Mon | Going meatless
White Bean, Spinach and Fennel Soup is hearty and nourishing, plus delish served with big hunks of bread. To make it, saute 1 diced onion and 1 small sliced fennel bulb in oil until tender. Add 5 cups vegetable broth, 1 (14-ounce) can each drained cannellini beans and diced tomatoes, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, pepper to taste and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until fennel is tender. Discard bay leaf. Add 3 cups spinach and cook until wilted.
Tues | Easy does it
Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings (recipe below) is a recipe that's perfect for cheatin' cooks, of which I am one on busy nights. It's all about convenience and simplicity. Look for low-sodium canned soup and make sure to toss together a veggie-loaded green salad.
Wed | Rotisserie chicken
Chipotle Chicken Tostadas are a delicious hump-day meal. Shred your rotisserie bird and mix with drained pinto beans and at least 1 chopped chipotle in adobo sauce. Heat the mixture on the stove or in the microwave and then pile on crisp tortillas. Top with chopped tomatoes and cabbage and shredded Jack cheese. Serve with lime wedges. Honeydew melon sprinkled with cayenne pepper is a worthy accompaniment.
Thurs | Wrap it up
Make life simple tonight with Ham, Swiss and Apple Wraps, using whole wheat wraps or tortillas. Make a spread of plain yogurt and honey mustard mixed with a few shakes of dill (or some chopped fresh dill) and salt and pepper. Slather generously on wraps and then layer with ham, Swiss cheese and thinly sliced Granny Smith apples. If you want more ice-cold crunch, add romaine leaves. Pasta salad on the side.
Fri | Side trip
Dressing up vegetables can be a challenging chore but a New Jersey housewife has a good suggestion for green beans. Tonight, grill something (steaks, salmon, chicken) and serve it with Balsamic Green Beans from Teresa Giudice's Fabulicious Fast & Fit (Running Press). First, heat 2 tablespoons each extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, 2 finely chopped garlic cloves and salt and pepper in a small saucepan until the garlic is fragrant, about 3 minutes. Do not boil. Remove from heat and let stand while you cook green beans. Transfer cooked beans to a serving bowl and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar mixture. Toss and serve.
Janet K. Keeler can be reached [email protected] or (727) 893-8586.