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Rice as a Budget-Stretcher and Recipe-Helper

Updated on December 30, 2016
J Schatzel profile image

J. Schatzel works in agricultural/occupational medicine in rural upstate NY and has a Masters degree in history.

Cooking with Rice

While the following is by no means a complete listing of recipes using rice (or even all types of rice), it is an overview of the recipes using rice with which I have had the most success. Let me know in the comments below what other recipes using rice have worked for you!

Porcupines: Mix 1 lb ground veal, ½ cup uncooked white rice, 1 egg, ½ cup water, and ½ cup chopped onion in a large bowl. Stir in ½ tsp celery salt, 1 tsp salt, 1.8 tsp garlic powder, and 1/8 tsp black pepper. Shape into golf-ball sized balls. Place in greased 13x9” baking dish. Mix 15oz tomato sauce with 1 cup beef broth, pour over meatballs, turning to coat well. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover, and bake 15 minutes longer. (Instead of baking, you could also simmer on the stove-top (covered) in the sauce/broth mixture for about 40 minutes on low heat, until cooked through. These freeze well too!

Stuffed Bell Peppers: Slice the tops off of 6 Bell Peppers, and scoop out the core and seeds. Poke a few holes in the bottoms of the peppers with a toothpick, to let juices drain while baking. Mix ½ cup onion (chopped), ¼ tsp red pepper flakes, 1 cup beef broth, and 2 ½ cups tomato sauce, and spread into a 13x9” baking dish. Set prepared peppers upright in the sauce. Mix 1 ½ pound ground beef, 1 ½ cup cooked white rice, ½ cup Parmesan cheese, ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, ½ cup tomato sauce, 4 tsp minced garlic, 2 tsp salt, and ½ tsp black pepper. Spoon filling into peppers. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour. Uncover, and cook 20-30 minutes longer until peppers are tender and meat is cooked. Drizzle with a spoonful of pan juices to serve.

Stuffed Acorn Squash: Halve and remove seeds from 3 medium sized acorn squash. Place cut-side down on a greased baking sheet, and bake at 450 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until squash is fork-tender. While squash is baking, melt 1 tbsp butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add 2 shallots (finely chopped), 4 celery stalks (finely chopped), 2 tbsp minced fresh thyme (or 2 tsp dried thyme). Cook until veggies are tender, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in 2 cups cooked wild rice mix, 2/3 cup chopped pecans (toasted), ½ tsp black pepper, 1 tsp kosher coarse salt, and ¼ cup golden raisins. Spoon rice mixture into squash halves, and drizzle each with a tablespoon of melted butter. Return to the oven to bake 25 minutes longer, until edges are starting to brown and stuffing is heated through.

Fried Rice: Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in skillet over high heat, until smoking. Add 2 cups cooked white rice, stirring until rice is pale brown and toasted (about 3 minutes). Make a well in the center of the rice, adding ½ tbsp of vegetable oil to the space. Add 1 onion (finely chopped), 1 carrot (finely chopped), 2 scallions (thinly sliced), and 2 tsp garlic (minced). Stir veggies until softened, about 1 minute. Toss with rice to combine. Add 1 tsp soy sauce and 1 tsp toasted sesame oil, tossing to coat. Push rice to the side of the pan, and add ½ tablespoon vegetable oil to clear space. Break an egg into the hot oil, scrambling and using spatula to break egg into small pieces. Add ½ cup frozen peas to egg, and toss with rice to combine, stirring until all is heated through. (Make it pork fried rice by adding ½ cup chopped cooked ham steak when adding the peas.)

Chicken and Rice Soup: Melt a tablespoon of butter in a 6 quart saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 onion (chopped), 3 ribs celery (chopped), 3 medium carrots (chopped), and 1 tsp minced garlic. Simmer 4 minutes, until onions are tender. Add 6 cups chicken broth, 1 cup water, and ½ teaspoon of paprika. Simmer 8 minutes until carrots are tender. Stir in 2 ½ cups cooked rice, 2 tsp dried (or 2 tbsp fresh) parsley, and 2 cups skinned/boned/chopped deli rotisserie chicken. Simmer 7 minutes, until heated through. Serve and enjoy! (I like this for a quick week-night dinner)

Rice Pudding: Whisk 4 cups of milk, ½ cup white sugar, ½ cup long grain white rice, and 1 tbsp softened butter in crock pot, until sugar is dissolved. Cook on high for 2 ½ hours. Beat 1 egg, 2 tbsp milk, ½ tsp vanilla extract, ½ tsp almond extract, and 1/8 tsp salt in a separate bowl. Add a small amount of the rice mixture from the crockpot to the egg mixture, to warm it a bit without cooking the egg. Then mix the egg mixture into the rice mixture in the crockpot. Continue cooking on high heat until creamy, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a glass baking dish, loosely covered (to allow to vent), and chill at least 1 hour before serving. (This recipe is also great with ½ tsp cinnamon and 1 cup raisins added when adding the egg mixture.)

Spanish Rice: Cook 1 cup white rice and 1 medium onion (chopped) in 2 tbsp vegetable oil over medium high heat until rice is golden and onion is tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in 2 ½ cups water, 1 cup tomato sauce, ½ cup chopped bell pepper, 1 ½ tsp salt, ¾ tsp chili powder, and 1/8 tsp garlic powder. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer (covered) about 30 minutes, until rice is tender. (I always double this recipe, as it disappears quickly!)

Garlic Buttered Shrimp and Rice: Melt 6 tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 4 tsp minced garlic, and cook 3 minutes until lightly browned (stirring frequently). Stir in 1 bag (12oz) extra large cooked / peeled / deveined shrimp. Cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add 2 cups cooked rice, mix until well combined. Stir in ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese, 3 tbsp milk, 2 tbsp fresh parsley (or 2 tsp dried parsley), 1/8 tsp black pepper, and ½ tsp salt. Stir mixture for 1-2 minutes, until creamy and warmed through. Garnish with a sprinkling of toasted slivered almonds. Serve warm and enjoy! (I like this recipe with brown rice, my husband prefers it with white rice. Try it either way based on your preferences).

Rice Balls: Whisk together 2 eggs, 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 tbsp dried parsley, ¼ tsp black pepper, and 1 tsp salt. Cover and chill until needed. Pour 1 quart of water and 1 teaspoon of salt into a large saucepan, bring to a boil. Stir in 1 cup white rice (uncooked), and reduce heat to low. Cook until water is mostly absorbed, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, and slowly pour in egg mixture, stirring to prevent egg from scrambling. Allow to cool completely. Place 1 ½ cup breadcrumbs in a bowl. With wet hands to prevent rice mixture from sticking, form rice mix into 1-inch balls, and coat in breadcrumbs. In a deep skillet, heat 2 cups of olive oil to 350 degrees. Fry rice balls in small batches (don’t overcrowd pan) turning as needed to brown evenly. Drain on paper towels, serve warm. (I have tripled this recipe, and placed finished rice balls in the Crockpot on “keep warm” to take to a large family gathering, which worked great!)

Rice as a budget-stretcher and recipe-helper: I add a cup of cooked white rice when making pineapple pork burgers, which makes for moist burgers and we get more burgers out of the recipe. Likewise, I add a cup of cooked brown rice when making broccoli-Swiss cheese meatloaf for moist and amazing leftovers. I add a cup of cooked white rice to the mixture when forming crab cakes before cooking, and stir a cup of cooked rice into a batch of taco meat before making taco salad.

Special Thanks

Special Thanks to my husband, for being my official recipe taste-tester!
Special Thanks to my husband, for being my official recipe taste-tester!

Your Experience

When cooking, why do you use rice?

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