Getting food done quickly

Cooking With a Pressure Cooker

by Leanne Ely

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Ever come across a recipe that you have all of the ingredients for, but you're lacking in the hours of cooking time it requires? (This always happens in that precious hour you have before supper is due to be ready, doesn't it?) Enter the pressure cooker.

A pressure cooker is a special pot with a very tight seal that traps in hot steam. This puts the contents under pressure, cooking the food very quickly. You can find stovetop pressure cookers and electric pressure cookers.

You can cook almost anything in a pressure cooker, from vegetables to dessert, and the cooking happens about 70% faster than it does using other cooking methods. If you want a batch of bone broth in a hurry, cook it up in a pressure cooker. It takes about a third of the time that's needed with a regular pot.

The other great thing about pressure cooking is that the food's nutritional value is retained better than with many other cooking methods.

Using a pressure cooker is a pretty simple method of cooking, but whether you use a stove-top or electric model, you must read the instruction manuals so that you can learn how to use this kitchen tool safely and efficiently!

There are some things you'll want to keep in mind for best results, regardless of which type of pressure cooker you use:

Pressure Cooker

Don't overfill it. Your pressure cooker should never be packed more than two-thirds full with food. If you mess with this rule, the pressure cooker won't work properly.

Watch your liquids. You'll have less evaporation when cooking with a pressure cooker. That means you lose less liquid than you would cooking in a regular pot. As a general rule of thumb, you'll need at least one cup of liquid when pressure cooking, but you should never fill your pot more than half full with liquid.

Brown meats. Always pat your meat or poultry dry before you season it and then brown in butter or oil. You can brown your meat right in the pressure cooker and then deglaze by adding a small bit of liquid, before adding the meat and additional ingredients to the pressure cooker.

Try inexpensive cuts. Tough cuts of meat work well in the pressure cooker, so save some money on the grocery bill by using these less expensive pieces of meat.

You'll be amazed at how quickly food can be prepared in a pressure cooker. You can cook chicken pieces in about 12 minutes!

Leanne Ely is a New York Times best selling author of Body Clutter and the popular Saving Dinner cookbook series. According to Woman's Day Magazine, she is the expert on family cooking.

Leanne's syndicated newspaper column, The Dinner Diva can be found in 250 newspapers nationwide and in Canada. Her vast broadcast experience includes media satellite tours, QVC several times as well as guesting on several national television shows, including HGTV's Simple Solutions, ABC Family's Living the Life, Ivanhoe's Smart Woman, Small Talk for Parents and Talk of the Town. She has guest chef-ed on the cooking show, Carolina Cooks and has taught cooking classes all over the country for Bloomingdale's.

In addition, she is a seasoned radio personality. Leanne's own radio show, Heart of A Woman aired during drive time in two major California markets, Los Angeles and San Diego. Her current show, The Dinner Diva is one of the top Blog Talk Radio shows on the Internet.

On the Internet, she pens the Food for Thought column for the immensely popular,, with over half a million readers weekly. She has been featured in Woman's Day magazine, the Chicago Tribune, St. Petersburg Times, Orange County Register - to name a few. Additionally, she is a sought after speaker and has spoken all over the country, with keynote addresses to corporate and non-profit entities. Visit Leanne Ely on Google+.

Take the Next Step:

  • No time for meal planning? Subscribe to Saving Dinner Premium Menu Mailer, your weekly road map to making daily family dinners a reality.
  • Continue to trim food costs by visiting our food & groceries section to get tips and tools for keeping more of your hard-earned dollars in your pocket.

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