Comfort food is comforting because it's cooked with TLC. And what does "tender loving care," entail? Time and effort. So as delicious as these dishes end up tasting, the journey to actually get them from kitchen to plate can be nothing short of arduous. Unless, of course, you happen to be the proud owner of an Instant Pot.
Not to be confused with your run-of-the-mill slow cookers,
Instant Pots are a specific brand of programmable pressure-cookers that are snazzier and smart. A.k.a., they have the power to take those aforementioned comfort food feats and turn them into easy workweek feasts at the press of a button. But don't just take our word for it — thanks to Melissa Clark's new cookbook Dinner In An Instant (punny!), we have three recipes ahead to put the actual proof in that pudding.
From a savory morning frittata, to rich mac and cheese, and even a decadent dessert, Clark's elevated Instant Pot recipes prove that achieving TLC-style dishes
can be fast and easy. Scroll on and and get ready to say hello to your new favorite kitchen gadget — especially on a snuggled-in, snow day occasion.
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Leek & Artichoke Frittata Serves 4 Ingredients 1 tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for the soufflé dish 5 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 2 small leeks (white and light green parts only), halved and thinly sliced 1 tsp kosher salt, plus more as needed ½ cup milk 2 tbsp all-purpose flour 9 large eggs 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil or parsley ½ tsp finely chopped fresh thyme ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper ¾ cup (about 2 ounces) Gruyère cheese, shredded ⅓ cup marinated artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped Instructions 1. Butter a 1½-qt. soufflé dish and dust the sides with 2 tbsp of the Parmesan. Set it aside. 2. Using the sauté function, heat the 1 tbsp butter and the oil in the pressure cooker. Stir in the leeks and ¼ tsp of the salt, and cook, stirring often and lowering the heat if necessary (and possible) to prevent burning, until golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes. 3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the milk and flour. Then whisk in the eggs, basil, thyme, remaining ¾ tsp salt, pepper, and Gruyère. 4. Turn off the heat and stir the artichokes into the leeks. Then mix the leek mixture into the egg mixture. Scrape that mixture into the prepared soufflé dish. Cover it with aluminum foil. 5. Pour 1½ cups water into the pressure cooker. You can either place a steamer rack in the bottom of the pot and then lower the soufflé dish onto the rack using a homemade sling, or, if you have a rack with an attached handle, lower the rack and dish all at once. Cover and cook on high pressure for 16 minutes. 6. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, and then release the remaining pressure manually. Using oven mitts, remove the soufflé dish from the pressure cooker. Remove the foil. 7. Heat the broiler. Sprinkle the remaining 3 tbsp Parmesan over the frittata, and broil until it is golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Let it sit for 5 minutes before serving. Reprinted from Dinner in an Instant. Copyright © 2017 by Melissa Clark. Photographs copyright © 2017 by Christopher Testani. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.
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Creamy Macaroni & Cheese Serves 4 Ingredients 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened 2 cups whole milk, plus more as needed ¼ cup heavy cream 6 oz. cream cheese, softened 1 garlic clove (optional) 1 tsp dry mustard powder ¾ tsp kosher salt ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper Pinch of grated nutmeg 8 oz. macaroni pasta 8 oz. grated sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese Ingredients 1. Brush 1 tbsp of the butter over the bottom of the pressure cooker. 2. In a blender, blend the milk, cream, cream cheese, remaining 1 tbsp butter, garlic, dry mustard, salt, pepper, cayenne, and nutmeg. 3. Add the cream cheese mixture and the macaroni to the pressure cooker, and stir to combine. Cover and cook on high pressure for 6 minutes. 4. Release the pressure manually. Stir the noodles, and if they look dry, stir in more milk to taste. If the noodles are too al dente to your liking, stir in the cheddar, then cover and let the pot sit for 5 to 10 minutes; the noodles will cook a little more just sitting in the pot. Otherwise, stir in the cheese and serve immediately. Reprinted from Dinner in an Instant. Copyright © 2017 by Melissa Clark. Photographs copyright © 2017 by Christopher Testani. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.
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Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding Serves 6 Ingredients 1½ cups heavy cream ½ cup whole milk 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate (preferably between 60% and 65% cacao), chopped 4 large egg yolks 1 large egg ⅓ cup sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract ⅛ tsp kosher salt Whipped cream, for serving (optional) Instructions 1. In a heavy saucepan, bring the cream and milk to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat, and whisk in the chocolate until it is melted and smooth. 2. In a large bowl, whisk the yolks, whole egg, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Whisking constantly, pour the hot chocolate into the eggs. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a large measuring cup or bowl. The pudding mixture can be made up to 2 days ahead, covered, and chilled. 3. Divide the pudding mixture among six 4- to 6-oz. custard cups, espresso cups, or small ramekins and cover each with a piece of aluminum foil. Or pour the whole amount into a 1-quart soufflé dish, and cover with foil. 4. Insert a steamer rack into the pressure cooker and fill the cooker with 1½ cups of water. Or, if you are cooking in a soufflé dish, lower the dish onto the rack in the pressure cooker, using a sling if necessary. Cook on low pressure for 18 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, and then release the remaining pressure manually. 5. When the puddings are cooked, use oven mitts to remove them from the pressure cooker. Remove the foil covers to allow the steam to evaporate, and cool the puddings to room temperature. Then cover the puddings with plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 6 hours and up to 3 days. 6. To serve, top the puddings with whipped cream if you like. Reprinted from Dinner in an Instant. Copyright © 2017 by Melissa Clark. Photographs copyright © 2017 by Christopher Testani. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.
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Dinner in an Instant
by Melissa Clark, $13.27, available at