Posts tagged "soup"

5 fantastic reuses: the best recipes for using up leftover rice

It’s all to easy to cook too much rice but thankfully there are lots of ways to use it up.

Food safety warning: bacteria, specifically Bacillus cereus, loves cooked rice – and it can quickly grow to dangerous levels. Minimise it’s growth by cooling it quickly, put it in the fridge as soon as possible then use it with a day or so.

1. Rice pudding

Rice pudding is eaten all over the world in one form or another. The general principle is the same – cook the rice in milk then when it’s tender, add a sweetener (sugar, honey or fruit syrup) and something to give it a bit more flavour such as cream, egg yolk, fruit or nuts and spices such nutmeg & cinnamon. There are thousands of different ways to make it – experiment to find your favourite!

Leftover cooked rice can be used in place of dry rice – particularly if you’re happy to have a mushier pudding in the end. When making it fresh, most people use short grain rice but anything will do – white or brown, long or short, basmati, jasmine – whatever you’ve got on the go.

One of my favourite rice pudding recipes is with coconut and mango – yum!

2. Add it to soup

Leftover rice – again, any time – is great as a bulking agent in soup. Added early on, it breaks down and makes the whole soup thicker; added towards the end, it provides scoopable particles to chase around the bowl.

Add it to a hearty minestrone, or a tasty Moroccan veg soup – or add it to a simple chicken soup for those days when your belly needs something nice and bland.

3. Stuffed peppers (or marrow)

You can quickly make a tasty dinner by stuffing bell pepper or marrow rings with leftover rice.

Cut the top off the bell pepper and remove any seeds/white bits, then mix the rice with any meat, veggies or herbs you fancy, top with a bit of cheese and bake in a medium oven for about half an hour.

As with rice pudding, everyone has their own way of making them with their own favourite ingredients. Some great examples to get you started: beans and rice stuffed peppers; courgette, basil and rice ones; and super saucy tomato and beef mince ones.

To be extra frugal, use whatever meat or veggies you’ve got leftover alongside the rice – a little chilli con carne or casserole is perfect to stir in and lightly flavour the rice.

4. Bake it into bread – or muffins

Have you ever tried rice bread? Not rice cakes, those boring puffy white things but actual proper bread? If not, you should – it’s great and since you need to cook the rice down into a mush, starting with leftover cooked rice will save you time as well as preventing waste.

Check out this video how-to to see how it’s done.

Alternately, fancy something sweeter? Then I give you vanilla rice muffins.

5. Fried rice

Finally, no “uses for leftover rice” list would be complete without fried rice. Fried rice is best made with cooked rice left to go cold so it’s perfect for using up leftovers.

Again, there are a billion varieties and flavours. A simple recipe makes a good side dish but a couple more ingredients – some meat, fish, tofu or exciting veg – and you’ve got yourself a tasty main meal. Try this flavourful chicken and prawns recipe.


Reduce food waste – only cook as much rice as you need each time. Find a cup or dish that makes the correct amount and measure it out each time.

What’s your favourite thing to do with leftover rice?

(Photos by michaelaw and lockstockb)

How can I reuse or recycle ham bone and fat?

ham-boneI guess this is more of a straight “reuse” and less of a “recycle” than normal but it’s Monday morning and I’m tired, and I can’t think of anything else ;)

We had a ham the other day and it was the fattiest piece of meat I think I’ve ever seen. There were inches of the stuff.

I usually keep the bone and use it to make a stock/soup but the fat would completely overwhelm said stock or soup. There are some suggestions here for rendering it and some recipes to use it in too – anyone done anything like that or got any other suggestions?

Also, what do you use ham bones for? The stock doesn’t seem to me that it’s as versatile as vegetable stock or chicken stock because it’s pretty strongly flavoured in its own right. I’ve used it, with chunks of the ham, to make ham-centred soups (mmm, hearty ham & bean) and the bone itself in the pot with rice while cooking at add a bit of flavour. What do you do with them?

How can I reuse or recycle leftover cooked pasta?

SpaghettiWe covered leftover cooked rice about an eon ago but for some reason haven’t covered the other thing I usually over-estimate when cooking: pasta.

The obvious answer is, of course, lunch the next day and we usually go down the quick’n’easy route of it microwaved with a bit of pesto or fried up into a frittata.

And what about reusing it in other fun ways? I’m guessing like with cooked rice, pasta shapes work great as a filler in soups – just not added *too* early in the cooking process. Spaghetti/tagliatelle might be a bit too stringy for soups as they are but a little chopping up never hurt anyone.

Any other ingenious places you use it up? Or any crazy ways to use it in non-culinary situations?

(Photo by TouTouke)

How can I use up or reuse (or use up) lettuce?

LettuceI read a good article the other day about how to avoid wasting food including bread, cream, rice and pasta.

I’m a big believer in using up leftovers, particularly in the form of soup or soup related products – but as much as I love soupery, I’m a little sceptical about the comment in the article saying that “even salads” can be soupified.

While I can find a few recipes for different lettuce soups – and am impressed with the suggestions of using up the often wasted outer leaves and inner most bits, I’m still not sure I fancy giving it a bash.

But leftover lettuce is often an issue in our house – if we get a couple of different types of lettuce to have an interesting salad, they start to go limp before we get through them. I guess it’s the mass of people in a similar position that has led to the huge popularity of bagged salad – but we’d rather not go down that route.

So what else can we do with the leftover lettuce? Obviously it can go in the compost heap but if we can use it up before that stage, it would be good.

(Photo by lusi)