Instant Pot Creamy Chicken Italiano (Oregon, 2006, adapted)

Instant Pot Creamy Chicken Italiano is a dump and go weeknight dish that tastes like a throwback to simpler times.  The recipe comes to me by way of a  community cookbook from my home congregation.  The cookbook was compiled in 2006, but this recipe likely has its origins in a late 1970s kitchen.  The recipe was submitted by a woman in our congregation, who at the time would have had five small children at home.  This is a perfect recipe for a busy young mother.  The “Italiano” in Instant Pot Creamy Chicken Italiano is just a splash of Italian dressing.  This is otherwise a back-of-the-soup can dinner.

I am not normally a fan of trendy kitchen gadgets like the Instant Pot.  For many years my slow cooker of choice was a Lodge Dutch oven in my home oven.  I’ve managed to avoid the air fryer trend and have even avoided owning a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, which many people find to be essential.  The original recipe has nothing to do with the Instant Pot, which wasn’t introduced to market until 2010.  Instant Pot Creamy Chicken Italiano began its life as a slow cooker recipe.   Chicken breasts are tossed in Italian dressing and left in the slow cooker for three hours with a little bit of water.  Soup and cream cheese are added and the chicken is left to cook for another hour.   Canned mushrooms are stirred in at the end.  Besides dramatically reducing the cooking time, my Instant Pot adaptation simplifies things further, allowing you to dump in all of the ingredients at the same time.  Dump-to-dinner takes right around an hour.

And it lives up to expectations.  This is not a dinner you make for fancy company, but it is convenient and inoffensive.   The soup and cheese add just enough creaminess to make the chicken breast edible without that heartstopping heavy casserole feel.   It’s also a little bit on the bland side, which I remedied with a heavier-than-usual dose of freshly ground black pepper.  Fresh herbs or garlic would also be a worthy addition.

Instant Pot Creamy Chicken Italiano is meant to be served over rice or pasta.  I served this to my family over top of some inexpensive egg noodles:  any wide noodle will work just fine.   I served steamed broccoli on the side, in the same bowl as the chicken and pasta.  The sauce and the broccoli played well together, as would steamed asparagus.   Or for the ultimate lazy evening, toss a bag of frozen peas into the Instant Pot at the beginning.

Instant Pot Creamy Chicken Italiano (Oregon, 2006, adapted)

  • For: 8 hearty portions
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  1. Add all ingredients to the Instant Pot. Cook at low pressure for 20 minutes and allow pressure to release naturally.
  2. When pressure has released, open the lid and shred the chicken, mixing thoroughly with the sauce. Replace the lid and cook 5-10 minutes more on the Keep Warm setting to allow flavors to blend
  3. Serve over pasta or rice.

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