As a working mum who is also in charge of putting dinner on the table, I have a few best friends. The slow-cooker is one of them, and absolutely essential when I need my food to be cooked slow and steady but have no time to watch over the stove. But there are days when time is of essence, ie, days when I have just 15 minutes before I need to rush to pick Shannon and there is no dinner waiting in the slow-cooker, usually because I have not planned ahead. That is when my second best friend comes into the picture to save us from having to eat out – the rice cooker!
The rice-cooker is a staple in Asian households, and is basically an electrical pot where you can easily cook rice in 20 minutes or so by pressing a button. On days when I don’t plan to cook rice, the one and only rice cooker we have at home is put to many uses. I use it to steam baos and vegetable or cook porridge and stews. There are two settings on my cooker – steam/rice and porridge/soup.
On a weekday last week, I found myself in exactly such a situation. As I opened my fridge to see what I could whip out, and with half a mind thinking maybe I shouldn’t bother and we could just eat out, I saw a bag of quartered chicken pieces, some Chinese Wongbok(lettuce?), with other assorted vegetables, I decided I would quickly whip up a simple chicken soup in the rice cooker while I dashed out to fetch Shannon. I would then boil the pasta after we got home together.
So here is my 10-minute Chicken Macaroni Soup recipe, put together with an assortment of vegetables. Quick and healthy comfort food at its best.
Quarter/half chicken, chopped into small pieces for faster cooking (A quarter chicken was enough for us as I was planning to shred the meat)
Assortment of vegetables: 1 large yellow onion, half a China Wongbok(type of lettuce?), 1 tomato, 1 carrot, 2 potatoes, three thin slices of ginger, one small tin of button mushrooms
Water or chicken broth filled to 2/3 pot full. Ensure it covers the ingredients.
Pasta (macaroni or other preferred shapes).
Salt to taste; spring onion to garnish
Chop or dice all the ingredients, place the chicken at the bottom of the rice-cooker and lay the remaining vegetables on top. Add water or broth and press “cook”!
I took just 10 minutes or so to chop the vegetables as the chicken was pre-cut. I’m thinking you can also add in an uncut quarter chicken and it would be fine. This is how it looked before I added water.
The best part was to see it bubbling happily in the stove after I returned from picking Shannon. The soup was almost three-quarter way to the top so I decided to add the macaroni in there to cook so save on washing. I think I would boil it separately in future so we would have more soup, as Shannon loves her soups. I didn’t use chicken broth nor salt as we are used to bland food. But if you prefer it more tasty, adjust the ingredients to taste. 🙂
I love to add lots of spring onion in my soup, the kids – not so much. Here’s what we had for dinner, on a night when we almost had to eat out, my friend, the rice-cooker, saved us from having to do so! 🙂 But hey, I’m thinking this would work even on a weekend when I would rather spend time doing crafts or experiments, then slogging over the stove!
What are some of your quick go-to recipes that your family loves? I would love to hear about them!
Here are some other ideas for weekday meals.
- Hearty Chicken Stew (kidsjoyhome.com)