Weekday dinner inspiration: Greek Pasta With Meatballs and more

Mon | The light side

We're supping on the lighter side tonight with Asian Dumpling Soup, which you can make meatless by using vegetable broth and frozen dumplings. Puree 2 cloves of garlic with a 2-inch piece of peeled ginger and fry in oil with 1 bunch of sliced scallions. Add 3 cups each broth and water, 1 tablespoon each soy sauce and sherry and a pinch of sugar. Bring to a boil and add frozen dumplings, julienned carrots and snow peas. Bake frozen egg rolls to go with.

Tues | Weeknight Opa!

Jarred marinara sauce makes Greek Pasta With Meatballs (recipe below) that much easier for a weeknight dish. The recipe calls for ground lamb, which can be expensive. Substitute ground beef, if you'd like. It's a one-pot dish because you're serving it with orzo.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

Pollo Tacos are on the menu tonight. Shred the meat from the bird and heat with chili and garlic powder, plus a chopped tomato. Pile seasoned chicken, chopped onion and diced avocado into heated soft tortillas (corn or flour). Garnish with crumbled Mexican queso anejo and a green tomatillo salsa. Sliced cantaloupe and honeydew melon on the side.

Thurs | Stir it up

To make Shrimp Stir-fry Salad, saute a pound of peeled shrimp in vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok. Remove shrimp and add chopped peanuts to taste, 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger and about ¼ cup Asian sesame salad dressing to the pan. Remove from heat and return shrimp to pan. In a large bowl, toss baby spinach leaves, packaged broccoli slaw, thinly sliced cucumber and red pepper strips with another 1/4 cup of the dressing. Toss with warm shrimp mixture.

Fri | Pasta on the side

Grill a flank steak that has been marinating in Italian dressing all day and serve with Sauteed Garlic and Broccoli over 1 pound of short pasta such as bow-ties or penne rigate. To make the sauteed garlic and broccoli, heat ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil in a saucepan and add 3 minced garlic cloves, cooking until garlic turns golden. Add 3 cups broccoli florets and ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, cook for a couple of minutes then add 1 ½ cups chicken broth. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Janet K. Keeler can be reached at jkeeler@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8586.

>>MODERATE

Greek Pasta With Meatballs

2 cups hot cooked orzo

cup plain dry bread crumbs

½ teaspoon dried oregano

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 pound lean ground lamb or beef

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided

2 large egg whites

1 ½ teaspoons olive oil

2 cups jarred marinara sauce

¾ cup (3 ounces) crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cook orzo according to package directions; drain. Keep warm.

Combine bread crumbs and next 6 ingredients (through garlic) in a medium bowl; stir in 1 ½ tablespoons parsley. Add egg whites, stirring mixture until just combined. Shape mixture into 12 (1-inch) meatballs; cover and chill meatballs 5 minutes.

Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add meatballs to pan; cook 8 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Drain well; wipe pan clean with paper towels. Return meatballs to pan. Spoon marinara sauce over meatballs; sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 11 minutes or until meatballs are done. Sprinkle with remaining 1 ½ teaspoons parsley. Serve over orzo.

Serves 4.

Source: Cooking Light

Weekday dinner inspiration: Greek Pasta With Meatballs and more 02/07/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 7, 2012 3:30am]

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