Turn Leftovers into Family Favourites

Leftover rice inspires creativity for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert

Mississauga, Ontario – August, 2008 – Finding creative ways to stretch the family food dollar is more apparent now, than ever before. With food prices rising, Canadian families will be searching for ways to put healthy and delicious meals on the table while keeping within their weekly grocery budget. Per portion, U.S. rice still remains an inexpensive, versatile and essential pantry staple that continues to be imported into Canada in abundance. To help Canadian families with meal planning, the USA Rice Federation has created five different recipes that can be made from one large pot of cooked rice. Made at the beginning of the week and refrigerated, unused rice can create a variety of simple and healthy meals from breakfast to dessert.

On average, long grain white and brown rice (a nutritious whole grain) yield three times their volume when cooked. U.S. rice comes in short, medium or long grain forms and can be prepared as a main, side, salad, dessert or even used as a thickening agent for soup. Leftover rice couldn’t be easier to use – just re-heat and assemble with additional ingredients to create a brand new dish.

Consider, when preparing a Sunday dinner like our Rice Topped Seafood Pie, making an extra three cups of rice, to yield about nine cups of cooked rice to create a variety of recipes throughout the week.

“Rice’s versatility is what makes it a dynamic ingredient.” says Chef Stefan Czapalay, USA Rice Federation chef and global culinary consultant. “Cooked rice, if cooled and chilled properly can be kept in the refrigerator for up to five days or frozen for six to eight months. It makes using up leftovers easy no matter what meal you’re preparing.”

Making lunch is a simple way to conserve the family budget and leftover rice makes wonderful satiating salads, perfect for lunch. The Rice and Edamame Salad is a complete meal that is best made the night before, so flavours can marry and intensify. Eaten alone for lunch or as a side to grilled chicken or fish, this fresh salad is a perfect leftover rice solution.

Not only for savoury inspired dishes, rice can also be sweet! For breakfast, take a twist on pancakes, with hearty Maple Walnut Rice Cakes. These gluten-free cakes are a great way to start the day during the week or on the weekend. Easy to make, this classic flavour combination of cinnamon, walnuts and maple syrup are sure to put a smile on groggy morning faces. At the end of the day, after a delicious dinner, why not treat your family to Caramel Chocolate Rice Pudding Tarts. Pairing three favourite dessert flavours of chocolate, caramel and rice pudding, this decadent treat will surely satisfy any sweet tooth. These simple little tarts are also perfect for afternoon tea or to impress dinner party guests.

“Despite the increase in food prices, rice is still a great economical ingredient to provide good nutrition for your family, says Czapalay. “Rice literally costs cents per plate, contains no cholesterol, sodium or fat and is hypo-allergenic and gluten free.”

Replace rice for pasta with Italian inspired flavours and take comfort food to the next level, with the Sausage and Rice Rapini Skillet. An easy weeknight meal, made with leftover rice and a few pantry staples, this is guaranteed to be a family favourite.

With numerous varieties to choose from, combined with simple preparation and storage, U.S. rice is a must-have in any kitchen pantry. For these and more than 90 additional rice recipes, covering every meal of the day, as well as preparation methods, storage tips and nutritional information, please visit the USA Rice Federation web site at www.riceinfo.com.