One of the great things about getting Chinese takeout is that you almost always have leftovers. However, one of those leftovers is often plain white rice. If you’re not a big rice fan, you probably let it go to waste more often than not. But, that really doesn’t have to be the case. Rice is a very versatile ingredient and can be used in anything from breakfast to dessert. In fact, I have always enjoyed having reheated rice for breakfast with just a little butter and honey on top. It’s tasty, cheap, and is actually fairly healthy. Eat a piece of fruit with it and maybe a scrambled egg to start your day off with a really well balanced meal.
For a really sweet treat, mix 1 ½ cups of rice with 1 ½ c milk, 1/3 sugar, and ¼ tsp salt in a pot and cook at medium heat for about fifteen to twenty minutes until it thickens and becomes creamy. Next, add ½ cup milk, 1 beaten egg, and raisins or cinnamon (these last two are optional). Cook for two more minutes and stir frequently. Finally, remove the pot from the heat and stir in 1 tbsp butter and ½ tsp vanilla. The pudding can be served hot, cold, or topped with fruit or whipped cream. This makes it a great option for dessert especially if you’re winging it and need to make something quickly.
When you’re in the mood for something south of the border, mix the rice with salsa, onions and minced garlic for Mexican rice. Just heat all the ingredients in a pan until hot. This is a great side for tacos, fajitas, and lots of other Mexican-inspired cuisine. You can also take the plain rice and add taco seasoning, ground beef and beans for burrito filling.
On cold nights when you’re in the mood for soup, add rice to vegetable soup just as it finishes cooking (don’t add it too soon or the rice will get mushy from over-cooking). This helps bulk up the soup and makes it more filling. Rice can be included in other soups as well like vegetable beef soup, alphabet soup, cabbage soup etc. Try adding rice to different kinds of soup and see what works for you. You might be surprised certainly if you visit ricecookerworld to see what rice cookers can do.
In the south, there are a several classic dishes that involve rice such as jambalaya, red beans and rice, or chicken, rice and broccoli. Any of these dishes should be much easier to prepare if you already have your rice cooked for you and ready to go.
Finally, my favorite use for leftover cooked rice is Chinese fried rice. It is so easy to make that it has become a staple in my household. Heat a large wok or deep non-stick pan over medium heat, add a teaspoon of sesame oil, and toss the rice in the oil once hot. Next, add minced garlic and diced onions while you continue to stir. Shake on some salt and pepper to taste then load it up with as many vegetables as you please. You can add leftover meat of just about any kind and finally, a couple of drops of soy sauce to finish.
So next time you find yourself with leftover rice, don’t toss it out. It could easily save you some time in the kitchen and it might even make your meal go much further than it would have originally.