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Weekday dinner inspiration: Spicy Chicken Tagliatelle and more

Mon | Meatless meal

Hash Browned Eggs is a quickie dinner that can be set on the table between soccer practice and homework. To start, you'll need a bag of frozen shredded hash browns. Saute chopped onions and garlic in a large skillet for about 5 minutes. Then add the hash browns and cook according to package instructions. Remove from skillet and keep warm. Fry eggs — one per person — and top each portion of hash browns with an egg. Serve sauteed spinach on the side.

Tues | Melt with you

We're dressing up tuna salad tonight with Tangy Apple Tuna Melts served with fruit salad. Make the tuna salad however you like (mayo, celery and a bit of lemon zest for me) and scoop it onto whole wheat bread that has been buttered on one side. Add thin slices of Granny Smith apples and cheddar cheese, top with the other slice of bread and do the grilled cheese thing.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

Make Chicken Noodle Soup with the shredded meat from one rotisserie bird. I like to cook the noodles in a separate pot and then drain and add to the soup pot. To make the soup, saute chopped onion and celery, plus diced carrots in a bit of olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add lots of chicken broth. Let cook for another 5 minutes with a few shakes of whatever dried leafy seasoning you have in the pantry. (Italian is good, as is tarragon.) Add chicken and cooked noodles and heat through. Biscuits on the side.

Thurs | Fusion fun

Mexican cuisine meets Italian flavor in chipotle-fueled Spicy Chicken Tagliatelle (recipe below). The trick with this recipe is to brown the chicken well before adding to the pasta mix. The recipe calls for boneless, skinless chicken breasts but you could use boneless, skinless thighs, too. Look for either when they are on sale. A green salad topped with creamy avocado on the side.

Fri | Grill-friends

Serve Grilled Marinated Pork Chops with buttered red potatoes mixed with chopped parsley and green beans. Marinate boneless pork loin chops for at least 2 hours in a mixture of ½ cup water, ⅓ cup soy sauce, ¼ cup vegetable oil, 3 tablespoons lemon pepper seasoning and 2 minced garlic cloves. (Thanks, food.com, for the marinade recipe.) Over medium-high heat, chops should be cooked about 7 minutes per side.

Janet K. Keeler can be reached at jkeeler@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8586.

>>EASY

Spicy Chicken Tagliatelle

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 onion, finely chopped

1 large garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 (13-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 or 2 teaspoons chipotle paste (see note)

Salt and pepper

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

14 ounces uncooked tagliatelle

Chopped cilantro leaves to garnish

Sour cream to garnish

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a saucepan, add the onion and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until softened. Stir in the tomato paste, diced tomatoes and chipotle paste. Simmer for 20 minutes, add a little water if needed, then season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, rub the remaining oil over the chicken breasts and season well. Heat a griddle pan until smoking, add the chicken and cook for 7 minutes on each side or until lightly charred and cooked through. (If chicken pieces are thick, cut them in half lengthwise to make thinner pieces.) You could also grill or broil the chicken.

Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain, reserving a little cooking water. Stir through the tomato sauce, adding a little cooking water to loosen if needed.

Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and stir through the pasta. Spoon into serving bowls, sprinkle with the cilantro and serve with dollops of sour cream.

Note: Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce can easily be made into a paste by working a small amount with the back of a fork. Freeze remainder of peppers and sauce in a well-sealed container.

Serves 4.

Source: Quick Cook Pasta by Emma Lewis (Hatchette UK, 2012)

Weekday dinner inspiration: Spicy Chicken Tagliatelle and more 09/11/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 5:30am]
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