Lightened Up Stove Top Rice Pudding

In keeping with last night’s theme of leftovers repurposed-

Oh, who am I kidding, I wasn’t going for a theme, I just had a craving.

But seriously, I don’t like to throw out food, so I was intentionally trying to use up the leftovers.

So theme night.

Sort of.

We had some brown rice in the fridge from our deconstructed tuna roll night.

What to do with cooked brown rice?

The first thing that came to my mind was, of course, rice pudding.

I’m starting to see where those extra six pounds the scale flashes back at me have come from…

With bathing suit season approaching, and with rice to put to use, I channeled Bobby Deen and worked on a lighter version of rice pudding.

My boyfriend’s meme (grandma in French – his mom’s side is Armenian, but they fled to France during the Armenian genocide, so they’re French Armenian. Meme’s cooking is a blend of French cuisine and middle eastern favorites – dolma (stuffed grape leaves), kefta (ground meat mixed with spices and bulgur – a sort of middle eastern meatball), Coquilles St. Jacques. All of it delicious, and all of it packed with butter. Meme takes a page out of Paula Deen’s book.

But then, so did my grandma. Crisco. Butter. Shortening.

They didn’t know all the things that we know about fats. They just knew it tasted good and that their mother’s had done it that way too.

So, I thought about the principles Bobby employs on Not My Mama’s Meals and eliminated the fat (most of it) by getting rid of the whole milk, the cream and the eggs. I also reduced the sugar.

This is my Lightened Up Stove Top Rice Pudding.

You will need:

  • 1 cup cooked rice (white or brown is fine, I had brown leftover from the weekend)
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1 pat of butter (I used just a nub of butter to give the pudding the hint richness that would make you feel like you weren’t being deprived)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • A mess of cinnamon (yes, a mess. I don’t measure cinnamon. I love it, so I just pour it on)

Dump all the ingredients in a pot and cook over a medium flame.


This is the only work involved in this recipe.

You have to stir constantly so the milk doesn’t burn and so the rice doesn’t stick.


(I started out with a metal spoon, not thinking about how hot it would get. Use a wooden spoon!)

This is a good time to call your mom, or your meme. Or to catch up on the last episode of your favorite show, or to listen to some music.

You will be at the stove for about twenty minutes, stirring, until the mixture boils and thickens.


This recipe makes enough for two, so double or triple as needed.

When the pudding has thickened, pour into serving cups. Enjoy warm, or pop in the fridge and eat cold. It’s a hot night here in the city, so cold it will be for us.


On serving, I have these sundae glasses, but you can use coffee mugs, or you can make dainty servings and use demitasse cups.

This kitchen may be small, but our servings are not. So, demitasse cups are out for now. They would be great though if you’re having a dessert party. That way people can try small bites of lots of things.

Mmmm. Dessert party.

I may have to see when my friends are free.


My Kitchen

So, I moved to the big beautiful city, with its bright lights and big dreams.

And I got ….


a tiny kitchen.

I’m luckier than most of my friends. I have a full-sized oven and refrigerator. And I have a dishwasher. Not my boyfriend, but an actual dishwasher!

But I’m lacking counter space- here’s my counter-


and the ever elusive storage.

I spend Saturday mornings with my coffee on the couch watching Ree Drummond and Paula Deen and Alex Guarnaschelli churn out mouth-watering meals, scrumptious snacks and tantalizing treats.

A sea of bowls and fresh produce and pans and fancy stand mixers and food processors line their counters and their granite islands.

I wrap my hands around my coffee, look at my kitchen and sigh.

No island. No room for a stand mixer. No room to roll out dough for dozens of cookies. No room to even put a bowl and a cookie sheet side-by-side.


Does this mean that sizzling casseroles of enchiladas, ooey gooey chocolate and caramel birthday cakes and simmering pots of stews filling the house with tantalizing smells will elude me until I can afford that upper west side brownstone or, worse, until I, gulp, succumb to the call of the suburbs where I could get more for my money?

My taste buds will not wait that long!

So, instead, I invite you into my tiny kitchen. It’s cozy. We’ll be fast friends.