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Weekday dinner inspirations: Lentil Salad With Walnuts and Scallions, and more

Mon | Dinner salad

After more than 400 dinner ideas since Stir Crazy began in May 2008, it's time for a little recycling. If you didn't try this Sesame Seafood Salad the first time around, give it a whirl now. Look for tuna or salmon chunks (they're cheaper) at the fish counter. Season with salt and pepper and saute them in a bit of olive oil until a brown crust develops on all sides. Serve over a bed of greens with sliced red onions and strips of green, yellow or red pepper dressed with sesame vinaigrette. Crispy bread sticks are a good foil.

Tues | Fusion sandwich

We're mixing our cuisines tonight with Cuban Reubens served with sweet potato fries. (We like the Alexia frozen brand, which has a new spicy variety.) To make the sandwiches, first prepare a sauce of mayonnaise, chili sauce and pickle relish plus a bit of lemon juice, salt and pepper. Make the grilled sandwiches on Cuban bread with sliced corned beef, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut. Butter the bread just like you would a grilled cheese sandwich.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

Carve the bird and serve it with Lentil Salad With Walnuts and Scallions (recipe below). With nearly 70 grams of protein per serving, this salad could easily fit the bill for vegetarians. It's wonderful at room temperature so it also makes a great potluck dish. The recipe calls for green lentils, which hold their shape better than brown.

Thurs | Thyme for dinner

Let's use up more of the fresh thyme you bought for yesterday's lentil salad in Fingerling Potatoes With Thyme. Serve them with grilled pork chops or beef and a green salad. To make the potatoes, add water to cover the fingerlings, then add salt and pepper plus two large sprigs of thyme. Bring to a boil then reduce and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and discard thyme sprigs. Butter potatoes and sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves.

Fri | Stick it!

Skewer some shrimp and scallops, interspersed with cherry tomatoes and onion chunks. Brush them with olive oil laced with minced garlic and a few shakes of dried Italian herbs for your Shellfish Kebabs. Toss on the grill, then serve with couscous mixed with chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley.

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>>MODERATE

Lentil Salad With Walnuts and Scallions

1 cup (about 7 ounces) green lentils, rinsed and picked through to remove any pebbles

1/2 onion, halved with peel left on

2 bay leaves

1 large sprig fresh thyme

Salt

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Pepper

1/2 cup jarred roasted red peppers, drained, patted dry and finely chopped

1/4 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped

2 scallions, sliced thin

Bring 4 cups water, lentils, onion, bay leaves, thyme and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the lentils are tender but still hold their shape, 25 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk the vinegar, oil, mustard and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in a small bowl and set aside.

Drain the lentils, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, and discard the onion, bay leaves and thyme. Transfer the lentils to a medium bowl. Toss the warm lentils with the vinaigrette and cool to room temperature.

Add the reserved cooking liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time as needed, until the lentils are well coated. Stir in the roasted red peppers, walnuts and scallions, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Serves 6.

Nutritional information per serving: 180 calories, 8g fat, 22g carbohydrates, 67g protein, 5g fiber, 210mg sodium.

Source: Light & Healthy 2010 from America's Test Kitchen (2009)

Weekday dinner inspirations: Lentil Salad With Walnuts and Scallions, and more 01/26/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 26, 2010 3:30am]

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