Slow-cook your favorite holiday meals with T-fal’s Balanced Living Multi-Cooker
Though Valley dwellers never really experience a true ‘winter’, the short respite from the scorching, summer heat still has many of us craving a hearty bowl of soup and other wintery comfort foods. With cooler temperatures ahead and food-centered holidays just around the corner, my Pinterest feed has been filled with recipes for one-pot meals, slow-cooker time savers, winter soups and beefy stews. If you’re anything like me, you’ve already whipped up some of these ‘cooler month’ recipes.
A must-have kitchen appliance for cooking up all those holiday flavors is a good-quality slow-cooker. In September, T-fal released a new line of products – the Balanced Living line (you may remember my mention of their newest Juicer) – with cost-friendly appliances for creating homemade edibles and drinkables in effort to stray away from processed foods wherever possible. One of the new standout products is their Balanced Living Rice & Multi Cooker, retailing for $59.99.
I had the chance to test one for myself and can say that it completely trumped my previous slow cooker. The appliance is a 3-in-1, meaning it can cook rice (in large and small quantities), steam foods and veggies with its steam basket insert, and slow cook your favorite meals.
I’d say the multi-cooker is slightly larger than your average round slow cooker, but you won’t mind it taking up counter space as its black-and-chrome design matches any décor. It even has a handle so if you prefer to store yours away in your pantry closet, it’s easy to grab when you need it.
Inside the multi-cooker is a removable 5-layer non-stick pot (so easy to pop in the dishwasher), the steam basket, a spoon and measuring cup. The machine has a micro-pressure valve to lock in flavors and prevent overflow. And, one of my favorite things about the cooker is that the lid locks into place when you close it… so my soups can’t bubble over or create a mess all over your kitchen counter. Extra moisture escapes from the top, but the lid stays tightly locked and into place.
The front of the machine displays the ‘control panel’, if you will. Sliding the switch to one side will cook rice and steam your veggies, sliding to the other direction slow cooks. There’s even a ‘keep warm’ setting which I found incredibly convenient when other components of my meal hadn’t quite finished cooking or I needed to buy some time before setting the table. For its slow-cooking capabilities, perhaps the only downside to this cooker is that there is only one temperature setting — low. However, I tested it with a few meals and all of them took less time than in my previous slow-cooker with its high setting.
Cooking rice couldn’t be simpler. Just follow the servings guide for an appropriate rice to water ratio and dump it in (rice first), then slide the switch to the RICE/STEAM mode and let it do its thing. The rice cooker determines the exact cooking time based on how much rice and water is added, so you won’t even have to remember to shut it off… the cooker will automatically switch over to KEEP WARM mode when its complete and all of the water has been absorbed by the rice. Steaming veggies or fish is just as simple.
Clean-up was a breeze since all removable parts can be tossed in the dishwasher and the 5-layer pot is non-stick.
Learn more about the Rice & Multi-Cooker at t-falusa.com and find a local retailer near you. Add one to your wishlist if you don’t own a slow cooker… and it never hurts to have an extra on hand, especially during the holidays for making all those side dishes!
By Amy Martin, PhoenixBites Editor in Chief
Disclaimer: A complimentary test unit was provided to PhoenixBites for review purposes. However, this has no effect on our comments regarding our experience. View our Disclosure Policy for more info.