I’m finding out different things with this whole food plant based diet. One, I’m a simple girl. Sure couscous is fun to say, and quinoa is even funner to say, but taste and texture wise, I prefer the basics. Rice. Potatoes. Whole wheat pasta. Barley. (Lentils?? Verdict isn’t out on them yet). So much of my recipes from here on out will be more basic, which is good when you are on a budget. (10 lb bag of rice: $6….. 2 lb. bag of quinoa: $4.50.)
My friend has been bugging me to get a rice cooker. I always complained that I had to scrub my pans after cooking rice on the stove, and she suggested I look at my local thrift shops for a used one. Well, I did, once, but didn’t find one. And new they can range from $20 at Big Lots to $40 at Wal-Mart. Which isn’t bad for the Big Lots one, but still…my frugal mind debated. Why spend $20 if I already have pots and pans that work just as well? And then one day, she went and found one for me at Goodwill for $3! I love my friends. They are so thoughtful.
So, I love it. Adam loves it. It’s used almost daily. Why? Oh let me count the ways!
1. It has measurements on the side. It’s the little timesavers that I like. Like, when I can just add the water to the correct line in my rice cooker and not use my liquid measuring cup. I feel pampered with such simple things!
2. It’s nonstick. Yes, rice still sticks to the bottom. But, during our meal, I just soak the pan in warm or hot water, add a dab of dishsoap if I think of it, and then by washing dishes time, it’s easy to wipe out with a rag.
3. The veggie steamer rack. Oh gosh, if I have to wash any more dishes I’ll freak! So I love this thing. I add some frozen or fresh broccoli, some frozen lima beans, or whatever I want (fresh or frozen bell peppers and onions…) to the veggie steam rack and place that on top of the rice in the cooker. One whole meal in one pot. That’s what I like! And carnivores can probably add a thin chicken breast to the veggie rack and steam some chicken with their rice. 🙂
4. It does the work for me. I add everything, plug it in and press “cook”. When it’s done (20 mins or so later), the button pops to “warm”, and then I just let it sit for maybe 2-3 minutes longer. Use a wooden or plastic spoon to get the rice out tho, so you don’t ruin the non-stick. My friend did advise that if I’m using brown rice, to add a half cup more water to the mix. I haven’t tried this yet, but I plan to this week. So far I’ve only been using white rice. She says that the brown rice will cook well also, as I noticed on the bags of brown rice it often advises you to cook it for longer, with more water.
5. No gumminess! No boil over!! Sometimes, when I cook rice on the stove, it gets gummy. Maybe the temp is too high. I haven’t mastered the art of perfecting rice on the stove. Which is nice now, because I don’t have to. It comes out perfect every time!! Also, there is no boil over. My husband and I ALWAYS boiled the rice over. Which meant more of a mess on the pot and on the stove. Sometimes the water bubbles around the lid of the rice cooker, but it’s never boiled over.
6. It’s fairly small. I’m sure you can get bigger ones, but the one we have is small enough that if I have it sitting out on the counter, it won’t take up too much space. It’s perfect for our little family of three. When Adam is working and I’m only cooking for Liam and myself, it’s absolutely perfect in size for rice and veggies. If Adam wants to take rice to work with him but isn’t making a family size portion, it’s perfect for him. And if all three of us want just rice, no veggies, it’s perfect. However, if we want veggies with our rice as a family, we will need to cook them separately as the veggie tray is not big enough for all of us. Still, it’s not a big deal in the big scheme of things.
So there you have it. If you don’t have a rice cooker, and eat a lot of rice, you should look into one. But look at either Big Lots, Goodwill, or other second hand shops. Most people get kitchen appliances like rice cookers as wedding gifts, and never use them, so they get donated and are still in ‘like new’ condition. Why pay full price if you can pay a fraction? 🙂