Sunday, April 28, 2013

Rice Cooker Mac'n Cheese

Like most kids, mine love macaroni and cheese and I usually try to appease them by making a baked version of macaroni and cheese with some broccoli and a crunchy crust (with bread crumbs and parmesan cheese, which I also have to post some time). But, then I saw this video from a website (weelicious) of this cute mom and son duo who cook up this ridiculously easy version of mac'n cheese using a rice cooker that I absolutely had to try. I don't have a fancy rice cooker, infact mine is so very basic that it doesn't even have a 'keep warm' button - (seriously)...  yet, I was able to make a decent mac'n cheese with minimal effort after making just a few tweaks..  My kids gave it a double thumbs up (make that 4 since i have 2 kids) and I particularly liked the texture of the pasta - it is cooked to perfection. This has now become my favorite way of making this.... You could also add some  par-boiled broccoli /carrots or other veggies if you prefer to the pasta for variations.

RICE COOKER MACARONI AND CHEESE




Ingredients:
Elbow Pasta (dried) - 2 cups
Water / Vegetable Stock - 1.5 cups (I have only tried with water so far but if you have veg stock go ahead and try).
Salt - 1 tsp (Reduce if using vegetable stock)
Milk (whole) - 1 cup
Cheese - 1.5 cups, shredded (I used a mix of cheddar and colby jack primarily and just a touch of mozzarella)
Butter/Ghee - little, melted


Method:
1) I found that it is helpful to butter the bottom of the dish you place in the rice cooker lightly to reduce sticking/burning.

2)Add pasta, water (or stock) with salt into the rice cooker bowl and switch it on. Allow to cook for 15 minutes.
3) Stir and add the milk at this point and allow to cook for another 10 -15 minutes (mine switches off when the cooking liquid evaporates).  Ensure the cooker is not too full to prevent the milk from boiling over in this step.
4) Open the lid and stir in the cheese. Cover and let sit for about 5 minutes (no need to switch it on again).
Yummy pasta is now ready to serve. If adding par-boiled veggies, add them while adding in the milk.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I can't believe that it's been more than a month since I posted last... this year really seems to be running by at top speed. The work meeting that kept me away from the kids for a week (that I had referred to in my previous post), went on quite well and the family managed just fine by themselves. We have had a rather extended winter this year and even had some snow during the last week of March. It was the wet kind of snow and so, it clung beautifully to the bare branches and was such a pretty sight to look at.... Here is a picture that shows how lovely it was.


This post has been long overdue. I first made these very tasty oatmeal cookies to gift a few families during the Christmas holidays and since then have made several batches of these. They are easy to whip up and the whole family loved them. You can also freeze the dough and bake as and when  needed. I got this awesome recipe from the smitten kitchen blog.

OATMEAL RAISIN COOKIES (makes about 2 dozen)


Ingredients:

Butter - 1 stick / 1/2 cup (115 gms), softened
Light brown sugar - 2/3 cup, packed
Egg - 1 large
Vanilla extract - 1/2 tsp
All purpose flour - 3/4 cup

Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon - 1/4 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Rolled Oats - 1.5 cups
Raisins - 3/4 cup
Walnuts - 1/2 cup, chopped (optional)


Method:
 1) In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Then add egg and vanilla and beat till smooth.
2) In a separate bowl, whisk together, the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
3) Stir this flour mixture into the butter-sugar mixture. 
4) Stir in the rolled oats, raisins and chopped walnuts.
5) Chill the dough in the fridge for about 30 minutes or so. You can also freeze the dough at this stage, to thaw and bake later.
6) Preheat oven to 350F, when ready to bake.
7) Drop tablespoon of cookie dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil (no need to grease). Place cookies about 2 inches apart.
8) Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden at the edges. Remove and let them sit on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to cool. You get deliciously chewy cookies.