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Weekday dinner inspirations: Cream of Chicken and Rice Soup and more

Mon | Burger bash

Cheddar-Stuffed Burgers is a dandy way to cap a busy Monday. Tuck a good-size cheese slice (no singles!) in the middle of the patty before cooking. Dress them old school: lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles and mustard and ketchup. Seeded buns, please. Corn on the cob and fruit salad.

Tue | Show your chops

Fire up the grill for Barbecued Pork Chops. Buy whatever kind your wallet allows, but watch how long they cook. The lean mean dries out fast. In the last few minutes of cooking, brush them on each side with barbecue sauce. Serve with grilled veggies and a pasta salad.

Wed | Rotisserie Chicken

Cream of Chicken and Rice Soup (recipe below) will transform your entire house into a palace of delicious aromas. Use both white and dark meat from the chicken. Serve with rolls.

Thur | Takeout Thai

You'd be surprised how far a couple of orders of pad Thai from your favorite restaurant will go. Pile them on a big platter and four or five people will be satisfied. Bake some frozen egg rolls to serve alongside.

Fri | Pizza Night

Tonight, a tube of refrigerated pizza dough is your friend and Chicken and Artichoke Pizza will become your BFF. Press the dough into a pizza pan. Spread it with 1/4 cup of creamy Caesar dressing that's been mixed with a few tablespoons of grated Parmesan. Top with cooked chicken cubes, marinated artichoke hearts (drained and coarsely chopped), chopped Roma tomatoes and about 1 1/2 cups of shredded Fontina or Jack cheese. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in a 400-degree oven.

Read Stir Crazy online at www.blogs.tampabay.com/food. Submit your ideas for quick weeknight meals to jkeeler@sptimes.com.

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Signature Dish is published periodically in Taste. If you have a recipe that you would like featured or would like to nominate other home cooks and their dishes, please e-mail the information to features@sptimes.com with a name and daytime phone number. Include SIGNATURE DISH in the subject line. Nominations can be mailed to Taste, St. Petersburg Times, 490 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.

>>easy

Cream of Chicken and Rice Soup

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 cups sliced mushrooms (about 4 ounces)

3/4 cup chopped celery

3/4 cup chopped carrots

1/4 cup chopped shallots (or sweet onion such as Vidalia)

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 cup quick-cooking rice

3 cups shredded cooked chicken

1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add mushrooms, celery, carrots and shallots and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add flour, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes more.

Add broth and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add rice and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until the rice is tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in chicken, sour cream and parsley and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes more.

Makes 4 servings (about 1 3/4 cups each).

Nutritional information per serving: 354 calories, 9g fat (3g saturated), 27g carbohydrates, 36g protein, 3g fiber, 378mg sodium.

Source: Eating Well magazine

Weekday dinner inspirations: Cream of Chicken and Rice Soup and more 10/28/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 28, 2008 4:30am]

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