Cooking for One? Make a Big Pot of Rice

updated May 12, 2022
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(Image credit: Faith Durand)

Here’s a trick when you need inspiration in your cooking-for-one routine — especially when you arrive home in the evenings and heating a pizza seems like the most expedient way to get some dinner into your belly. For about the same amount of time it would take for your oven to preheat and that frozen pizza to bake, you can put together a healthy, vegetable-intense dinner that tastes delicious and fills you up. What’s the secret? Cook a pot of rice on Sunday night and use it throughout the week.

Of course, this works for dinner for two and families, too, but I find having some cooked rice in the refrigerator really helps me to eat a healthier meal when I’m cooking solo, especially if I’m alone for the whole work week. I eat brown rice because I love brown rice, but of course white rice is good, too.

Faith just put up a fantastic post on making rice so until you have it down, bookmark this page for quick reference. You can also use a rice cooker. Depending on what kind of rice you are making, one cup uncooked rice will yield about three to four cups of cooked rice. So for a work week’s worth of single cooking, I start with three cups of uncooked rice. I knock it down to two if I know I will be eating several meals out that week.

This page from the USA Rice Federation offers lots of information about cooking rice. One helpful tip I got from them is that one pound of uncooked rice equals approximately two cups uncooked or six cups cooked. Since I often buy my rice in bulk, this equation comes in handy.

The trick with having a big pot of rice in your refrigerator is to not get too bored with it. (“Rice again?”) If you grew up eating rice at every meal like many Asians do, this may not be a problem. But if you’re not used to eating rice, then you want to be sure you’re using it an a variety of ways. Here are some excellent dishes from The Kitchn archives that can be made with leftover rice.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

For White Rice:
Five Ideas for Leftover Rice
Cheesy Tex-Mex Rice (serve with chicken or tofu as a main dish)
Miso Soup with Rice and Poached Egg
Filipino Style Rice’n’Eggs

Either White or Brown:
Quick and Easy Fried Rice
Lemony Spring Soup with Rice and Peas
• Na Lee’s Light Fried Rice

Other ways to use leftover rice:

Add it to soups

into a frittata, make it into a salad by tossing it with finely chopped fresh vegetables and a vinaigrette. For a nice dessert, simmer rice in milk with some sugar and cinnamon until thick for a quick rice pudding.

What are the ways you like to use leftover rice?