Rice Cookers: Not Just for Cooking Rice


March 03, 2017 | Food Lion
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Your rice cooker can be your secret weapon in the kitchen. Learn more on how to prepare more than rice in this versatile appliance.

Having a kitchen filled with all the latest gadgets and gizmos may seem like a fabulous idea. But let's be real: who has all that space or disposable income to do so? Luckily, there are items that can do double duty, like the good ol' multitasking rice cooker. 

In spite of its name, it can make oatmeal, soups, chilis and even dessert while still being able to turn out the most perfect rice that you have ever had.

Here are a few examples of what you can try in your rice cooker:

Breakfast

One of the best things you can do for yourself is start your day with a healthy breakfast. A good choice would be fiber-rich oatmeal, which is not only good for our digestion, but it also keeps us fuller for longer. For one cup of oatmeal, add 1 and 3/4 cups to 2 ½ cups of liquid (water, milk, or a nut milk all work) to your rice cooker. Add a dash of salt and sweeten with honey, turbinado sugar or maple syrup.

Boiled eggs are also easily accomplished, though it may not save you time — it takes about seven to 12 minutes to achieve desired firmness. But using your rice cooker does save you having to deal with shards of shell — they usually peel away pretty easily.

Lunch

Quinoa has been having its day in the sun. Why shouldn't this hearty and healthy grain be a part of our lives? It is jam-packed with fiber, protein and vitamins. Use a 2:1 liquid to quinoa ratio when preparing in a rice cooker. Add in legumes, herbs and/or lemon juice to spruce it up.

Soup is one of Americans' all time favorite meals. It sticks to your bones and many of us (like Oprah) equate it to love. Add the ingredients of your favorite soup to the cooker. Set the rice cooker on “cook" then set to warm. This will get it done faster than it would in a slow cooker as well as help to maintain flavor.

Dinner

Throw ingredients from your favorite jambalaya recipe in the rice cooker with chicken breasts. Add potatoes or chickpeas to make it savory. This can produce one of the best one-pot meals ever!

Making risotto in your rice cooker may be one of the smartest things that you will ever do. It allows you to skip the traditional method of standing over the pot and babying the liquid and the onions and the garlic and on and on. Instead, add 2 and ¼ cups of broth or water, 1½ cups of risotto plus your favorite herbs. Press the risotto setting and, 20 minutes later when it's done, top it off with pecorino Romano cheese.

Dessert

You could make a cake from scratch — but who has that kind of time? Instead, spray your rice cooker bowl with non-stick spray. Mix all the ingredients listed on the cake box in a separate bowl, then add to your rice cooker. You can substitute milk for water in the recipe and add a little extra vanilla extract to pump up the flavor. Set your cooker on slow — keeping in mind that times vary, it should take about two hours. Do the toothpick test; if it comes out clean it's done. If not you'll have to add a little more time, so keep testing. Be patient because the flavor and moistness is well worth the wait.

If you love moist brownies, then this is a must try: Prepare a box based on package directions. Add water to the fill line of your cooker and then spray the steam tray with nonstick spray. Pour the batter and set to steam for the cook time recommended on the package. Check for doneness when your cooker beeps. They will appear moist but should be cooked throughout.