I used to really struggle with rice. No matter what I tried, I just couldn't cook it well. So, I used to buy frozen rice, or those little packets of microwave rice, which all cost a lot more than a bag of plain, simple rice.
Then, I read Nigella Lawson waxing lyrical about the virtues of an electric rice cooker. My birthday came along, and my mother in law was kind enough to buy one for me....and my life was transformed!
Ok, maybe that's an exaggeration, but it really does make cooking rice simple and convenient, and I use rice a lot more often than I used to.
Rice is a really versatile food. Obviously, it accompanies curries and chillies well, but it can also be teamed up with any sort of casserole, especially when I can't be bothered to prepare potatoes. Quite often when I cook rice I will make more than I need, and use what's left as a base for a salad for lunch the next day, or to make a 'tuna and rice, cheesey-topped casserole'.
I also really enjoy risotto. A simple base of chopped onion and garlic, some rice and some stock can be a vehicle for using up all kinds of odds and ends, and turning them into a meal. I love the texture of proper risotto rice, but I'm happy to make do with ordinary long grain if that is what I have to hand.
I use rice to bulk out foods, too. Mixed into meatball, burger, or meatloaf mixture they stretch the meat further. I often add a and full of rice to a an of soup, or even to a pan of bolognese sauce.
And rice is a favourite with both my dogs. One has a rather delicate digestive system, and sometimes a little rice is all she can tolerate until she feels better :-(