Warning: this may be disturbing to real cooks. Or not. I really have no idea.
My aunt, blessed be her name, gave me a rice cooker for Christmas. It has a no-stick pot so it’s super easy to wash. You don’t have to pay attention to it while you’re cooking something. It rocks. I made rice and put some beans in and it was great.
So then I decided to try something else. There’s a rumor floating around out there that you can cook meat in it. Mmm, steamed chicken! So I cut up some chicken and some sausage, and put some olive oil into the bottom of the pot, and turned it on. When the oil heated up, I threw in the chicken and sausage and stir fried it a little till I got bored. Then I dumped in a bunch of rice and some water and a can of black beans and a few random spices that were probably past their expiration date, and closed the lid, and made myself go into the living room to read comics.
When I came back, it was done cooking and had switched over to “keep the stuff warm until Bryant wants to eat it” mode. I opened it up, kind of assuming that the meat would be undercooked. Not so! Perfect! Nice moist tender chicken, tasty bits of sausage, all around goodness.
And cleanup was just rinsing out a non-stick bowl. Aw yeah.
Dried spices are already past their expiration date. I don’t think they expire any further – at least, I hope not, because I don’t think I’ll finish a jar of dill weed in my lifetime. I guess if something starts cohabitating with the spice, then it’s prettymuch done for.
My mom is pretty masterful at the chicken + rice + bake trick, which is pretty close to what you’ve got going on. I always end up with crunchy rice when I try it – doubtless owing to my lack of rice cooker.