Mon | Meatless Mexican
Spicy Cheese Quesadillas with a side of fresh fruit makes an easy Monday meal. Grate cheddar cheese and mix with salsa and pickled jalapenos. Spread on a flour tortilla, place in a skillet or on a griddle and top with another tortilla. Cook until cheese melts, flipping halfway. Serve with sour cream and guacamole.
Tues | Fast soup
Make a quick Pasta e Fagioli soup tonight by first sauteing a couple of pieces of chopped bacon in a large soup pot. Add some chopped onion and carrot and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add a quart of chicken stock and a couple of cans of rinsed, red beans and simmer with 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves. In a separate pan, cook elbow pasta according to package instructions. When done, drain and add to soup pot. Season with pepper and serve with grated Parmesan cheese.
Wed | Rotisserie chicken
Chicken and Yellow Rice gets a hand from shredded meat from a rotisserie bird. If you can find a mojo-flavored chicken, go for it. Make a bag of yellow rice according to package instructions and mix it with the shredded chicken. (If it's dry at the end, stir in some chicken broth.) Add chopped fresh parsley and even toasted slice almonds or a handful of raisins. Serve with steamed broccoli.
Thur | Skinny Italian
Celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito's current focus is scaling back the fat and calories on the food we love. The latest in his Now Eat This! series focuses on Italian food. His recipe for Chicken Parmigiana (recipe below) broils the chicken rather than frying, and the bread crumbs are whole wheat panko, another nutrition booster. Not a bad way to be cooking (and thinking) as we approach the new year.
Fri | A Stir Crazy favorite
Make TGIF Shrimp Kebabs by threading shrimp, peeled but with tail on, grape tomatoes and yellow squash chunks on skewers. Brush them with olive oil that has been mixed with dried herbs (your choice) and minced garlic. Before you toss skewers on a hot grill, start a pot of quick-cooking wild rice. Serve it all with chopped tomatoes and cubed avocado drizzled with vinaigrette.
Janet K. Keeler can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8586. Follow her on Twitter at @roadeats.