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Weekday dinner inspiration: Lemony Pasta With Goat Cheese and Spinach and more

Mon | Meatless meal

Soft goat cheese mixed with the water the pasta was cooked in makes a light, creamy sauce for Lemony Pasta With Goat Cheese and Spinach (recipe below). The recipe calls for a healthy amount of cilantro, which isn't everyone's favorite herb. If you'd like to leave it out, go ahead. You might add more fresh parsley and another leafy herb, such as tarragon. (A bit of that licorice-flavored herb goes a long way . . . 1/3 cup will do.)

Tues | Stuff it

Brie-Ham Stuffed Baked Potato with a green salad is a satisfying weeknight dinner you can make quickly if you bake the potatoes the night before. If not, plan on about an hour at 400 degrees for 4 large russets. For each potato, saute 4 ounces of diced ham in olive oil until browned. Cut open a hot potato and scoop the ham inside. Top with slices of Brie cheese. Place in a 400-degree oven to melt, about 5 minutes. Top with chopped chives. (Warning: If you use monster potatoes, you'll need more filling.)

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

I've suggested this meal before, but it bears repeating. Shred the meat for Tortilla Chicken Soup and set aside. Heat 1 quart of chicken broth and add 2 chicken bouillon cubes, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 can diced tomatoes with garlic and a diced jalapeno pepper for heat. Add the chicken. Garnish with slices of avocado and crushed tortilla chips or strips. Serve with warm corn bread.

Thurs | From the sea

Sea scallops are my favorite shellfish, and when I feel like splurging, I prepare them simply by breading slightly and sauteing in a mixture of olive oil and butter. Squeeze with lemon and they are deliciously done. Serve it with rice mixed with chopped fresh parsley and steamed asparagus garnished with lemon zest.

Fri | The wedge

Grill your favorite steak and serve with a Wedge Salad made with homemade blue cheese dressing. You can adorn the salad with sliced scallions and bacon crumbles if you'd like, but it's the dressing that will draw the praise. To make it, mix equal parts buttermilk and mayonnaise and then add crumbles of blue cheese — I like Gorgonzola — and season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Save some cheese to sprinkle on salad. The dressing will keep for about 5 days in the fridge.

Janet K. Keeler can be reached at or (727) 893-8586.


Lemony Pasta With Goat Cheese and Spinach

Salt and pepper

¾ pound spaghettini or spaghetti

4 ounces fresh goat cheese

10 ounces baby spinach

3 cups fresh parsley, chopped

2 cups fresh cilantro, chopped

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon juice

½ cups toasted walnuts, chopped

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 2 cups pasta water, then drain.

In pot, stir together goat cheese and 1 cup pasta water over medium. Add pasta, spinach, parsley, cilantro, lemon zest and juice and more pasta water if necessary to create a light sauce that coasts pasta. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with walnuts and serve.

Serves 4.

Nutritional information per serving: 503 calories, 16g fat, 21g protein, 74g carbohydrates and 8g fiber.

Source: Everyday Food, November 2012

Weekday dinner inspiration: Lemony Pasta With Goat Cheese and Spinach and more 10/30/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 4:30am]
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