Advertising
Advertising

Published on August 24, 2018

17 Power Pressure Cooker Recipes for Rushed Weeknight Meals

17 Power Pressure Cooker Recipes for Rushed Weeknight Meals

Weeknights are wild. There are hobby meetings, sports events, date nights, late-night work calls, kids’ bath time, TV show premiers (of course), and there’s also… dinner?

Trying to cram in making a recipe, eating dinner (let alone enjoying the meal) and cleaning the kitchen in under an hour always seemed like it would take some sort of divine intervention. Well, let me introduce you to the power pressure cooker, aka the game changer.

The power pressure cooker makes the impossible possible. You can create a healthy, balanced meal in under an hour from start to finish. Even decadent dishes such as braised short ribs or whole meals such as salmon with potatoes and broccoli can be enjoyed from start to finish with breeze on a weeknight.

Is there anything easier than throwing your whole meal in one pot and letting the pot do the work? I can’t think of anything. It’s as if you significantly upgraded the already kitchen staple, the crockpot.

Here are some of my favorite power pressure cooker recipes to get dinner on the table under pressure:

1. Ramen Soup

    For those nights when all you need is a big hug, ramen is the perfect dish! High in anti-inflammatory ingredients such as fresh ginger, garlic and spinach this 20-minute soup is good for you in every which way.

    This quick ramen is balanced with lean protein from the chicken and soft-boiled eggs, starches from the noodles, and a salty broth that makes you crave more!

    To bump this recipe up even more nutritionally, try doubling the carrot and spinach for extra vitamin power.

    ~ Check out the recipe here!

    2. 4-minute Salmon, Broccoli and Potatoes

      What is better than a perfectly balanced meal in just 4 minutes? I can’t think of anything!

      This wonderfully fatty fish blends so well with the super food broccoli and starch of the potatoes that you won’t believe it was done in such a short amount of time!

      Salmon is a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids (aka fish oil) that helps our heart, skin, joints, GI tract, and much more!

      ~ Check out the recipe here!

      3. Beef Gyros

      Advertising

        A warm pita wrapped around freshly made gyros, toppings, and even Tzatziki sauce, oh my! This recipe goes from fridge to plate in under an hour with only 15 minutes of prep time!

        When creating the Tzatziki sauce, be sure to grab plain Greek Yogurt. This yogurt is naturally higher in protein, adding another nutritional benefit to this great dish! You can also opt for a whole wheat pita to add some extra fiber too!

        ~ Check out the recipe here!

        4. Shrimp Boil

          This recipe is perfect for summer beach nights, a classic shrimp boil recipe that you don’t have to spend all day preparing! This recipe is fun finger food to the max! It is delicious, satisfying and tastes the best when served on a picnic table.

          To take this recipe to the next level, adjust the proportions of veggies to protein. By increasing the corn and decreasing the amount of Andouille sausage, you can decrease the total sodium and calories while increasing the fiber and vitamins!

          ~ Check out the recipe here!

          5. Mexican Quinoa

            The perfect one pot meal with fiber, protein, and lots of flavor! This is a vegetarian and meat-lover dream!

            Quinoa is the perfect substitution for white rice in this classic recipe while complimenting the beans to create a protein filled dish. Plus the addition of all those vegetables creates a meal that is bursting with flavor. Top this Mexican quinoa with fresh avocado to perfectly round it out.

            ~ Check out the recipe here!

            6. Lo Mein

              This Lo Mein will stomp any greasy, take-out craving you have without the usual guilt! It is not very often, you can replace a sinful bowl of take-out with something so delicious and easy to make at home!

              Make this Lo Mein in less than 15 minutes from start to finish. That’s faster than it takes for the delivery person to show up at the door!

              ~ Check out the recipe here!

              7. Whole “Rotisserie” Chicken

              Advertising

                Everyone knows that the secret to batch cooking is to have a whole chicken cooked to use in various ways throughout the week!

                This recipe makes the most perfectly moist rotisserie chicken that can be used as is, for tacos, for soup, and for sandwiches all week long!

                Tip: keep the bones and scraps to make an amazing chicken stock to have on hand! Cooking the stock longer and at a lower temperature will create a delicious bone broth rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins.

                ~ Check out the recipe here!

                8. Chicken and Lentil Soup

                  This is the coziest soup around! Rich in protein, fiber, and B vitamins, this soup will meet all your cravings!

                  It also couldn’t be easier for a rushed weekday meal, all you have to do is chop and let your power pressure cooker do the work!

                  In just 30 minutes, you will have a warming soup that the whole family can enjoy!

                  ~ Check out the recipe here!

                  9. Vegan Quinoa Burrito Bowls

                    Is there anyone out there that doesn’t enjoy a good burrito bowl? This veggie bowl is the perfect one-pot meal that is easily customizable!

                    From vegans to meat-lovers, everyone will enjoy this easy, fiber-rich bowl. Add whatever toppings you please to create a burrito bowl that is just as good as a restaurant’s!

                    ~ Check out the recipe here!

                    10. Rice and Beans

                      The classic rice and beans dish is a staple for many reasons. It is full of perfectly complimented proteins, great texture, and balanced seasonings. Now, you can create this filling balanced meal in under an hour! No more pre-soaking those beans!

                      This perfectly seasoned, filling balanced meal will have everyone fighting for another bowl!

                      Advertising

                      ~ Check out the recipe here!

                      11. Summer Quinoa Salad

                        Your fresh in-season berries were made for this quick salad!

                        Take this nutrient dense salad to a party or serve it as light, summer dinner to have everyone asking for the recipe!

                        The quinoa, fruit, vegetables, and nuts create a dish that is perfectly balanced with all the food groups. You can top this salad with cooked chicken breast or leave it as-is to meet everyone needs!

                        ~ Check out the recipe here!

                        12. Minestrone Soup

                          This Minestrone Soup is quick and veggie full making it perfect for any weeknight dinner! It is rich in Vitamin C, antioxidants, and Vitamin A making it the perfect dinner for the whole family!

                          Tip: Use whole grain noodles to increase the fiber and B vitamins of this tasty dish!

                          ~ Check out the recipe here!

                          13. Lemon Garlic Chicken

                            Make your protein and side dish at the same time with flavorful chicken that the whole family will love! In less than an hour, you can have a beautiful and balanced plate with veggies and protein.

                            This flavorful lemon garlic chicken will give you the protein and excitement to spice up any plate!

                            ~ Check out the recipe here!

                            14. Chicken Fajitas

                              Quick, easy and very few dirty dishes are used to create these fajitas that will rival even your favorite Mexican restaurant!

                              Advertising

                              Feel free to top these with whatever you wish but be sure to include fresh avocado for a bump-up in vitamins and minerals.

                              Tip: If you enjoy sour cream on your fajitas, opt for plain Greek yogurt that is higher in protein, lower in calories, and just as tasty!

                              ~ Check out the recipe here!

                              15. Coconut Chicken Curry

                                A big bowl of coconut chicken curry over rice is what dreams are made of! This bright, flavorful dish is full of vegetables and lean protein without the dryness!

                                What can usually take a few hours, create this colorful dish in just 30 minutes with your power pressure cooker!

                                ~ Check out the recipe here!

                                16. Cashew Chicken

                                  This take-out classic can be on your plate in just 20-minutes but you can pretend you took hours to create it when everyone asks for the recipe! You can double the green bell pepper to increase the veggies without sacrificing any flavor. Serve this classic over brown rice for extra fiber and minerals.

                                  ~ Check out the recipe here!

                                  17. Meatloaf

                                    Meatloaf has been a menu staple since sliced bread but never did it only take 20 minutes to make! This recipe includes the meatloaf and the sides to create a one-pot dream. Perfect to serve after long weekdays, this dish is a comforting staple.

                                    And don’t be fooled by the short cooking time, this meatloaf is the best of both worlds- it’s juicy and fast to make!

                                    ~ Check out the recipe here!

                                    Despite its apparent roots in the crockpot concept, power pressure cooker meals are apt to be much healthier. Without the need for fatty sauces to create flavor and prevent dryness, the power pressure cooker uses the heat generated by the water to cook the food. This leads to more flavor without dryness and overall leaner meals.

                                    The power pressure cooker is the answer for anyone striving for healthy, balanced meals with a crazy weeknight schedule.

                                    It really can do it all. You won’t be disappointed and you’ll feel great after enjoying healthy, balanced meals while easily juggling all the activities you enjoy!

                                    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                                    More by this author

                                    Julia Whelan

                                    Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist

                                    13 Brain Healthy Foods That Keep Your Brain Sharp Naturally 25 Healthy Snacks for Work: Decrease Hunger and Increase Productivity 17 Power Pressure Cooker Recipes for Rushed Weeknight Meals How to Drink More Water Easily When It Seems Like a Major Chore

                                    Trending in Restore Energy

                                    1 Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It 2 How to Quit Your Job and Travel the World After 40 3 What Causes Brain Fog? (7 Things You Can Do to Prevent and Stop It) 4 How to Work Under Pressure so You Won’t Burn Yourself Out 5 Am I Burnt Out? 7 Signs That You Are and How to Bounce Back

                                    Read Next

                                    Advertising
                                    Advertising

                                    Published on November 14, 2018

                                    Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                                    Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                                    With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

                                    For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

                                    In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

                                    Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

                                    Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

                                    It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

                                    For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

                                    Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

                                    Symptoms of Fatigue

                                    Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

                                    • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
                                    • mental blocks
                                    • lack of motivation
                                    • headache
                                    • dizziness
                                    • muscle weakness
                                    • slowed reflexes and responses
                                    • impaired decision-making and judgement
                                    • moodiness, such as irritability
                                    • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
                                    • reduced immune system function
                                    • blurry vision
                                    • short-term memory problems
                                    • poor concentration
                                    • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

                                    Causes of Fatigue

                                    The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

                                    • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
                                    • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
                                    • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
                                    • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

                                    Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

                                    Medical Causes of Fatigue

                                    If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

                                    Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

                                    Anemia

                                    Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

                                    Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

                                    There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

                                    Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

                                    Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

                                    Advertising

                                    This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

                                    Diabetes

                                    Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

                                    Sleep Apnea

                                    Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

                                    Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

                                    Thyroid disease

                                    An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

                                    Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

                                    • Lack of sleep
                                    • Too much sleep 
                                    • Alcohol and drugs 
                                    • Sleep disturbances 
                                    • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
                                    • Poor diet 

                                    Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

                                    • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
                                    • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
                                    • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
                                    • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

                                    Psychological Causes of Fatigue

                                    Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

                                    • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
                                    • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
                                    • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

                                    How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

                                    Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

                                    1. Tell The Truth

                                    Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

                                    To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

                                    Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

                                    The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

                                    One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

                                    • How you feel
                                    • What time of day it is
                                    • What may have contributed to your fatigue
                                    • How your mind and body reacts

                                    This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

                                    2. Reduce Your Commitments

                                    When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

                                    Advertising

                                    If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

                                    When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

                                    Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

                                    3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

                                    If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

                                    Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

                                    If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

                                    Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

                                    Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

                                    4. Express More Gratitude

                                    Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

                                    It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

                                    Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

                                    5. Focus On Yourself

                                    Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

                                    There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

                                    But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

                                    We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

                                    6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

                                    Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

                                    Advertising

                                    Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

                                    The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

                                    Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

                                    7. Take a Power Nap

                                    When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

                                    Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

                                    This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

                                    8. Take More Exercise

                                    The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

                                    Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

                                    The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

                                    You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

                                    9. Get More Quality Sleep

                                    To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

                                    Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

                                    My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

                                    10. Improve Your Diet

                                    Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

                                    Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

                                    On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

                                    Advertising

                                    To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

                                    Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

                                    Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

                                    11. Manage Your Stress Levels

                                    Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

                                    When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

                                    Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

                                    My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

                                    12. Get Hydrated

                                    Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

                                    Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

                                    If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

                                    The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

                                    The Bottom Line

                                    These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

                                    If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

                                    Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

                                    Reference

                                    [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
                                    [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
                                    [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
                                    [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
                                    [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
                                    [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

                                    Read Next