Tuesday, December 12, 2017
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Weekday dinner inspiration: Kung Pao Chicken and more

Mon | Meatless meal

Those 32-ounce cartons of creamy soup open the kitchen door to endless possibilities. Use a corn soup to make Veggie Chowder. To that carton, add an equal amount of vegetable stock and then chopped zucchini and red pepper plus a few shakes of dried Italian herbs. Let simmer until zucchini is tender then add a can of diced tomatoes. You can play endlessly with the herb and veggie combinations. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and crusty rolls.

Tues | Wow! Pao!

Kung Pao Chicken (recipe below) is a restaurant dish that's easily duplicated at home. The recipe calls for oyster sauce, which you can use again in meat marinades, rice dishes or even as a condiment for sauteed vegetables. Serve the spicy chicken dish with brown rice and steamed broccoli.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

Carve the bird and serve it with Broccoli, Bacon and Raisin Salad. To make the salad, mix cooked broccoli florets with cooked, crumbled bacon and golden raisins. Make a dressing of ½ cup mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar. (This should be enough dressing for a pound or more of broccoli.) Dress mixture and toss with toasted chopped nuts if desired. Season with salt and pepper.

Thurs | Heat with your hands

Seafood Taquitos can be the centerpiece of a finger food meal. In a bowl, combine canned shrimp or crab with sour cream, shredded cheese and a bit of chili powder and ground cumin. Roll the mixture into small corn tortillas, secure with a toothpick and fry in vegetable oil until golden. Drain on paper towels. Serve salsa and guacamole for dunking. Alongside, jicama, melon and watermelon slices.

Fri | Skewer power

Kiss the workweek goodbye with Grilled Beef, Pepper and Onion Skewers. Marinate chunks of sirloin in a sesame-ginger marinade (Newman's Own has a yummy one) for a few hours or even overnight. (Save some marinade to brush on vegetables; don't use what has come in contact with raw meat.) Thread meat with pieces of green or red pepper and onion chunks. Brush with marinade and grill over medium-high heat for about 10 to 12 minutes, flipping halfway. Serve with couscous.

Janet K. Keeler can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8586.

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