OK, so I'm a horrible cook. I'm also lazy.
For a long time, I've been trying to find ultra-simple ways to cook healthier meals, and I think I've finally found one.
I bought an Aroma rice cooker / steamer.
8-Cup (Cooked) Digital Cool-Touch Rice Cooker and Food Steamer - Aroma Housewares
It's been pretty amazing. I've never been able to get rice to come out right on my own, but this is really good.
I've been using 1/2 cup of brown rice, and 2-2 1/2 cups of chicken broth, instead of water.
I was adding 1 tsp of Wyler's Chicken Powder for every 2 cups of chicken broth, but I've eliminated that, for reason's I'll discuss later.
I cook a chicken breast at the same time as the rice. I've been experimenting with the seasoning, using different combinations of salt, pepper, Lawry's Seasoning Salt, Cavendar's Greek Seasoning, Accent, garlic powder, onion powder, Montreal steak seasoning, and herb chicken seasoning. The chicken breast cooking right now just has accent and Montreal steak seasoning on it.
The directions say to cook the chicken to an internal temp of 165, and for a time, I'd open the cooker and check the chicken a couple of times, removing it when the chicken hit 165 in the thickest part. I've found though, that if I just leave the chicken in there until the rice is done, the internal temp is around 200, but the chicken is totally moist. I suppose because of the steaming method.
I am having a few issues .... the chicken is a little bland, while the rice is over-seasoned; especially with salt. I'm especially concerned with the salt because of blood pressure issues.
I started looking at it. The first thing I noticed was the Wyler's Chicken Powder has 790mg of salt per tsp. I cut it out. It was a little less salty, but still too salty. I also notice the decreased chicken flavor.
I started looking at every seasoning I'm using, and almost all have salt. I'm switching to the salt-free version of the Cavendar's Greek Seasoning, but there's no low sodium version of Accent, and I love that umami flavor. Same with the Montreal steak seasoning.
I was just using Wal-Mart Great Value chicken stock, but while looking at it, I noticed it has 860mg of sodium per cup; the highest of any chicken broth, or chicken stock they had. The regular Swanson Chicken broth has just 510mg of sodium per cup. I'm cooking some rice and a chicken breast with it now.
I also bought several different types of chicken stock and broth with varying amounts of sodium. I'll be testing them over the next couple of weeks.
QUESTION: I read that chicken stock is more flavorful than chicken broth. Is that correct?
One minor problem I'm having is there is just a little bit of browning on the rice at the bottom of the pot. I've tried increasing the amount of chicken stock, all the way up until the rice is mushy, but it still does it. There's also this gooey residue in the bottom of the cooker that is actually pretty flavorful.
QUESTION: Should I be spraying some Pam in the pot befor I put the rice and chicken stock in?
QUESTION: I was thinking about doing a reduction on the goo in the bottom of the cooker pot with a little chicken stock, just so as not to waste that flavor. Will it hurt the pot to do it? If not, what's the best way to do it?
I'm guessing the seasoning/juices from the chicken containing the seasoning drip down into the rice as it cooks, so as I work to decrease the sodium in the rice, and get more flavor into the chicken, I'm essentially treading water, sodium-wise.
I LOVE the simplicity of just throwing this stuff into the cooker and letting it work its magic.
Does anyone have any ideas, advice, or recipes?