I got a rice cooker about a year ago.  We had talked about rice cookers in one of my food classes and it sounded like a fool proof way to cook rice.  Every time I have used it to cook rice, the rice has come out perfect every time.  When I brought my rice cooker home and started looking through the box, I found that you can you can cook a lot more than just rice in a rice cooker.  You can boil eggs, cook pasta, quinoa, barley, lentils, and even make soup!  The one I got came with a steam basket where you can steam veggies, chicken, and fish.

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This rice cooker holds about 8 cups and the steam time can be selected.  You can also select between a brown rice option and a white rice option.  One feature that I really like is that whenever your food has finished cooking, the cooker automatically stops cooking and switches over to “keep warm.”  This ensures that your food doesn’t get cold if you are not there to immediately take the food out.

I use my rice cooker all the time to steam chicken and veggies, and cook soup.  I love the fact that you can cook an entire meal in it.  To make it even better, the clean up is incredibly easy!

This last weekend was kinda chilly and rainy.  Perfect weather for soup, so I decided to make some chicken and barley soup.

Chicken and Barley Soup

Yields 2 ample servings 

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3 cups of chicken broth

1/2 cup uncooked barley

1 chicken breast

1 1/3 cups of frozen mixed veggies (you can also use fresh veggies, but this will take longer to cook)

1/2 Tbs of Mrs. Dash

1/4 tsp of salt

A dash of pepper


1.)  Pour the chicken broth into the rice cooker bowl (I heat my chicken broth up in the microwave first so that the cooker heats up faster) and add the barley to the chicken broth.  Place steam basket into rice cooker.  Cut chicken into 1 inch cubes and cook chicken breast along with the barley in the rice cooker for about 15 minutes.

2.)  When the timer has about 5-6 minutes left, place frozen veggies in a bowl and heat in microwave for about 6 minutes.

3.)  Once the rice cooker timer goes off, take out the steam basket.  Remove the chicken from the steam basket and add the chicken, as well as the veggies, to the broth.

4.)  Add the Mrs. Dash, salt, and pepper to the broth mixture and set the steam timer to 15 minutes.

5.)  When the timer goes off, stir and serve!!

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