Katie's Healthy Bites: Cooking Under Pressure

Risotto

Risotto

Risotto with Vegetables in a White Dish beside a Purple Napkin

©Photographer: Kana Okada Food Stylist: Alison Attenborough Prop Stylist: Pamela or Molly

Photographer: Kana Okada Food Stylist: Alison Attenborough Prop Stylist: Pamela or Molly

I used to stare at pressure cookers in the home goods stores, questions flurrying:  What would I do with that?  Would I even use it?  Well, I finally bit the bullet and added one to my kitchen lineup, and, to my surprise it's become a favorite tool and a busy life saver!  So if you're asking yourself if you want one...the answer is, YES!

The Basics

A pressure cooker is like most of the pots in your kitchen with the difference being its nifty (and not as scary as it looks) lid that traps in pressure and creates steam, which cooks foods super-fast.

The Benefits
  • Fast Food: I'm not talking drive-through, I'm talking dried beans that are ready in 15-20 minutes, stews that take half a day are ready to eat in less than an hour, and other yummy foods like root veggies, grains and soups ready by the time you finish setting the table.
  • Locks in Nutrients:  Less cooking liquid and less cooking time means less nutrients loss.  Result: Fast food that is good for you, too.
  • Green Machine:  quicker cooking times mean less energy consumption which means a happy planet and utility bill.
  • Easy Cleanup:  Nothing beats a one pot meal when it comes to cleaning up.
  • Money Saving: Inexpensive items like dried beans, grains and tougher cuts of meat can be ready in the same time it takes to throw an expensive steak on the grill and mash some potatoes. I promise, your pressure cooker foods will be more comforting and soul-satisfying.
How To Get Started

Still a little skeptical?  Not to worry...so was I.  Most pressure cookers come with easy-to-follow directions that lead you through the process.  The first time I used it I just reminded myself that if it truly was dangerous it would not be so widely available, ha!  My first time felt like a high school science experiment, but the results were way better then a dissected frog!

For step-by-step instructions check out this pressure-cooking how-to, or visit pressure cooker expert and dietitian Jill Nussinow at her Web site for more great tips.

Pressure Cooker Recipes to Try:
TELL US: Do you have a pressure cooker? What's your favorite thing to cook with it?

 Katie Cavuto Boyle, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian, personal chef and owner of HealthyBites, LLC. See Katie's full bio »

Keep Reading

Next Up

Katie's Healthy Bites: Cooking with Quinoa

Dubbed “the gold of the Incas,” quinoa seed is treasured because of it's nutritive value. It has more protein than any other grain or seed and offers a complete protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids our bodies can't make on their own.

Katie's Healthy Bites: Cooking for the Phillies

What you eat before you exercise is very important -- especially when you're a professional baseball player! After a season of cooking privately for several Philadelphia Phillies' players, I'm serving as the team's dietitian this season and providing healthy, delicious pregame meals. Read on for more tips about the makeup of the perfect pre-exercise meal, and get the recipe for one of the Phillies' meals.

Katie's Healthy Bites: No-Cook Corn Salad

This heat has me steering clear of the stove, but that does not mean I can’t enjoy the flavors of the season! This no-cook corn salad gets a refreshing crunch from jicama and bell pepper that will satisfy your summer veggie cravings with nothing more than a little chopping.

Katie's Healthy Bites: 4 No-Cook Summer Sauces

I get bored with ho-hum BBQ sauce and bottled marinades, so I looked around the globe for inspiration, then built up an arsenal of creative sauces to pair with veggies, meats and fish.

Food Network Apps

In the Kitchen

Get over 70,000 FN recipes on all your mobile devices.

Facebook Messenger

Ask our bot for recipes, meal ideas and daily food trivia.

Amazon Echo

Just say "Alexa, enable Food Network skill" to get started.