While the cat's away, the mice still have to eat. This Stir Crazy column first ran on July 30, 2008. New columns resume next week.
Mon | Fridge cleaner
The family will think you're crazy if you serve Popsicles for dinner, but doesn't that sound good on a hot summer night? Chef salad is the ticket tonight. Use what you have in the fridge: cold cuts or leftover meat, cheeses, carrots, squash, scallions, radishes, avocado, cucumber, pickled beets (just kidding). Hard-boil eggs in the morning and chill them in time for dinner. Pile high on iceberg with dressing of choice. Crackers and rolls on the side.
Tues | Jump start
"Saute" comes from the French word for "jump," and in cooking it means the pan is so hot that the food literally hops around. Make shrimp and scallops dance by sauteing them in olive oil. Flavor with lots of lemon (juice and zest) plus capers at the end of cooking. Serve with asparagus and wild rice.
Wed | Rotisserie chicken
If your grocery store makes mojo-flavored birds, grab a couple and serve them with Black Bean Succotash (recipe below). There is plenty of flavor and color, owing to the green, red and yellow peppers. If the price is too much for the pepper trinity, just use green. It'll change the flavor but still be plenty tasty.
Thurs | Sophisticated
Okay, maybe kids won't like Warm Spinach Salad With Fried Egg and Potatoes, a la Martha Stewart, but I do. Saute small cubes of potato in olive oil (you could even use frozen); season with salt and pepper. Make a dressing of 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard and 1 minced shallot. When potatoes are done, put them in a bowl with a bag of baby spinach; the heat will wilt the leaves. Plate salad individually and serve with a fried egg on the top. So posh.
Fri | Deep freeze
Get help from the freezer at the end of a busy week. Make meatball pizza by thawing and halving frozen meatballs and placing them, flat side down, on your favorite cheese pizza. Add more cheese for good measure. Cook the pizza according to package instructions. 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.