Other than a bread maker machine, I think I pretty much own every kitchen gadget and cooking tool imaginable. Slow cooker. Check. Food processor, immersion blender, pasta machine, drying racks for the pasta, yes! It’s all here, and my kitchen is busting at the seams. My husband had to build a wall of cabinets out in the garage to store all my endless array of fancy-pants gizmos.

I never thought this would happen, but I purchased a cooking item that I have just never used. It sits in the box, and I think it whispers to me…”take me inside and give me a try!” But, to be completely honest, I have been afraid of using it. And now I come to find out that many of my friends are in the exact same boat. They are afraid of their Instant Pot! They are sitting in the boxes of many garages–completely unopened! But, how can this be? This was going to revolutionize the modern cooking world. A whole chicken in 20 minutes? Potatoes and hard boiled eggs in 6 minutes? Meatloaf was a breeze. Soups and even crème brulée in 10? For a busy household, this is music to our ears.

In all honesty, I think there are two things that stopped me in my tracks. First was the term “pressure cooker.” That even sounds scary! The second thing is that the unit is large with a lid that looks like something that would be found on a space shuttle. It is rather intimidating.

Well, as luck would have it, one of my friends, Marla, is an expert with the Instant Pot! Lucky me! She started posting on social media all kinds of fabulous creations and I began to ponder the use of this new trendy device. I reached out to other girlfriends and found six gals who had never opened their box either! This called for a party. So, I had them all select a recipe, come over to my house on a specific date and bring the ingredients along. Marla Lackey (The Gadget Gourmet) was kind enough to be our instructor. We sautéed a whole chicken in the pot and then cooked it right in that same pot. We made eggs and potatoes for a delicious potato salad. We crafted cheesecake (which did require a spring-form pan that was small enough to fit down into the pot itself).

The possibilities are endless.

My two favorite resources for recipes and techniques are currently coming from Pinterest Instant Pot pins or posts and the cookbook, Dinner In An Instant, written by Melissa Clark. The photos are sublime, and the recipes are very easy for me to follow. The book includes 75 recipes, and I am working my way through it from front to back.

My girlfriend gathering was such fun and a real success. We are all now trying recipes and experimenting with our newest addition to the kitchen. I am finding it has been worth the effort to dig in and does save me time. When in doubt–find an expert and throw a party!