20 May 2008

Leftovers Galore

Both my pantry and my freezer are getting rather full. Since I live an hour away from a real grocery store (not an over-price store that barely carries anything), I tend to stock on everything in the chance that I *might* need it someday to cook something. However, my readiness to be prepared for anything has left little room for things I actually need, like freezer space to put my ice trays in so I can have ice! To make matters worse, this weekend I went to a banquet that had lots of leftover Chinese food that I was graciously sent home with. One of the items was white rice. I'm not a rice person but I didn't want it to go to waste. After looking over my pantry, I had a brilliant idea to reuse and reinvent the rice. My thought process was a tropical rice using fruit in my freezer and pantry to serve with the grilled pork chops I (also) had in the freezer. Below is my recipe which I must say I am very proud because this is the first time I have created a recipe from scratch with no outside inspiration. It came just from my pantry! It's almost like the German version of sweet rice, but not as sweet or as milky. Make sure to add the red pepper, it adds a nice little kick every now and then. Enjoy!

Tropical Rice

4 c. leftover cooked white rice
1 can coconut milk, unsweetened
1 sm. can mandarin oranges, drained and reserve juice
1 sm. can pineapple chunks, drained and reserve juice
3/4 cranberry sauce*
2 T. brown sugar
2 T. cinnamon
2 t. red pepper
heavy pinch salt

Place rice in large saucepan over medium low heat. Begin by adding enough milk to almost cover rice, about 1 in from top of rice (I used 3/4 of the can, but it will vary depending on how moist your leftover rice is), cranberry sauce, oranges and pineapple. Stir until mixed. Added 1/4 c. of desired juice to add flavor. Once rice is moist and fruit is throughly mixed in, add sugar and seasonings. Bring rice mixture to a simmer, then drop heat to low and let simmer for 5 minutes. Turn heat off and let sit for an additional 5 minutes. Serve with grilled pork chops for a delicious and easy dinner!

*My cranberry sauce was actually what I had made at Christmas using fresh cranberries, water, sugar and orange juice brought to a boil until the berries began to pop. If you don't have any lying around, try using fresh cranberries and add a little more sugar or you might try it out the can, or just add more orange and pineapples!

**I'm also working on my food pictures so bear with me.

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