There are a few "tricks" I have learned cooking large quantities of food day after day. One of the best "tricks" is use what you've got the best (and smartest) way possible. Like I always say, "Let the equipment help you."
For example, I use a rice cooker at my place of employment all the time. I like to make rice, portion it in resealable bags, freeze the bags and then, voila! I have rice that easily removes from the bag and can be zapped in the microwave for one minute and is ready to serve topped with stirfry or eggs or whatever. I also like to use the rice cooker to make flavored rice such as pilaf or Spanish-style rice or even an herb and lemon rice. How? Easy peasy. For Pilaf Rice, add your rice amount, add onion (usually sautéed if you have time) add a bit of butter (or olive oil) add seasoning then the required amount of broth for the rice amount and hit the setting for white or brown rice. Stir it part-way through and again, voila! Pilaf Rice! For Spanish Rice, simply substitute your favorite salsa for some of the water. Add some chopped onion if you like, some seasoning and yep, voila! Spanish Rice. For an herb and lemon rice, simply finely grate some lemon zest into the cooker, add some fresh lemon juice and your favorite herb along with seasoning. Add the rice, measure the water and hit the proper rice setting. Stir it part-way through and surprise! Voila! Herb and lemon rice! Yay you, Dear Reader!
Quinoa can also be made in a rice cooker. NEVER make the maximum amount of quinoa your cooker will allow. I only make a maximum of 8 cups quinoa and measure to 10 cups of water. Add seasoning and a bit of oil before hitting the "brown rice" setting and, you guessed it, voila! Cooked quinoa.
I hope these "tricks" help you make some slowly sensational sides. Share any "tricks" you have for your rice cooker.
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Avid home cook and passionate instructor