Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Gourmet Edition: Leftover Rice

Along with oatmeal, ramen, and yogurt, the Brooklyn Bitches often find themselves with an overstock of rice. It’s one of those tried-and-true staples of the cabinet that can be purchased for a low, low price (usually under $5 for a sack if you hit the Mexican bodega in Bushwick) and can last you through the cold months if you plan ahead and play your cards right. If you’re not currently in the market for buying a gigantic sack of rice, most of the recipes below are quick, cheap, and easy ways to step up the carton of leftover white rice from last week’s take-out Chinese (just give it a quick sniff to gauge any possible expiration situation).

Take your standard bowl of rice and change it from blah-blah boring to delicious and tasty. Priced at $1/less per serving, it’s the perfect food for any Brooklyn Bitch on a Budget trying to save enough for a carton of milk or a movie ticket.

Stuffed Peppers: Preheat oven to 350. Cook rice according to package instructions (approx 20 min). In the meantime, remove the seeds and tops of 6 bell peppers (green peppers are the standard, but any color you have on hand will do). Arrange peppers in a baking dish with the hollow ends facing up. Mix cooked rice with 1 can tomato sauce, ¼ tsp onion powder, ¼ tsp garlic powder, and a dash of salt and pepper. Spoon rice mixture into each pepper. Bake in oven for 1 hour, or until peppers are tender.

Rice and beans: Open a can of pinto, kidney, black, or lima beans and combine. Sprinkle liberally with hot sauce.

Fried rice: add rice and  1tsbp vegetable oil to a hot frying pan. Add 1 c peas, 1 c diced scallions, 1 tbsp soy sauce, and 1 egg. Fry until egg is scrambled.

Rice salad: perfect for the warmer weather months- especially picnics!. Use cooked rice or rice mix (make according to package instructions) to make this salad. Cool rice and add 12 chopped black olives, 4 scallions, thinly sliced, ½ chopped bell pepper, and toss. Drain a jar of artichoke hearts (keep the liquid) and chop. Add to rice mixture. In another bowl, combine 1/3 c mayo, ½ tsp curry powder, and artichoke marinade. Pour over rice mix. Cover and chill for at least two hours.

Rice pudding: Preheat oven to 350. Stir cooked rice, 2 c milk, and 2 beaten eggs. Add a few squeezes of honey, ½ tsp vanilla, 1/3 c brown sugar, and a dash of cinnamon. Stir until incorporated. Spread into a loaf pan and bake for 1 hour.

Rice soup: Pop open a can of tomato soup, add rice, and heat.

Paella: Uncooked yellow rice works best for this recipe. Prepare rice according to label instructions, using 2 bottles worth of water and adding /2 tsp of powdered saffron (optional). Cook for 20 minutes. Add 1 bag of frozen cooked shrimp (thawed), 1 c frozen peas (thawed), ½ c sliced pepperoni, and a jar of roasted red peppers. Cook for five minutes. Serve.

Risotto cakes: This sounds a lot fancier than it really is. Sauté a finely chopped onion with olive oil until tender, and then add a can of diced tomatoes UNDRAINED. Season with parsley, thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer while you prepare the risotto cake. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combine a beaten egg and leftover risotto. Blend to combine. In another bowl, mix ½ c dry breadcrumbs, some grated Parmesan cheese, and a tiny pinch of dried thyme leaves. Form balls with the risotto and roll in breadcrumbs. Fry in olive oil for 2-4 min on each side, until golden brown. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 5-8 minutes until heated all the way through. Serve with tomato sauce.

Chicken Soup with Rice: This really is as easy as it sounds. Pop a can of chicken soup, add cooked rice. Stir. Enjoy.

Easy rice balls: Whisk 2 eggs, a handful of grated Parmesan, a pinch of dried basil and salt and pepper to combine. Cover and place in fridge. Boil 2 ¼ c water. Stir in uncooked white rice and reduce heat to low. Cook rice until liquid is almost absorbed; 15-17 min. Remove from heat and gradually pour in egg mixture. Stir to coat surface of the rice and prevent the egg from scrambling. Cool in fridge for one hour. Pour 1 ½ c bread crumbs into a shallow baking dish. Remove rice from fridge and create 1-inch balls. Coat in breadcrumbs. In a small skillet, heat enough oil to cover the rice balls. Fry 4-6 balls at a time, turning as needed. Drain on paper towels and serve with warm tomato sauce.

What do you do with your leftover rice? These Bitches eat a ton of it, and want to know all of your secrets when it comes to this budget pantry staple. Let us know by dropping a comment below, sending us an email at bbonabudget (at) gmail (dot) com, or tweeting us @bbonabudget!

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