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Weekday dinner inspirations: Fall Braised Chicken and more

Mon | Taco night

Make tacos using ground beef and a packet of taco seasonings. Offer toppings such as ripe tomatoes, ice cold lettuce, Vidalia onions, cheese, guacamole, sour cream, cilantro leaves and lime wedges for punch. Rice and beans on the side. Sliced melon, too.

Tues | Food Network homage

The Food Network's new mag hits newsstands today with a lot of inspiration, including a roasted broccoli recipe that can be served alongside anything. Toss 3-inch spears with 3 smashed garlic cloves, a pinch of red pepper flakes and 3 tablespoons of sesame (or olive) oil. Roast on a baking sheet for 15 minutes at 450 degrees. Top with a handful of sliced almonds.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

How about a big, messy bowl of chicken Alfredo tonight? Heat store-bought Alfredo sauce and add shredded chicken from the rotisserie bird. Throw in a handful of frozen peas. Serve over fettuccine and garnish with big curls of Parmesan and fresh parsley.

Thurs | We're broke stew

Rice and Bean Soup is easy on the wallet. Saute onion and garlic in oil, add 1 cup of rice and brown slightly. Pour in 2 cups water and 4 cups chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, add 2 teaspoons of dried herbs (basil, oregano, thyme or a mixture), diced carrots, a can each of diced tomatoes and Great Northern beans and cook 20 minutes. Serve with bread and butter.

Fri | In praise of braise

Chicken Braised With Pumpkin, White Beans and Spinach (recipe below) is sort of involved for a weeknight dinner, but maybe you can sneak out of the office a little early.

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Chicken Braised With Pumpkin,

White Beans and Spinach

4 chicken drumsticks

4 chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 pounds of chicken, total)

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

4 slices bacon

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 shallots sliced thin (or 1/4 cup minced yellow onions)

1 cup dry white wine

3 cups chicken stock

½ cup canned pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon ground sage or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage

1 can (15.5-ounce) white beans

8 cups spinach (about 1 1/2 bags of prewashed)

Trim fat from thighs. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and set aside. In large saute pan with tight-fitting lid, saute bacon over medium heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels. Crumble and set aside. Add olive oil to pan and warm. Add chicken, skin side down. Cook chicken, turning, until skin is nicely browned, about 4 minutes per side. Add garlic and shallots to pan and saute for 2 to 3 minutes, until fragrant.

Pour wine in pan and bring to a boil, scraping up brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Boil for 2 minutes until wine is slightly reduced. Add chicken stock, pumpkin puree and ground sage; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 40 minutes.

Add beans to pan, cover and simmer an additional 15 minutes. (If using fresh sage, add here.)

Remove chicken to a plate and reserve. Bring sauce to a boil and cook until reduced and thickened, about 10 minutes. Add spinach to sauce and stir. Return chicken to pot, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes until heated through. Spinach should be wilted but still bright green. Stir in bacon pieces.

Serves 4.

Nutrition information per serving: 600 calories, 31g fat (8g saturated), 22g carbohydrate; 51g protein.

Source: National Chicken Council

Weekday dinner inspirations: Fall Braised Chicken and more 10/14/08 [Last modified: Friday, October 17, 2008 5:14pm]
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