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Weeknight dinner inspiration: Escarole, Fontina and Black Olive Pizza and more

Mon | Meatless meal

Use store-bought pizza dough or make your own for Escarole, Fontina and Black Olive Pizza (recipe below). Escarole is a sturdy green with a slight bitter taste that eases up when it's cooked. Mustard greens, arugula or curly endive could be substituted.

Tues | Love those leftovers

Got some leftover cooked rice from the weekend's Chinese takeout? Make a simple Pork Fried Rice. Start by cutting ½ pound of pork tenderloin into cubes. Sear the pork in oil over high heat, then add a couple of slices of scallions, some diced carrots and a couple of minced garlic cloves. Saute for a few minutes. Add your rice — about 4 cups — and a handful of frozen peas. When the peas are cooked through, season mixture with rice wine vinegar and soy sauce. Serve baked frozen egg rolls on the side.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

You just can't have broiled tomatoes enough. Heck, they cost as much as steak it seems, so why not make them the main event? Carve the rotisserie bird to serve with the tomatoes. Spread cut side of halved tomatoes with Dijon mustard then sprinkle with grated Swiss cheese. Mix dried bread crumbs with capers, any chopped herbs you have on hand and a bit of melted butter. Sprinkle mixture on top of tomatoes and broil for 3 to 4 minutes.

Thurs | Freezer hunt

Scour the freezer in the morning to see what bits of meat you've got in there. Let's see . . . a chicken breast, two Italian sausages, two pork chops and a ½ pound of shrimp? Thaw and cook outside tonight for a mixed grill platter. Season all with a brush of olive oil and salt and pepper beforehand. Serve with a leafy green salad laced with feta cheese crumbles and toasted pine nuts. A bright balsamic vinaigrette brings it all to life.

Fri | No measuring cups needed

No need to be exact for my favorite quick meal, Chicken With Smooshed Tomatoes. Saute thin chicken cutlets (or split those monster chicken breasts lengthwise) in olive oil and minced garlic. When pieces are brown on both sides, add a healthy splash of white wine, a couple of squeezes of lemon, some capers and a handful of cherry or grape tomatoes. Cover and cook until the tomatoes go soft. Serve with mashed potatoes that mingle with the sauce.

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Escarole, Fontina and Black Olive Pizza

Pizza dough for a 14-inch pie

½ head of escarole

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling

Coarse salt

½ cup grated Italian fontina cheese

cup (or more depending

on taste) pitted, black

oil-cured olives

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll the dough into a circle or square, whatever shape you'd like. If you have a pizza stone, let it warm in the oven as it heats. If not, scatter cornmeal on a baking sheet and place the dough there to rest. (If using a stone, sprinkle with cornmeal after it's heated or the cornmeal will burn.)

While the dough rests, prepare toppings. Rinse escarole. Coarsely chop the wet leaves (you should have about 8 cups). Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the wet leaves, season to taste with

salt and cook, stirring often, until the leaves are limp, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Drain the escarole, then scatter the leaves, the fontina cheese and the olives over the prepared dough. Bake the pizza until the cheese is melted, 6 to 8 minutes, and the edges of dough are puffed and golden. Remove from oven, drizzle with more olive oil if you'd like and let sit for about 5 minutes before cutting.

Serves 2 to 3.

Source: Adapted from Canal House Cooks Every Day by Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer (Andrews McMeel Universal, 2012)

Weeknight dinner inspiration: Escarole, Fontina and Black Olive Pizza and more 10/23/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 4:30am]
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