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Weekday dinner inspiration: Buttermilk Corn Bread and more

Weekday dinner inspiration

BY HEATHER FINSTER, tb-two*

Mon | Meatless meal

Strawberry season is a great time to make Strawberry Balsamic Salad. Saute 1 cup chopped strawberries in 4 tablespoons olive oil and 6 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar. Add 1 cup coarsely chopped, sauteed portobello mushrooms. Let cool, or serve warm over mixed greens with warm rolls.

Tues | Stir it up

Veggies, chicken, egg and rice make up a filling Peanut Stir-Fry. Heat 1/4 cup coconut oil in a large saucepan with 3 to 4 tablespoons soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of crunchy peanut butter. Saute cubed chicken breast until cooked all the way through. While chicken is cooking, prepare 4 servings of rice. To chicken mixture, add 3 tablespoons minced garlic, half of a chopped onion, and half a cup chopped bell peppers. Add 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables. Crack 2 eggs into the pan and scramble them in the last 3 minutes of cooking. Serve stir-fry on a bed of hot rice.

Weds | Pizza party

Work ready-made pizza dough into an approximately 12-inch circle. For Chicken Pesto Pizza, saute 2 chicken breasts and 1/2 chopped red onion in a well-greased saucepan until just cooked. Spread 3/4 cup pesto on pizza dough and top with diced cooked chicken, red onions, and 1 cup shredded mozzarella. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, until dough is cooked through.

Thurs | Cheers for chicken

Chicken Parmesan Sandwiches are a great way to satisfy even the pickiest eaters (including teenagers or their younger siblings). For each sandwich, microwave 2 to 3 frozen chicken strips (or chicken nuggets) as directed on package with a generous 1/2 cup of tomato sauce and sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Cover with a paper towel to avoid splattering. Brush one side of 2 slices of bread with olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Put the chicken on the unseasoned sides and sprinkle on mozzarella. Cook on a panini press or a well-greased skillet until the bread is toasted and cheese is bubbly.

Friday | Slow Cooker Mexican

This hearty Taco Soup makes great leftovers. Mix a large can diced tomatoes, two cans of corn (one white and one yellow) and four drained cans of your favorite beans (I suggest a mixture of garbanzo beans, red kidney beans, black beans and pinto beans) in a slow cooker. Brown 1 pound ground beef in a skillet, drain the fat and add to soup. Add 1 cup water and 1 package taco seasoning. Cook for 8 hours on low heat and serve warm Grandmother's Buttermilk Cornbread (recipe below).

Heather Finster is a junior at St. Petersburg Catholic High School.

Mon | Meatless meal

Strawberry season is a great time to make Strawberry Balsamic Salad. Saute 1 cup chopped strawberries in 4 tablespoons olive oil and 6 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar. Add 1 cup coarsely chopped, sauteed portobello mushrooms. Let cool, or serve warm over mixed greens with warm rolls.

Tues | Stir it up

Veggies, chicken, egg and rice make up a filling Peanut Stir-Fry. Heat 1/4 cup coconut oil in a large saucepan with 3 to 4 tablespoons soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of crunchy peanut butter. Saute cubed chicken breast until cooked all the way through. While chicken is cooking, prepare 4 servings of rice. To chicken mixture, add 3 tablespoons minced garlic, half of a chopped onion, and half a cup chopped bell peppers. Add 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables. Crack 2 eggs into the pan and scramble them in the last 3 minutes of cooking. Serve stir-fry on a bed of hot rice.

Wed | Pizza party

Work ready-made pizza dough into an approximately 12-inch circle. For Chicken Pesto Pizza, saute 2 chicken breasts and 1/2 chopped red onion in a well-greased saucepan until just cooked. Spread 3/4 cup pesto on pizza dough and top with diced cooked chicken, red onions, and 1 cup shredded mozzarella. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, until dough is cooked through.

Thurs | Cheers for chicken

Chicken Parmesan Sandwiches are a great way to satisfy even the pickiest eaters (including teenagers or their younger siblings). For each sandwich, microwave 2 to 3 frozen chicken strips (or chicken nuggets) as directed on package with a generous 1/2 cup of tomato sauce and sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Cover with a paper towel to avoid splattering. Brush one side of 2 slices of bread with olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Put the chicken on the unseasoned sides and sprinkle on mozzarella. Cook on a panini press or a well-greased skillet until the bread is toasted and cheese is bubbly.

Fri | Slow Cooker Mexican

This hearty Taco Soup makes great leftovers. Mix a large can diced tomatoes, two cans of corn (one white and one yellow) and four drained cans of your favorite beans (I suggest a mixture of garbanzo beans, red kidney beans, black beans and pinto beans) in a slow cooker. Brown 1 pound ground beef in a skillet, drain the fat and add to soup. Add 1 cup water and 1 package taco seasoning. Cook for 8 hours on low heat and serve warm Grandmother's Buttermilk Corn Bread (recipe below).

Heather Finster is a junior at St. Petersburg Catholic High and a staffer of tb-two*, the Times' weekly for high schools. Read Stir Crazy online at www.blogs.tampabay.com/food. Submit your ideas for quick weeknight meals to jkeeler@tampabay.com.

>>MODERATE

Grandmother's Buttermilk Corn Bread

1/2 cup butter

2/3 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup cornmeal

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square pan.

Melt butter in large skillet. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until well blended and few lumps remain. Pour batter into the prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Serves 8.

Source: Heather Finster

Weekday dinner inspiration: Buttermilk Corn Bread and more 02/10/14 [Last modified: Monday, February 10, 2014 6:10pm]

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