Tag Archives: vegetarian

Stir Fried Leftovers

When I intentionally cook more than we will eat for dinner, I carefully package and freeze extra portions, occasionally carefully layering and arranging partly cooked ingredients so the dish will finish cooking when we defrost and microwave it later. We call those meals “planned-overs.”

This recipe is for leftovers, servings of vegetables and meat that don’t make a whole meal. We also make this recipe without leftovers, adding a can of beans for protein.

Better is a dinner of vegetables where love is
than a fatted ox and hatred with it.
— Proverbs 15:17 (NRSV)

I recently received two cookbooks, each of which detail how to make similar dishes using whole fresh foods and elegant sauces from scratch. But this recipe can be assembled economically from off the shelf items in about twenty-five minutes.

  1. Start cooking rice. We boil 2 cups of water, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and a teaspoon or so of olive oil. Then stir in 1 cup of long grain rice and turn heat down to a light simmer. Set a timer for 20 minutes for white rice and 40 minutes for brown rice. When cooking brown rice, take a twenty-minute break.
  2. Meanwhile assemble and chop vegetables and meat into bite sized pieces. We find that left over green beans, asparagus, carrots, and bell peppers work well. We typically keep a bag of mixed vegetable in the freezer to supplement any leftovers. Add a small onion cut into rings and a teaspoon of minced garlic, if the bagged vegetables (or the leftovers) does not include them. If using beans instead of leftover meat, drain and rinse them thoroughly.
  3. Heat a large frying pan on medium then add about a tablespoon of salad oil. Add the vegetables beginning with the firmest raw vegetables, and especially the onion. Stir nearly continuously to keep the vegetables from sticking. Add any well cooked vegetables and meat last. Some might only need to be heated.
  4. To make the sauce pour 2 ounces (1/4 cup) soy sauce in a measuring cup with a similar amount of water. Stir in a tablespoon of corn starch and a teaspoon of powdered ginger.  When the leftovers include roast beef or when adding a can of beans, I like to add a few drops of Tabasco pepper sauce. If the leftovers include chicken or turkey, I might add a few sprinkles of powdered lemon zest.
  5. When the vegetables and meat are tender and hot, move them to the sides of the skillet then stir in the sauce until it thickens then fold in the vegetables and meat.
  6. Serve vegetables over the rice, which should finish cooking about at the same time.

Fettuccined Vegetables in Creamy Sauce

This dish developed when we had visited a restaurant that was changing its menu: Several items on their old menu were no longer available and their new menu was not ready. I opted for their fettuccine Alfredo and their sautéed vegetables, which they listed as two separate items. Individually they were fine, but after I mixed the vegetables in with the pasta together they became superb.

A few weeks later I combed Alfredo recipes to find a mild cheese sauce then experimented. In the process I learned that a true Alfredo sauce uses only butter and Parmesan cheese. The sauce described below is mostly cream cheese with a little Parmesan to support the slightly peppery taste of fresh from the garden parsley.

This dish serves four people and can be prepared in about 20 minutes if you can manage three pans at once.


  • 8 ounces of fettuccine
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 medium zucchini shredded length-wise
  • 2 carrots shredded length-wise
  • 2 clove minced garlic
  • 1 medium onion, cut in half length-wise then sliced
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 4 ounces light cream cheese
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 3 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
  • ½ fresh parsley, chopped
Grated zucchini and carrots, sliced onion, and garlic.
Shredded vegetables ready to sauté.

While the slated water for the fettuccine comes to a boil in a large pot, shred a medium zucchini and two carrots and slice a medium onion. I used a coarse grater rubbing the vegetables nearly length-wise to yield pieces the thickness of the pasta.

In a small sauce pan melt a quarter cup of butter and 4 ounces of cream cheese over low heat.

When the water comes to a boil add the pasta. Then heat a large frying pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot add 2 tablespoons of oil and the shredded zucchini and carrots, the sliced onion, and the minced garlic, stirring occasionally until the onion is translucent. Meanwhile add the milk and Parmesan cheese to the melted cream cheese stirring frequently until the smooth and slightly thickened.

When the pasta is al dente, drain and transfer to dinner plates. Combine the cream sauce in the frying pan with the sautéed vegetables and chopped parsley. Then pour the vegetables over the spaghetti and enjoy!

Fettuccined Vegetables
Fettuccined Vegetables

When I took these photos I had to substitute spaghetti for fettuccine.