Using what you have on hand can be a struggle, especially with it is just a little of this and a little of that from previous recipes. One trick I love is to let go of preconceived notions of making something specific, and just make something that tastes good. I have a version of this rice, bean, and vegetable mixture regularly as I frequently have leftover rice, beans, and some odds and ends of vegetables. You can jazz it up with herbs and spices, or keep it simple like this version. I love the simplicity and deliciousness of a good olive oil, a little nutritional yeast, and some big, crunchy salt.
Rice, Beans, and Greens -How to use leftovers for a quick and satisfying meal
1 TBL oil for cooking
1 small onion, sliced
4 mushrooms, sliced
1 cup cooked rice (mine was leftover from takeout Indian)
3/4 cup cooked kidney beans (or other bean of choice)
2 cups fresh spinach (or other greens)
1 TBL nutritional yeast
1 TBL good olive oil
Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat.
Add oil, and saute onion and mushrooms until just softened, about 3 minutes.
Add the rice, kidney beans, and spinach and cook until spinach is wilted and rice and beans are hot.
Sprinkle on nutritional yeast, drizzle the oil, and add some salt. Stir lightly to combine and serve.
This is probably enough to serve two of normal appetite. Enough for one nursing mother.
We are in between holidays right now. The perfect time to basically eat all the leftovers, clean out your pantry and freezer, and get ready for the next round of cooking. At times like these one must use what you have to make delicious food that eats as a perfectly composed meal, but takes little planning or preparation. I say between the holidays, but really, with two under two this is every day.
This Mexican Fried Rice was developed with bits and odds from my kitchen. It turned out so well my mother and my husband told me I had to blog it. Super simple, rich, just a little different, easy, and delicious. Feel free to mix and match veggies from what you have on hand. Same with the beans, kidney, pinto, black, or pretty much any bean you like would work just fine here.
Mexican Fried Rice
1 cup brown rice, cooked in mushroom or vegetable broth (or whatever leftover rice and add a bit more salt to the whole mix)
2 TBL olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 other bell pepper (white, red, yellow, orange) diced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 small zucchini, diced
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 15 oz can kidney beans, drained
1 7.5 oz can El Pato tomato sauce, or other enchilada sauce (100% prefer El Pato)
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
2 TBL nutritional yeast
Salt to taste.
Optional cheese to top
Cook rice in vegetable broth according to package directions.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
Add oil, and saute onion and mushrooms for a few minutes, until starting to soften.
Add zucchini and cook about 2 minutes more.
Add bell pepper and cook until just starting to soften 2-3 minutes.
Add coked rice, garlic, kidney beans, and El Pato stirring to combine.
Stir in nutritional yeast and garlic, taste, and add salt as needed.
Sprinkle with cilantro and cheese if using and serve hot.
Mustgo is my favorite thing to eat. You know, this must go, that must go. I have a few meals in my collection that really don’t have much of a recipe because it changes depending on the odds and ends I have in my fridge. This is one of those. Requirements are some sort of leftover grain, I do prefer rice. Some vegetables, and, to really make it a meal a bit of vegan chicken and sweet chili sauce. This is one of my pregnancy cravings for sure. I think I made it every week for a month straight and ate it two meals a day until it was gone. Just thinking about it I feel like I should run out and get some Trader Joe’s Chicken-less strips and make it for dinner. I do make the fried rice part a lot without the chicken, but it really takes it to a new level.
I have to thank my friend Tatum for this idea as it was something she introduced to me back in grad school. The chili-vegan chicken part that is.
Fried Rice with Sweet Chili “Chicken”
Olive oil for cooking
2 cups chopped vegetables of choice
I like onions, mushrooms, zucchini, some type of green such as kale, chard, or dandelion greens, or whatever I need to use up from the fridge)
2 cups cooked brown rice, or mixture of brown rice and lentils
2 TBL olive
1 TBL tamari or soy sauce
salt to taste
juice from half a lemon (optional but recommended)
1 8 oz package vegan chicken strips. I like Trader Joe’s Chicken-less strips
1/3 cup sweet chili sauce. I pick mine up at the Asian grocery store, but there is often a version in the international food isle of most large grocery stores. Check to make sure it is free of dyes and anything else you are avoiding
Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
Add a little oil, and whatever vegetables you like to cook the longest (onions for me), saute a few minutes, then add the next (mushrooms, zucchini, and greens). Cook until just tender.
Meanwhile, heat a smaller skillet over medium heat.
Add a little oil and the vegan chicken cooking, stirring frequently, until browned (3 -5 minutes).
Turn off the heat, drizzle with sweet chili sauce, and stir to coat the “chicken”.
Add rice to the cooked vegetables and cook a bit more to heat the rice through.
Drizzle with 2 TBL olive oil, the tamari, a little salt, and the lemon juice, stirring to combine.
It’s winter. We just got a huge storm, which is totally fine with me. We are warm and toasty inside and it is beautiful to look at. I even got a little exercise shoveling this morning. Anyway, winter… In the winter I roast a lot of vegetables. I love roasted vegetables and they come in handy for tons of things as leftovers. Also vegetable that are good for roasting are pretty much the only thing at the farmer’s market in Maine in the winter. Pretty much every week I end up roasting a big batch, then using them throughout the week. I have also been making a big batch of lentils and using them as well. I cook the lentils in vegetable broth and the saltiness of the lentils pared with the sweet carmelization of the vegetables is something I crave on a regular basis. This recipe combines the two with some leftover pasta with amazing results. My husband stared at it before eating with a skeptical look, then went back for seconds saying “I just don’t get it, it is so good.” Gluten-free pasta works just perfectly here. I have use a brown rice-quinoa pasta that is a great texture for this. I have also use wheat pasta, so whatever your pleasure.
If you don’t know how to roast vegetables it is pretty much the easiest thing you can do. Some people are a little more picky than I am on cooking times, but I choose vegetables that I like to cook about the same length of time and everything is wonderful. Simply chop vegetables into a uniform size, toss with olive oil and bake in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 30-45 minutes, stirring every now and again, until everything is browning and carmelized. Done. The house is warm and you have a delicious and healthy treat for the week.
The trick to this pasta is cooking everything until the pasta gets a little crispy which makes it ohh so yummy, and something you can’t make fresh. You need the cold leftover pasta to get the crispiness.
Vegan Roasted Vegetable and Lentil Pasta Using Leftovers
*4 cups cooked pasta (gluten free works beautifully)
2 cups roasted vegetables (mixture of butternut squash, onions, turnips, broccoli, and parsnips shown)
1 cup cooked lentils
salt to taste
olive oil to taste
Heat oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
Add pasta, vegetables, and lentils cooking until parts of the pasta start to become crispy, 5-8 minutes.
Ok, this is one of those recipes that is hard to write because it was just a little of this and a little of that from the refrigerator. Using up leftovers and odds and ends can be hard, but essential to reduce food waste. I HATE throwing away food! Because of this I have developed a skill for putting things together and making a new dish. My mom used to call this Mustgo as in “this must go, that must go.” As children my brothers and I would actually as for “musko” thinking it was an actual dish.
For this mustgo I had mostly odds and ends that needed to be used up before we left for a trip. Not enough of anything to make an actual recipe. We also had leftover pasta. I always seem to make more pasta than sauce. For the vegetables you could use leftover stir-fry, fajita vegetables, or frozen whatever. The sun-dried tomatoes are optional as not everyone has them in their refrigerator all the time as I do:) Nutritional yeast is also optional, but totally delicious. Happy mustgo to you!
Vegan Mustgo Pasta
Leftover cooked pasta, about 3 cups
1 TBL olive oil
1 TBL oil from sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
1-2 cups of vegetables (I used 1 onion, 3 mushrooms, and a little broccoli)
1/4 vegetable broth
2 TBL nutritional yeast (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBL sun-dried tomatoes in oil, sliced
2 TBL fresh basil or 1 tsp dried (optional)
1 Tomato, chopped (optional)
Heat oils in skillet over medium heat.
Add vegetables and saute until cooked through.
Add the leftover pasta, vegetable broth, nutritional yeast, and salt and pepper.
Cook until vegetable broth has evaporated.
Add garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh tomato cooking 2 minutes.
Add the fresh basil if using, and toss lightly before serving.