So this week’s culinary journey was all about trying out my new rice maker. My wonderful parents gave me a rice cooker for Christmas, and I must say that it was a little intimidating to use for the first time…so I kept putting it off.
This post is for all of you out there who hate tons of steps and love one pot meals. The rice cooker is perfect for this. Meet my new toy:
I know you can make plain old rice with this machine (useful, but boring for a blog post), so I wanted to explore what else it could do. I did some Googling and found that Food.com had a large number of rice cooker recipes. When thinking about what we would be eating while snowed in this week (Blizzard of 2011 and all), my roommate mentioned making tacos, so I was inspired to try out a Mexican Rice recipe that I found on that site. Then I nearly dropped my laptop when I found a macaroni and cheese recipe…are you kidding me?! I had to try that one!
Recipe #1: Mexican Rice
I saw this particular recipe had really great reviews, and as soon as I noticed that green chiles and red pepper flakes were involved, I was sold! (Can you tell I am a fan of spicy food?!)
First off, this recipe couldn’t have been easier to make. All that was required was to dump all of the ingredients in the rice maker, stir it up, and then push “Cook”. Literally, that was it. About half an hour later the rice was done. Did I mention it was easy?
Second, the rice was really good. There was a great heat to it but not overbearing at all. The only change I could think to make to the recipe would be only put in about 3/4’s of the can of tomato paste in the rice maker, because it was pretty tomato-y, but I like tomatoes so I can handle it. If you can’t, just make that slight alteration and you’ll be all set! Plus it was perfect with our Mexican feast.
For the recipe and step by step instructions, click here.
Recipe #2: Mac ‘n Cheese
Yes, you read that correctly. You can make something other than rice in a rice cooker. When a blizzard was taking over the Midwest, all I could think of was that I NEEDED comfort food, stat! Homemade mac ‘n cheese screams comfort food to me, so when I saw a recipe for it, I was hungry and curious and couldn’t help myself.
This recipe required no cutting (if you buy pre-shredded cheese like I did, and you should!), very little measuring and the rice cooker did nearly all the work. The recipe calls for a pinch of cayenne, which is a fabulous addition to typical macaroni and cheese.
Since I’m still making friends with my rice cooker and don’t know all of the ins and outs yet, next time around I would probably add a little more liquid to the pasta when it cooks. I would do this mainly because I’m a rebel and want to know what would happen, but feel free to follow the recipe. It was amazing!
For this lovely recipe and step by step instructions, click here.