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Easy weeknight meals: Caesar Artichoke Bake and more

This Stir Crazy column first ran on June 15, 2011. New Stir Crazy columns will resume June 25.

Mon | Meatless meal

Open-Faced Provolone and Tomato Baguettes is a simple concept made sophisticated with a side salad of baby greens, thin shallots and toasted almonds dressed with balsamic vinaigrette. Don't forget the ice-cold pinot grigio. Split the baguette lengthwise, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with dried thyme and coarse salt. Toast lightly in a 350-degree oven. Remove and layer on thinly sliced tomatoes and slabs of provolone. Return to oven for another 5 minutes, or until cheese melts. Slice and serve with salad.

Tues | Wrap it up

Up the flavor of Roast Beef Wraps with a dill coleslaw. Add fresh chopped dill and horseradish to prepared coleslaw and layer a scoop or two with thinly sliced butterkase cheese and roast beef slices in a whole wheat wrap. Look for creamy butterkase at the deli counter. Crack a bag of veggie chips for some crunch on the side.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

To make Chicken Taco Salad, place shredded lettuce in a wide, shallow bowl and dress very lightly with ranch dressing or another creamy favorite. Layer on kidney beans, black beans, black olives, shredded cheese, chopped tomatoes, crushed tortilla chips and shredded rotisserie chicken. Dress with sour cream mixed with salsa and add dollops of guacamole.

Thurs | Fly boys

Homemade grilled wings rival anything you can order at a sports bar, and Lemon-Pepper Wings prove it. Fire up the grill and then brush 24 wings (flats and drumettes attached) with olive oil. Combine 1/4 cup lemon pepper seasoning and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives in a shallow bowl. Roll the wings in the seasoning mixture and let sit for 15 minutes. Grill for 15 to 20 minutes over medium heat. Serve with a cold rice salad with lots of crunchy veggies dressed simply with olive oil, lemon juice and a splash of sesame oil to finish.

Fri | Finger food

Sometimes it's good to change up your serious dinner habits. Caesar Artichoke Bake (recipe below) with pita and vegetable dippers turns Friday dinner into an appetizer party. If you'd like, serve some grilled shrimp skewers and fresh melon slices alongside.

Janet K. Keeler can be reached at jkeeler@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8586. Follow @RoadEats on Twitter.

>>EASY

Caesar Artichoke Bake

Cooking spray

cup Caesar salad dressing, regular or fat-free

cup light mayonnaise

cup sour cream, regular or low-fat

cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 cans (15 ounces each) artichoke quarters in water, drained and chopped

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil and garlic, drained

5 ounces shredded Swiss cheese

½ teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Baked pita chips and/or vegetable dippers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 1-quart baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together salad dressing, mayonnaise, sour cream and Parmesan cheese until smooth. Stir in artichokes, tomatoes, Swiss cheese and hot pepper sauce. Transfer to prepared baking dish.

Bake in preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until mixture is set and top is golden. Serve with baked pita chips and/or vegetable dippers.

Makes 4 cups.

Source: Adapted from Sandra Lee, Food Network

Easy weeknight meals: Caesar Artichoke Bake and more 06/16/14 [Last modified: Monday, June 16, 2014 7:58pm]
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