Recently inspired to eat healthier, I made a decision to renounce sautéing, frying, and breading. Giving up unhealthy cooking techniques meant that I needed to try a new strategy. Baking food isn’t that unhealthy, but the taste of baked food can get repetitive, and it usually requires oil, which I was trying to avoid.
Cooking With the Bella Housewares Food Steamer
After speaking with the owner of Park Avenue Nutrition, Lisa C. Cohn, MMSc, RD, I realized that steaming food can offer health benefits. I decided to try out the Bella Housewares Food Steamer and to experiment with a new recipe.
The steamer has two tiers, so there’s plenty of room to cook a whole meal, although you can use only one tier as needed. Instructions for how to steam food are clearly explained on the side. Assembling the item was easy. I also had an easy time cleaning the product with a sponge in hot, soapy water. All of the parts dried quickly so I was ready to use the product for dinner without waiting long.
Another part is the rice cooker bowl. While rice doesn’t fit well with a low carb diet, small quantities of rice are fine if the goal is to stick to a low calorie diet. Because white rice and brown rice can get bland, I picked up a yellow saffron rice. My kids love saffron rice because it already has flavor. I’ve also realized that eating food that has more flavor can make it more satisfying, so it’s not so tempting to get a second helping. After putting the rice in the rice cooker bowl, I added an equal amount of water to the bowl.
On the bottom tier, I added fresh asparagus. To give the asparagus flavor, I added salt and pepper before I began steaming it. Putting the asparagus in the middle of the steam basket allowed the steam to enter through the holes. In the past, I would usually sauté or bake asparagus, which gave it a crispy texture, but used a lot of oil. The steamer offered a healthy alternative.
I put the rice in the top tier to keep water from dripping down into the rice bowl. With the asparagus in the bottom tier, I was ready to switch the timer on and wait for the food to become ready to eat.
After putting the asparagus and the rice in the steamer, the product began to fill up with steam within seconds. Steaming was simple and required little work. I put the timer to 15 minutes to prepare the asparagus first.
When the asparagus was ready, I took it out and put it on a plate. The texture was soft and evenly cooked. With sautéing, it can be hard to know whether the asparagus has cooked well enough. Sometimes with sautéing, the asparagus ends up hard and stringy. Because the asparagus was steamed, it had a texture that was just right. To give the food more flavor, I added another shake of salt and pepper.
After taking the asparagus out, I put the timer back on for the rice. The instruction manual gave clear instructions for how long to cook different types of white and brown rice. Saffron yellow rice is a seasoned white Basmati rice. I ended up cooking it for a total of 40 minutes. When the rice was finished cooking, it was soft and fluffy. Sometimes with simmering rice on the stovetop, the texture ends up being mushy, while the rice can stick to the bottom of the pan. Because I steamed the rice, it was much easier to cook it as well as to clean it up.
At the same time that I was steaming the rice and asparagus, I was making a crock pot chicken that cooked with diced onions, some honey, paprika, salt, pepper and garlic. One of the benefits of crock pot cooking was that I didn’t need to sauté the chicken in oil or bread the chicken. Plus, a lot of the liquid that I added to the crock pot wasn’t added to the final dish, so plating the chicken reduced the amount of calories. To my kids, the chicken had a refreshing sweet flavor that tasted delicious with the savory rice and asparagus.
I received a free item to inform my writing. This in no way affected my opinion.