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Cheap eats @ home w/ a rice cooker

By Chris Mordd Richards - 15 July 2016 17

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Recently I have been trying to cook more, and while I take a break on the Pre-made meals delivered at home series, I thought I would share with you some meals I have been trying recently designed for eating on a budget and being simple to make.

These recipes have been put together with the help of a friend, who first introduced me to cooking with a rice cooker and who eats lots of meals made this way. I have made a few of them so far, and the rest are compiled from similar meals my friend has made himself.

The exact ingredient amounts and cooking time may need some fine tuning, this is an approximate guide and will get you most of the way but a bit of common sense on cooking times and your own personal taste on ingredient quantities will help guide you making these.

All you need to cook with is a cheap Rice Cooker, available at any major department or homewares store. Above and below is a picture of two different size models I saw recently in a Big W as an example and price guide.

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All these meals are designed to be able to be cooked for roughly $4 to $7 worth of ingredients depending on the exact recipe and if you can get meat on special or not. Here are our recipe ideas:

Note: For all recipes, Simmer means the “warm” setting (as opposed to the “cook” setting).

The Aussie Breakfast – Serves 1-2

Ingredients: Rice (1 cup), mushrooms (4-6 medium), bacon (2 rashers), eggs (2-3), butter (1 tbspn).

Instructions: 1. Chop up the bacon and mushrooms finely (1/4-1/3cm size pieces approximately).
2. Add the butter, bacon and mushrooms into the rice cooker and Simmer for about 5 minutes with the lid off, stirring occasionally.
3. Add the cup of rice and the 2 cups of water, Cook for 15 minutes with the lid on until the rice is almost set.
4. Crack 2-3 eggs on top, Cook for a further 5 minutes or as preferred depending on how firm you like your eggs, with the lid on.

Steamed fish w/ a twist – Serves 1-2

Ingredients: Rice (1 cup), mushrooms (4-6 medium), onion (1 whole), fish (1 large fillet or 2 small), hoison sauce (1 tspn), soy sauce (2 tspns), butter (1 tbspn).

Instructions: 1. Chop up the bacon, mushrooms and onion (1/4-1/3cm size pieces approximately).
2. Add the butter, bacon, mushrooms and onion into the rice cooker. Simmer for about 5 minutes with the lid off, stirring occasionally.
3. Add the cup of rice and the 2 cups of water. Cook for 15 minutes with the lid on until the rice is almost set.
4. Add the fish fillets on top in the rice cooker. Mix the hoison & soy sauce in a cup.
5. Drizzle the sauce on top of fillets. Cook for 5-10 minutes with the lid on and serve.

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Mediterranean Brunch – Serves 1-2

Ingredients: Rice (1 cup), spring onion (2 shallots), cannellini beans (1 can), eggs (2-3).

Instructions: 1. Chop up the onion finely. Rinse the beans in water and strain them.
2. Put the beans into the rice cooker, add the cup of rice and the 2 cups of water.
3. Cook for 15 minutes with the lid on until the rice is almost set.
4. Add the spring onion on top, then crack 2-3 eggs on top of that.
5. Cook for a further 5 minutes or as preferred depending on how firm you like your eggs, with the lid on.

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Lemon garlic chicken – Serves 2-3

Ingredients: Rice (1 cup), lemon rind (1 tspn), onion (1 whole), mushrooms (4-6 medium), garlic (2-3 cloves), chicken (2 medium thighs or equiv.), butter (1 tbspn).

Instructions: 1. Cut up the meat into small cubes. Chop up the onion, mushrooms (1/4-1/3cm size pieces approximately) and garlic (finely). Grate the lemon rind.
2. Add the butter and the meat and Cook for 10 minutes with the lid on, stirring it at the 5 minute point.
3. Add the onion, mushrooms and garlic. Simmer for 5 minutes with the lid off.
4. Add the lemon rind and the cup of rice and the 2 cups of water. Cook for 15 minutes with the lid on and serve.

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Ginger and beef – Serves 2-3

Ingredients: Rice (1 cup), ginger (1 inch of root or 2 tspn paste), onion (1 whole), mushrooms (4-6 medium), garlic (2-3 cloves), beef steak (1 medium-large blade steak or equiv.), soy sauce (2 tspns), butter (1 tspn).

Instructions: 1. Bash the meat with your fist or a cooking hammer or rolling pin, and cut it up finely in cubes.
2. Chop up the onion, mushrooms (1/4-1/3cm size pieces approximately) and garlic (finely). Grate the ginger.
2. Add the butter, meat and soy sauce. Cook for 10 minutes with the lid on, stirring it at the 5 minute point.
3. Add the onion, mushrooms, garlic and ginger. Simmer for 5 minutes with the lid off.
4. Add the cup of rice and the 2 cups of water. Cook for 15 minutes with the lid on and serve.

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Coconut pork – Serves 2-3

Ingredients: Rice (1 cup), desiccated coconut (3/4 cup), leek (2-3 stalks), asparagus (2-3 stalks), garlic (2-3 cloves), pork (1 medium-large steak or equiv.), butter (1 tspn).

Instructions: 1. Cut up the meat into small cubes. Chop up the leek, asparagus (1/4-1/3cm size pieces approximately) and garlic (finely).
2. Add the butter and the meat and Cook for 10 minutes with the lid on, stirring it at the 5 minute point.
3. Add the leek, asparagus and garlic. Simmer for 5 minutes with the lid off.
4. Add the cup of rice and the 2 cups water and the 3/4 cup desiccated coconut.
5. Cook for 15 minutes with the lid on and serve.

Variations: Replace the garlic with some chilli for a spicy kick.

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Sweet rice pudding – Serves 1-2

Ingredients: Rice (1 cup), milk (1 cup), sugar (1 tbspn), salt (a pinch), butter (1/2 tbspn), vanilla (1/4 tspn), cinnamon (1/4 tspn) –

Instructions: Add the cup of rice and the 2 cups of water. Simmer for 15 minutes with the lid on until the rice is half cooked.
2. Add the cup of milk, the tablespoon of sugar, the pinch of salt and stir.
3. Cook for 10 minutes with the lid on until thick and creamy.
4. Put back on Simmer, stir in the 1/2 tablespoon of butter and the 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla.
5. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. Simmer for 2 minutes with the lid off and serve.

I hope you like these ideas, let me know your own variations in the comments below or if I got anything wrong. Stay tuned for Part 3 of the Pre-made home delivered meals series in about two weeks time.

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