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Weekday dinner inspirations: Swedish meatloaf and more

Mon | Wrap them up

Load up your Bean Burritos with refried beans heated with salsa, shredded pepper Jack cheese, chopped tomatoes, lettuce, scallions and guacamole. Make a salad of seasonal fruit dressed with vanilla yogurt and a few shakes of cayenne pepper.

Tues | Get your motor running

Do some carbo-loading tonight to prepare for a marathon gift-wrapping session. Easy Chicken Parmigiana starts with boneless, skinless chicken breasts dipped in beaten egg, dredged in flour and sauteed on both sides in olive oil. (Use an oven-proof skillet.) Let brown, then cover with your favorite red sauce, slices of mozzarella and a handful of grated Parmesan cheese. Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Heat extra sauce and serve with linguine.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

I've been on a collards kick lately and want my obsession to spread. Get your chicken, carve it, then serve it with Southern-Style Collard Greens. Brown 4 slices of diced bacon, remove to paper towel. Saute one chopped, diced onion in the rendered fat. Add 1 large bag of chopped collards, 2 cups of chicken broth and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain and return to pan, add a bit of butter, salt and pepper and scatter with bacon pieces.

Thurs | Living on the edge

Okay, so you've got your favorite meatloaf recipe, but that doesn't rule out a little experimentation, does it? Try Swedish Meatloaf (recipe below), which mimics the sweetness of the tiny meatballs. Forget the mashed potatoes; serve this loaf with red potatoes that have been boiled, buttered and topped with parsley.

Fri | Peel and eat

Boil up some big shrimp, shells and all, and pile them in a serving bowl, for a hands-on Shrimp and Salad dinner. Set out cocktail sauce for dipping, plus a Caesar salad and a loaded potato (or macaroni salad).

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>>EASY

Swedish Meatloaf

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

½ cup ketchup

1 ½ teaspoons prepared mustard, preferably spicy

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 pounds ground beef

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup cornflakes

2 teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 onion, finely chopped

Combine sugar, ketchup, mustard, vinegar and nutmeg in a medium saucepan. Cook, stirring, over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside.

Crumble beef into a large bowl. Add eggs, cornflakes, salt, pepper, parsley and onion. Add half of the sauce mixture. Mix gently but well.

Shape meat mixture into a loaf, place on a baking tray and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven, top with the remaining sauce, return to oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until done.

Serves 6.

Nutritional information per serving: 280 calories, 14g fat (5g saturated), 22g protein, 17g carbohydrates, trace fiber, 860mg sodium.

Source: Anne Allen of Kirkwood, Mo., via St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Weekday dinner inspirations: Swedish meatloaf and more 12/14/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 14, 2010 3:30am]
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