Rice is a dietary staple for families around the world, regardless of geographical location, income level, or dietary restrictions. Many people eat rice during each meal throughout the day as a side or main dish. Nearly 20% of the energy that fuels our bodies comes from rice!
When you prepare rice at home for your family, it is often a challenge to come up with the exact amount that your family will eat without any leftovers. So what do you do with your leftover rice? While rice is not expensive, no one wants to just throw it (or your grocery money) away!
Keep reading to find ten ideas to transform your plain rice into a delicious new meal so that none of your hard-earned grocery money goes to waste.
1.Make a crust: Turn your rice into a gluten-free crust for pizza or a savory pie. To make a quick and easy pizza crust, mix together 3 cups cooked rice, one beaten egg, and ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese. Press the mixture onto a 12-inch round pizza pan. Bake for 4 minutes in an oven that has been preheated to 400 degrees F. Cool for 5 minutes, spread with tomato sauce and sprinkle on cheese and your other favorite pizza toppings. Return pizza to the oven until cheese is melted, about 3 minutes.
2. Take your quiche to the next level: Use rice to give texture and structure to your favorite quiche recipe or transform your rice into a quiche crust. To stretch your quiche filling and make it more substantial, stir in one cup of cooked rice before pouring it into the crust. Follow your recipe instructions for baking. Make a quiche crust by mixing 2 cups cooked rice, one beaten egg, and 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese. Press the rice mixture into a pie pan and bake at 425 degrees for 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool while you make your quiche filling. Fill and bake according to your favorite quiche recipe. Try these quiche recipes that are made with cooked rice: Tomato Lace Quiche, Rice Crust Quiche, and Vegetable and Herb Quiche
3. Rice Pudding: Turn plain rice into a delicious rice pudding for dessert. Whisk together 2 cups sugar, 10 ounces evaporated milk, 2 cups regular milk, and 2 eggs. Add 1 tsp cinnamon and ½ teaspoon nutmeg. Whisk again. Add ½ cup chocolate chips, 2 cups cooked rice and 1 tablespoon vanilla. Pour into a greased baking dish and bake for 45 minutes at 325 degrees F or until a golden crust has formed. Use leftover rice in these rice pudding recipes: Mom’s Rice Pudding, Pumpkin Rice Pudding, and Golden Apricot Rice Pudding.
4. Make a casserole: Combine rice with other leftovers to make a quick and easy casserole. Saute ½ cup chopped onion and 1 clove minced garlic in 3 tablespoons melted butter. When the onions are translucent, remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Add 2 cups cooked rice, 3 cups cooked chicken that has been cubed or pulled, 1 cup shredded cheese, 1 cup steamed vegetables, 1 can cream of chicken soup, and ¼ cup sour cream. Pour into a greased casserole dish. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes or warmed through. Sprinkle on ½ cup cheese and return to oven to melt. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes before serving. Add cooked rice to these cheesy casseroles: Cheesy Chicken Casserole and Cheesy Rice and Beef.
5. Rice Balls: Roll your leftover rice into a crispy rice ball. Mix 1 cup cooked rice with 1 cup leftover cooked meat, ½ cup chopped onion, ¾ cup shredded cheese, ½ cup green peas, ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Roll the rice mixture into 12 balls and coat each ball in beaten egg and then breadcrumbs. Heat ½ cup vegetable or olive oil in a large skillet and cook balls, turning often with tongs. Cook the rice balls until they are golden brown and warm throughout, about 15 minutes. Transform leftover rice into rice balls with these recipes: Ham and Rice Balls and Nori Rice Balls.
6. Super-Fast Fried Rice: Enjoy this classic Chinese dish from your own kitchen. Heat 2 tablespoons sesame oil in a large skillet until hot. Add one clove chopped garlic, ¼ cup chopped onion, and ½ inch grated ginger. Cook for 1 minute, then add your favorite chopped vegetables. Cook until tender. Add prepared rice and cook until heated through. Add 1 scrambled egg and mix well. Stir in ¼ cup Hoisin or other Asian sauce. Remove from heat and serve. Looking for a delicious fried rice recipe, try one of these: Chinese Fried Rice, Cabbage Fried Rice, and Vegetable Fried Rice.
7. Salad: Turn a salad of greens and mixed vegetables into a meal by adding ¼ cup cooked rice and ¼ cup cooked meat or beans for each serving. Try swapping leftover rice for cooked pasta or quinoa in your favorite grain salad recipes. These recipes use cooked rice to make fresh salads: Veggie and Rice Salad with Soy-Maple Dressing, Artichoke Rice Salad, and Asian Rice Salad.
8. Stuff Your Peppers: Combine leftover rice, cooked meat, and leftover veggies to create a savory stuffing for bell peppers. Remove the tops and seeds of 6 bell peppers. In a bowl, combine 1 cup cooked rice, 2 cups cooked meat or beans, 1 cup roasted or steamed vegetables, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, ¼ cup spicy salsa, and ½ cup shredded cheese. Use a spoon to fill each pepper with ¾ cup of the rice mixture. Place the filled peppers in a greased dish. Pour 2 cups of salsa or tomato sauce over and around the peppers, if desired. Bake the stuffed peppers for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F. Sprinkle with ½ cup cheese and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes before eating. Use up leftover rice in one of these stuffed pepper recipes: Filled Stuffed Green Peppers Supreme, Herbed Stuffed Green Peppers, and Southwestern Pepper Cups.
9. Chili: Stretch your favorite chili recipe by serving it over rice. Prepare your chili. When you are ready to serve, place one cup of rice in a bowl and then scoop on 1 serving of chili. Top with cheese and serve with corn chips or crackers. You can also make your favorite soup go farther by adding ½ cup cooked rice per serving. Make the most of your chili and soup with these recipes: Chicken and Sausage Gumbo, Turkey Balls, Veggies, and Brown Rice Soup Meatballs, and Next Day Rice and Broccoli Soup.
10. Breakfast rice: Use rice to make a breakfast cereal. Stir 2 cups cooked rice and 1 cup milk together in a microwave safe dish. Microwave until hot, about 5 minutes. Do not let the milk come to a boil. Stir in 1 tablespoon brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. Top with your favorite dried fruit and extra brown sugar.