By Anna Kovel
Throw in an extra baking sheet of vegetables and aromatics when you're cooking a roast and you'll have building blocks for tomorrow's dinner and beyond.
Making a big batch of chili and freezing some for another day is all well and good, but it requires a few hours of dedicated time -- and does nothing to use up the odds and ends in the refrigerator. That’s why roasting vegetables while you’re cooking dinner is so brilliant. The oven is already fired up, so you save time and energy, and when it comes to ingredients, you can improvise.
Roasting vegetables and fruits intensifies their natural sweetness. Toss with just enough extra-virgin olive oil to coat, season as desired, and spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Don't crowd them, or they'll steam rather than brown, and you won't get that concentrated flavor.
The heat of the oven mellows garlic and tames the bite of olives and ginger. Warm olives are great cocktail nibbles. Roasted ginger (roast thin unpeeled slices about 45 minutes; then finely chop) and chiles (30 minutes) add spark to soups and curries as well as to winter squash, root vegetables, and rice dishes.