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Weekday dinner inspiration: Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry and more

Mon | Meatless meal

Risotto tends to get a bad rap as fussy and time-consuming. But Mushroom Risotto is actually a fairly easy meatless meal, and its earthiness is welcoming when the temperatures start to dip. First, saute a pound of sliced mushrooms, along with a diced small onion, in olive oil in a large skillet. Season with salt and pepper. When done, set aside. You'll need two saucepans. In one, bring 8 cups of veggie stock to a simmer. In the other, lightly brown 2 cups of arborio rice with 2 minced garlic cloves in olive oil. When coated with oil, start to add the hot broth, stirring until absorbed. Repeat until stock is gone. Finish risotto with cup each white wine and shredded Parmesan. Stir in sauteed mushrooms. Done.

Tues | Mix and match

Ramen and Meatballs fuses together a couple of cuisines that will likely be welcomed by the kids. Make three packets of ramen noodles (without the flavor packets) according to package instructions, then mix with thawed and heated frozen Italian meatballs, plus a 14-ounce can of seasoned diced tomatoes. Top with some shaved Parmesan, along with chopped flat-leaf parsley. Try broccoli florets sauteed in olive oil and finished with a squeeze of lemon on the side.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

How about a dry-run Thanksgiving side dish to go with your chicken tonight? (Close enough to turkey for now.) Get a container of mashed sweet potatoes and thaw. Scoop into a bowl and add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Spread into a shallow casserole and top with pecans and a handful of mini marshmallows. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Thurs | Take-out, done in

Why order Chinese takeout tonight when you can make your own Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry (recipe below) just as spicy or mild as you want it? The recipe calls for a jalapeno pepper that you can toss in or not. Don't forgo the fish sauce — buy a small bottle and plan to use it in other Asian dishes. Leave it out and you just might wonder why your stir-fry tastes a bit bland.

Fri | Go grills

Some nights, nothing will do but a piece of red meat. I like grilled New York strip steak, liberally seasoned with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve with an ice-cold iceberg wedge with blue cheese dressing and crumbles, plus sliced scallions. And red, red wine.

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

>>MODERATE

Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry

Kosher salt

1 bunch broccoli (about 1 pound), cut into florets

1 (8-ounce) package rice noodles

¼ cup sugar

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into ½-inch chunks

1 to 2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 jalapeno, seeded and sliced (optional)

¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped, plus more for topping

Freshly ground pepper

2 scallions, thinly sliced, plus more for topping

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook, stirring, until bright green and crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a large bowl. Add the rice noodles to the water and return to a boil. Remove from the heat and let soak while you prepare the chicken, stirring occasionally.

Combine the sugar and 1 tablespoon water in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Cook, undisturbed, until the mixture is dark amber, about 3 minutes. Carefully stir in the vegetable oil and garlic and cook until the garlic is golden, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken and fish sauce and cook, stirring, until the chicken is no longer pink, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the japaleno, cilantro and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

Drain the noodles and add to the bowl with the broccoli. Add the scallions and chicken and toss. Divide among plates and top with more cilantro and scallions.

Serves 4.

Nutritional information per serving: 435 calories, 6g fat, 573mg sodium, 63g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 27g protein.

Source: Food Network

Weekday dinner inspiration: Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry and more

10/28/13 [Last modified: Monday, November 4, 2013 5:41pm]

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