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Weekday dinner inspirations: Pan-seared scallops, authentic Cubans and more

Mon | Dinner salad

Popcorn Shrimp lends salty crunch to a big green salad. Start with ice-cold iceberg and add diced cucumber and sliced red onion, plus a sprinkling of feta cheese. Drizzle with a creamy Italian dressing. Bake frozen popcorn shrimp and toss on the salad.

Tues | Fancy night in

Pan-Seared Scallops With Bacon and Spinach (recipe below) is a light and flavorful dish that could double as a first course for a fancy dinner. I'd serve it straight up for dinner with warm rolls or a tasty baguette.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

Carve up the bird and serve it with Penne With Lemon Artichoke Pesto. To make the pesto, pulse 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, 8 cloves garlic, 4 tablespoons lemon juice, two shakes cayenne pepper, 1 cup walnuts, 1/3 cup canola oil, 1/3 cup olive oil plus salt to taste in a food processor until smooth. Stir in one 8-ounce package of thawed and chopped frozen artichokes and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese. You'll have enough pesto for a pound of penne.

Thurs | Press on

Make authentic Ybor City Cuban Sandwiches tonight, and that means no mayonnaise, lettuce or tomatoes. (Though who is to stop you from improvising?) The three-pork sandwich (ham, dry salami and roast pork) is grilled on Cuban bread with yellow mustard, Swiss cheese and a dill pickle slice. Not to worry if you don't have a fancy sandwich press. Grill them on the stove with a heavy pan to press them thin. Serve with yellow rice, black beans and plantain chips.

Fri | Here's the beef

New York strip steaks on the grill topped with sauteed mushrooms and onions. A classic baked potato on the side. Cold, cold Caesar on the side of that. Pop a bottle of my new favorite wine, malbec from Argentina. Hello, weekend.

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Pan-Seared Scallops With Bacon

and Spinach

3 center-cut bacon slices

1 1/2 pounds jumbo sea scallops (about 12)

1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

1 cup chopped onion

6 garlic cloves, sliced

12 ounces fresh baby spinach

4 lemon wedges (optional)

Cook bacon in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in pan; coarsely chop bacon and set aside. Increase heat to high.

Pat scallops dry with paper towels. Sprinkle scallops evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Add scallops to drippings in hot pan; cook 2 1/2 minutes on each side or until done. Transfer to a plate; keep warm. Reduce heat to medium-high. Add onion and garlic to pan; saute 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add half of spinach; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add remaining half of spinach; cook 2 minutes or just until wilted, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Divide spinach mixture among 4 plates; top each serving evenly with crumbled bacon and 3 scallops. Serve immediately with lemon wedges, if desired.

Serves 4.

Nutritional information per serving: 323 calories, 45g protein, 23g carbohydrates, 7g fat, 5g fiber, 885mg sodium.

Source: Cooking Light

Weekday dinner inspirations: Pan-seared scallops, authentic Cubans and more 05/11/10 [Last modified: Monday, May 10, 2010 3:35pm]
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