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 firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8586.