This spring semester flew by with EDTC 300 and I can’t believe I’m writing my wrap up post for my learning project! I am so proud of how far I’ve come from not knowing how to even properly seal the instant pot lid and what all of the button do, to using this cooking appliance as my go to “suppers made easy” hack. As mentioned in my first post, I was so intimidated to learn how to use my Instant pot and I truly think without this class, I would still be clueless. This gave me the motivation to step outside of my box and I am so glad I did! I learnt so many things about not only my instant pot but also about online learning. Keep reading to see my progression, what I have learnt and where a lot of my learning has come from.
For a house warming gift, I received my instant pot and I was so grateful and excited to try it, Of course, this was the perfect opportunity. I started off by reading the manual and gaining a better understanding of how it works. Still in slight confusion, I turned to online resources to help my learning. The way I learn is through visual learning and/hands on learning. Therefore, online resources are typically much more visual based so this really assisted in me learning about the instant pot and learning recipes.
- Youtube: I turned to youtube to gain some visual learning. I watched videos from the channels Pressure Luck specifically his tutorial on getting started with your instant pot, the actual Instant Pot channel, and LivingRichlyonaBudget. I did not use any actual recipes from youtube because I did not find any that I was truly invested in or the ones I did watch on youtube, I have already seen on Pinterest.
- Pinterest: This was my biggest source of learning! Pinterest is known for recipes and a variety of recipe blogs. Let me tell you, it is the holy grail of all things instant pot! I turned to here if I was ever stuck on what to make. Usually all I would search into Pinterest is “Instant pot recipes” or if I wanted to to be more specific “chicken instant pot recipes” “soup instant pot recipe, “ground beef instant pot recipes, etc. There were hundreds of different recipes that popped up each time. Overall, Pinterest is an amazing online resource if you are doing any cooking project or just cooking for the fun of it at home.
- Feedly: When we first started this semester, my instructor Katia, recommended this site for us to use as an online resource for our learning project and also to find education related articles. I started following Instant pot eats, Instant Pot, and Pressure Luck Cooking. Although these blogs do not post very frequently, they do have a lot of cook recipes, tips, and information on the instant pot on their blogs. Most importantly they have a lot of visual components to their blogs which again, makes learning easier and smoother for me!
Overall, my online learning experience was forever changed. I now know how to use the internet to my advantage while learning something new. This surely will come in handy in my future university endeavours such as my pre-internship. I now know I can turn to the internet and look at blogs or youtube videos and they will just about have any content you need to make you successful. As said previously, I really enjoyed the online learning experience because it gave a (what I thought to be) simulated face to face learning experience. Everything was broken down picture by picture or was made on a video. I have definitely learnt that online learning is the next best thing to face to face learning when it is not available.
I was also able to gain a better use of technology through this learning project. I better understood how to search for reliable blogs on various platforms and got me more comfortable with Pinterest. Why do I think becoming more comfortable on Pinterest is important for my professional career? Pinterest actually is the hub of finding lesson plan ideas, activities for all grades, and ideas for your classroom so the fact that I was able to familiarize myself a bit with this platform will more than likely benefit me in the future. I also started to grow a PLN with Pinterest by following and pinning a lot more educational related pages. Creating PLN’s on various forms of social media is such a great idea because you get so many different types of resources, advice, and opinions from site to site. Overall, learning online has been a great experience and I cannot wait to put my new found skills toward my degree!
Break down of what I learnt with the Instant Pot
Week 1: Instant pot learning project
- I set out what I want to do with my pressure cooker. I aimed at trying to make a variety of things. Appetizers, main courses, and desserts.
- Gained an understanding of what all the Instant pot can do (pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, can saute, make yogurt, and does much more).
- Getting familiar with the buttons and what each does.
- Setting my goal to become completely comfortable using this kitchen appliance and to see it as cooking any other meal in the oven, for example.
Week 2: Shepherds Pie
- First hands on time using the instant pot.
- Learnt how to use buttons hands on. They make it look so much easier on the videos I watched!
- Realized that the saute option cooks meat very well. It gets to the perfect temperature that you need. Starting to really realize this is an all-in-one kitchen appliance.
- Learnt that it takes a bit of time for the pressure to come to and not to panic. Let the pressure cooker do its job properly.
- Learnt how to safely release steam.
Week 3: Lemon Garlic Butter Chicken
- Learnt that the saute button has different options for heating. Essentially low, medium, and high. This is good for having a variety of meats that need to be cooked at various temps and lengths of time to ensure you do not burn them.
- During this week I started to really explore a variety of instant pot blogs to gain more inspiration and that is where I found this gem.
- Learnt that it is okay to google or refer to blogs for help when you are stuck or unsure how to do something that the recipe you are looking at is calling for. It is not something you should be ashamed of because you are just learning.
- Seasoning is key!
Week 4: Broccoli Cheese Soup
- You do not have to strictly follow the recipes for it to be great. Sometimes adding in more or less of what the recipe calls for can be a good thing too. Or adding in impromptu ingredients like I did here. (AKA cornstarch to thicken)
- To build on the last statement: sometimes cornstarch is your best friend while cooking! Especially when you are new to a method of cooking.
- Learnt that you need a minimum amount of liquid in the instant pot while pressure cooking or it will not reach full pressure. This is strictly a safety feature. The minimum amount of liquid is one cup of liquid. Does not have to be water. If it is a starchier liquid like in this recipe, consider adding more.
- Soup is hard to make, I have never before made a homemade soup before but the instant pot with the pressure cooking option made it easy. During this week I started to realize that the instant pot does all the hard work for you. You just need the right ingredients and to have faith that the instant pot works!
- Learnt that there are a variety of inserts/accessories that you can buy for cheap that work perfectly in your instant pot! Click here for a link to a blog that has a list of them!
- Again, even though this cheesecake is in a springform pan, it cannot touch the bottom of the pot. Thats where your steamer rack comes in handy!
- Even though there is no water called for this recipe, for the pressure cooking to work you NEED a cup of water at the bottom of the instant pot for the steam and pressure to develop.
- How to make a tin foil sling to efficiently get your steamer rack out of your instant pot. A lot of tips and tricks learnt this week.
- Learnt to be careful when you open the lid after pressure cooking, you do not want any access water from the pressure build up to drip on your cheesecake.
- During this week while making this cheesecake and after tasting it, I became 100% more comfortable with it. Seeing its amazing abilities that it can make just about anything from shepherds pie to this is astounding. I was blown away.
- Needed something quick and easy during this week of semester wrap up when everything is due. I wanted to test how far I have come with this recipe. I realized that although it would have been hard for me during week one, it felt like I put little to no effort into this meal. This means I achieved my goal of being comfortable with the instant pot and that I now see the instant pot as an appliance that is not intimidating or hard to use, rather it is my go to for easy meals!
- I learnt that the instant pot steams veggies perfectly once you found the happy medium for time. I found that it is between 3-4 minutes on high pressure cooking.
- Learnt how too cook rice in the instant pot on the pressure cooking setting.
- Learnt in this week and in previous weeks that pressure cooking is perfect for chicken breasts of thighs. It does not dry out the chicken like a conventional oven typically does. Rather, leaves it juicy, plump, and not over or under cooked.
- Teriyaki sauce can be hard to make, with ensuring it has the right flavour and consistency. The instant pot allows for sauces to be made flawlessly.
- Finding the right cooking times for meat is key. Here is a chart of cooking times you can refer back to when using your instant pot.
Main takeaways from my learning project:
- Step outside of the box!: By doing this you will learn so much more. I stepped outside of my box by first of all using a kitchen appliance I have never used before but also doing recipes I have all never made before. Through this, I was able to gain more experience in cooking and was able to become more comfortable with my instant pot.
- You should follow the recipe but sometimes adding in your own twist is okay: As anyone who has ever cooked before, you know that following a recipe is always the key part of being successful in cooking. Although this may be true, sometimes other peoples tastes or opinions are different than yours. Therefore, adding more or less seasoning, an extra ingredient, or cooking for less or more time always for the recipe to be your own. By doing this I was able to learn more about my instant pot and my cooking abilities. For instance, by adding more or less time I was able to see exactly how the pressure cooking works and what is the best time frame for things to be cooked to my desire.
- It’s okay to have mistakes, it is how you learn: As said previously in this blog post, I had a very starchy liquid (my broccoli and cheese soup) and this made the food stick to the pan and caused the “burn symbol” to show up on my instant pot meaning it did not reach full pressure. I was very flustered, embarrassed, and let down in this moment. Therefore I did not post it on the original blog post but looking back now, I learnt so much from that. I learnt the above take away, you don’t always have to follow the recipe exactly because things like this will happen and also that even though I made a mistake, I learnt from it. I did some research on why this might have happened and learnt that it is because I needed to have more water to make it less starchy. Even though the soup would have been very watery, during the pressure cooking this would have went away.
- Learning online is so helpful: By looking at resources online that really broke down how to use the instant pot and how to do certain recipes by showing videos or a variety of pictures, I was able to learn to my full ability. This is as close to as taking a “Instant pot 101” class as I could get. Also by learning online, it is like having notes always readily available to you so you can look back at it, as long as you save the resource. Along with learning online, I feel like I was able to teach online by sharing my learning project progress. I was able to give people recipes, tips, and blogs related to everything instant pot. I also felt like I learnt a lot by sharing my learning projects too! People often gave me suggestions and tips that I probably would have never thought about previously like shown below.
Overall, I am so glad I chose my Instant pot to be my learning project! I gained so much experience with the instant pot itself, my cooking abilities overall, learning online, and gaining confidence. I will for sure continue to keep using my instant pot to make more delicious creations. Stay tuned, I might just be posting more for fun!