I Can’t Cook: Help For The Cooking Impared

“I can’t cook” means different things to different people. Whatever that might mean to you…help is on the way! Here are just a few ways to get your cook on!

Help! I Can't Cook!
Help! I Can’t Cook!

It’s a fact. Some people can’t cook. Of course, “I can’t cook” means different things to different people.

Some people can’t cook because they don’t have the means to cook. Maybe they rent a room that doesn’t have kitchen privileges. Maybe they live out of hotel rooms because they travel a lot. Maybe their stove is on the fritz. Or maybe their house did, in fact, come without a kitchen.

Some people can’t cook because, well, they just can’t cook. Maybe they just don’t have the patience, the time or the confidence.

Then there are the people who simply don’t cook. Nope. Not doin’ it.

What shall we do with all these non-cookers who still want to eat a healthy diet? As it turns out, I have a few ideas.

Easy No-Cook Meals And Snacks

Chicken salad — grab some pre-cooked organic chicken and mix with mayonnaise. Jazz things up a bit by adding your favorite mustard, some grapes, walnuts or whatever tickles your fancy!

Peanut butter and strawberry sandwich
Peanut butter and strawberry sandwich

Peanut butter and strawberry sandwich — pick up a fresh-baked loaf of bread from your local bakery. Slather on some chunky peanut butter and sliced strawberries. Or smooth peanut butter and apple slices. How about cashew butter and fresh raspberries? There are no rules.

Overnight oats — There are only about a million flavor combinations and it keeps for up to 5 days in your fridge. Win-win!

Tomato, mozzarella and basil — This is exactly what it sounds like it is. Slice up a fresh tomato and top it with slices of fresh mozzarella and some fresh basil. Pair this up with the cooked shrimp you picked up in the frozen food aisle and you’ve got a meal!

Garden salad
Garden salad

Garden salad — It all starts with some bagged lettuce and fresh veggies (get the pre-cut ones to save time!). Toss it up with some mushrooms, nuts, seeds, avocados and/or hard-boiled eggs then top it off with homemade ranch, thousand island or Caesar dressing. Because there’s no such thing as “just a salad”.

Corn Salad — Saw fresh corn off the cob, put it in a bowl with some thinly sliced red onion and radishes then toss it with lemon poppy dressing.

Coleslaw
Coleslaw

Coleslaw — Simply mix shredded cabbage, green and/or red, and grated carrots. Make the dressing with 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tbsp olive oil, 2-3 tsp sugar and ¼ tsp salt. Ask the produce clerk to cut a head of cabbage so you can buy just a half or a quarter of it.

Fruit salad — A pile of your favorite fruits and berries topped with plain yogurt (mix in a bit of honey and a drop of vanilla, if desired). Use what’s left of the yogurt to make dill dip, which is great for dipping fresh veggies!

The Art Of Instant Pot Cooking

Instant Pot
Instant Pot

Let’s talk for a minute about how handy these are. Not only can this multi-function puppy pressure-cook food in no time flat, but it can also slow cook, steam, sterilize, make yogurt, saute, cook rice, cook eggs and even air fry. It even comes in a mini (3-quart) size so you don’t have to cook for an army.

You can cook just about anything in an Instant Pot. Throw it in there, turn it on and walk away. In case you’re feeling insecure, Instant Pot comes with access to an app that has cooking tips and recipes.

A more cost-effective option in this category is a slow cooker. It doesn’t have as many uses but it will still cook dinner for you. No, it doesn’t come with an app but I can recommend this cookbook!

Sandwich maker

Sandwich Maker
Sandwich Maker

For around $20, you can own a compact and oh-so-awesome multipurpose cooking tool! It’s easy to use, easy to clean, easy to store and its uses are only limited to your imagination!

Its compact size also makes it ideal for traveling. The non-stick surfaces require very little, if any, oil for cooking, making it a healthier option than some other cooking methods.

Of course, you can grill your sandwiches (the combinations are limitless enough already) but it’s also great for pancakes, french toast, cinnamon rolls, mini pies, cake and omelets.

Microwave

Microwave
Microwave

This magical device was invented in the 1940s and we’ve never looked back. The first home models, introduced in the 1960s, carried a price tag of around $4,000 when adjusted for inflation. Luckily for us, things have changed and we can pick up a decent model these days for right around $100.

Microwaves are not just for reheating last nights’ dinner. You can toast nuts or roast garlic. You can bake a potato or cook it cubed up for potato salad. Pasta, steamed vegetables, winter squash, sweet treats. Yes, you can even cook meat, although you’ll want to do a little research on cooking methods before you attempt that big, beautiful steak.

There are plenty of gadgets available (if you’re a gadget kind of person) but most of the time, you can use whatever microwave-safe dishes you have on hand to achieve the desired effect. Sometimes, all you need is a mug.

You can also find microwaves in many places when you’re on the road. Convenience stores, supermarkets, truck stops and travel centers usually have them for public use. (Remember to be polite and buy a bottle of water or cup of coffee while you’re cooking your lunch!) Microwaves are a standard issue in hotel and motel rooms. There’s also one in the break room at work, although its cleanliness is always in question.

Egg cooker

Egg cooker
Egg cooker

I’m not normally a fan of gadgets that do just one thing but this is my exception because…eggs, man. You can eat them hard-boiled or soft-boiled. You can serve them over toast or tucked in a sandwich.

Garden salads love them. Speaking of salads, so do pasta and potato salads. And what would egg salad be without eggs?

Pickle ‘em, devil ‘em, pair them up with some carbs like rice or spaghetti. Marry hard-boiled eggs and avocado for a super easy low-carb meal that’s loaded with protein, healthy fat and fiber.

Eggs are stuffed full of nutrition and their low price makes them an incomparable value.

Blender

Blender
Blender

Ah, the blender. Underrated, underappreciated, underused. It cries out for your attention. It can do so much more than making Margaritas.

It’s great for all kinds of drinks such as smoothies, milkshakes and frappes, real fruit slushies and frozen coffee.

Make a dessert mousse by blending one avocado, 2 tbsp cocoa, 1½ honey and 1 few drops of vanilla. Then use the blender to make whipped cream to go on top.

Dress up any meal by blending a gazpacho or cucumber soup. Whip up some hollandaise, salsa, hummus or pesto.

Heck, you can even use it to make baby food.

Feeling adventurous? How about some homemade beauty treatments? Why spend money buying an oatmeal mask when you can make your own? How about making some nut butter or almond milk?

Oh, and since you’ve got the blender out, I will take a margarita!

Rice Cooker

I received a rice cooker as an (unsolicited) gift from a family member. I had never wanted one and I wasn’t sure I would ever even use it. Once again, I’m not a gadget person. I still use the cooking pans I got second-hand from my parents after I got married, which they had received as a present when they got married, over 60 years ago. I just didn’t see the need to cook rice in a rice cooker when my elderly but reliable saucepan works just fine.

Rice Cooker
Rice Cooker

Except…

…that it’s awesome. And it’s not just for rice. That’s right. I said it. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were all sorts of one-pot meals I could make in this thing. It times itself, I didn’t have to remember to stir it AND it keeps it warm until I’m ready to eat.

Now, I am a fan of rice so I usually mix in some raw protein and veggies right in with the uncooked rice and water and let it do its thing. Easy-peasy. Here’s the thing, though. It also has a steaming tray that suspends above the rice so I can just as easily cook the meat and veggies separately.

It makes oatmeal, mac and cheese, soups, chili and stewed fruit. You can even use it to bake bread and cakes.

It’s compact, easy to use and easy to clean. It’s versatile like the Instant Pot and slow cooker but with a few differences. It has fewer options than the Instant Pot and cooks faster than the slow cooker. The price range is broad but a basic rice cooker is usually less than $40, similar to that of a basic slow cooker.

That About Sums It Up

Eating Healthy
Eating Healthy

OK, so that doesn’t really sum it up. There are a lot of different options out there for the cooking challenged and, if you search hard enough, you can learn how to use a curling iron to cook bacon or a clothing iron to make grilled cheese sandwiches. While it seems like either of these options could (technically) work, I’d like to think I’ve put forth the most reasonable choices for people who can’t (or don’t) cook.

What about you? What cooking hacks have worked for you? Let me know in the comments below!

All my best,

Cynthia
Cynthia@cynthiaeats.com

 

 

My Review Of Instant Pot

It’s all the rage so guess what? I hit the streets to get the lowdown on 10 different models and their accessories! I hope you enjoy this review of Instant Pot.

My Review Of Instant Pot
Instant Pot

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I’m sure you’ve heard of Instant Pot. It’s That Thing that has everyone talking. That wondrous, marvelous, amazing, extraordinary, almost transcendent piece of kitchen equipment that the whole world is raving about. Since you’re here, reading this review, I assume that you’re considering buying and you’re looking to see if this is the brand for you.

The fact is that Instant Pot is the best-selling and most popular pressure cooker out there. It’s user-friendly and has many, many uses, from the obvious (pressure-cooking) to things you may not be aware of such as making yogurt, cooking eggs and even sterilization. The problem (at least for me) is that there are 10 different models available. T.E.N. Which one is the right one for you? I’m going to break it down for you here.

My review of Instant Pot.

Basic Instant Pot Features

 

There are certain features that all Instant Pots have in common so I’m going to cover those first:

  • High-Pressure Cooking Function that cooks food up to 70% faster.
  • Slow Cooker Function.
  • Steamer Option for cooking vegetables, seafood, and eggs. Steamer accessories are included with Instant Pot.
  • Saute Function for sauteing, browning and reducing.
  • Rice Cooker Option to cook rice in as little as 4 minutes.
  • Warm Setting for keeping food at the proper temperature when it’s finished cooking.
  • Stainless Steel Inner Port has a 3 ply bottom and is dishwasher safe.
  • Accessories included: stainless steel steam rack with handles, rice paddle, soup spoon, measuring cup and condensation collector.
  • Free Instant Pot App for iOS and Android devices that’s loaded with hundreds of recipes as well as an online community to provide support and guidance.
  • More than 10 built-in safety features, including Overheat Protection, Safety Lock and more to ensure safe pressure-cooking

 

All Instant Pots except the Lux 6 in 1 have these additional features:

  • Low-Pressure Cooking Function for cooking items such as hard or soft-cooked eggs as well as more delicate vegetables and fish.
  • Yogurt Making Function.

 Pot By Pot

Now that we know the basics, let’s get down to the brass tacks: the pot by pot comparison so you can choose the perfect Instant Pot for you! Ready? Let’s roll.

 

My Review of Instant Pot
Lux 6-in-1

Instant Pot Lux 6 in 1

This very basic and economical Instant Pot has 12 one-touch Smart Programs, fingerprint-resistant stainless steel lid and components and a 6-quart large capacity to cook for up to 6 people

Instant Pot Lux 6 in 1 also comes in an 8-quart size for larger households.

Instant Pot Lux Mini has all the features of the 6-quart but in a 3-quart size. It’s great for small households, making side dishes or for anywhere that space is limited.

 

Instant Pot Duo 60

My Review Of Instant Pot
Duo 60

This is the original model of Instant Pot. It’s basic, affordable and the best-selling model out there due to its ease of use.

It has 14 Smart Programs and 12 preset temperatures. The 6-quart size cooks for up to 6 people.

Instant Pot Duo 80 has all the features of the Duo 60 but in an 8-quart size.

Instant Pot Duo Mini has all the features of the Duo 60 but in a 3-quart size. It’s great for small households, making side dishes or for anywhere that space is limited.

 

Instant Pot Duo Nova 7 in 1

My Review Of Instant Pot
Duo Nova

Instant Pot Duo Nova is an updated Duo. It has 12 one-touch Smart Programs plus a new progress indicator to let you know when your Instant Pot is coming to pressure and when the cooking cycle begins.

The new easy seal lid automatically seals your Instant Pot to keep flavors, nutrients and aromas sealed inside.

Accessories included: an extra sealing ring, steam rack with handles, and a recipe booklet.

This smaller Instant Pot Duo Nova has all the features of the standard-sized Duo Nova but in a 3-quart size.

 

My Review Of Instant Pot
Viva

Instant Pot Viva

This 6-quart pot is the first we’ve looked at that has some seriously awesome upgrades.

It has 15 one-touch Smart Programs which include a cake maker (get accessories here), sterilization feature and sous vide feature.

 

My Review Of Instant Pot
Duo Nova Plus

Instant Pot Duo Plus 6 qt 9 in 1

Instant Pot Duo Plus is an updated Duo. Duo Plus upgrades include the easy seal lid to automatically seal when pressure-cooking and a cooking progress indicator, so you know when cooking begins. It has 15 one-touch Smart Programs and can prepare meals for up to 6 people.

A larger version of the Instant Pot Duo Plus 9 in 1 has all the features of the regular Duo Plus but in an 8-quart size.

Instant Pot Duo Plus Mini has a 3-quart capacity. It’s great for making side dishes or for anywhere that space is limited. It has 13 one-touch smart programs but does not have the cake or beans/grain option offered in the larger size.

 

My Review Of Instant Pot
Ultra 60

Instant Pot Ultra 10 in 1

Instant Pot Ultra is the next generation in kitchen appliances.

A central dial with a simple turn and press provides added precision in program selection and adjustment. 16 one-touch Smart Programs include complete temperature customization and preset cooking times for up to 6 hours.

The automatic altitude adjustment takes the guesswork out of recipe conversion while the new self-closing pressure valve adds a higher safety rating.

My Review Of Instant Pot
Duo Evo

Instant Pot Duo EVO Plus 9 in 1

Instant Pot Duo Evo is a hybrid of the Duo Plus and the Ultra and has features you won’t find in other models. It has 10 one-touch Smart Programs and 48 customizable preset options, making it a must-have for cooking enthusiasts!

It has the biggest display of all the models we’ve looked at so far, big, bold and angled so it can be read from a distance while the new cooking progress indicator shows clearly where you are in the cooking cycle. The 1200W heating element reduces preheating time allowing you to make meals faster.

The easy seal lid automatically seals the pressure cooker while the improved steam-diffusing cover takes the fear out of the pressure release process. Pressure release time is shortened with the new QuickCool technology.

The cookware-grade inner pot made from 304 (18/8) stainless steel features non-slip, cool-to-the-touch silicone handles and a flat bottom that can be used on gas, electric and induction stovetop/cooktop.

Accessories include stainless steel steam rack with long handles and an extra sealing ring.

This pot also comes in an 8-quart size.

 

My Review Of Instant Pot
Smart WiFi

Instant Pot Smart WiFi

This WiFi-enabled cooker lets you schedule, cook, adjust and monitor the progress of your meals on the go from your mobile device with the Instant Pot app. It’s also compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant. As if that’s not awesome enough, you’ll have access to thousands of pre-programmed recipes and 13 one-touch Smart Programs!

 

My Review Of Instant Pot
Max

Instant Pot Max 9 in 1

The sustained 15psi pressure in this cooker not only cooks food faster while using less energy, it also enables you to do home pressure canning. It automatically releases pressure in the pot when the food is cooked. New Nutriboost technology creates a boiling motion during pressure-cooking to break down food, adding nutrition, flavor, and taste to soups and bone broth.

A new-brushed stainless steel exterior body, stainless steel interior cooker and inner pot are made from food-grade 304 stainless steel and accessories include 2 heat-resistant silicone mitts.

 

My Review Of Instant Pot
Duo Crisp

Instant Pot Duo Crisp 11 in 1 Air Fryer

The Instant Pot Duo Crisp offers the best of all worlds with the simple flip of the lid!

The pressure cooker lid offers all the options of a regular Instant Pot while the air fryer lid offers 5 dry cooking functions: use it to quickly air fry, roast, bake, broil and dehydrate.

Accessories include a multi-level air fryer basket as well as a dehydrating and broiling tray designed to ensure optimal results time after time.

The Best Instant Pot Accessories

My Review Of Instant Pot
Replacement Cover

Instant Pot 9” Tempered Glass Lid for 6 Quart

My Review Of Instant Pot
Silicone Cover

Instant Pot Silicone Lid for 5 and 6 Quart

My Review Of Instant Pot
Loaf Pan

Silicone Springform Loaf Pan

My Review Of Instant Pot
Cake Pan

Silicone Springform Cake Pan

 

 

My Review Of Instant Pot
Mini Mitts

Instant Pot Mini Mitts

 

 

 

So…Is An Instant Pot Worth It?

A lot of people I know call their Instant Pot a game-changer. They’re absolutely hooked.

Much of their fondness comes from a place of convenience. There is a shorter cooking time for large, tough cuts of meat, wild rice, steel-cut oats and lentils plus its ability to cook meat from frozen.

As a one-pot meal creator, it will leave you with fewer dirty dishes, leading to a quicker cleanup time. You can’t hate that!

What about you? Which Instant Pot are you going to choose? If you already have one, tell me what you think about yours! I’d love to hear from you.

All my best,

Cynthia
cynthia@cynthiaeats.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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