Everything you need is already in your pantry.
Rice pudding
Credit: Getty / Irrin0215

If you are like me, you are incapable of making rice recipes that result in a perfect finish to any bag (or even box) of rice. No matter how I measure, I always end up with somewhere between a quarter and a half cup of rice in the bottom of the bag. Too much to throw away, not enough to make a new dish with. At any given moment I might have six or seven of these little bags. White rice, brown rice, risotto rice, sushi rice, basmati, jasmine… they are all in my pantry mocking me.

The best use for leftover rice? Overnight Mixed Rice Breakfast Pudding!

I finally figured out that making a jar in which I can dump these dregs and shake up for a mixed-rice blend was the smartest way to store them, and I use this often for a mixed-rice pilaf. But my favorite thing to do with it is make overnight slow-cooker breakfast rice pudding. It couldn't be easier: I toss it all together before bed, turn on my slow cooker, and wake up to the most comforting breakfast imaginable: a warm, whole-grain morning bowl, slightly sweet but not cloying. This dish is particularly great this time of year, when you want something cozy, and it is a terrific dish to have in your back pocket for houseguests. They can help themselves whenever they wake, and you don't have to worry about being up to serve them! Everyone wins!

As the rice cooks, you will get a caramelized crust that brings plenty of rich flavor to the dish, without needing tons of sugar. I serve warm with fresh fruit and toasted nuts to garnish.

Overnight Mixed Rice Breakfast Pudding

¾ cup mixed rice blend or any rice of your choosing

4 cups whole milk (I often will use unsweetened nut, oat, or coconut milk for this to up the breakfast factor)

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pinch Kosher salt

1. Warm the milk in a small saucepan on your stovetop with the sugar, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves.

2. Pour into your 6-quart slow cooker or multi-cooker, and add rice, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. Stir well to combine.

3. Set your slow cooker to cook on high heat for 3 hours, and then turn itself to warm. Set the slow cooker to begin cooking right before you go to sleep, and it will be hot and ready when you wake. Do not leave the rice in the cooker for longer than 8 hours. If you do not have slow cooker with an auto warm function, you can bake, covered, in a 200° oven for 8 hours.