We’ve all done it. Popped a batch of rice on to cook either in the cooker or in a pot on the stove only to realise later that we have seriously overestimated just how much rice we needed.
What remains when dinner is done is lots, and lots, of leftover rice. So, what are you going to do with it? Well, if you were planning on just chucking it out, stop right there!
There are actually seven things you can do instead.
1. Fry It Up
Probably, the best thing to use your leftover rice for is another meal, and nothing comes to mind quite like fried rice. The great thing about fried rice is it actually tastes so much better when you cook it with cooled rice. No more lumpy stodgy mid-week fried rice, your leftovers will make the rice separate, flavourful, and prime for stir frying. Mix in a few frozen or fresh veggies, some chicken or bacon bits, and whack an egg on top. Dinner is served!
2. Use It As A Soup Filler
For families looking to make their shopping stretch, you can’t get much cheaper or more filling than a good soup. But one way to make that soup even more delicious, filling, and frugal is to pop your leftover rice into it. Rice adds such a great texture to soup, and it bulks it out so that soups go that much further. Leftover rice can be added into any soup that calls for pasta or noodles, or to make something of a savoury rice porridge out of a soup that is perhaps a little too watery for your taste.
3. Make A Simple Casserole
The best casseroles are, admittedly, always simple ones. If you’re clever, you can plan for a leftover casserole that not only uses up all those lonely vegetables and meats you have lying around, but also your mountains of leftover rice. For those who haven’t used rice in a casserole before, the general recipe (which is far from set in stone) involves the rice, a cream of (anything) soup, some grated cheese and whatever veggies and meats you’ve got on hand. Remember, the rice is more of a base. It’s the veggies and meats that make it taste good. But rice is a cheap way to spread those flavours out.
4. Throw Together Burritos (Bowl And Wrap)
Burritos, both in their bowl and wrap forms, are not as popular in Australia as they are in America, which is crazy because they literally are the most frugal food. A mix of rice and beans, with some green leaves if you feel like it and relatively available toppings like salsa and guacamole (easily homemade). These are a great way to use leftover rice though, making for a delicious and filling me that goes the distance.
5. Make Stuffed Anything
When you’re making anything from stuffed pepper to stuffed chicken breast to stuffed zucchini, rice is going to be at the centre of your dish. These stuffed meats and vegetables are a great way to use rice, with most recipes calling for rice to be about one-third of the stuffing. Added to another frugal favourite, beans, as well as some meat and vegetables, you’ll never believe that your delicious stuffed dinners are made with leftovers!
6. Have A Yummy Dessert
This only works with clean rice, not rice that has been sitting side-by-side with curry for a few days, but it’s a perfect sweet treat for families. Yep, it’s rice pudding! A few cups of rice, mixed with some milk, raisins, egg, butter and sugar, make for a warming dessert that’s a family favourite all year round. Not only does it use ingredients that you’ll find in typical family pantry, but it’s cheap as chips and ready in just 30 minutes! Check out a simple recipe for it here.
7. Whack It In The Freezer
Of course, if you don’t feel like cooking, or you just can’t bear to look at another grain or rice, let alone eat one, there is another option: freezing. Many people don’t realise that it’s absolutely possible to freeze rice, and for it to be used at a later date. Once you’ve cooked the rice (and realised you have too much) just allow it to fully cool, preferably overnight, before popping it into portions of your choice and freezing it. For families, 4-6 cup portions are adequate, and we prefer freezer bags for easy storage.