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Listener Challenge: Rice, Rice Baby


We've talked some serious topics in the life of a new parent, from the question of vaccinations to problems with the health care system. Today, I want to talk about . . . rice.

During the bleary, weary first days of parenthood, our folder of takeout menus got a workout. But after multiple orders of Chinese, Thai, Japanese and Indian food, we found ourselves with an unreasonable amount of rice — pints and pints of rice.

With all the news of high food prices and food shortages, I can't bring myself to throw it out. So I've made rice salad, rice pudding, arroz con pollo. I plan to rustle up some paella later this week, but, frankly, I'm running out of options and will.

What the heck could we, should we do with all that rice? Creativity encouraged.



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Rice pudding! desert for you and a slightly less sweeter version run the blender is the baby will eat it up.

Sent by Charise | 9:39 AM | 6-10-2008

In our house we're a big fan of the homemade Qdoba/Chipotle style burritos. We cook rice with some cilantro, chicken with some taco seasoning, wrap it all up in a wheat tortilla, then add your fav burrito/taco ingredients (cheese, salsa, onions, etc).

Sent by G | 9:41 AM | 6-10-2008

I made a lot of stirfry this past winter. I bought four different sauces and all the veggies (plus pineapple!)that my husband and I enjoy. I saved us a lot of money rather than going to the local Mongolian grill, and it didn't take long to make. We would then dump it on the rice, and there you go! Since it is grill season, you grill up some chicken and vegetables, throw them in the taco with some warm rice, and there you go!

Good luck! Love the picture of the baby!

Sent by Natasha | 10:21 AM | 6-10-2008

If it's sticky rice, you could make your own mochi. It's sticky rice stuff with sweet bean paste in the middle and it's rolled in corn starch to keep it from sticking. The homemade stuff won't be as smooth as the storebought but it's still pretty tasty. You just put the rice in a bowl and mush away. A mortar and pestle helps.

Sent by Sarah Lee | 10:35 AM | 6-10-2008

Give it to some homeless person. Or call your local food bank. You might feel sick of rice, but someone out side your door might relish the extra starch.

Sent by Rebekah McNichol | 10:56 AM | 6-10-2008

mash it up it paste and stick stuff to the walls

Sent by amy | 11:50 AM | 6-10-2008

Rice makes a great thickener for any soup. Take a cup of the hot soup, mix with one or two cups of cooked rice and hit it with a stick, blender, or food processor. Re-add to the soup for creamy, low-cal goodness.

Sent by Dave Wiley | 12:14 PM | 6-10-2008

Make some homemade rice glue!! My mom refused to buy glue when I was in elementary school. Made me use left-over rice. Don't remember how well it worked though....

Sent by Fern | 12:17 PM | 6-10-2008

Stop ordering so much food. In my opinion, a good meal is mostly rice, plenty of vegetables, and a small amount of meat (despite what Dr. Atkins said). If you have rice left over, it means you're eating too much of the other stuff.

Sent by Edvard Noodleburgh | 12:35 PM | 6-10-2008

" your local food bank. You might feel sick of rice, but someone out side your door might relish the extra starch."

Speaking as a food bank employee, please do not do this! We appreciate your best intentions, but we really can't accept left-overs from restaurants for a number of reasons. You'd be surprised how much donated food we can't use...

That being said, food banks are in a real state of emergency right now and we can always use donations of (safe, unopened) bags of rice!

Sent by Foodbank VISTA | 12:44 PM | 6-10-2008

Broccoli Rice Casserole - the ultimate in "bad for you", homecoming at the Baptist church, covered dish. Here's the recipe - 2 cups of cooked rice, 1 small package of frozen broccoli "cuts", 1 can of cream of celery soup, 1 jar of Cheese Whiz, 1 cup of onion. Mix it all together, pour into a casserole dish and bake at 350 for about a half hour. If you want to gild the lily sprinkle the top with a sleeve of crushed Ritz crackers combined with 1/4 cup of butter. ENJOY!

Sent by Julie | 1:01 PM | 6-10-2008

I am a new parent as well -- just had my second son (Jack) last Sunday -- and I know exactly what you are talking about. Why do they give you so much rice anyway?

Our favorite thing to do with the left over rice is to make a pseudo-risotto with mushrooms.

It's pretty easy...
Fry half of a finely diced onion over medium heat with salt and pepper in olive oil till the onions are translucent, add the mushrooms and cook for about 4 minutes. When the Mushrooms have given off their liquid, add 1 box of leftover rice(cold) and cook for a few minutes. Add 1/2 cup of your favorite broth -- we like mushroom broth or chicken -- and cook over low heat till the rice absorbs it. Then, add about 1/2 cup milk (whole works best, or cream). When the milk is almost absorbed, add 1/3 cup romano cheese. Add freshly cracked black pepper and serve.

Sent by Jeff Bundy, WHYY Philadelphia | 1:14 PM | 6-10-2008

I love the responses..and in response...
@amy- Paste? Who knew?
@ everybody -Great recipes.
@Vista -Interesting perspective from food bank worker.
@ Edvard-Have you ever order food in NYC? It is crazy how much they give you. I have now learned to ask for "no rice please".
@Rebekah-Trust me I don't take the abundance of food for granted. I have been know to take left over party food to homeless folks who sleep near a church in my 'hood but honestly these days the little one takes all my time and effort.
Speaking of...gotta go.
Keep the answers coming.

Sent by Alison Stewart-NPR | 2:27 PM | 6-10-2008

Hi Alison,

I don't know if this is possible, but maybe someone else knows. I remember back in elementary school planting seeds in jars with paper towels acting as the soil. Could rice act as soil for the seeds in this case?

Sent by Steve Petersen | 4:10 PM | 6-10-2008

Hand sushi. You can get a packet of sushi mix, which is the vinegar/sugar combination that makes the sushi rice taste. Heat up the rice a little before you mix it in. Get some nori (seaweed) and then your toppings are up to you. Canned tuna with sprouts is an easy favorite. cucumber is also yummy.

Cold leftover rice makes the best fried rice, which is Hawaii comfort food. soysauce, ginger, green oninos, egg and chopped up Spam. can't beat it.

If the rice isn't too dry, it will freeze okay (ziplock bags work best) and then you can pull it out later to add to any of the above recipes.

Sent by Sandy, Honolulu | 4:47 PM | 6-10-2008

I posted an idea of planting seeds in rice. At the time I didn't think about how long the rice would last in a wet state. It could loose its shape or grow mold. However, the wet paper towel couldn't have lasted that long either.

Sent by Steve Petersen | 4:49 PM | 6-10-2008

You know Alison, Christmas is just around the corner. Take a page off of the last Peeps/Easter report from Bryant Park a few months ago and start crafting!!

Who knows, maybe you can even make a crafting book from all your creations! Just to get you started, here's a few ideas:
1) Rice Pi??ata
2) Rice X-mas tree ornaments
3) Rice Christmas Creche (but not baby Jesus cause that's sacrilicious as Homer would say)
4) Rice Garland

PS Alternatively, you could stand outside a church and wait for the newlyweds to come out. I'm sure they'd appreciate... Ooh brainstorm. Dye the rice pink and send it to California! Celebrating Diversity.

Sent by Nathan in Holland | 3:43 AM | 6-11-2008

@Nathan: It's cooked rice. Not sure the bridal party would appreciate being lobbed with it.

My suggestion: add a bit of white glue to the mix, place in a small cake mold, and use to produce imprints of Isaac's footsies and handsies. And tooshie while you're at it, since you've got so much of the stuff...

Sent by Marc Naimark | 6:06 AM | 6-11-2008

And to build on Nathan's fine suggestions, this is how I would make a Xmas tree decoration.

Take a cookie cutter. Place a piece of plastic food wrap on top of it and press down to make a liner for easier unmolding.

Mix that rice with the white glue to which you've added food coloring or another intense pigment. Fill your cookie-cutter mold with the mixture and let dry. Make sure to insert a pencil at the top of mixture so you'll have a hole to thread the string from.

Sent by Marc Naimark | 6:10 AM | 6-11-2008

Maybe offer it to a friend who might be in a bad place financially and therefore might not mind eating rice for many days in a row? I'd bet that if you don't know anyone that would want it, someone on this blog would probably offer to take it.

Otherwise, can't you just keep eating it?? There are tons of different ways you can use rice in a meal! Or make a big big pot of rice and beans or something and invite your friends over to help you eat it.

OR let the BPP staff have an "Iron Chef" type cookoff on the show using your rice. Hah I like that idea!!

Sent by LaBajista | 8:00 AM | 6-11-2008

Another thought...

Sell it on ebay! Your a celebrity, I'm sure there are some people that'll buy it. People will buy anything on ebay. You could market it with some MTV stuff you "Overdose: Rice" or "Choose (Rice) or Loose"

Maybe you'll win a "Rice"body award this time.


Sent by Nathan in Holland | 11:19 AM | 6-11-2008

Two Words: Rice Milk... tastes a lot like soy milk, slightly sweeter than your average moo juice, easy to make, and with a gallon of milk rivaling the price of a gallon of gas its not a bad investment.

Recipes & Discussion @

Recipes & Discussion @

Sent by Micah J. Briehl | 11:30 AM | 6-11-2008

Make chicken and rice soup and freeze it for winter. You can freeze it in large quanitities or in single servings, for quick and easy warmth to fend off the bite of NYC winters.

Sent by m.rawlins | 11:48 AM | 6-11-2008


LOL! I like your suggestion of selling the rice on eBay. However, I'm sure that it weird out Alison (as with most of the rest of us) to find out that people would actually buy her unused takeout rice...

Sent by Steve Petersen | 12:04 PM | 6-11-2008

I'm guess that by now you had to throw it out. Don't feel bad. Play a few rounds on to make up for it. ;)

Sent by lisa | 2:52 PM | 6-11-2008

Jambalaya, y'all. That will use up nearly all of it.

Cook up your meats (or just veggies, if you want). Use either the meat juice as oil or use olive oil to brown the veggies (I do both). My favorite veggies to put in my jambalaya are onions, minced garlic, scallions, and bell peppers, but put in whatever you want. After the veggies are browned, put in some tomatoes, maybe some peppers, about 1 tsp. of salt, then mix in your rice, making sure the rice gets nice and greesy from the meat juices or olive oil. Put the pot on a simmer for maybe 20 minutes (probably less, since the meat already cooked), and there you go. Problem solved, and everyone will think you just came from 'Nawlins.

Sent by Matthew Scallon | 3:16 PM | 6-11-2008

Allison's a celebrity!! Of course SOMEONE would buy her unused take-out rice on E-bay!!
My suggestion? Invite your friends over and tell them they have to bring something that can be eaten with rice (and that they have to clean up too before they leave). You could make it an " I2I" party (introduction to Ike).

Sent by Juli | 9:39 PM | 6-11-2008


Mmmmm... chicken soup and rice!

In July
I'll take a peep
into the cool
and fishy deep
where chicken soup
is selling cheap.
Selling once
selling twice
selling chicken soup
with rice.

Sent by Marc Naimark | 8:51 AM | 6-12-2008