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Weekday dinner inspiration: Penne With Pistachio Pesto and White Beans and more

Mon | Meatless Monday

Who says pesto has to be made from basil and pine nuts? Penne With Pistachio Pesto and White Beans (recipe below) calls for peppery arugula and pistachios to make the herb sauce for pasta. The white beans add flavor and up the fiber. A great one-dish meal.

Tues | Dinner in a hurry

Shopping! That's on the agenda tonight, so slap together a quick meal and get your walking shoes on. Make Turkey Sausage and Gnocchi Soup by first browning 6 ounces bulk turkey sausage. Add 2 cups water, 16 ounces frozen gnocchi, a 14-ounce can of chicken broth and a 14-ounce can of Italian-style stewed tomatoes, chopped and with juice. Simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese. Salad on the side and soft rolls.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

Use your bird to make Barbecue Chicken Salad. Pile up some soft lettuce leaves and mix with chopped fresh cilantro, corn kernels, black beans and chopped tomatoes. Make a dressing of equal parts barbecue sauce and Ranch dressing. Dress the salad, sprinkle with canned fried onions and then layer on shredded chicken. Cook up some frozen Texas toast.

Thurs | Light the candles

My go-to Tangy Stuffed Chicken Breasts are fabulous weeknight fare. Fancy even. Cut pockets in boneless, skinless chicken breasts and stuff with a spoonful of chutney and a thick slice of sharp cheddar. Secure with a toothpick if needed. Brown on both sides in oil in an ovenproof skillet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. I like couscous studded with small, steamed broccoli florets on the side.

Fri | Go ahead, gloat

It may be freezing up North, but the weather is just fine here, thank you. Fire up the grill for Roasted Veggies and Shrimp Skewers. Brush halved onions and green peppers with olive oil with chopped garlic and toss them on the grates first. Use the same garlicky oil for the shrimp skewers. Three to four minutes on each side and they're done. Serve with rice garnished with chopped scallions.

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

>>MODERATE

Penne With Pistachio Pesto

and White Beans

8 ounces uncooked penne pasta

1 ½ cups packed fresh arugula leaves

¼ cup roasted shelled pistachios

6 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 ½ cups chopped seeded peeled tomato

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

¼ cup (1 ounce) shredded fresh pecorino Romano cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain again.

Combine arugula, pistachios and garlic in a food processor; process until finely chopped. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil to pan, and swirl to coat. Add aurgula mixture and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in pasta, tomato, salt, pepper and beans; cook for 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, tossing to combine. Remove from heat. Place about 1 ¼ cups pasta mixture in each of four bowls, and top each serving with 1 tablespoon cheese.

Serves 4.

Nutritional information per serving: 423 calories, 14g fat, 16g protein, 60g carbohydrates, 7g fiber, 613mg sodium.

Source: Adapted from Cooking Light

Weekday dinner inspiration: Penne With Pistachio Pesto and White Beans and more 12/06/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 6, 2011 3:30am]

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