Saturday, December 18, 2010

George Foreman Smart Kitchen Multicooker {Review}

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to write a review for the George Foreman Evolve Grill and got a big kick out of trying a variety of fun recipes and meals in such a versatile machine. Who knew that little old me (a vegetarian who is clearly not a cook) could have such a good time with one of the biggest names in grilling?

That George though, he knows what he's doing. After all of the success with his many grills, he knows what it takes to help make meals faster, easier and healthier for the whole family. Therefore, it didn't surprise me to hear that he had come out with a new appliance that would allow me to cook an entire meal, as well as serve it, in a few simple steps.

But that's what he did. Introducing the George Foreman Smart Kitchen Multicooker.

Having read up on the fact that the Smart Kitchen is a multicooker that can prepare rice, steam vegetables, sear and cook meat, make stews, warm sauces and more, I was already wondering if I could complete the circle by sending it to the grocery store to pick up the ingredients we would need for dinner. No? Okay, then at least let's see how convenient it would be for me to be able to do some one-pot cooking.

Right out of the box it was clear that this was a gadget that meant business. The extra-large 30-cup capacity was compactly hidden in the 9" x 13" x 10" high quality, modern-looking pieces and it seemed to have everything you would need to complete your meal.

As I admired the George Tough nonstick coating (oil-free cooking and easy cleaning!), the tempered glass lid with adjustable steam vent, the removable stainless steel steaming basket and the one-touch digital Intelli-Probe control system... I turned excitedly to the included manual to find out just what this Multicooker could do.

Unfortunately, I found... not all that much. Other than a labeled diagram showing all the parts and oh-so-helpful tips such as "Press the ON/OFF button; the word ON will appear in the display," there wasn't a recipe or much of any sort of guide at all. What do I do first? Where does each ingredient go? And when? And for how long?

Clearly I'm someone who likes written directions to follow.

Pulling together some of my family's favorite ingredients, I figured I'd just give things a shot and hope that they turned out edible. Following the limited information that the manual included, I began by using the provided measuring cup to fill the pan with rice. Including the amount of water indicated by the markings indicated right inside, I closed it up and turned the Smart Kitchen on.

It felt a little odd to just trust that the Smart Kitchen would know to turn off when the rice was done, but I chose the setting for white rice and moved on to chopping my vegetables.

Finding that the steaming basket was the perfect size, I filled it up and set it right inside the top.
Shortly thereafter, the rice was done. As the Smart Kitchen automatically switched into the warming mode, I left it for the suggested 15 minutes and then checked to see how everything was doing.

The rice looked great - light, fluffy and ready to eat! However, as I hadn't put the vegetables in to steam until partway into the rice's cooking cycle, they needed a little longer. Removing the rice from the pan, I added a few cups of water and used the simple Intelli-Probe control to steam them a little more.

During this time I realized that I hadn't cooked the tofu that was going to be included (I had been planning on trying out the exclusive 500°F Sear feature) and wondered when that was supposed to have gone in. Before the rice? And then take it out and have it get cold while the rice cooked? Again, where were my step-by-step instructions?

Deciding to give it a quick sauté in a separate pan, it took the same amount of time as the vegetables did to steam a little more. Mixing everything up together, dinner was served:
Even though I didn't quite follow the steps correctly to make my entire meal all in one pan, the results were delicious! Each ingredient was cooked just enough and it all went together just right. Even better, the nonstick coating made cleaning the pan easy and all the rest of the accessories went right into the dishwasher - bonus!

For my first try, the George Foreman Smart Kitchen Multicooker did end up with a tasty meal that my whole family enjoyed. However, clearly my main criticism is that with no recipes or instructions, I didn't end up with an overly-faster way of cooking than I previously was doing. Hopefully as I try out a variety of other dishes, I'll continue to discover the ways that this appliance can make things quick and convenient.

With all of the possibilities that the George Foreman Smart Kitchen Multicooker possesses, from fish to vegetables to stews to rice, this would be a handy appliance for anyone who loves to find new and tasty ways to cook. Regularly retailing right on the George Foreman website for $79.99, the Smart Kitchen is on sale now for $39.99, a great savings!

This post was written for Family Review Network & George Foreman Healthy Cooking who provided the complimentary product for review in exchange for my honest opinions.


Jackie said...

Hi! Coming over via the hop to follow! Hopeing you will swing by Mommy In The Baking to follow back! Nice meeting you.

Anonymous said...

Looks like a great machine. I'm a little shocked there were no instructions with it. Me, a great cook, even needs instructions on handy dandy small kitchen appliances. Your dinner looks delish!

Sippy Cup Mom said...

so need this! I have been eating so many veggies lately! :-p

David Coggins said...

I would sure love to win one of those great prizes

Aleksandra Nearing said...

I really like this cooker. It made perfect brown rice for me - fliffier than I've ever made in a pot. Your meal looks tasty!

tljones said...

My son purchased me one for Christmas and if it were not for him buying it, I would return it. There are no instructions or recipes and when you call the phone number listed, the lady told me it is ONLY made to cook rice. Huh? I asked her why they had a SEAR feature to sear meat and she said she would send my suggestions for a cookbook to another department. I think it would be nice if there were instructions on how to use it, but I would not recommend buying one. I don't have time to figure out what works and what doesn't.

Melissa M said...

This is great idea. I going to have to get one

Anonymous said...

Just found the manual (which includes cooking instructions and a few recipes) on the George Foreman Site:

Download PDF Manual (Very Helpful!)

Xenia said...

Thanks, Anonymous!

That manual is definitely a new addition, so I'm glad to see that they've taken notice that quite a few people have had questions about how to use this handy appliance.

Nice that there are a few recipes as well... now I just need them to add some meatless ones that I can try! :)