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Weekday dinner inspirations: Chicken taco bar, Cubano Dogs

Mon | A cup of soup

Pair Black Bean Soup (use a favorite canned one or make one from a kit that comes with all the spices) with a bright citrus salad and hunky bread for a light meal. Use tender red lettuce leaves and mix with tangerine slices and small pinches of goat cheese. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and dress with a citrus vinaigrette.

Tues | Tasty day

I know, I know. It's getting hot and humid and Sausage and Mushroom Fettuccine sounds too heavy, but still, it sounds so good. Crank up the AC and while water boils and pasta cooks, make the sauce. Brown a pound of bulk Italian sausage, then add sliced mushrooms and scallions plus red pepper flakes. Cook until veggies are soft. Add 1 can of diced tomatoes. Drain pasta and add to the sauce. Add black pepper if you want more kick. Green salad on the side.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

How about a chicken taco bar tonight? Shred the chicken and keep it warm, then arrange bowls of thinly sliced scallions, lime wedges, shredded Monterey Jack cheese, sliced tomatoes, sour cream and guacamole. Warm flour tortillas. Prepare a simple guacamole by mixing smashed avocados with a favorite salsa. (Or buy a prepared version. I like Yucatan.) Dress a salad of corn kernels, red and green bell peppers and red onion with an olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Thurs | No recipe needed

Instincts are your biggest assets for Chicken With Tomatoes and Wine. You won't need measuring cups or spoons. Saute thin chicken cutlets in olive oil and minced garlic. When pieces are brown on both sides, add a healthy splash of white wine, a couple of squeezes of lemon, some capers and a handful of cherry or grape tomatoes. Cover and cook until the tomatoes go soft. Serve with sauteed spinach and slices of ripe melon.

Fri | Food fight!

Cook up some Cubano Dogs (recipe below) tonight for a new spin on the Cuban sandwich. At least for tonight, you can put aside the Miami versus Tampa sandwich debate. This is a Rachael Ray recipe so you know it's creative, and maybe slightly goofy. Serve with black beans and yellow rice plus plantain chips.

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

>>EASY

Cubano Dogs

8 all-natural pork or beef hot dogs or knockwursts

8 hot dog rolls, soft hoagie rolls or 6-inch sub rolls, split but not cut all the way through

Yellow mustard

1 (4-ounce) can pickled jalapenos (hot) or green chilies (mild), drained well and finely chopped

8 slices deli-sliced mild ham

8 thin slices Swiss cheese

8 pickle spears

Preheat the broiler.

Heat a griddle or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Split the dogs or knockwurst but do not cut through. Grill them until crispy on both sides.

Arrange the rolls on a baking sheet. Top the rolls with lots of mustard, chopped chilies, ham and Swiss cheese. Broil just long enough to melt the cheese. Nestle a dog and pickle spear on top of the melted cheese in each roll.

Serves 8.

Source: The Book of Burger by Rachael Ray (Atria, 2012)

Weekday dinner inspirations: Chicken taco bar, Cubano Dogs 06/05/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 5, 2012 5:30am]

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