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Easy weeknight meals: Creamed Spinach Bake and more

Mon | Meatless meal

As the weather heats up, salads are an appealing dinner choice, especially when they include summer's juicy stone fruits. White Bean, Bulgur and Nectarine Salad starts with ½ cup of bulgur wheat cooked according to package instructions. Drain, then spoon into a large bowl and cool. Add 5 nectarines (or peaches), pitted and cut into wedges, 1 cup of torn fresh basil leaves, a can of drained and rinsed white beans and finely diced red onion to taste. Make a dressing of 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or more if you'd like) and a minced clove garlic. Feta or goat cheese crumbles would be a tangy addition.

Tues | Bacon, bacon

Open Face Avocado BLT Sandwiches should be eaten with knife and fork so that all the goodness ends up in mouths, not on the plate. To make, cut thick slices of sturdy Italian bread on the diagonal and toast. Spread with mayonnaise mixed with some fresh lemon juice and top with romaine leaves, slices of ripe tomato and two (or three) slices of cooked thick bacon plus slices of avocado. Serve with cucumbers dressed with red wine vinegar and season with salt and pepper.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

Creamed Spinach Bake (recipe below) makes the side dish the star of this meal in which you'll carve up the rotisserie bird to serve with it. The baked spinach dish will also satisfy the vegetarians at the table. The biggest chore here is separating eggs and whipping the whites until stiff peaks form to fold into other ingredients. This step brings lightness and lift to the casserole.

Thurs | Peel and eat

Make life easy tonight and serve Boiled Peel and Eat Shrimp with chopped okra cooked in stewed tomatoes and scooped over rice. A dipping sauce of ketchup with horseradish mixed in to taste is a natural, but you can up your weeknight game with Creamy Lime-Tequila Sauce. To make it, mix 1 ½ cups of mayo, 2 tablespoons tequila, a minced garlic clove and ¼ cup each fresh lime juice and chopped cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.

Fri | A cookout

Throw steaks on the grill and serve with Corn on the Cob With Herbed Butter. To make the herbed butter for 4 ears of boiled corn, soften ½ stick of butter and mash it together with ¼ cup of chopped basil (or a mixture of parsley and cilantro), the zest of 1 lemon, 1 clove of garlic and a pinch of salt. Top cooked corn with butter and shredded Parmesan cheese.

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

>>MODERATE

Creamed Spinach Bake

3 tablespoons butter

9 ounces cooked, drained spinach

½ cup chopped onion

3 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

5 eggs, separated

In a skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add spinach and chopped onion and cook 4 minutes. Stir in flour, tarragon and teaspoon salt. Add milk and cook until thickened. Remove and let cool.

In a bowl, combine spinach mixture, Parmesan cheese and egg yolks. In another bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold into spinach mixture, half at a time. Bake in a greased 2-quart baking dish, uncovered, in a 400-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Easy weeknight meals: Creamed Spinach Bake and more 06/09/14 [Last modified: Monday, June 9, 2014 4:55pm]
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