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Stir Crazy

Weekday dinner inspirations: Grilled Vegetable Salad and more

Mon | Cheap eats

Buy one, get one free deals — we'll call them BOGOs from here on out — are popular at grocery stores these days, with dried pasta one of the most common offerings. Get yourself a couple of boxes of bowties and use one for tonight's Pasta With Sausage and Peppers. While the pasta is cooking, brown a pound of spicy bulk sausage; add chopped onions and bell peppers and cook for about 5 minutes. Drain off fat and add 1 can of chopped tomatoes with liquid and 1/2 cup of beef stock. Heat through and add the mixture to the pasta. You should have enough to feed four with leftovers.

Tue | Thigh high

Marinate a mess of chicken thighs in a bottle of Italian dressing. (Look on the fridge door for what you've forgotten you have.) Or maybe you've got marinade in the pantry. The chicken can swim all day or pick up flavor in about an hour. Grill the thighs and serve with stewed tomatoes and rice.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

Call your relatives up North and brag that you're grilling outside for the second night in a row. Now make Grilled Vegetable Salad (recipe below) and serve it with the rotisserie chicken of your choice (we like lemon pepper).

Thur | Color your dinner

Make a big green salad in a wide, shallow serving bowl and make sure it's full of colorful veggies . . . maybe even some roasted beets. Dress the salad lightly with a balsamic vinaigrette. Saute plump pink shrimp or scallops (maybe both) and scatter them over the top. Serve with breadsticks.

Fri | Avast ye mateys

In honor of the Gasparilla pirate invasion Saturday in Tampa, make a meal that pirate Jose Gaspar would love. Well, we don't really know what the legendary pirate ate, but we like Cuban sandwiches. Make them at home with Cuban bread and sliced roast pork, ham, salami, Swiss cheese and thinly sliced pickles. Don't forget the yellow mustard. You'll have to walk the plank if you add mayo or tomato. Press in a skillet with the weight of another frying pan. Serve with black beans and yellow rice. Vigo makes a convenient version in a bag. Just add water and cook.

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

>>easy

Grilled Vegetable Salad

1/3 cup light olive oil, divided use

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons whole-grain Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 hearts romaine lettuce, halved lengthwise

2 zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

2 yellow squash, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

1 large sweet onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Cover and chill.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

Pour remaining olive oil in a small bowl. Brush cut sides of romaine lettuce with a small amount of oil. Place romaine, cut side down, on preheated grill. Grill for 1 to 2 minutes, or just until cut side of romaine begins to wilt. Place grilled romaine, cut side up, on each of 4 serving plates.

Brush both sides of zucchini, squash, onion and tomatoes with small amount of oil. Place on preheated grill and grill for 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until vegetables begin to soften. Remove from grill and place in a large bowl. Add olive oil mixture, tossing gently to coat. Divide vegetables evenly over prepared romaine. Sprinkle each evenly with feta cheese. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Source: Cooking With Paula Deen

Weekday dinner inspirations: Grilled Vegetable Salad and more 02/03/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 3, 2009 3:30am]

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