Monday, March 30, 2009

Layered Leftovers Casserole - Italian Style

In the commotion of my mother's illness, I neglected to post this entry from about a month ago. Today, it is still seems worthy of publishing...hope you find something in it interesting.

On Sundays, I clean out the fridge because Monday is our trash and recycling day. But about once a month, I end up with enough good leftovers to create something new with them. Usually a layered casserole. The basic idea is to layer your big ingredients, make sure you have something in it for body, add some frozen or other vegetables, add a flavorful liquid, then bake it. The overall theme depends on what I have --- this time it was Italian.

Started with some red sauce I had in the freezer. But I could have popped open a jar of spaghetti sauce to make this casserole work. In fact, I wish I had had a little more sauce.

Then I put a layer of the leftover pasta - and a layer of spinach.Frozen spinach is a good, healthy thing to have on hand. I let it defrost then squeeze it dry -- this is an important step -- add salt, nutmeg and pepper and mix it together before layering.

Then I added a layer of defrosted mushroom ravioli stuffing that I had leftover from my pasta experiment. It had been in the freezer for too long, but was still usable in something like this.

Another layer of pasta and then I sliced up the Italian sausage that was leftover,too.

And then chopped up the mozzarella that was drying up and spread it around.

Then I layered on the rest of my red sauce --- again I wish I had just a bit more -- and put shredded cheese on top.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes until the top is browned and the center is baked through.
Here's how it looked inside. Nice layers of all the major food groups. So, you can eat a square of this as a satisfying meal, and it is easily reheated. New, improved leftovers.

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