rice cooker.jpgFor the past two weeks on Shelly’s Friday Favourites she’s been talking about how great small appliances are for the dorm room, and we’ve seen some recipes for quick and easy meals for them. She’s gone through the many uses of a microwave and a crockpot, and this week we’re going to talk about why a rice cooker should be on your back to school shopping list.

Usually when you hear rice cooker you think of a simple way to cook rice, but there are so many other uses for them. There are some great delicious and easy recipes perfect for college/university students, and they’ll give you a break from endless bowls of ramen noodles and mac’n cheese.

Rice cookers have come a long way too, so many of them offer other functions such as saute, warm and even different heat settings. They’re also not very big so would be easy to tuck away if you are in cramped quarters.

I did a little research and was mazed at all the recipes I found for a rice cooker, and trust me when I say it should be something you take along to your dorm room.

 

Breakfast

Having a warm and filling breakfast in the morning is a great way to start your day. There’s nothing worse than being hungry when you are trying to concentrate in class and if you are anything like me, you may find yourself getting a little “hangry” when your tummy’s a grumbling. I have been known to just snack for lunch, but breakfast is a meal I never skip out on. A nice oatmeal for breakfast is full of carbohydrates and fibre to keep you full longer, and feel free to add any fruits you like too. My personal favourite for oatmeal is bananas. Recipe and picture from food.com.
oatmeal.jpg

Ingredients:
2⁄3 cup steel cut oats
1 2⁄3 cups milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1⁄4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 pinch fine sea salt
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1⁄2 cup chopped dates

Directions

1. Place all ingredients, except dates, in cooker; stir gently to combine; sprinkle dates on top.
2. Close the cover, set on Porridge cycle.
3. NOTE1: This recipe is designed for a rice cooker with fuzzy logic – use the porridge setting. If you have a regular rice cooker, you will need to watch it to determine when the oatmeal is done, probably 25 to 30 minutes, depending on your cooker.
4. NOTE2: Steel cut oats vary slightly. With some brands I find I need to reduce the milk to 1 1/2 cup to get the right consistency.
5. NOTE3: You can substitute vanilla flavored soy milk for the milk plus vanilla extract.

 

Try some different styles of rice

fried rice.jpgI have yet to meet someone that doesn’t love a good fried rice, and did you know you can make it in a rice cooker. I love one pot meals. They are usually easy to make and easy to clean up, what more could you want for dorm room cooking.
You can easily swap out the beef stock in this recipe for veggie or chicken and if you are looking for some extra fibre try brown rice. Recipe and picture from food.com.

Ingredients:
2 cups rice
2 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon oil (flavoured infused oil works very well)
250 g bacon (cut into strips)
1 onion (sliced)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables (corn kernels and peas will do)
2 tbsp soy sauce

Directions

Turn Rice Cooker onto cook.
1. Add oil, bacon, onion and garlic to Rice Cooker.
2. Stir frequently until onion is soft.
3. Add rice to Rice Cooker and coat in oil.
4. Add frozen vegetable and beef stock and mix well.
5. Place lid on Rice Cooker and let it do its thing.
6. When finished mix in Soy Sauce and stir.
7. Serve.

Satisfy your sweet tooth
Last but not least, we all get that sweet tooth craving sometimes so I was pretty impressed to see a rice cooker can make desserts too. You can satisfy your cravings and your dorm room will smell amazing.
If you’re studying far away from home you might also be feeling a little homesick, and for me, anything with apples and cinnamon reminds me of home, so this apple cake might just hit the spot. Recipe and photo from thespicehouse.com.
apple cake.jpg

Ingredients:
2 large or 3 smaller apple
2 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons sugar
a bit of oil
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 Tablespoons melted butter
2 eggs

Directions

Peel the apples, and cut them into wedges. Using a medium skillet over moderate heat, melt the butter, add the apples, and toss them to combine. Let them cook for about 5 minutes, until they begin to soften. Add 3 Tablespoons sugar, mix gently, and let cook until the sugar is caramelized.
Meanwhile, swipe some oil around the rice cooker’s bowl. When the apples are ready, pour them directly into the greased bowl, and arrange them so they completely cover the bottom.
Now put together a cake batter: Mix all the other ingredients quickly, and pour this over the apples, covering them completely. Put the bowl into the rice cooker and push the “on” button.
After the cake is cooked (the rice cooker will turn off or set to warm), let it cool in the bowl for about 10 minutes, then unmold it gently onto a serving plate.

Cooking for yourself in your dorm room can be stressful, especially if your culinary skills aren’t the greatest. Having a few go to recipes will make the whole idea less overwhelming and you won’t have to rely on the same meals every day or not so pleasant cafeteria food. Who knows, with all the delicious smells coming from your room you might find yourself chefing it up for some of your friends too. Better yet make a rotation so you don’t have to cook yourself every day.
Bestbuy.ca has a great selection of rice cookers for your dorm room cooking needs.

rice cooker.jpg
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