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Weekday dinner inspiration: Beef Picadillo and more

Mon | Pick a picadillo

Beef Picadillo (recipe below) is a favorite in Latin American and Caribbean countries. It should be our favorite, too, because you can make it tonight, double it even, and use it another day this week. Tonight, serve it in lettuce leaves as a low-carb wrap. Later this week, use the flavorful meat as filling for tacos or quesadillas.

Tues | Soup and salad

Pair Black Bean Soup (I like Progresso or even some of the dried bean kits stocked at most grocery stores) with a bright citrus salad and hunky bread for a light meal. Use tender butter lettuce leaves and mix with tangerine slices and small pinches of soft cheese, such as goat. Dress with a citrus vinaigrette.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

Carve up the bird and serve it with Squash Spaghetti. To make this a super quick meal, you'll need to bake the spaghetti squash the night before; it keeps great in the fridge. Split the squash, scoop out the seeds and bake, cut side down, for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Let cool slightly, then scrape out the delicious strings. You'll see now how it got its name. Serve with heated marinara sauce or just butter, salt and pepper. A green veggie adds another wholesome note.

Thurs | Pasta present

Italian bulk sausage stars in easy Sausage and Mushroom Fettuccine. While water boils and pasta cooks, make the sauce. Brown a pound of bulk Italian sausage, then add sliced mushrooms and scallions plus red pepper flakes. Cook until veggies are soft. Add 1 can of diced tomatoes. Drain pasta and add to the sauce. Add black pepper if you want more kick.

Fri | Pizza with a twist

Forget the red sauce. Make White Spinach Pizza for a change. Get prepared pizza dough and push it into whatever shape you'd like. Brush with olive oil, scatter with minced garlic and cover with shredded mozzarella. Add little heaps of ricotta and thawed and squeezed spinach. Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes.

Read Stir Crazy online at www.blogs.tampabay.com/food. Submit your ideas for quick weeknight meals to jkeeler@sptimes.com.

>>easy

Beef Picadillo

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef

1/3 cup dry red wine

1 small yellow onion, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup canned crushed tomatoes

1/2 cup golden raisins

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 large hard-cooked eggs, finely chopped

6 tablespoons chopped pimiento-stuffed green olives

1/4 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 the wine is almost evaporated, about 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and raisins and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has almost evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with 1 1/2 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

03/17/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 17, 2009 4:30am]

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