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Weekday dinner inspirations: Skillet Shepherd's Pie and more

Mon | Rice is nice

Make double the amount of rice you need for tonight and save it for Wednesday's easy casserole. Low Country Shrimp and Rice, from allrecipes.com, is a South Carolina specialty. Make it by sauteing 1 chopped onion in butter. Add a pound of sliced kielbasa and cook for about 5 minutes. Add chopped bell pepper, salt and pepper and 1 1/2 pounds peeled, small shrimp. Cover and cook a few minutes. Remove cover; spread 1 cup cooked rice over top and cook 5 minutes. Fold together until rice has absorbed juices. Serve hot with Worcestershire or soy sauce.

Tues | All in the skillet

Shepherd's Pie is a comfort food favorite and this version (see recipe below) is made completely in a skillet. Use ground beef or lamb, but make sure the frozen potatoes you buy are shredded. Quite easy, love.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

We're all about simple tonight and Chicken and Broccoli Bake meets our needs. Shred the rotisserie bird and mix it with 2 cups cooked rice (left over from Monday), a can of fat-free chicken broth and 2 cups chopped broccoli. Season with salt and pepper and spoon into a 2-quart casserole. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and bake at 325 degrees for about 30 minutes. Broccoli should be tender. Make a salad and call it dinner.

Thurs | Say cheese

Grilled cheese sandwiches are a specialty at our house. Lately, we've been making them with tuna. The standard Tuna Melt. We like the tuna salad stripped to the bare minimum (just mayo), but you can add whatever floats your boat. Serve the sandwiches with a hearty all-veggie soup. Or even the childhood favorite, tomato.

Fri | Mediterranean pie

Get yourself a pizza shell and brush it with extra-virgin olive oil. Let it sit while you saute spinach, minced garlic and onions in more olive oil. Spread spinach mixture on shell and scatter generously with crumbled feta and shredded mozzarella. Add halved kalamata olives and bake according to the package directions. Opa! Mangia!

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

>>easy

Skillet Shepherd's Pie

8 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes (sometimes labeled "country-style")

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Salt and pepper

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (or ground lamb)

1 onion, chopped fine

1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups low-sodium beef broth

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

2 cups frozen peas and carrot medley, thawed

Toss potatoes with 2 tablespoons butter, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in large bowl. Wrap tightly with plastic and microwave until potatoes are tender, 7 to 10 minutes.

While potatoes are cooking, cook beef and onion in large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until beef is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Drain beef mixture in colander.

Return drained beef mixture to pan. Stir in thyme and flour and cook until incorporated, about 1 minute. (At this point, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat broiler.) Stir in broth and Worcestershire and cook until sauce is thickened, 6 to 8 minutes.

Stir in pea and carrot medley and simmer until heated through, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.

Scatter cooked shredded potatoes over beef mixture and brush with remaining butter. Broil until potatoes are golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

Serves 4.

Source: Cook's Country magazine

Weekday dinner inspirations: Skillet Shepherd's Pie and more 12/02/08 [Last modified: Monday, December 8, 2008 11:18am]
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