By: Randall Wellman, LMT, MS
Spa Director Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls

Pressure CookerPressure Cooker DinnerI am a proponent and have converted to pressure cooking. Like many people, I had the preconceived notion that based on the old-fashioned pressure cooker, they were accidents waiting to happen. We all have stories from our grandparents about the day the canned apples ended up on the ceiling.  The origin of the phrase “don’t blow your top” comes from this occurrence. Upon the advice of long-time employees and self-proclaimed QVC Inn employee junkies, I bought a modern day pressure cooker.  As a result, a whole new world of healthy, delicious and easy cooking has opened up to me.

The modern pressure cooker I am speaking of is an appliance that looks almost like a crockpot.  Most have a digital keypad to set temp/time functions.  The healthy aspect behind pressure cooking is that everything you put in the pressure cooker, minus a little steam, stays there.  Since you always cook with a little liquid, many of the original vitamins, minerals, micro-nutrients, and essences are still in the food and the delicious broth.

It is super easy and safe to use a pressure cooker. It regulates the time & temperature automatically, so there’s no danger of it blowing its top. It cooks food in approximately one third of the time.  You can pull something out of the freezer and have a delicious meal in less than 15 minutes.

Here is a favorite healthy recipe that Ellie & I make:

Fish, Potatoes, and Greens

  • ½ cup liquid (fish stock, wine, water, beer, whatever you want)
  • Fish – This recipe works well with anything from salmon to cod. It can be fresh or frozen.
  • Greens – Kale, Chard, Collards, etc. (The darker and leafy-greener the healthier.)
  • Potatoes – Any kind will do and there’s a plethora of new, exciting varieties available.
  • Butter or oil
  • Seasoning – Salt, pepper, anything you desire

Find the cooking time for the fish you are using. Generally speaking, fish takes anywhere from 3-5 minutes once it begins to steam. If starting with frozen fish, double the cooking time. Add ½ cup liquid to the pressure cooker. Place fish in the cooker. Dollop the fillets with butter or drizzle with oil. Cook for the recommended time MINUS 4 minutes.

When the timer goes off, release steam and open lid. Place potatoes, then greens in pressure cooker.  Season to your liking. Set timer to 4 minutes and continue cooking. Quick release when the timer goes off and you have a savory, healthy meal.

I got the basis for this recipe from two books by Bob Warden, from QVC. They are “Slow Food Fast” and “Great Food Fast”. There are also many good books at the library or internet.

Since I’ve been using a pressure cooker, my microwave has been relegated to a lonely existence in the basement.  Freshest is always best!   I hope this article inspires you to try pressure cooking, a much healthier, quick-cooking method.