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Weekday dinner inspiration: Beef Picadillo and more

Mon | Go nuts

Blue Cheese Shells With Walnuts is rich and sturdy enough for an entree, though some might think it a side dish. Cook a 16-ounce box of shell-shaped pasta according to the package instructions. For the sauce, bring 1 cup half-and-half and 2 tablespoons sherry to a simmer, then add 12 ounces crumbled blue cheese, like Gorgonzola. Drain pasta and mix with sauce. (Always save a cup of the pasta water in case the sauce gets too thick.) Pour the mixture into a baking dish and sprinkle with dried bread crumb mixed with 1/2 cup of chopped toasted walnuts. Broil for a couple of minutes. Serve with green salad.

Tues | Salad on a bun

I've been on this salad shrimp kick lately. The wee crustaceans are an excellent go-to freezer item. Tonight, use them to make Shrimp Salad Rolls. Make the salad of thawed, cooked shrimp, mayonnaise, lemon juice and fresh tarragon (or chives). Line rolls with soft lettuce leaves and pile on the shrimp. Serve with slices of tomato and avocado drizzled with vinaigrette.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

Hump Day seems as good as any to start your holiday cookie baking. Carve the rotisserie chicken and serve with Cheesy Grits and Sauteed Spinach. Get dinner over with fast, so you can bake. From today's Hall of Fame recipes starting on Page 4E, I recommend White Chocolate Orange Dreams and Mocha Truffle Cookies. Both freeze great.

Thurs | Here's the beef

Beef Picadillo (recipe below) is a Latin American favorite that will be a versatile addition to your dinner repertoire. The sweet-savory meat mixture is often eaten wrapped in lettuce leaves (low carb!), but it can also be used as taco or quesadilla filling, or even in omelets with shredded pepper Jack cheese.

Fri | TGI-Garlic

Salmon fillets get dressed up tonight with a brushing of garlic oil made by heating olive oil with crushed garlic cloves. For your Garlic Roasted Salmon, brush the fillets with the oil, season with coarse salt and roast at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, until fish is cooked through. Serve with lemon wedges. As an accompaniment, steam green beans and drizzle with garlic oil, then add couscous mixed with fresh chopped parsley to the plate.

Sign up for Easy Meal Ideas from Janet's Kitchen at enews.tampabay.com. Get a free recipe e-mailed to you every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Submit your ideas for quick weeknight meals to jkeeler@tampabay.com.

>>EASY

Beef Picadillo

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1½ pounds lean ground beef

cup dry red wine

1 small yellow onion, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup canned crushed tomatoes

½ cup golden raisins

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 large hard-cooked eggs, finely chopped

6 tablespoons chopped pimiento-stuffed green olives

¼ cup minced fresh cilantro

1 small head Boston lettuce, cored and leaves separated

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up the meat with the edge of a spoon, until done, about 5 minutes. Add the wine, onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the wine has evaporated, about 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and raisins and simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with 1½ teaspoons salt and a few grinds of pepper.

Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the chopped eggs, olives and cilantro. Serve hot with the lettuce leaves for wrapping.

Serves 4 to 6.

Source: Fine Cooking

Weekday dinner inspiration: Beef Picadillo and more 11/29/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 29, 2011 3:30am]

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