Left overs and weekends are inseparable.  We love to eat out, order in or cook that special recipe to enjoy with friends or family. Inevitably, we end up with leftovers which we promise ourselves not to forget about. As the working week progresses, every time we open the refrigerator, the left overs get pushed further back into the “blind spots”. And once the week’s end garbage day arrives; our treasured leftovers are quickly introduced to their sad destiny- the trash bag.

I love cooking on Mondays. Why? Because they are the “snappy dinner” nights for me. After my knitting circle, I come home and whip up something from what I have in the refrigerator and pantry in a snap. Sometimes, there is no cooking  involved at all.

I also love Asian, Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines. I often end up with left over rice which can easily be resurrected into a brand new dish with very little effort. Here is an example of how you can resurrect a cup of left over plain rice and give it a brand new life. It took me about 15 minutes from start to finish to put this recipe together.  At the end, I had more vegetables in the dish than the rice itself. Substitute any of the ingredients listed with what you might have at hand. It sure would be as good or even better.

Bright Rice

This recipe is

  • delicious, healthy and snappy.
  • a great summer dish.
  • vegetarian, but can easily be a “meaty” dish. It also goes well with “sea creatures”.
  • a great use of vegetables, greens, herbs and leftover starch. In place of rice, you could use couscous, pasta, bread, quinoa or potato.
  • a nice power lunch.
  • an excellent picnic meal as it packs/travels well and can be enjoyed at room temperature.

Use the ingredients and amounts as guidelines only. Substitute and make it your own!


  • Oil- Vegetable or Olive     1 tablespoon
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (the best you have)    1 tablespoon (for finishing)
  • Onion- the red kind if you have it         1 medium
  • Garlic     1-2 cloves
  • Peppers- sweet or hot
  • Zucchini /Eggplant (leftover grilled pieces are great)
  • Leftover Rice
  • Herbs- parsley, cilantro, tarragon
  • Turmeric  (for color/aroma/taste)    1 teaspoon
  • Tomato- any kind
  • Lemon or Lime- zest and juice    1
  • Avocado
  • Lettuce

Chop all the ingredients about the same size. Heat the oil in a nonstick pan over medium high heat. Sauté zucchini/eggplant, peppers, garlic and half the onion for a few minutes. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Stir in turmeric and sauté for another minute. Add rice and brown (5 min). Remove from the heat. Stir in the tomatoes, herbs, lemon/lime zest and combine. Taste and adjust seasoning. Transfer to serving dish and top with avocado slices, reserved onion and lettuce (for freshness and crunch). Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, lemon/lime juice, a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper.

© 2012, livingamused. All rights reserved.

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