Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Best $15 investment, as advised by Ebert and Ashlie

I had heard Roger Ebert penned a cookbook for rice cookers. Even more intriguing-he can't eat. After following him on twitter, I realized this must be an ingenious and worthwhile device for such an intelligent and humorous man to devote his talents to it. Ever since, I've been curious.

It's not like rice was hard to cook. But it could be a pain. Too much water, too much time spent standing over the stove. Yes, color me a typical lazy American.

I can't remember where- maybe here- but I vaguely remember hearing that a rice cooker was great for cooking for 1-2 people. Also, you could cook just about anything in it. Since I'm newly cooking for one, I thought I'd look into getting one.

My parents came in for a weekend and we went shopping. I cruised the kitchen appliance isle to be utterly surprised-rice cookers are as cheap as $13.99!  Mom & Dad got me mine: a 6 cup Rival rice cooker. I've relied on it for my lunches (and sometimes dinner) every day since.

Now mine isn't this cute little red color- it's just white, but I love it just the same. I've gone through two big bags of brown rice, making it both economical and very healthy. I also think it's perfect for those of us who don't want to spend a lot of time preparing our lunches each day.

Here's what I do:
-On Sunday, I put in anywhere from two to three cups of rice. In 30 minutes or less, this will double into cooked rice. You just put in the rice and corresponding water and walk away. You can tell the rice is ready when your house starts to smell of cooked rice. Yum!
-I scoop the rice out into sandwich sized reusable containers. Sometimes I do exactly one cup per container, sometimes I don't. Either way, it always makes enough to put in at least four containers.
-Let these cool, then refrigerate.
-Make sure to have lots of frozen vegetables on hand. In the morning when you're preparing for work, toss some frozen vegetables on top of a container of rice. Spritz with Bragg's Liquid Aminos for salt and added protein.

Ta-da! Lunch is ready for the day in less than 3 minutes (unless you include the 30 minutes that the rice cooker cooked).  Plus, the lunch you made is most likely under 300 calories. Nifty!

And like Ebert suggests, you can cook almost anything in your rice cooker. The most daring I've been so far is to try a box of garlic & pine nut long grain & wild rice. It cooked up much quicker than if cooked on the stove, and tasted just as good. Plus, I didn't have to add all that butter as suggested on the box (I actually used a tiny drizzle of olive oil instead), so that's another bit of healthy savings.

Let us know if you have a rice cooker and what all you've cooked in it. They're such great little tools to have to help you cook healthy & cheaply!


Post a Comment