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Weekday dinner inspiration: Chicken Enchilada Pasta Skillet and more

Mon | Meatless meal

Grilled Veggie Pizza on a Pita is tonight's no-meat meal. Heat the grill to medium and lightly brush pita on each side with olive oil. Scatter grated cheese (we like pepper Jack) on pitas and top with thinly sliced sauteed veggies (for example, mushrooms, onions, green peppers). Grill until cheese is melted and veggies are soft. We like corn and black beans, with a squirt or two of lime, on the side.

Tues | Not so suffering

Dress up frozen succotash for a Ham and Veggie Bowl, a comforting Stir Crazy classic. In a large skillet, saute diced onion in vegetable oil. Add a half pound of cubed ham and heat through, then dump in a bag of frozen lima beans and corn and 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme (or 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh). Season with pepper (it probably doesn't need salt because of the ham) and a splash of wine vinegar. Corn muffins on the side.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

Chicken Enchilada Pasta Skillet (recipe below) combines some favorite Tex-Mex flavors in a one-pot dish, perfect for busy nights. You can cook the pasta while the sauce is coming together, so you'll have dinner ready in under 30 minutes.

Thurs | Potato bar

Asparagus-Stuffed Baked Potatoes can take on all sorts of personalities depending on what they are topped with. While I like the traditional butter-sour cream-chives trilogy, get out of your comfort zone with chopped, cooked asparagus (still crunchy!) and a topping of Hollandaise sauce. Too rich for your diet? Then whip light sour cream with low-fat cottage cheese for a creamy topping. It's good, I promise. Season with salt and pepper.

Fri | Easy does it

Buy a marinated pork tenderloin, flavoring your choice, cook it according to package instructions and serve it with rice that has been cooked in broth (veggie or chicken) and studded with sliced scallions and toasted almonds. A salad of spinach leaves and strawberries with a balsamic vinaigrette rounds out the meal.

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

>>EASY

Chicken Enchilada Pasta Skillet

1 ½ cups uncooked penne pasta

1 medium onion, chopped

1 medium red bell pepper, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 ½ tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon sugar

¼ teaspoon dried oregano

teaspoon salt, or to taste

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast

½ cup reduced-fat cheddar cheese

2 tablespoons cilantro, minced for garnish

While preparing sauce, cook pasta according to directions. Drain pasta and set aside.

Spray a large, nonstick skillet with cooking spray and place over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and saute for 3 to 4 minutes, or until slightly softened. Push the vegetables to one side of the skillet and reduce heat to medium. On the empty side of the skillet, add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, sugar, oregano and salt, and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Pour tomato sauce and 1 cup water over spice mixture, stir well and simmer 2 minutes to blend spices into sauce. Stir to mix onions and pepper with sauce, cover and simmer about 5 minutes.

Add chicken to sauce and stir to coat. Add pasta and toss to combine. Reduce heat to low, sprinkle on the cheese and cover for 1 minute. Remove from heat and garnish with cilantro.

Note: Light sour cream and black olives are great as additional garnishes for this dish.

Serves 4.

Source: Eat What You Love Everyday by Marlene Koch (Running Press, 2013)

Weekday dinner inspiration: Chicken Enchilada Pasta Skillet and more 04/14/14 [Last modified: Monday, April 14, 2014 10:00pm]
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