The Daily Beet

05 Mar The College Greens: Meet Your New Best Friend: The Rice Cooker

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Meet Your New Best Friend: The Rice Cooker

Lately, a favorite breakfast of Jenna’s is buckwheat.  A big tasty bowl of warm, chewy, subtly nutty, and nutrient packed buckwheat is great to start off your day off with.  It’s wholesome, unprocessed, and delicious.  Buckwheat is a wonderful way to switch up your breakfast routine.  And it’s easier than ever to prepare with your new friend in the kitchen (or dorm room!): the rice cooker!

After hearing about a good friend loving the convenience of using a rice cooker, it certainly sounded like something that would be perfect for a busy college student who doesn’t have access to a kitchen!  So Jenna decided to try one out and indeed, perfect it is!  She now loves using her rice cooker too.

A rice cooker is so quick and easy to use.  All you have to do is put the rice (or any grain) and appropriate amount of water in the cooker and place the lid on.  Press a button and then you can just walk away.  Viola!  Before you know it, your rice will be cooked and ready for you to enjoy.  And if you don’t want to eat it right away, it will keep it warm until you are ready.  The rice cooker is so simple and convenient; it’s perfect for those with a hectic and busy life!  Also, the rice cooker is a loyal friend who will never burn your meals or fail you.

Even though it’s called a rice cooker, it is certainly not limited to just cooking rice.  It would be more fittingly called a grain cooker, as it works perfectly well with just about any grain (or even beans and lentils could be cooked in it as well!).  Obviously, buckwheat is one staple Jenna cooks in the rice cooker, but she also cooks quinoa, barley, farro, and millet.  The list of grains is endless.  You could even cook up a combination of grains!

A rice cooker can be used as the basis for any meal at any time of the day.  You could cook up some buckwheat for breakfast and enjoy with some fruit, nuts, chia seeds, and cinnamon on top.  For lunch or dinner, you could cook up some quinoa, throw in a can of beans and some seasoning (curry is a favorite), and serve on a bed of greens with fresh or steamed veggies.  Use whatever you have on hand and be creative!  Simply by switching up the grain, seasoning, or fruit/vegetable served alongside, there is an unlimited variety of combinations for you to enjoy.  All very simple and quick to put together, as well as yummy and nutritious.

Your new friend, the rice cooker, is so convenient that you might just want to start cooking with it every day!  Or you could cook up a big batch of the grains to last for a few days.  Some of the newer rice cookers even come with a steamer basket to place on top of the main bowl!  Now your grains and vegetables can be cooked at the same time, all in the same place, while you don’t have to do a thing!

Since the rice cooker does the cooking for you, you are now free to do something else – in the kitchen or not!  Jenna likes to prepare everything the night before, turn on the rice cooker when she wakes up, and have a nice warm breakfast ready and waiting when she returns from a morning run or workout.  Use the rice cooker any time of the day and cook your grains while you run an errand, spend time with your family, exercise, read a book, etc.  Life can be busy, but a rice cooker can help make cooking even easier!

The rice cooker is one gadget you’ll be sure to love in the kitchen.  It’s simple and convenient and so versatile.  And remember, this is only one of many ways to simplify things in the kitchen – there are always little things you can do so that you won’t have to compromise eating a delicious, filling and healthful diet.  Using a rice cooker is a way to make preparing whole foods convenient, so you can stay away from “convenience foods.” And who wouldn’t want a little more simplicity?!

Off for a hot date with the rice cooker and some grains =)

-The College Greens


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The College Greens
The College Greens

The College Greens: Tara, Jenna, and Craig. Tara is a junior at Bucknell University, currently majoring in Education and minoring in Creative Writing, and planning to do a nutrition program upon graduation. Jenna is a sophomore attending Duquesne University, and she is studying to become a Physician Assistant. Both Tara and Jenna are certified in Plant-Based Nutrition through Dr.Campbell's eCornell program. Craig is a senior at Bucknell University. He is majoring in Chemistry and minoring in English, and is planning to go to medical school to become a pediatrician, where he hopes to incorporate lifestyle medicine in his practice.

  • Martha J
    Posted at 11:26h, 05 March

    Great ideas!! If you wanted to take it a step farther, check out the Instapot – all of the functions of a rice cooker, plus a choice to use pressure cooking – FAST! Electric w/ auto timer so that you don’t have to stand around while it cooks.

    • Rease
      Posted at 09:48h, 06 March

      I got an Instapot for Christmas and LOVE IT! I love that I don’t have to soak my beans overnight, and they are done in 45 minutes and ready to use in a recipe. It is fabulous, and I don’t think I could have continued with my new way of eating without it.

  • Mark McSweeney
    Posted at 12:47h, 05 March

    Don’t use it under kitchen cabinets….since the steam escapes at the top it’ll spit goo up for 30 minutes and you’ll have a huge mess. I like to bake my brown rice using Alton Brown’s
    recipe–perfect EVERY time.

    • Katie Al Stewart
      Posted at 14:35h, 05 March

      I cook my rice the Alton Brown way too….perfect every time! Although it does require a few steps.I wonder if rice cooker takes an hour like the A.B. recipe? I’d be interested in checking out a rice cooker especially if it can cook steel cut oats!

      • Donnita M Ackley
        Posted at 17:22h, 05 March

        I use my fuzzy logic rice cooker for steel cut oats all the time. The settings you use are “pre-washed” and “porridge”. It’s perfect every time. The first time I cooked steel cut oats I only used the “porridge” setting and it bubbled up into the steam hole. I googled it and found the secret is to use “pre-washed” in addition to the “porridge” setting.

      • Rease
        Posted at 09:57h, 06 March

        I cook my steel cut oats in the Instapot (which is a combo rice cooker/pressure cooker) and they come out fabulous in 15 minutes. The key is to put them in the pot with *hot* water, so it doesn’t take as long to get up to pressure. And I just mentioned in another post that you can cook DRY beans in 45 minutes. I love that. Sometimes I never know what I want to cook for dinner tomorrow, so how am I supposed to know which beans to soak overnight the night before? No need now, with the Instapot. You could also just get an electric pressure cooker…I am guessing it will do the same thing as the Instapot, and they are a little cheaper. You would just have to manually set the time to cook things, rather than have the convenience of buttons on the front of the pot that the Instapot has. In any case, I highly recommend getting one. Dry beans are way cheaper than canned…and you can monitor how much salt is in them, and add your own seasonings for them to absorb while they cook.

  • Anthony Louis
    Posted at 15:27h, 05 March

    great post!

  • Barb
    Posted at 11:05h, 06 March

    Rice cookers are great! I never thought to use it for all of the other grains as well, as I thought they all would require different cooking times. Thanks for a very informative article!

  • LIndy B
    Posted at 14:31h, 06 March

    My rice cooker is living in the cupboard. I think it’s time to bring it out and start experimenting, esp. for making grains for dinner. How do I know how much water to add to cook quinoa for example or buckwheat? Do I use the ratios on the packages of grain to water like I was going to cook it on the stove??

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