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Easy weeknight meals: Roast Chicken Panzanella and more

Mon | Meatless meal

It's too hot to cook, so how about a tasty Caprese Salad as tonight's main dish? Alternate slices of ripe tomatoes with the same width of fresh mozzarella slices. Scatter ribbons of fresh basil over all and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. For a protein-packed twist, add slices of avocado. Serve with a selection of green and black olives, plus sourdough bread.

Tues | Quick fix

Chicken and Waffles has been quite the rage for the past couple of years. The dish can be made from scratch with housemade fried chicken and waffles straight from your waffle iron. No time? Buy frozen waffles and fried chicken tenders from the grocery store deli. Place a couple of pieces of warm chicken on hot waffles and drizzle with syrup, and you'll see what the fuss is about. It's a sweet and salty thing.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

Italian panzanella salad gives slightly stale bread a second life thanks to tangy vinaigrette. Roast Chicken Panzanella (recipe below) puts a California spin — it's from San Francisco's Rich Table restaurant — on the tradition by adding strawberries, roasted pumpkin seeds and cilantro leaves. If you hate cilantro, and I know some people do, substitute about ½ cup of chopped parsley.

Thur | Honey do

Honey-Glazed Pork Chops, from Cooking Light's Dinnertime Survival Guide (Oxmoor House, 2014), is a quick stove-top main dish. Lightly coat a skillet with vegetable oil and cook boneless chops for about 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Meanwhile, combine 2 tablespoons each of honey and soy sauce, plus 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, a minced garlic clove and a few grinds of freshly ground pepper. Pour mixture over chops; remove from heat and serve alongside green beans and buttered noodles.

Fri | Taco Fridays?

Taco Tuesday has become a big thing, but let's embrace the idea of Make-Your-Own-Tacos as a way to welcome the weekend. Prepare a filling of your choice — I like a combination of browned and drained ground beef and a can of seasoned Ranch beans with jalapenos. Set out the meat and other toppings — including grated cheese, shredded lettuce, chopped onions, black olives, salsa and sour cream — in bowls and serve with yellow rice mixed with peas and slabs of ice-cold watermelon.

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

>>MODERATE

Roast Chicken Panzanella

¾ pound country bread, torn into 1-inch pieces (8 cups)

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

½ small red onion, chopped

¼ cup champagne or white wine vinegar

¼ cup sherry vinegar

2 romaine hearts, torn into bite-sized pieces

1 large tomato, chopped

2 Persian cucumbers, chopped

1 cup strawberries, hulled and chopped

1 cup cilantro leaves

2 tablespoons chopped dill

2 ½- to 3-pound rotisserie chicken, meat shredded (about 4 cups)

¼ cup salted roasted pumpkin seeds

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. On a large baking sheet, toss the bread with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes until crisp. Let cool.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss the onion with both vinegars and let stand for 10 minutes. Whisk in the remaining ¼ cup of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the romaine, tomato, cucumbers, strawberries, cilantro, dill, chicken and toasted bread, and toss well. Transfer the salad to a platter, sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds and serve.

Serves 4.

Source: Evan and Sarah Rich for Food & Wine magazine

Easy weeknight meals: Roast Chicken Panzanella and more 06/23/14 [Last modified: Monday, June 23, 2014 1:30pm]

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