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Fun with Leftovers

We had out-of-town company over the long weekend, so I had been cooking up a storm. Afterwards, I discovered my refrigerator filled with little containers of leftovers from the meals we enjoyed. There wasn’t enough of anything to “heat and eat,” but enough to provide lots of starting points to create several new meals. Here are some examples:

I had just enough leftover dressing and other ingredients to recreate Sunday night’s Caesar salad (the sprinkles are dulse flakes):

The vegetables from a leftover Roasted Vegetable Tower (see March 31, 2008 post) were transformed into roasted vegetable fajitas:

A few cups of leftover rotini were tossed with what was left of a vegetable tian and topped with panko crumbs for a yummy casserole:

Here’s a rice pilaf made with cremini mushrooms and fresh thyme:

I combined leftover cooked rice noodles that didn’t make it into a soup with some stray veggies for this noodle stir-fry:

Did you notice that there were no leftover desserts?

Roasted Vegetable Towers

As you may have guessed from my previous post, I’m obsessed with roasting vegetables. Here’s one of my favorite ways to make them — it looks fancy, but it couldn’t be easier. All you need to do is roast slices of your favorite “stackable” veggies and then — you guessed it — stack them up! The photo shows a variation on the Vegetable Towers with Red Wine Sauce from my Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes cookbook, (served here with pesto instead of wine sauce) and a side of roasted asparagus.

Roasted Vegetable Towers
Much of the prep work can be done in advance and the delicious results are worth the time it takes to assemble the ingredients. This recipe is adapted from The Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes Cookbook.

3 large Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 8 slices total (about 1/2-inch thick)
Olive oil
1 large red onion, cut into 4 slices (about 1/4-inch thick)
1 large yellow bell pepper, cut into rings (about 1/4-inch thick)
4 large Portobello mushroom caps
1 large ripe tomato cut into 4 slices (about 1/2-inch thick)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spray or brush the potato slices with olive oil and transfer to a lightly oiled baking sheet. Place the potatoes in the oven and bake until soft and golden brown, turning once, about 20 minutes.
2. On a separate baking sheet, follow the same procedure with the onion slices. After turning the onion slices, place the bell pepper rings on the same baking sheet with the onions and return to the oven until the vegetables have softened, about 20 minutes total for the onion, and about 12 minutes for the peppers.
3. With a sharp knife, remove the dark brown gills from the underside of the mushroom caps. Lightly oil the mushrooms and place on a third baking sheet and bake until softened, about 10 minutes.
4. When all the vegetables have been cooked, allow them to cool slightly, then assemble the towers, seasoning each layer with salt and pepper. First, arrange 4 large potato slices in a lightly oiled shallow baking dish. Top each potato slice with an onion slice, followed by a pepper ring. Top with another potato slice, followed by a tomato slice, and top with a mushroom cap.
5. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Tightly cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and place in the oven. Bake until hot, about 15 to 20 minutes.
6. Using a metal spatula, carefully remove the towers and place one in the center of each dinner plate. Surround with sauce of choice.
Serves 4