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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Roasted Vegetables for Easy Meals

Roasted vegetables are delicious, as you either know or should know. My first foray into roasted vegetables came with a Marcella Hazan recipe: put potatoes, onions, peppers and tomatoes in a roasting pan with some olive oil and salt. Out comes a wonderful side dish, or, if you're like me, meal.

There is another level of roasted vegetable cooking, perfect for lazy people like me. I had an overabundance of onions, so I roasted them and stuck them in a bag in the freezer. Then ditto for bell peppers.

With these two frozen treasures, my cooking life got ridiculously simple.

1. African peanut soup. Onions and peppers, plus some chicken broth, a can of tomatoes, and--if you want--chicken. Stir in peanut butter to taste. Proportions are flexible. Don't forget the pepper flakes. Serve with rice.

2. Shrimp and corn soup. Onions and peppers. Add some flour and brown. Add can of tomatoes, water, regular corn, and creamed corn (if you have it). Then add some frozen shrimp. This is not the BEST, but a pretty good version of my daughter's beloved soup. Serve with rice.

3. Quesadillas with onions, peppers, and cheese. Add salsa.

4. Red beans and rice. Mix the roasted veggies with some cooked (even canned!) red beans. Add some sausage. Serve over rice with hot sauce.

5. Ye Olde Thai Curry. Start with the onions and peppers. Throw in whatever else you have that looks likely. Add coconut milk and curry paste.

Without the prep time for the onions and peppers, these are virtually instant meals. Plus the roasting adds a ton of flavor to whatever you're cooking.

Do you have any similar tricks?


FB @ said...

I should try that out

This week, I am trying a vegetarian option for my meals, because the quality of meat has really dropped lately.

I'm doing a pasta with this creamy tomato sauce BF had left over from another meal.

Adding brussel sprouts and mushrooms, and I think it'll make for a meaty-tasting meal.

I just wonder how I am going to get protein and fiber in there to feel full...

Mary said...

Try turnips in there. They become amazingly sweet when roasted. Potatoes, turnips and parsnips are favorites of mine for roasting as is asparagus.

Roasting bones before making stock and roasting nuts are worth the time too!

Lindy Julian said...

I love to cut up eggplants in large cubes-cover with lemon pepper and Olive oil and bake for about 45 minutes. Add brown rice or pasta-and I have a wonderful meal.

metscan said...

I am a vegetarian as so many others, but not a vegan. I´ll have to try the veggie options you are sharing. I like to have nice kitchenware, I like to set the table nicely, but I won´t spend more than 15 minutes in preparing the food. Vegetables raw, boiled, roasted, microwaved-everything goes. My most simple recipe is to boil thai rice nearly ripe, add a mix of frosted beans, maize and paprika and mix it all together for another 2 minutes. I know. this is so simple, but you can add a spoonful of French sallad dressing on your portion, if you like. I also add black olives, but not everyone in my family likes them.

Frugal Scholar said...

@FB--Sounds great! I love brussels sprouts (which are super roasted). PAsta makes me feel full....too full.

@Mary--Turnips sound great! They don't sell them around here--at least not often. And we can't grow them, because it is too wet. I will try next time I see some. Thanks!

@Lindy--You're right about the eggplant! Like onions and peppers, it can be added to so many things--Italian, Asian, and so on.

@metscan--That sounds great. You will love the roasting though. In Finland, you can keep your oven on--or do you perhaps have a wood stove?--so you can roast everything!