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Weekday dinner inspiration: Mix your pasta and your greens

Mon | Going meatless

Spaghetti With Broccoli Rabe and White Beans (recipe below) makes use of the Italian bitter green, softening its bite with balsamic vinegar. Kale or broccolini would be an apt substitute in this meatless dish.

Tues | Oom-pah-pah

It's October and that means Oktoberfest! Buy some sturdy seasonal German beer — look for Paulaner, Spaten or Weihenstephan — and cook up some sausages and sauerkraut. More beer in the stewing liquid plus a few shakes of caraway seeds. Don't forget the whole grain mustard. Potato salad — with Marie's German Potato Salad Dressing if you can find it and crumbled bacon — on the side.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

Carve up a couple of barbecue-flavored rotisserie birds and serve with fresh corn on the cob. Rather than butter, try brushing corn with extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle each ear with 1 to 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan. A salad of creamy avocado and tomato dressed with balsamic vinaigrette rounds out the meal.

Thurs | Easy fix

Make Shrimp Po' boys on split and toasted lengths of Cuban bread using frozen fried shrimp that's been baked according to package directions. Dress your sandwiches to your own likes, but crunchy, cold lettuce and ripe tomato slices are typical. Mayonnaise or tartar sauce on the bread. Prepared cole slaw might even sub for all of the above. Some crispy on the side ... like chips.

Fri | DIY pies

Make Your Own Pizza Night starts with prebaked packaged pizza crust and prepared pizza sauce. Consider these toppings: fresh mozzarella and basil leaves; green peppers, cooked sausage crumbles and shredded mozzarella; ham and pineapple, and my very favorite, pepperoni and black olives. Make a green salad on the side.

Sign up for Easy Meal Ideas from Janet's Kitchen at enews.tampabay.com. Get a free recipe e-mailed to you every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Submit your ideas for quick weeknight meals to jkeeler@sptimes.com.

>>easy

Spaghetti With Broccoli Rabe

and White Beans

8 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

1 bunch (1 1/4 pounds) broccoli rabe, tough ends trimmed, coarsely chopped

1 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

1 can (15.5 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the spaghetti and cook according to package directions. Drain the spaghetti and return to the cooking pot.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, salt and pepper flakes. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring, until the onion begins to soften.

Stir in the broccoli rabe and broth. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 10 minutes, or until the broccoli rabe has darkened in color. Stir in the beans and vinegar, and cook to heat through.

Pour the broccoli rabe mixture over the cooked spaghetti, and toss to combine. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the cheese and toss well. Garnish each portion with 1 tablespoon of the remaining cheese.

Serves 4.

Nutritional information per serving: 370 calories, 6g fat, 64g carbohydrates, 11g fiber, 18g protein, 510mg sodium.

Source: 400 Calorie Fix Cookbook by Liz Vaccariello (Rodale, 2011)

Weekday dinner inspiration: Mix your pasta and your greens 10/04/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 4, 2011 9:18am]

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