Weekday meal inspiration: Baked potatoes 3 ways

Living East Tennessee

A few weeks ago I found myself in a dinner rut – you know how it is, tired of making the same handful of recipes week in and week out, but completely unable to muster inspiration to try something new or even break out a classic we haven’t eaten in a while. I think with the combination of the summer heat (I don’t even want to turn my oven on!), and pandemic fatigue – I’m just out of dinner ideas.

Baked potatoes 3 ways for easy weeknight meal inspiration.

I have also noticed pretty frequently lately that people are trying to get rid of their fancy electric pressure cookers because they never use them. I started thinking about the basics of why I love cooking with one – and finally stumbled upon some inspiration to break up my routine.

My goal with sharing this recipe is illustrating how easy it actually is to use an electric pressure cooker – how it can save you time, be more versatile than any other appliance you own, and keep you from having to stand over a hot stove or have your oven pump heat into your house in the dead of summer.

If you’ve been avoiding the Instant Pot (or whatever other brand electric pressure cooker you may have) because you don’t know what to make or haven’t had the time to figure it out – this is the easiest, most versatile thing you can make, and it will only take about 30 minutes.

For the past several weeks, I have been making shredded chicken in the pressure cooker at the start of the week and then using it to make several different quick and easy recipes during the rest of the week. I’m making everything from buffalo chicken baked potatoes (shared below), to baked mac & cheese with chicken and broccoli, to avocado chicken salad, to enchiladas. Maybe next week I’ll get off my chicken kick and make a beef roast or pork tenderloin and do the same – shred it up for tacos, bbq sandwiches, or whatever else comes to mind.

My friend, Kim Hansard, and I tend to gush a little over the Instant Pot, but we also answer some FAQs and attempt to quickly demystify this versatile appliance in these videos. Give it a try!

Easy Instant Pot Shredded Chicken
By Melanie Morris

1.5-2 lbs fresh or frozen chicken
¾ cup chicken stock or broth
1 lemon, juiced (optional but the acidity helps keep the meat tender)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper

Liberally salt and pepper the chicken. Add the stock, lemon juice, whole crushed garlic cloves and chicken to pressure cooker pot. 

Set to pressure cooker manual for 18 minutes for fresh chicken, 25 minutes for frozen chicken. When pressure cooker finishes, allow to naturally vent or do quick release if needed. The natural vent may make the meat more tender, but quick release venting always works in a time pinch.

Take out the meat and shred it with forks. Tip: Skip the forks and place chicken in a deep bowl and use a hand mixer to shred it. This is so fast and gives you perfectly shredded chicken!

Now what to do with this beautiful chicken? I love baked potato meals for dinner, so I am sharing 3 versions with you. You can even do the potatoes in the pressure cooker if you want, but usually I just pop them in the oven on 425° rubbed with a little kosher salt and olive oil for 40-ish minutes (depending on the size). (Yes, I contradict my comments earlier about not wanting to turn the oven on. All depends on the motivation I suppose!)

Baked Potatoes 3 Ways

Loaded BBQ Chicken Potato
Heat your shredded chicken with your favorite BBQ sauce. Top your hot potato with sauce, BBQ chicken, cheddar cheese, bacon pieces, chives, and dollop of sour cream.

Buffalo Chicken Potato
Heat your shredded chicken with your favorite buffalo hot sauce. Top your hot potato with the hot sauce, buffalo chicken, blue cheese, a little celery, and finish off with drizzle of ranch dressing.

Greek Chicken Potato
Top your hot potato with tzatziki sauce, chicken, more tzatziki, feta cheese, and sliced kalamata olives.

Add salt and pepper to taste and dinner is ready!

Got pressure cooker questions? Have a favorite Instant Pot recipe? Visit Living East Tennessee on Facebook and join the conversation!

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