1. Bring 1 1/2 cups milk, dried cherries, and next 4 ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Stir in rice; cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. While rice mixture cooks, prepare pudding mix according to package directions using remaining 2 cups milk. Stir prepared pudding into rice mixture. Serve warm. Garnish with cinnamon sticks, if desired.