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Weekday dinner inspiration: Hash Browns and Ham Casserole, and more

Mon | With noodles

Go meatless tonight with Mediterranean Spinach and Pasta. While 8 ounces of spaghetti or fettuccine are cooking, saute diced onion and chopped garlic in olive oil. Add red pepper flakes. Stir in 1 bag of baby spinach leaves and a can of undrained kidney beans. Let spinach wilt, add drained pasta and some grape tomatoes, a handful of crumbled feta cheese and fresh, chopped parsley. Heat through. Tues | With rice

Pan-Seared Scallops and Scallion Rice is quick and easy for a weeknight. Start the rice first because the shellfish will take less than five minutes. Cook rice in vegetable broth and add chopped scallions toward the end. Sear the scallops in a bit of olive oil, basting with melted butter on each side as they cook. Squeeze lemon juice over scallops and serve with rice. Make a green veggie, too.

Wed | With rotisserie chicken

Slice up the bird and serve it with Sauteed Broccoli Rabe. Broccoli rabe looks like skinny-stemmed broccoli but it's actually a member of the turnip family. Strip off the little leaves (like you do broccoli) and saute the stocks in olive oil and garlic with a few shakes of red pepper flakes. Season with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. Crusty bread on the side.

Thurs | With potatoes

Hash Browns and Ham Casserole (recipe below) gets a head start from frozen hash browns, but you'll need to make your own sauce. C'mon, you can do it.

Fri | With couscous

Grill or saute fish fillets and serve with Zucchini-Mint Couscous. Prepare couscous according to package instructions and make the accompaniment by sauteing diced zucchini and minced garlic in hot olive oil. Add a few shakes of cumin, diced fresh tomatoes and a handful of chopped fresh mint. Spoon sauce over couscous.

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

>>EASy

Hash Browns and Ham Casserole

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups milk

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 cups diced ham

1 (24-ounce) package frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed

1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained well

1/2 cup buttered bread crumbs, optional

Over medium heat, melt butter in a large saucepan; add flour. Stir until smooth; add milk. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly; remove from heat and stir in cheese and mustard. Place half of the ham in a lightly greased casserole. Top ham with half of the hash brown potatoes and half of the cheese sauce mixture. Spoon spinach over the top. Repeat with the remaining ham, potatoes and sauce. Top with buttered bread crumbs if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 to 55 minutes.

Serves 6 to 8.

Source: About.com

Weekday dinner inspiration: Hash Browns and Ham Casserole, and more 10/20/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 20, 2009 5:30am]

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