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Weekday dinner inspirations: Hot Sausage Spoon Bread and more

Mon | Easy Italian

Make a quick pasta sauce by sauteing garlic in olive oil to start. Season with salt and pepper, then add 2 small cans (or 1 large can) of diced tomatoes. Sprinkle in some hot pepper flakes — you know how hot you want it. Heat until bubbling and slightly reduced. Serve over whole wheat pasta of your choice and garnish with lots of grated Parmesan cheese and ribbons of fresh basil. Serve sauteed broccoli rabe or broccolini on the side.

Tues | Comfort dining

That nip in the air last week put us in the mind of soup, that all-comforting food. This Potato Chowder from the Food Network is a soul-satisfying offering. To make it, saute 2 or 3 slices chopped bacon; add 2 tablespoons butter, 2 sliced leeks and 2 teaspoons each sage and thyme. Add 4 cups chicken broth, 1 1/2 cups cream (slim it down with a nonfat version or even condensed milk — not the sweetened kind), a bay leaf and 3 chopped potatoes. Simmer until tender; top with chives. Serve with a simple green salad and breadsticks.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

Hot and Cold Chicken Salad is a throw-together entree salad that starts with the shredded meat of one rotisserie chicken. Make a large green salad with whatever you'd like in it and dress with ranch dressing. Warm the shredded chicken and mix with hot wing sauce to taste. Layer over cold salad and add some crunchy croutons. Serve with rolls.

Thurs | Southern swell

Sometimes, you've just got to break the mold of the traditional dinner. Serve Hot Sausage Spoon Bread (recipe below) tonight with green beans and stewed tomatoes. If you don't already, you'll be saying "y'all" by the time dinner is over.

Fri | TGIB

Thanks goodness it's barbecue. Barbecue Sandwiches, that is. Warm thinly sliced deli roast beef and then bathe in your choice of barbecue sauce. Pile high on a soft roll and top with coleslaw. Serve fruit salad on the side.

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Hot Sausage Spoon Bread

3 cups milk, whole or low-fat but not skim

1 cup self-rising cornmeal

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 pound hot pork sausage, cooked, crumbled and drained

4 eggs, separated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish and place in the oven while it preheats.

Meanwhile, pour the milk into a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Gradually add cornmeal and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cook 4 minutes and add the butter, sugar and salt. Cool 4 minutes then add the cooked sausage. Beat the egg yolks and add to the cornmeal mixture.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold into the cornmeal mixture and transfer to the prepared baking dish. Bake 45 minutes or until top is golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes and serve warm.

Serves 8 as a side dish; 4 as entree.

Source: The Complete Southern Cookbook by Tammy Algood (Running Press, 2010)

Weekday dinner inspirations: Hot Sausage Spoon Bread and more 10/12/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 5:30am]

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