Ninja Foodi

For a single male, with no potential of getting married, I can cook surprisingly well.

I do have some professional training and experience, but I am an amateur that only needs a recipe book for baked goods or when trying something for the first time and often not even then. I only need some pots and pans, knives and a stove and oven and can cook anything. Everything from perfect eggs over easy(yuck) to prime rib roast to soups and sauces to cream puffs, bread, and even candy. I can cook pretty much anything. The only thing I can’t ever seem to get right is croissants. They are really time-consuming and difficult to make correctly!

What I typically don’t do is buy gadgets as they clutter my kitchen. Sure, they can make some tasks a little easier, but that is not worth the clutter in my not so wise opinion.

I differentiate between tools and gadgets. A flour sifter or hand citrus juicer are tools. I do own some small gadgets. Items like apple cutters and this awesome pineapple cutter and a mandolin slicer which I use in the rare times I have a lot of company.

I also have a Ninja smoothie blender.

So, it is unusual that I bought a large, expensive gadget. As useful as it is, I think it qualifies as a gadget, which admittedly is a loose term. I had money put away that no longer has a purpose, so I took a small amount of it to buy this and a laptop that I will review later.

The Ninja Foodi seems to do everything, but it is really just a pressure cooker and convection oven. It can steam, roast, sear, crisp, sauté, air fry, bake, and slow cook. I wish I had gotten the larger model as that has a dehydrate function along with everything else.

I don’t typically deep fry things, so I have not tried the air fry functionality yet, but I have used the pressure, steam, roast and crisp functions. It works very well with no babysitting, so I can cook and do other things, at the same time. I enjoy multitasking. It keeps my very noisy mind busy and distracted.

I have the 6.5-quart model that I bought at the VA hospital, no sales tax, and slightly cheaper than elsewhere. The biggest negative is its size. It is both very large when storing and small when cooking. If you consistently cook for more than three or four people, this is not for you. There is an 8-quart model, but I doubt it has significantly more rack space. A whole chicken will cook in it, and it can cook a fair amount of items like potatoes and soup. However, if cooking chicken breasts, or steak there is little space on the rack.

You will need a lot of storage space. It is bulky, and the pressure lid is not attached. You can not store both the rack and steam container in it, so that is more space needed.

The cooking time in the pressure cooker is indeed lower than baking in the oven, but there is a caveat: time to build and release pressure. It takes 10-15 minutes to build up enough pressure and another three minutes or so to release it.

With a whole chicken, it is still faster than baking. For boneless chicken pieces, it is not. A whole chicken can cook about an hour faster in this compared to an oven. The advantage is that it is much harder for whatever you are cooking to end up dry.

A whole chicken takes about 30 minutes once the pressure cooker is at high pressure and then 8 minutes with the crisper setting to make it turn out perfect. Pork chops and boneless chicken breasts take 2 minutes. Diced potatoes also take 2 minutes before it is ready to mash. That makes it so much faster and simpler than doing it on the stovetop. I tried out an interesting Thai-ish pork and sweet potatoes recipe that came with it, and the potatoes were perfect. It is nice that you can cook the meat and potatoes at the same time if you do not mind juices dropping into the potatoes.

I made a wonderful New England clam chowder in less than 15 minutes of pressure and cooking time. Perhaps, I will try some fish next. Pacific cod or catfish sounds like a good trial fish before risking fresh halibut.

It can steam rice, but why bother? Rice cookers seem like the most pointless gadget ever. For all rice, except really hard rice such as black rice. It is so simple: 2.25 parts water to 1 part rice, salt if you wish. Boil the water on the stove, add rice and salt, bring back to a boil, take it off the heat, cover tightly, wait 15 minutes. That works for small and large batches of rice. It cooks perfectly and no scorching.

Most dry beans can cook in less than five minutes. That is great for some recipes. When it is not, it has a slow cook function.

The Foodi is also very easy to clean. Nothing sticks, except the rack a little bit. It comes with some recipes and basic guides for people like me that like to experiment. There are lots of recipes online and cookbooks available.

Is it worth the cost and space? I think so if you enjoy cooking but don’t have a lot of time. If you can use it at least 2-3 times a week consistently, you would probably get enough out of it to be worth the cost.

I haven’t done the math, but it should be cheaper to run than the stove and food does turn out much better in it than a microwave and at least marginally better than using a mediocre oven, which I have. I should put a Viking range on my to-buy list.

You can buy pressure cookers that are much cheaper and sit on the stove top. Those scare me. My sister has an instapot, but its lack of crisping and air frying functions, at least her model does not, makes it greatly inferior.

As I create recipes for it, I might post them. Well, if I can get an exact amount of ingredients, I typically eyeball it instead of measuring. That would be far more useful than a lot of my recent posts.

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