Waste-Not Want-Not Rice Pudding

Anyone who has ever tried to cook for their children knows that it is nearly impossible to judge how much food to prepare on any given evening, which in this difficult economy can be very frustrating as we don’t want to waste food.

Rice is a wonderful accompaniment to countless meal options. It is also a rich source of dietary energy and a good source of thiamine, riboflavin and niacin. Rice provides 20 percent of the world’s dietary energy supply, while wheat supplies 19 percent and corn only 5 percent. Luckily, rice also keeps well as a leftover and can be used in a variety of salads, casseroles and, my personal favorite, rice pudding.

Not only is this recipe simple, but it makes a great, soothing dessert and is especially delicious served with a dollop of whipped cream. It makes a great breakfast treat too (but perhaps without the whipped cream.)

  • 2 cups leftover cooked white rice
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon, optional
  • Pinch of nutmeg, optional
  • ½ cup raisins, optional
  • 2 tablespoons of brandy or rum, optional

Combine cooked rice, milk, half and half, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. The mixture will look very thin and you may think the proportion of rice to liquid is off, but it’s not. Bring to a boil, and then lower the heat to a simmer and stir in the vanilla and raisins.

Simmer the pudding-to-be uncovered for 30 minutes, until the rice is very soft and just about all of the milk is absorbed. Stir often, particularly toward the end. The mixture should still be a littler thinner than you want the finished product to be because it will continue to thicken as it cools. Stir in cinnamon and/or nutmeg, if using and then slowly stir in the beaten egg and continue to cook for 1 minute.

Remove from heat, and add the brandy (if using) and stir well to mix. Pour into a bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Serve warm or chilled with whipped cream.