing air fryers and instant pots because of their ability to provide cooking methods that are more stress-free and hands-off in the kitchen.

Some people may forget to do their prep before cooking. For example, they forget to defrost their protein. Or they don’t want to deal with large pieces of equipment. Therefore, both of these kitchen tools solve those problems. Both are manageable sizes for a piece of equipment and both will allow you to cook frozen items directly and skip the whole defrost/thaw stage which could take hours. In essence, people save time.

What is an air fryer?

The air fryer essentially is like an amped-up oven. The difference is that it has a fan and it utilizes a more compact space to facilitate fast cooking. The fan circulates the air around making food items crisp which is similar to what you could get from deep frying, minus the extra added fat. With normal baking ovens, there is a lot of humidity, so it’s difficult for an outer crisp to occur. 

baked chicken

Why are air fryers worth buying?

Air fryers come with preset settings so it takes out the guesswork for someone who is not familiar with different internal cooking times for different proteins. Also, you do not need to pre-heat the air fryer like you would a normal oven, therefore, saving more time.

What are some creative ways to use an air fryer?

The Air Fryer is great for meal prep. It is the perfect size for roasting veggies and cooks large portions of protein. Therefore, you can batch cook multiple food items without having to pre-heat the oven and waste all that oven space. You can make all sorts of items in the air fryer from veggie chips to fruit chips and even bake muffins and mini cakes. You can also use it as a toaster to toast bread or even boil eggs.

What are the benefits of having an Instant Pot?

Instant pots have similar benefits to air fryers in the sense that you can take food from a frozen state to a cooked state and skip out on the thawing process. It also has settings and eliminates some of the guesswork on how long to cook a food item. 

What are the advantages of an Instant Pot?

Instant Pots are great for cooking the “cheaper” tougher cuts of meat and cooking them using the pressure cooker setting. This breaks down the connective tissues and leaves you with really tender meat. Add herbs, onions, garlic, and spices to the broth, and you have delicious infused meat. They also can cook rice, or you can use the saute option and utilize it like a skillet. Therefore, it is a versatile “stovetop” kitchen tool.

instant pot ingredients

What are the common mistakes that people make with Instant Pots?

The biggest mistake people make with Instant Pots is not reading the manual. The Instant Pot has specific presets for power. The manual specifies how long it would cook certain pieces of meat. It also specifies how much liquid when using the pressure cooker. Adding too much may make your dish too soggy and overcook it. It is a very powerful piece of equipment that cooks fast. 

How can people avoid overcooking foods?

When it comes to overcooking foods, it is best to cut down cooking times by half with a pressure cooker because it gets to such a high temperature that even if you remove it from the pot, it will continue to cook due to the residual heat. If it is still not as tender as you desire, then you could always cook it longer for a few minutes under the warming setting. 

You also want to consider how your meat or food items are cut. If it’s a larger whole piece of meat, it is less likely to overcook versus sliced or cubed beef. So in general, the smaller the size of the food item, whether it’s meat or beans, the less time you want to cook it in the instant pot.

Overall both these items are great for a  “set it and forget it” way of cooking food without taking up too much counter space. We recommend investing in these two kitchen tools because there are so many ways to utilize these tools to help save time in the kitchen and still produce tasty food. Considering how much you would save on electricity, save time, and eliminate food waste, you would have a quick return on your investment. 

Try out some of our air fryer and instant pot recipes:

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