5 Easy Dinners with Help from the Instant Pot

(Image credit: Karla Conrad)

Are you on the Instant Pot train yet? The Instant Pot is a type of multi-cooker — it can slow cook, make rice, and even ferment yogurt, but its superpower is pressure cooking. While I fully admit the Instant Pot hasn’t replaced my slow cooker, and it isn’t always a magic bullet for faster meal times, it does one thing incredibly well: meal prep.

Meal prep is the final step of meal planning and the one that puts your plan into action. You can spend a few hours meal prepping on Sunday night or you can do a little meal prep in spurts throughout the week.

This week I’ll be your meal prep guide and show you how I’m using the Instant Pot to prep healthy staples and how I am turning them into dinner throughout the week.

Welcome to This Week’s Meal Plan

I believe meal planning is the secret to stress-free weeknight dinners. Since I’m frequently asked by friends and family what I’m cooking for dinner each week, I share my weekly meal plan here. Whether you’re just learning to meal plan and looking for a real-life example of how this works or you’re an old pro on the hunt for inspiration, here’s a peek at how I’m feeding my family this week.

New to meal planning? Start here.

(Image credit: Christine Han)

I always tell friends and family that the very first thing they should make in their new Instant Pot is hard-cooked eggs. These pressure-steamed eggs cook perfectly and are oh-so-easy to peel. To start the week right I’m going to cook a batch of about six eggs to a soft boil (three to four minutes, low pressure) and then make another eight-egg batch that are hard-cooked using this same method.

The soft-boiled eggs will be plunked into this quick gingery broth, and the hard-boiled eggs will serve as quick breakfasts and snacks throughout the week.

Shopping list reminder! Buy extra scallions for tomorrow night’s slaw.

(Image credit: Nick Evans)

The electric pressure cooker is basically a time machine for dried beans — what can take hours on the stove can happen in a matter of minutes under pressure. For taco Tuesday, we’re cooking a big batch of black beans to turn into tacos. We’re saving leftovers to make a huge salad on Thursday. While the black beans cook, this tangy grated carrot slaw becomes a perfect side dish to dinner.

Leftover’s tip: Make extra or save some black beans for dinner later in the week.

(Image credit: Karla Conrad)

Instant Pot chicken breast has saved dinner for me countless times in the last few weeks, because I can use this method to cook rock-hard frozen chicken in about 30 minutes. While the chicken cooks, I’ll steam some broccoli, cook some pasta, and make a quick creamy Alfredo sauce — and prepare a few containers for leftovers for lunch the rest of the week.

Meal prep tip: Make sure you cook two extra chicken breasts for tomorrow night’s dinner.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

Eggs, black beans, chicken were all destined for this cobb salad! My husband and I will eat everything mixed up like a proper cobb, while the kiddos will get more of a composed plate of each of the salad components.

Meal prep tip: Cook some extra bacon tonight for tomorrow’s pizza.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Friday: Chicken Caesar or BBQ Chicken Pizza

Pizza Friday in our house is pretty specifically planned to use up leftovers, but I’ll be honest — I have no idea what the leftovers will be until after dinner on Thursday so I’m suggesting two options: chicken Caesar or BBQ chicken.

The first option can use up leftover Instant Pot chicken, Parmesan from the Alfredo sauce, and romaine from Thursday’s salad. BBQ chicken pizza can use up leftover cheese from Tuesday’s tacos and any barbecue sauce-coated chicken from Thursday night too.

Click below to get more tips, insights, and ideas from our Meal Plan Club crew and readers like you.