I was late to the Instant Pot craze, and I never thought anything could replace my beloved slow cooker. But the magic and speed of pressure cooking has really won me over! I’ve tried a bunch of different recipes and experimented on my own a bit, and everything has generally come out pretty good. When it comes to recipes that I’d want to make again, though, only five have made the cut so far. Here they are, in no particular order.
Note: I use the 8-qt Instant Pot Duo Plus, but I think all of these recipes would work in the 6-qt size Instant Pot or other similar pressure cookers.
Instant Pot Perfect Brown Rice Pilaf This is my new favorite way to cook brown rice. It comes out nutty and flavorful, with just the right texture, and goes well with just about any entree.
Easy Pressure Cooker Chicken and Chickpea Masala This curry tastes complex but is truly no-fuss. I like to use boneless skinless chicken thighs, which changes the pressure cooking time to 8 minutes. I also prefer to stir in the spinach at the end, rather than pressure cooking it as the recipe directs.
Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup This rivals the brown rice pilaf as the recipe I’ve made the most. It’s super easy, infinitely customizable, and smoky-spicy-delicious.
Instant Pot Korean Ground Beef One of the fun things about this recipe is that it employs the pot-in-pot method, where the rice cooks in a separate bowl at the same time as the beef. The beef is really yummy on its own, but also makes a great taco filling.
Easy Pressure Cooker Pork Chile Verde Just wow! Besides being both easy and delicious, this recipe is fascinating because it does not call for any liquids up front. The onions, chiles, tomatillos and pork release enough moisture to attain pressure in the cooking process, and provide ample sauce. So much sauce, even, that I think I will try using 5 lbs of pork next time rather than the 4 in the recipe.
We had a phenomenal Easter feast this year, but it sadly did not involve very many vintage dishes! Still, I’m making a record of it because I want to remember the recipe I used for our ham: The bourbon orange glaze was excellent. It was my first time doing a ham, and it came out super moist and seasoned just right. I added a spoonful of homemade miso to the glaze for extra umami, so perhaps that’s what made it!
Overall it was a great meal with family and friends.
Corned beef and cabbage is a must for any St. Patrick’s Day feast. And if haven’t cured your own corned beef, you’ve gotta try it! It really is pretty easy if you plan ahead — like brining a turkey, but for 5-7 days. The one special ingredient you need is curing salt (sodium nitrite), also known as prague powder or pink salt (not the same as Himalayan pink salt). It’s easiest to purchase online — I bought this one a couple years ago and it will probably last me forever.
Typically corned beef is made from brisket — but any tough cut will do (must be suited for long, slow cooking, like a pot roast). So this time I’m trying it with a chuck roast. That has led to a slight hiccup in my menu planning: Because the roast is thicker than a brisket, there’s no room for cabbage in my slow cooker! Consequently I’ve added a mustardy coleslaw to the lineup, which I think complements the corned beef pretty well.
Arcopal’s French Hen pattern reminds me of The 12 Days of Christmas, so I made it the starting point for my Christmas dinner tableware this year. I haven’t had a chance to use my Arcopal casserole dish since finding it last year, so I’m excited to finally put it to work. I’ll combine it with some red and green Pyrex to round out the Christmas motif.
I’m also using some Corning Ware petite pans to make individual bread puddings for dessert. They don’t match, but they’ll allow me to prep the puddings a day in advance and then go directly from refrigerator to oven for baking — so hey, function over form!
The only thing I’m missing is a vintage platter for my Cornish hens. I’m going to have to start looking for one on my thrifting adventures.
Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Lemon and Herbs (recipe)
Pictured: Pyrex Verde 404 Round Mixing Bowl, Arcopal French Hen Casserole, Pyrex 024 Holiday Casserole Round Casserole, Pyrex 024 Lime Round Casserole, Corning Ware Spice O’ Life P-41-B Petite Pan (x2), Corning Ware Blue Cornflower P-41-B Petite Pan (x5), Corning Ware Blue Cornflower P-89-B Lipped Saucepan
It’s an all-Corning Ware Thanksgiving! At least for my own cooking. I’m not hosting this year, but I signed myself up for a lot of sides. Corning Ware was a natural choice because it can go from fridge to oven to stove to microwave without any problems. And I went with patterns that would go well with pretty much anything else on the table.
Bread Stuffing with Sausage, Pecans and Dried Apricots (from Cooks Illustrated’s The New Best Recipe)
Pictured: Corning Ware Floral Bouquet Third Edition A-1 1/2-B Casserole, Corning Ware Floral Bouquet Third Edition A-3-B Casserole, Corning Ware French White F-12-B Casserole, Corning Ware French White F-2-B Casserole
My Easter meal planning this year was inspired by two things: 1) the desire to use my Pyrex pink daisy divided dish (because pink and daisies are so Easter), and 2) the beautiful rainbow carrots and red fingerling potatoes we got in our produce box this week. The divided dish will be perfect for a berry and whipped cream dessert, and the carrots and potatoes will be roasted and tossed in a carrot top pesto.
For everything else, I’ve pulled together the most Easter-y pastels I could find in my collection: lime green, gold and sunny orange.
Hunting for vintage Pyrex in thrift stores has become one of my favorite pastimes. The thrill of seeing a piece on the shelf, the rock-bottom price tags, the satisfaction of cleaning a grimy dish and returning it to sparkling condition — it all adds to the fun of collecting. Here are 10 tips for making the most out of your thrifting experience.
Go early and often. Many thrift stores stock their shelves multiple times a day, seven days a week. Collectible items like vintage Pyrex get snatched up fast, so the best way to get lucky is to hit up the stores frequently.
Prioritize. It’s hard to scan for multiple items at once. Pick one type of Pyrex to look for — say, casseroles vs. mixing bowls — and focus on that first.
Take another pass. On crowded shelves, great stuff can be missed. When you’ve finished looking up and down the aisles, go back through at least once.
Look in unexpected places. Pyrex can turn up in the holiday section, in the plastics, in the cookware — a quick glance down the “wrong” aisle can turn up gold.
Watch your competitors. Is anyone else shopping the same aisle? The items people pick up can clue you in on whether or not they’re looking for Pyrex. You might need to move fast to beat them to a coveted dish. Conversely, if there’s nobody around you can take your time to scrutinize every shelf.
Check carefully for flaws. It’s better to discover chips, scratches or color loss (aka dishwasher damage) in the store rather than at home post-purchase. Then make an informed decision about whether or not you want to buy.
Don’t overlook lids. In many cases, the lid is harder to find than the dish it fits. When you see a lid without its mate, it’s often worthwhile to grab it now and match them up later!
Do some research. Try to get a feel for which patterns or sizes are common and which are harder to find. Should the dish have a lid? Is it part of a set? Could you get it for less on eBay?
Ask for a discount. Don’t be afraid to ask (politely) for a better deal, especially if an item is damaged.
Be choosy. It’s tempting to buy every piece you come across. But the reality is that most vintage Pyrex is not all that rare — you can find a lot of great dishes over time if you’re patient. Remember, chipped Pyrex should not be used in the oven, so chips take away from a dish’s value and utility. Dishwasher damaged Pyrex will never regain its shine. Some pieces you find might be severely overpriced, even in a thrift store. Keep all of that in mind, but if you love it, buy it!