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Leftover cooked rice: Do more with less

Categories: Frugal Living, Hacking Life, Making Time, The Juggle, do more with less


Rice is a staple in our household, because it’s easy to make, versatile, and gluten-free — all important qualities when you’re juggling work and kids with food allergies. We usually make enough for two meals at once. And sometimes — like last week — my husband will make enough rice for two meals at once, not knowing that I had already done the same thing a day or two earlier, which I did not remembering that he had done the same thing before that. So we end up with way too much leftover cooked rice in the fridge.

Here are some of the things we do with it:

1.) Fried rice. Scramble an egg, add diced whatever leftover meat you have (smoked ham and roasted chicken are always winners, though I’ve even used up leftover Chinese food with awesome results), diced carrots and celery, diced onion, and any leftover cooked vegetables from the fridge. Mix together soy sauce, a little honey, and rice wine vinager; pour it over, toss to coat, and serve it up.

2.) Quiche with a rice crust. Combine rice, an ounce or two of grated cheese (something hard, like cheddar or swiss), and an egg; press into a pie plate and bake until set. Then pour in the quiche filling and bake some more.

3.) Thicken a soup or stew. Seriously, just add it to prepared broth by the handful. If you add too much, call it porridge. No? Fine… make some chicken soup and add just enough so that you can call it chicken soup with rice (singing the song is optional).

4.) Rice pudding. This recipe from is easy and delicious. If you serve it for breakfast, your kids will think they’re getting away with something.

5.) Jambalaya. Think fried rice with a Cajun twist. Pick a recipe here, or make up one of your own: Start with a diced sweet onion sauteed in olive oil. Add crumbled hot sausage and cook until the sausage is no longer pink. Add some tiny shrimp (thaw ‘em first) and chopped bell peppers, toss in the leftover rice, and douse with a tomato-based sauce. Authentic? Nah. Tasty, quick, and economical? Yes, indeed.

Busy chefs, share your secrets. What’s your favorite easy rice dish?

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3 comments so far...

  • I mix leftover rice with canned chili or a canned “Spanish Rice” which is way too soupy out of the can. It’s also good with spaghetti sauce & meatballs. Or with thick cream of chicken soup.

    SKL  |  October 22nd, 2008 at 1:00 am

  • I’ve heard from several sources that cooked rice freezes really well. I’ve never tried it, though, because I’m hooked on fried rice :).

    Amelia  |  October 22nd, 2008 at 10:32 am

  • I add it to meatloaf -to make it Gf. Turns out really good. Also use it in GF Crockpot stuffed
    peppers also good and easy. We eat alot of rice also at our house. :)

    eileenb  |  October 25th, 2008 at 1:14 am