Black rice has recently become the new trend in rice, making its way around the food blogs (like in this recipe from Ambitious Kitchen) and nutrition sites. I’ve learned that black rice is extremely versatile; you can use it in both sweet and savory dishes, which means a big batch of it has a lot of uses.
Black rice is also reported to have numerous health benefits (thanks to PositiveHealthandWellness.com for this great nutrition infographic), so I had to try it out for myself and share it with you all.
You can cook black rice on the stovetop (this video will show you how), but after years of getting inconsistent results on the stovetop, I purchased a rice cooker, and it is by-far the best way to cook any type of rice.
Ready to try your hand at making black rice? Follow my easy, step-by tutorial on how to cook black rice in a rice cooker and you’ll get tasty results every time.
A note about rice cookers:
Rice cookers come in various sizes, or capacities. A 3-cup rice cooker is designed to properly cook small batches of rice, while a 10-cup rice cooker will cook large batches of rice perfectly (all very logical). If you have a large capacity rice cooker, you’ll want to double or triple this recipe, since your rice cooker isn’t designed to cook such a small amount of rice.
Place 1 cup of black rice (I like this one) into a fine mesh strainer or colander with small holes.
Place the strainer (with rice in it) under cold running water. Stir the rice up with your fingers a little, to ensure that all of the rice gets rinsed. You will see purplish/black water coming off of the rice; continue to rinse the rice until the water has less color or is clear.
Turn the water off and shake the strainer to remove excess water. You can also stir the rice up with your fingers a little to let any extra water out.
Don’t skip this step. Black rice is very starchy, so you must remove some of the starch before putting it in the rice cooker. Otherwise, you’ll end up with very gummy rice.
If you don’t have a fine mesh strainer, put your colander over a large bowl while rinsing your rice. That way, any rice that slips through the holes of your colander won’t go down the drain.
Need to purchase a mesh strainer? Get this three-piece set from LiveFresh for less than $.
Take the strainer over to your rice cooker and simply dump the rice from the strainer right into the cooking pot of your rice cooker. If you see a lot of extra water from the rinsing step, try to soak it up with a paper towel. A little extra water is okay, but you want to avoid too much excess starchy water.
I keep the cooking pot of my rice cooker inserted into the exterior pot while I do this. There’s no need to remove the inner pot during prep.
Measure out your water and pour it into the rice cooker, right over the rice.
If you are working off of a different recipe that is for cooking a large amount of black rice, be sure to add about ¼ cup of extra water to the rice cooker. Black rice still has its hull (as opposed to white rice), so it requires more water to cook it to the right texture.
If you’re planning to make a savory dish with your cooked black rice, now is the time to add salt and pepper. There is no right or wrong amount to add; season to taste as you would white, brown, or wild rice.
Put the lid on your rice cooker, plug it in, and set the time for 30 minutes. Alternately, if your rice cooker has a Brown Rice setting, you can use that, since both brown rice and black rice have intact hulls and require similar cooking times.
If you’re new to rice cookers, watch this quick video from WebstaurantStoreto learn about rice cooker measurements, settings and, and best practices.
I like to let the rice sit in the rice cooker, covered, for 5-10 minutes after it has finished cooking. This is pretty standard for cooking rice on the stovetop, too. It allows the rice to absorb the extra moisture that has built up inside of the cooking pot.
Rice cookers are great about adjusting the temperature so that your rice doesn’t overcook, so don’t worry about this extra 5-10 minutes making your rice mushy.
After the rice has sat for a bit, remove the lid from the rice cooker, let the steam escape, and stir the rice. Now you are ready to serve your rice! Here’s a beautiful photo of some fully cooked black rice, courtesy of The350DegreeOven.com.
I love that black rice is both tasty (it has a nutty taste) as well as a powerhouse of nutrition. At first, I was worried that it would be harder to cook than standard white or brown rice, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how easy it is.I’ll definitely be cooking more of it.
I hope that you have found this tutorial helpful. Give it a try, and have fun experimenting with new flavors and dishes that go well with black rice, like this Thai Black Sticky Rice Dessert from TheWoksOfLife.com.
If you have questions or want to add your tips for how to cook black rice in a rice cooker, leave me a comment. You can also recommend your favorite black rice or rice cooker.
There is a preconceived notion many cooks have regarding spaghetti sauce made using a can or jar. A lot of cooks will find it acceptable, but they believe it will undoubtedly be inferior to a sauce made using homemade tomato sauce as the base. Many cooks, especially traditionalists, find the notion appalling, and they will refer to the idea as blasphemy.
I have to agree with them when it comes down to sauces in jars or cans already stacked with flavors like "Prego: Roasted Garlic and Onion", which is just an example because there are a myriad of concoctions being pushed in the grocery aisles. I believe it is possible to make a better spaghetti sauce using a canned or jarred product instead of spending several hours making the tomato mother sauce as a base.
In this blog you will learn how to make spaghetti with jarred pasta sauce or canned sauce. I will explain how to infuse it with flavor and explain cook time to produce a fantastic pasta sauce using a quick, unorthodox and cheap recipe.
Anywhere between a third and half of a package of bacon depending on how much you like bacon.
For many, this will be the first time you make a sauce like this, so it is important to do what the French call "Mise en Place". Mise en Place basically means you want to put everything in place.
This will apply mostly to anything you need to use your knife on, and it will only be for the main recipe. Mise en Place and the videos will prevent any anxiety during the cooking process. I will hyperlink any important demonstrations of processes to cut down on confusion.
Bacon is the main flavor enhancer of the sauce, and it is technically what is known in the culinary world as the main ingredient of the entire dish. It is extremely easy to dice bacon while it is still mostly frozen with a sharp sturdy knife.
Thawed bacon would take forever, and it is a safety risk to try and do a medium dice on thawed bacon. In fact, it is a great way to get cut badly.
The onion requires a medium dice, and here is a clip on how to safely medium dice an onion.
Everything is now fully prepped to begin the sauce. In the next 20 or 30 minutes, you will have your first bowl of bacon-infused spaghetti sauce, and your friends will tell everyone you made them the best bowl of spaghetti ever.
Place all of the bacon you diced from your Mise en Place in the bottom of a metal sauce pan, and make sure it is spread evenly. Next, turn the burner under the sauce pan on medium. You are doing what is called rendering fat.
Fill a large stock pot up with hot tap water. You want enough water in the pot to allow the pasta to flow around freely. It will help prevent noodles from sticking to each other, the side and the bottom. A liberal dose of salt should be added as soon as the pot is put on the burner, and turn the burner on high.
The salt is essential for the flavor of your noodles. There is no reason to add oil to the water because it does nothing. Finally, remember to stir several times in the beginning to release the starch and periodically throughout the cooking process. When the pasta is done cooking, your spaghetti should be finished.
Before the canned sauce is added, there is a lot of work to be done in your sauce pan. It will be fast though. Turn the burner up three quarters of the way. Using a wooden spatula or spoon, start moving your bacon around, so it heats evenly and cooks faster.
You should notice quite a bit of bacon grease. It is from the fat rendering out of the bacon. Do not panic. This is the fat you are going to use to sauté your onions in and any other of the elective ingredients like mushrooms.
Once the bacon looks like it is going to start getting crispy, add all of the prepared diced onions. Stir them around in the pot well, so they get coated in the bacon fat. Let them cook for a little while until they start to become translucent. White onions are sweeter, but they taste even better when cooked translucent and coated in bacon. At this point, the smell should be causing your mouth to water.
First, increase the heat quite a bit to burn off some of the excess fat. Some dark spots will naturally form on the bottom of the pan, but there is nothing to worry about. Toss all the garlic you requisitioned during your prep, do the same with the herbs and stir. Stir fast and fold everything in.
Before adding the red wine to the increasingly hot mixture, turn the burner on absolute high. There is no magic, precise measurement for this step either. Add a little around the edge and pour it on places where food is becoming stuck, and in the end, there should be a very shallow coating on the bottom. Keep the burner on high because the red wine will burn off and keep stirring the bottom hard and fast. Now, it's time to finish up.
Add the cans of sauce, and incorporate the bland tomato sauce with the natural flavor enhancers you have prepared and cooked for the last 45 minutes. Turn the burner down to medium, add salt and pepper to taste.
Remember the foundation of the entire dish is bacon, which is salty.
Finally, add any of the Italian herbs to taste. Once you are satisfied, turn the burner down to low heat and cover it. Drain your pasta, and rinse it with cold water. Add the spaghetti noodles to whatever you are going to serve them out of, and toss the noodles while lightly drizzling extra virgin olive oil. Your meal is completed, and you can assemble it for serving however you want.
I really hope you enjoyed the article and the spaghetti. This has always been a favorite sauce of mine. It is not a complicated sauce, but my first Italian chef mentor showed me this as an alternative for red pasta sauces.
Despite knowing hundreds of dishes, this spaghetti was the first thing I ever cooked for my wife (she like Spaghetti and Hot dogs), and I think it might be why she loves me. I am interested in what you, the reader, thinks though.
Leave comments below, and let us know your thoughts on the dish. Did you love it, hate it or have any trouble spots during preparation? If you did enjoy it, then share the link with someone else.
How to Make Slow Cooker Hot Dogs (with Tasty Results)I’ve recently become a big fan of using my slow cooker, and it’s not even chili season! I’ve discovered that I have a lot more time to spend with my family during the weekdays when the slow cooker is doing the active work of cooking dinner. Prep time is about the same, but boy, do I gain a lot of extra time when I’m not slaving over the stove.
On hot days, I would always choose the grill over the stove or oven, to keep from heating up the kitchen. Lately though, I’ve been using my slow cooker and I’m able to stay even cooler! This is when I discovered that I can make hot dogs–a backyard party staple–without ever having to start the grill.
Never heard of slow cooker hot dogs? I hadn’t either, but a quick Pinterest search taught me that I’m not the first to discover this awesome cooking method. It has saved me so much time that I just had to share it with you.
You can use this cooking metho no matter what size slow cooker you have on hand. When trying to determine how many hot dogs you can fit into your slow cooker, remember that a 6-quart cooker can fit up to 60 dogs. By that math, a 3-quart slow cooker can accommodate 30 hot dogs.
If you are in the market to purchase a new slow cooker, I recommend selecting a large model, even if you don’t have a large family. You can cook bigger meals to have leftovers for the next few days, or easily cook for a group of friends.
I’m a big fan of this colorful, 7-quart Black + Decker cooker, which has a simple dial (or knob) for controlling the settings. If you want less flash and more features, this Frigidaire Professional Stainless 7-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker is a good choice.
Pay close attention to this first step if you’re trying to get the maximum amount of hot dogs into your slow cooker! Although this cooking method is super easy, I’m not telling you to just throw the hot dogs into the slow cooker. You need to arrange them.
Remove the hot dogs from their packaging and place them in the slow cooker vertically. As in, standing on their ends. Place one or two hot dogs on their end, pressed right up to the side of the slow cooker. Hold the hot dogs in place while you grab a few more with your other hand.
Continue to stand a few hot dogs at a time while holding them in place with one hand. This arrangement will allow you to pack your slow cooker full of hot dogs. They should look like this image from 365ishpins.com.
Here’s another image from AYearOfSlowCooking.com; just look at how many hot dogs she can neatly fit into her cooker! (Side note: I’m totally buying her cookbook, 365 Slow cooker Suppers).
If you’re not filling your slow cooker to the brim with hot dogs, you can simply lay the hot dogs down like the folks over at RecipesThatCrock.com.
Pro Tip: If you’re cooking hot dogs for a kids’ party (or even for your own children), you can chop the hot dogs up into bite-size pieces before putting them in the slow cooker. Thanks to DamnDelicious.net for the photo that inspired this idea.
Since you’re not adding any water to your slow cooker and dogs, you need to put the cover on your cooker securely, and leave it on. This Slow Cooker Tips for Dummies video says it takes up to 20 minutes to recover the heat lost every time you take the cover off your slow cooker.
As the slow cooker heats up and the hot dogs begin to cook, the dogs will release juices (just like they do on the grill). This moisture will condensate on the inside of the slow cooker cover, and drip down on the dogs, creating a steam effect. The result is juicy hot dogs, so keep the lid on your slow cooker until it’s time to eat.
You can start your slow cooker hot dogs anywhere from 2 to 6 hours ahead of when you plan to eat. You will adjust the temperature based on the amount of time you have.
If you have 4 to 6 hours before you plan to eat, set your slow cooker to Low heat mode and set a timer for 4 hours. When your timer goes off, set your slow cooker to Warm mode, to keep the hot dogs warm while everyone has time to eat.
If you have only a couple of hours before you plan to eat, set your slow cooker to High heat mode and set a timer for two hours. After the two hours, set the slow cooker to Warm mode.
The key to this step is to “set it and forget it”. Walk away. Go to the store. Help your kids with their homework. This cooking method is all about letting the slow cooker do the work while you have time to do something else.
Pro Tip: If you’re having a bunch of people over, or are making slow cooker hot dogs at an event, put the slow cooker in a convenient, out-of-the-way spot. Four to six hours is a long time to have kids or partygoers steer clear of the hot slow cooker.
Slow cookers are made to cook large batches of food all the way through, but you should always check the temperature of your food before serving it to others. Pull out a few hot dogs from the center of the slow cooker and see if they are hot enough to serve.
If any hot dogs are not hot enough, rotate them with a few hot dogs that are on the edges of the slow cooker. Placing hot dogs against the side surface of the slow cooker, like this (thanks to Spaghettiandgravy.blogspot.com for the photo), will allow them to get more heat, even if the slow cooker is in Warm mode.
You can keep your hot dogs in the slow cooker and serve right out of it. Keep the slow cooker on Warm mode and cover it after everyone has been served. This keeps the dogs warm during the meal (for anyone who wants seconds or thirds), or for anyone who arrives late.
Pro Tip: You can store leftovers right in your slow cooker’s ceramic pot. Allow the slow cooker to cool down, cover and remove the ceramic pot, and put the entire thing in the refrigerator.
(Credit for photo of hot dogs in buns goes to Jeff Kaufman and Connecticumag.com)
This hands-off approach to making hot dogs is so simple, and can save you so much time doing it. There is practically no prep (unless you cut the hot dogs into smaller pieces), and you can even crank up the heat if your guests will be arriving soon.
If you make slow cooker hot dogs, leave a comment about how they turned out (and how impressed your friends and family were). And let me know what you think about that cool Black + Decker slow cooker; do you think that it’s too “flashy” for your kitchen?
My mom loves to host a gathering. She’s more than happy to cook a huge meal at every major holiday, even if there’s only a small group of us on-hand. My mom has a lot of tips and tricks up her sleeve for how to have many different dishes ready at the same time.
As for me, I’ve never quite had my mom’s knack for timing when it comes to feeding a crowd. I’ve even screwed up a casual backyard cookout before! That’s why I’m thrilled to share this new trick today.
I just learned that you can cook hot dogs in a crock pot. For me, this is a big deal. You might be wondering why I’d opt for cooking hot dogs in a crock pot over grilling them like a normal person. Let me count the ways:
Have I sold you on this yet? Are you ready to learn how to make the easiest hot dogs ever? Great! Just follow this simple step-by-step tutorial.
That’s it! Of course, you need hot dog buns and condiments if you’re planning to serve them traditional-style. You could also serve the hot dogs with macaroni and cheese (for a child’s birthday party) or as chili cheese dogs.
You do not need water or any type of seasoning for this “recipe”, although Adrian Bustamante from the YouTube channel CookingGuide says putting the dogs in some water can keep them from burning.
My experience has been that the hot dogs release some of their own juices as they cook in the crock pot. This happens when you grill them or pan fry them, too, so I choose to skip the water.
You can use just about any crock pot for this recipe. I have two older model crock pots that each have just one knob to set the temperature. I also have this model (thanks to Heavy.com for the great picture) which has push buttons and a digital screen and a timer (which I recommend using in my step-by-step instructions, below).
The newest models made by Crock Pot have digital touch screens and a lot of different features and functions, like this 5-in-1 Multi-Cooker. All that said, we’re really just heating hot dogs, so you don’t need the fanciest model crock pot. Use what you’ve got, and adjust the amount of hot dogs for the size of the pot.
Remove the hot dogs from their packaging and place them in the ceramic dish of the crock pot. How you arrange the hot dogs depends on how many dogs you are cooking.
If you are using a large crock pot (like a 6-quart pot) and only have 20-30 hot dogs, you can just toss them into the pot. The folks over at RecipesThatCrock.com used this method; they simply piled the hot dogs up in the crockpot.
If you’re trying to cook 60 hot dogs at once in a large crock pot, I recommend doing what Stephanie O’Dea from AYearOfSlowCooking.com did, which is to stand the hot dogs up on their ends and pack them in tightly. This method takes a few more minutes, but it’s the only way you’ll be able to fit all the hot dogs into the crock pot.
Pro Tip: You can also cook the mini hot dogs (also known as “cocktail wieners” or “little smokies”) using this same method. You can probably fit three to four packages of those little guys into a 6-quart crock pot, but I wouldn’t recommend trying to stand them on their ends!
A lot of recipes for mini hot dogs call for making a sauce, like this one for Honey Garlic Crockpot Little Smokes from FamilyFreshMeals.com, which sounds delicious!
If you’re new to crock pot cooking, you should know that keeping the cover on the pot–and not lifting it too often–helps to keep all the heat and cooking magic in the pot. If you’re wondering if the crock pot is heating up, you can gently touch the sides to check the temperature.
Need to learn more about using your crock pot? This video provides a great introduction.
One of the great things about this cooking method for hot dogs is that you can speed it up if you’re short on time, or plan way ahead on the morning of your party.
If you’re short on time, set your crock pot to the High setting and cook for two hours. If your crock pot has features like a timer and warmer, you should set the timer for two hours, and then have the crock pot switch to Warm setting.
If you have plenty of time before you need the hot dogs to be ready, set your crockpot on Low for four hours. (Follow the same timer/warming steps above).
Pro Tip: If you’re in the market for a new Crock Pot (you can never have enough; I have four), check out this Wifi-enabled model that lets you change heat and timer settings using an app on your phone!
Crock pots are great because they conduct and hold a lot of heat. The hot dogs in the middle of the pot should be hot enough by the end of two or four hours, but always check them before serving.
Even if the hot dogs in the center of the pot aren’t piping hot, hot dogs are packaged fully cooked, so they should be safe to eat.
I like to serve the hot dogs right out of the crock pot. That way they stay warm and I don’t have to fish them all out of the pot after spending time to get them all in there!
I also like to keep the crock pot on Warm mode for the rest of the party or cookout. This keeps them ready for friends who arrive late, or anyone who wants to snack hours after we’ve eaten the main meal.
I really can’t believe that it never occurred to me to cook hot dogs in a crock pot before. There have been so many times when I’ve had a house full of people, only to be sweating bullets over my jam-packed outdoor grill, trying to keep everything from burning.
Now I just need to figure out how to make 30 hamburgers in the crock pot!
Don’t forget to check out that new Wifi Crock Pot. Technology may be taking over our lives, but if I’m going to arrive home two hours later than planned, I’d love to have the option to check on dinner from my phone.
Are you as excited as I am about this new trick to cooking for a crowd? Leave a comment or share your crock pot tricks!
Are you in the market for new cookware or bakeware and are trying to decide which one is best for you? Besides choosing between the many brands, price points, and metal options, another question you need to consider is whether to choose stainless steel or non-stick.
Stainless steel vs. non-stick is a tricky question because there are a number of different factors to consider, including what type of cooking you do, durability of the product, and the safety of chemically treated cookware. (cooper cookware is non-stick)
The main chemical in the Teflon coating on non-stick cookware has a high melting point, so many people consider it safe to use for most cooking. Unfortunately, it begins to break down and release particles when heated to temperatures above 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Studies have shown that when Teflon is heated to 680 degrees or more, six toxic gases are released, two of which are carcinogens. If inhaled in large amounts, these gases can be harmful to humans. If inhaled by birds (as in, your pet, if you have one), the fumes can be deadly.
Good Housekeeping did a test to determine how easy it would be to overheat a non-stick pan on a typical household burner. The testers were surprised to find how quickly both lightweight and medium weight non-stick pans could reach temperatures upwards of 500 degrees.
Cooking with Teflon-coated pans doesn’t mean that you’re at an automatic health risk. It does mean that you need to be extra careful when heating non-stick pans. Even the latest ceramic non-stick coating technology does not allow for maximum heat when cooking.
Nobody wants to struggle with their pots and pans in the kitchen. We want to be able to cook with ease and have cleanup be simple. Before buying the prettiest set of cookware or bakeware (or the one with that is on sale today) ask yourself these questions:
If you still have more questions about stainless steel vs. non-stick, feel free to leave a comment below and we’ll do our best to answer it for you.