How to Meal-Prep Instant-Pot Freezer Packs for Easy Weeknight Meals
Pictured recipe: Instant Pot White Chicken Chili Freezer Pack
There are plenty of reasons to love multicookers like the Instant Pot-the quick cook time, the preset cooking functions and the overall set-it-and-forget-it nature of this kitchen gadget. But the best reason just may be its ability to cook food from frozen in less than an hour-no thawing time required!
Buy it: Budget-friendly Instant Pot (6-quart, $99.95)
Buy it: High-speed Zavor Lux Multicooker (6-quart, $159.95)
Pictured recipe: Instant Pot Split Pea & Ham Soup Freezer Pack
Follow these five simple steps for making meal-prep freezer packs for two delicious soup recipes-Instant Pot White Chicken Chili Freezer Pack and Instant Pot Split Pea & Ham Soup Freezer Pack. With the right ingredients, some stealthy prep and packing tips, and a little room in your freezer, you can easily prep these freezer packs to have on hand for fast weeknight dinners down the road.
1. Prep Your Veggies
You'll need 3 to 4 cups of vegetables for a soup that feeds 6 to 8 people. Start by chopping a large onion and 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, then round out the mix with whatever chopped veggies you like. Zucchini, baby potatoes, carrots and corn all make good options. Place all your ingredients in a large bowl for tossing with herbs and spices.
2. Blend in Flavor
Time to spice things up! Season your vegetables with salt and pepper, then customize your meal with additional spices. (We like to season soups with the warm flavors of ingredients like chili powder or cumin.) Gently toss the spices with the vegetables so they'll be evenly distributed when it's time to cook. Fresh herbs can also be added during this step, or you can stir them in after cooking the soup to keep their flavors bright.
3. Pick Your Protein
You'll need 12 ounces (about 1¾ cups) of dry beans for your soup. There's no need to soak them, simply rinse and add to the freezer pack. If you plan to include a meat protein, use no more than 1 pound. We like to use whole chicken breasts, then remove them after the soup is cooked, shred the meat with forks and return it to the pot.
4. Pack Strategically
When you're ready to pack your prepped ingredients, opt for a round freezer-safe container with a sealable lid. Choose one that easily fits into your multicooker (we found that a 64-ounce food-storage vessel pairs well with a 6-quart pot). Layer your ingredients by adding the veggies first, followed by any meat proteins and then the beans. This ensures that your beans will steep in liquid when it comes time to cook. Seal the prepped pack and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
5. Cook It Up
To make your soup, fill your multicooker with 5 to 6 cups of cooking liquid such as water or broth, then release the prepped ingredients into the pot. If the ingredients are stuck inside your container, let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes, or try running tepid water around the sides to help release them. Set your cooker at high pressure for 30 minutes. Allow the cooker to release pressure naturally for at least 10 minutes before opening the top. Add in fresh herbs, if using, and be sure to stir the soup well before serving-ingredients tend to separate as they cook.
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