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Fans say trendy pressure cookers make holiday dishes — including desserts — a snap

Crock-Pot Express Multi-Cooker, a pressure and slow cooker in one, can help simplify holiday meal prep.

As dive into the holiday season, where there will be parties to plan and attend and dishes to prepare, shortcuts and accessories or appliances that can speed up the process can be a Godsend. Sometimes such helpful gadgets also can  make perfect gifts for people who love to cook and entertain.

The Instant Pot was a huge hit last holiday season and remains a big seller. “It was very popular last year. I think it’s trickled down a little and there’s not as much demand as last year, but we still sell quite a few. It’s still popular,” said Joe James, manager of Bed, Bath & Beyond in Valparaiso. The chain also has locations in Schererville and Merillville. “We also have a large selection of other pressure cookers, so there is some competition. There are five or six competing brands.”

Kris McDonald of Lynwood loves her Instant Pot, which she uses to make meals that would otherwise take hours. “I just used my Instant Pot last night to make a pot roast with veggies,” she said. “I love it because I can basically put all of the ingredients in, forget about it and have dinner ready in less than an hour.”

The Instant Pot has a number of uses for Lynn Garrison of Schererville. “For daily use, it makes the fastest and easiest to peel hard boiled eggs,” she said “We’ve used it to make soups, chili, ribs, pulled pork and much more. One of our favorite dinners to make in it is carnitas. In the fall we’re huge fans of using the Instant Pot for spaghetti squash and acorn squash. It’s so quick.”

For the holiday season, she suggested making a side dish of squash quick and easy in the Instant Pot. It also can handle holiday desserts. For the holidays, Garrison said she has made an Oreo cheesecake in it. “It was amazing,” she said.

She also has a daughter who was born with Hypoxic Ischemic Encepahlopathy and she needs to puree her food. Garrison started a Facebook group for HIE parents to share recipes and ideas using the Instant Pot. “So many of us use the Instant Pot because of how the speed helps in our busy lives,” said Garrison.

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