Leftovers form herbed Fried Rice Cakes

Fried Rice Cakes with parslied lemon crema (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Kelly Brant)

Rice and mashed potatoes rarely make it to leftover status at my house. No matter how much I cook, we seem to always eat it all or leave such a paltry amount there isn't enough to follow a recipe that calls for leftovers.

Unless I intentionally make extra and stash the extra portion out of sight in the fridge before I serve dinner.

When we are lucky enough to have leftovers, one of my favorite ways to use them -- whether potato or grain -- is to shape them into patties and pan fry them.

These herbaceous, cheese-filled rice cakes are reminiscent of arancini, but so much easier to make. Their crunchy exterior and cheesy interior make a delicious contrast in textures while a combination of fresh herbs ramps up the flavor.

The original recipe called for serving these with lemon-spiked yogurt or sour cream, which was delicious. They're also great served with chive sour cream.

If you don't have any leftover rice, these can be made with fresh -- spread the cooked rice out on a parchment-lined baking sheet so it cools quickly.

Fried Rice Cakes

- 2 cups cooked rice or other grain, chilled or at room temperature

- 2 eggs

- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour or whole-wheat flour

- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

- 3/4 to 1 cup shredded low-moisture mozzarella cheese (cheddar or Monterey Jack would also work)

- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh herbs (I used a mix of parsley, basil, mint and oregano)

- Oil or butter, for frying Lemon Crema (recipe follows) OR chive sour cream, for serving

In a medium bowl, combine the rice, eggs, flour, salt, garlic, pepper, mozzarella and herbs until combined.

Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over high heat. Working in batches, scoop 1/4-cup mounds of the rice mixture into the pan. Flatten with a spatula and fry for 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until golden. Transfer cakes to a plate and keep warm while you cook the remaining cakes.

In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream or yogurt, the lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper.

Serve the rice cakes hot with the lemon crema or sour cream.

Makes 10 to 12 (3-inch) cakes.

To make the lemon crema: Stir together 3/4 cup plain Greek-style yogurt (I like 5% Fage), the zest and juice of 1 lemon and 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs (optional); season with salt and ground black pepper to taste.

Recipe adapted from "Prep+Rally: An Hour of Prep, A Week of Delicious Meals" by Dini Klein