Once You've Had Instant Pot Mac, You'll Never Go Back!

August 20, 2017

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So, I'm sure you've heard of the Instant Pot by now. It's this magical device that makes delicious meals in minutes! I've known people who bought it for the past year or so that rave on and on about it. Always. Knowing the cost of it, I always just dismissed it all and continued on with my dependable crock pot. That was until Prime Day when I finally gave in and bought one! After all, the pricing was equivalent to Black Friday, so why not?! If I was going to get one, it was as good of a time as any, right? Boy am I glad I did!!! We've only used it for the last month, but we're in LOVE! Everything we've made in it has come out delicious in a matter of minutes. Okay...I think some of the recipes are deceiving due to the prep time and various additional extras in between, but generally speaking, it's WAY faster than using the stove or any other device. I encourage you to look into it if you haven't already and consider putting it on your Christmas list. Trust me, between homeschooling and extra-curricular activities, you'll thank me!

With that said, we used it tonight to make Mac and Cheese for the first time. Even though we already had flap steak in the crock pot ready for fajita tacos, neither of our boys showed any interest. Normally, I'm that mean mom that makes them at least try it before getting a PBJ or something else that requires little to no effort. However, I didn't even have the energy to fight them on it tonight. So when they sweetly asked if they could have Mac and Cheese instead, I gave in. We usually just buy Annie's, but we were out of it and knowing that it wouldn't take long, I thought I'd try it in the Instant Pot instead. I figured, we still had a few minutes since the rice was still cooking for our main dinner. Turns out, using the Instant Pot to make homemade Mac and Cheese is actually faster than making the boxed version! What?!?

If you have a cheese lover in the house, they'll thank you. Both my boys asked for thirds. I know that's not unheard in this household -- my boys eat A LOT -- but this happened within minutes of being served their Mac. Like me, they both love the gooey, cheesy goodness that you get when you order Mac at a restaurant. This was better than what you get at Panera or Corner Bakery Cafe (both of which the boys and I really like) and it only took 10 minutes! In fact, my six year old, Sam, shouted, "Wow!!! Mom!!! This is 1,000% good!" Haha.

What you'll need...

(as you can see, I love Aldi and Costco!)

  • 1 box (16 oz) noodles of choice
  • 4 cups water
  • 2.5 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 can (12oz) evaporated milk* 
  • 2-3 cups shredded cheese of your choice**
  • pepper/paprika/spicy brown mustard to taste
*I've read some recipes call for heavy cream or half and half. I used evaporated milk, because that's what I had on hand. I think I'll just stick to that, since I can easily keep some on hand in the pantry.

**I used 3 cups of the trio blend (mix of cheddar, American, and Swiss cheese) this time around and felt it was the perfect amount. It really depends on how cheesy you want it...

First, put the pasta noodles, water, butter, and salt in the Instant Pot. Set it to 4 minutes on Manual. When it's done, do a quick release. Maybe you'll have more luck than me, but if not, make sure to have a towel on hand at this point. Mine sprayed the steam along with buttery water ALL over the place. No other time that we've used it, did we deal with this. Steam, sure, but not the sudsy mess that followed. Either way, after standing there in shock for a minute just looking at the mess being made, I grabbed a towel and hung it over the vent to catch the rest. Might be worth considering...

Next, set it to sauté, add the evaporated milk and stir thoroughly. Once it's mixed in well, add the cheese and stir until completely melted. Lastly, add a dash of your preferred seasoning. Since I didn't add any this time around for fear of my boys refusing to eat it, ours was incredibly simple. However, next time, I fully intend to add a little paprika at the end and possibly some mustard. Now that I know the family loves it, I'll start experimenting a little...

Serve immediately and be ready to get back up before you've even started yours to get seconds for the kids. ;)

Considering Mac and cheese is the #1 request by my boys when we go out to eat, I know this will become a regular in our house -- especially on hockey nights when I usually just give in and grab fast food due to how late we get home...

If you don't already own an Instant Pot, but are considering getting one, I highly recommend this one...

***Edited to add...when I was putting my boys to bed earlier tonight, the last thing my 6 year old said was, "Can we have the Mac and cheese you made again for breakfast in the morning???" Ha!!! Clearly, it was a winner...

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