7 Ways to Use Leftover Rice

How to Use Leftover Rice

Leftover rice is so versatile.  It’s one leftover you’ll be glad to have.  Here are 7 ideas for using it:

Turn it into Cheesy Rice

One of my favorite lunches growing up was cheesy rice.  We would could minute rice and add cheese, but it’s even better if you have long grain white rice or brown rice.

Heat the rice and add any kind of shredded cheese and a generous shake of black pepper.

Make Pizza Rice Casserole

Easy Pizza Rice Casserole


I used instant brown rice in this Pizza Rice Casserole, but you can also use leftover cooked rice.  This makes a quick and easy lunch or dinner.

Make Chipotle’s knock-off Cilantro Lime Rice

Reheat the rice, add a splash of lime juice and a handful of chopped cilantro.  Serve it with any Mexican dish.  Here’s the recipe I wrote on the Savings Lifestyle blog.  I used basmati rice, but you can use leftover rice.

chipotle cilantro lime rice done

Make Freezer Burritos

Vary the filling according to what you have available, but this is a great way to use up leftover rice.


Make Haystacks

Use taco meat or this slow cooker recipe for Sweet Korean Haystacks.  Either way is great!

Slow Cooker Sweet Korean BBQ Haystacks

Fry it!

Fried rice is easy and a wonderful way to clear out your fridge.  You can use up leftover rice, meats and veggies with this one.

fried rice new pic

Make a salad

Wild Rice or Brown Rice Salad is fantastic for lunches, picnics or as a side dish.

Wild Rice Salad - redeeming leftover rice

 How do you like to use leftover rice?


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Naturally Quick Foods – 15 Minute Meal Series

We’ve been talking about making 15 minute meals.  I’ve shared quite a few recipes, but there are lots of possibilities for quick dinners.  When you’re looking for a speedy recipe, there are a few types of foods that work great.

Build your meals from these items and chances are you’re going to have dinner ready in a jiffy.


I like to use canned beans – black, kidney, pinto, red beans, refried…  They’re all good.  Beans add protein to your meal and pair up with all kinds of other foods.

If you’d rather cook your own from dry beans, here’s a great recipe to use:

slow cooker beans for the freezer done


Slow Cooker Beans for the Freezer

Pasta and Couscous


Almost all pastas will cook in under 15 minutes.  I really like angel hair and fresh or frozen tortellini and ravioli because they cook in about 5 minutes.

Add a sauce, meat, cheese and veggies and you’ve got the makings of a quick meal.



My favorite rice to use when I need a quick dinner is jasmine.  It cooks in just 15 minutes.  And it turns out great every time.  For some reason, I have trouble cooking other types of rice.  It either takes forever or stays crunchy or the water won’t absorb…  But jasmine rice never lets me down.


brown eggs

Is it even possible to cook eggs for a long time?  There may be a few dishes (quiche comes to mind), but most egg recipes are very quick to make.

Add veggies, garlic, cheese and maybe some meat and you’ve got a great dinner.


Using tortillas is a bit of a twist on the old sandwich routine.  Wrap nearly anything in a tortilla, then grill it or bake it or fry it or…  The possibilities are endless.  Quesadillas, quick enchiladas, tacos.  Bonus – these dishes are crowd pleasers!

Migas is a quick meal that combines eggs and tortillas.

Migas my favorite egg dish

What are your favorite ingredients to use for quick meals?


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Wild Rice (or brown rice) Salad – redeeming leftover rice

Wild Rice Salad - redeeming leftover rice


Wild rice salad is a quick and easy way to use leftover wild rice or brown rice.

I completely bombed a meal the other day.  Multiple things went wrong, resulting in weird tasting chicken and a lot of leftover wild rice.

With no chicken to go with the rice, I decided to turn it into something else.  We had a soccer game the next night, so this worked out great for our sideline picnic.

I adapted this recipe from an old cookbook I have, Country Gourmet Cookbook.  This is one of those salads that is great for cleaning out the fridge though.  All kinds of raw veggies can be added to the rice.

The dressing is a simple vinaigrette.  This can be altered as well.  The recipe called for lemon juice, but I decided red wine vinegar would be better.  Use any type of vinegar or lemon juice you like or have on hand.

Here’s what I used.  Change it up so it suits you.

[Read more...]

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3 Things that Worked in the Kitchen This Week – October 6

3 Things that work in the kitchen


1.  Bombed a meal, but redeemed part of it

I tried a recipe from my mom this week.  And I bombed it.  I’m not exactly sure what happened, but I think it may have had to do with the wine I used.  I’ll need to try it again, when I get brave.

It’s a chicken slow cooker recipe that gets served with wild rice blend.  Somehow, I looked at the clock and thought it said 5pm.  But after I put the rice on to cook, I realized it was already about 6:15.  We were hungry and didn’t want to wait for the rice to finish, so we had a different side dish.

But that meant I had a bunch of wild rice to use.  I decided to turn it into a salad.  I’ll share the recipe tomorrow.

Wild Rice Salad - redeeming leftover rice


2.  I found a new (to me) grocery.

I pass by a small Kroger store several times a day and I’ve found that it’s perfect for stopping in to pick up a few items or for doing a quick weekly shopping trip.  I love that it’s small.  It has everything I need (or at least so far), and the compact size keeps it from feeling overwhelming.  Fast grocery trips are the best!

3.  My kitchen super power.

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I relate more to this Lego Super Woman than the curvy, human version.

Yes.  I do have a kitchen super power.  And when you find out about it, you’re going to be jealous.  Unless you have it too.

The great thing about this super power is that I put it to use several times every day, so it’s useful.  And practical.

I can judge the size of container needed for leftovers by looking at what’s left in the pan.  I’m almost never wrong.  I’m able to choose which container the leftovers will fit in, filling it nearly to the top, while not overflowing.

I know.  It’s impressive.

What’s working for you this week?  And what’s your kitchen super power?  I know you’ve got one!

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Weekend Links, Books and More – October 4

On Saturdays I give myself permission to share things other than food.  These are just things that caught my attention for one reason or another over the past week.  Maybe you’ll find some of this interesting too.

I’d love to have you share what you’ve been reading/thinking about/finding interesting.

For some reason, last night I decided to do a google search for candles that smell like books.  That led me to find Frost Beard Studio on Etsy.

Oh my!  What a fun place for a book lover to browse!  They’ve got candles and wax melts in all kinds of original scents inspired by books (and a few TV shows and movies).

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I bought wax tarts in Bookstore scent.  It promises to smell like, “Timber, driftwood, hazelnut cappuccino and a hint of leather”.

I also bought Oxford Library - Oakmoss, amber, sandalwood, with hints of tobacco and leather! A customer described Oxford Library as smelling like a “Freshly showered Sherlock Holmes.” 

I would love to buy The Cliffs of Insanity!  And I’m completely intrigued by Sassenach - Inspired by Claire’s herb collection in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series: lavender, thyme, basil and other herbs. Transport yourself to the Scottish Highlands with this therapeutic and invigorating scent.

A trip to Scotland is on my bucket list.  I’ve been thinking about picking up the Outlander series to read, since it takes place there.  Then I saw where Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy has started reading them and is loving them.  When I found this scented candle based on the books, I ordered a paperback copy of the first Outlander novel from Amazon.  (I’m waiting to order the candle until I finish the book.)

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Have you read the Outlander series?  What did you think of it?

I’m absolutely determined to finish the book I’m currently reading before Outlander gets here.  I’m about 75% of the way through A Woman’s Place by Lynn Austin.

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I’m enjoying it, but I’m the slowest reader ever.  And I haven’t been making time to really dive in either.  This weekend though, I’m finishing it.  For sure.



Did you see my stand up desk hack on Instagram?  I got home on Thursday afternoon, after picking up my daughter and I could not face sitting down at my desk.  All that driving equals too much sitting.

I used to keep my computer on the kitchen counter and blogged from there.  I work more now than I used to though, so I’ve moved to a desk.  I like standing to work though.

I did a little searching for some way to convert my desk to a stand up desk.  Preferably something that I can take off easily when I want to sit down.  I think I’m going to try making this $22 version.  It will require a trip to Ikea, but I’m okay with that ;)

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The shopping list for the Fall Style Me Pretty Challenge came out yesterday.  There’s still time to register though.  Alison is giving us 10 days to do the shopping before she starts sending out the emails with outfit ideas.

The Facebook group is hopping with talk of clothes and deals and sales.  I was surprised to find that I have a lot of things already in my closet.  I also need to buy some things.  All of my old shirts from last year have those little holes in the front.  Do your shirts do that?

What have you been reading and discovering this week?

This post contains affiliate links.
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Packing Lunch the Easy Way – And a Giveaway!

When this school year started, we didn’t have a need for lunch packing. We homeschool, so lunch usually means pulling leftovers from the fridge. In years past, we’ve had various classes around town that would make packing lunch a necessity. But that wasn’t the plan for this year.

Until a couple of weeks ago, that is. Things don’t always go the way we plan them, do they? After a lot of planning, detouring, praying and plotting I finally stumbled on a program that works great for my kids.

We’re still homeschooling, but we’re doing it with the addition of some classes that they attend two days a week. However, they don’t go on the same days. Isaac is out of the house on Mondays and Wednesdays and Mia goes Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Did I mention that it takes about 45 minutes to drive over to the classes? Yep. My own personal seat is becoming shaped like the car seat. But it’s all worth it!

This change also means that at least one lunch is getting packed each day. So when Applegate HALF TIME™ asked me if I wanted to try their new Applegate Organics’ HALF TIME™ Lunch Kits I jumped at the chance.

Each lunch kit is made up of the trusted Organic and Natural brands (Applegate, Stonyfield & Annie’s). The kids like these brands, so lunch is a treat for them. (And no bringing home half eaten sandwiches complaining of soggy bread. Do your kids do this?)

Applegate HALF TIME™ lunches come in three varieties – Turkey and Cheese, Ham and Cheese and Bologna and Cheese. The meats are all humanely raised with no preservatives, nitrites or nitrates. You can find HALF TIME™ lunches at Target, BJ’s, and Safeway. A product locator can be found here.


One winner will receive an assortment of Applegate HALF TIME™ products, including:

· All three varieties of HALF TIME™: Turkey & Cheese, Ham & Cheese, and Bologna & Cheese

· A draw-your-own lunch bag

· A set of permanent markers

· Coupons

· Activity book

To enter: Leave a comment letting me know which variety you think your kids would like best.

You can find Applegate on Facebook and Instagram.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Applegate via Burst Media. The opinions and text are all mine.

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15 Minute Meal Series – Honey Lemon Pepper Salmon



Fish generally makes for a fast meal.  It doesn’t require much cooking time at all.  If you keep the other ingredients simple, you can have dinner on the table quickly.

This Honey Lemon Pepper Salmon couldn’t be easier.

A drizzle of honey and butter.  A sprinkle of lemon pepper seasoning.  A quick trip in the oven.

And done!

You can find the recipe for Honey Lemon Pepper Salmon by clicking here.

This recipe is part of our 15 Minute Meals series.  Find the other recipes and tips in this series here.

15 Minute Meals for Back to School

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15 Minute Sweet and Sour Chicken

15 Minute Sweet and Sour Chicken


I have a number of Sweet and Sour Chicken recipes on the blog.  This one uses popcorn chicken along with a homemade sauce.

The sauce comes from this recipe, which is one of our all time favorite meals.  It’s also a meal that makes me feel like I’ve really been cooking.  And it makes the kitchen look like a lot of cooking has happened!

This 15 minute version is so much easier and faster.  Admittedly, it isn’t quite as good as the all homemade version.  But 15 minutes is easy to do on a plain, old weeknight.

Here’s what you’ll need:

[Read more...]

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3 Things that Work in the Kitchen This Week – September 29

3 Things that work in the kitchen


1.  Cooked, frozen chicken

I feel a little like a broken record, but truly – having cooked meats in your freezer ready to be added to recipes is a HUGE time saver.   This week I made fried rice and instead of cooking the chicken in the pan, I used cooked chicken from our last chicken party.  Doing so makes Fried Rice a super quick meal.    It’s pretty quick anyway, but this shaves the time down to the 15-20 minute range.

fried rice new pic


Side note – when I write “chicken” on paper by hand, I always write “chix”.   My hand-written editorial calendar is full of “chix”.

2.  Made a meal from a previous Weekly Meal Plan.

I print one of the Weekly Meal Plans each week, but I don’t always get to cook all of the meals.  We change things up sometimes, and I create new recipes too.  This week I finally got around to making the Baked Spaghetti.  The ground beef was in the freezer and the rest of the ingredients are pantry ingredients.  Minus the cheese, of course, but that holds for a while in the fridge.

I love the flexibility of the meal plans.

This is one of our favorite meals.  It was a recipe my mom used to make when I was young.  The leftovers hold up well too, which is a bonus.



3.  Used cooked ground beef from spaghetti to make pizza

One of the meals on the menu this week was Pesto Tomato Pizza.  I love this!  But my boys beg for meat.  So I made one pizza using the extra ground beef I had browned out a few days before when I made the spaghetti.

Instead of only cooking 1 pound of meat that was needed for the spaghetti, I cooked a large package and froze the extra.  Once again, pre-cooked meat stashed in the freezer comes to the rescue.

I’m not usually a fan of ground beef on pizza, but this one turned out really good.  And it made the guys happy too.  Win win.

What’s working in your kitchen this week?

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Fun movie, fall clothes and podcasts – Saturday Stuff

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Jim and I went on a date night a couple of weeks ago and saw The Hundred Foot Journey.  It’s a fun foodie movie.  We enjoyed it.  It reminded me of some of the independent films we’ve watched on Netflix.  It also made me want to go to France.  Be sure to have Indian food either before or after.  Or during, if you wait and catch it on video in a few months.


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Back in the spring, I stumbled on the site, Get Your Pretty On.  Alison was launching her first 21 Day Fashion Challenge.  I signed up on a whim and I’m so glad I did!  I’ve since done her summer challenge and I’m signed up for the fall one too.

Alison sends a shopping list of items and follows that up with 21 days of outfit ideas that combine those items.

It’s like the Weekly Meal Plans and grocery lists for clothes!  Since I hate to shop, this is perfect for me.  There are options for every price range.  Lots of people even hit up thrift stores for various finds, as well as sharing sale prices (the private Facebook group for these challenges are wonderful!).

Want to join me?  Click here to register.  Regular registration is open through Oct. 2 and the shopping list comes out on Oct. 3. The outfit ideas will be sent each day Oct. 12 – Nov. 1.  It’s going to be a lot of fun!  I love having the outfits planned out for me, with ideas that I can rotate through the rest of the season.

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I’ve been spending a lot of time in the car driving lately.  Our new school routine involves classes that the kids take two days a week. Except they each go on opposite days, so that means I’m driving four days a week.  Two 80-90 minute round trips each day.  Yes, that’s about 2 1/2 – 3 hours in the car each day.

To pass the time, I listen to podcasts.  I like a few business type ones, but that can get old after a while.  Lately, I’ve been bingeing on The Joy the Baker Podcast.    It’s like chatting with old friends.  Except I don’t know these ladies and I’m not chatting, just listening. But it passes the time and it’s entertaining.

I’d love to find some more good podcasts to listen to.  If you’ve got recommendations, let me know!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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