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Weekday dinner inspiration: Creamy Polenta With Kale and Mushrooms and more

Mon | Meatless meal

One-pot dishes are fine for Monday or any other day of the week. Creamy Polenta With Kale and Mushrooms (recipe below) is lush, hearty and brimming with flavor. Kale has been a trendy green in the last year, and its appeal doesn't appear to be slowing too much. Here's another way to use it.

Tues | Spring has sprung

When winter, such as it is in Florida, ends, we look to lighten up our menus. Grilled Fish With Scallions, Tomatoes and Brown Rice is one of those meals. Simply seasoned fish fillets can be placed on an oiled grill grate for cooking. Fish take about 10 minutes per inch of thickness to cook, so adjust cooking time accordingly. Serve the fish with grilled scallions and brown rice. (For color and flavor, I toss some halved grape or cherry tomatoes into the rice pot for the last few minutes of cooking.)

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

Carve a rotisserie chicken and serve with Sugar Snap Peas With Warm Coconut Dressing, Food & Wine's salad of the month for May. Peel an orange and get rid of the pith and membrane as best you can. Set aside. In a medium skillet, heat a couple of teaspoons of sesame oil. Saute ½ pound of sugar snap peas. Season with salt. Remove and set aside. To the skillet, add 3/4 can of unsweetened coconut milk, 2 teaspoons lemon juice and a pinch of sugar, cooking until thickened, about 5 minutes. Spoon dressing onto plates, layer on orange slices and snap peas and garnish with fresh mint leaves and cracked black pepper.

Thurs | Oh, the pastabilities

Italian bulk sausage stars in easy Penne With Sausage and White Beans. While water boils and pasta cooks, make the sauce. Brown a pound of bulk Italian sausage, then add 1 can drained and rinsed white beans, sliced scallions and red pepper flakes to taste. Add 1 can of diced tomatoes with juice. Drain pasta and add to the sauce. Add black pepper if you want more kick.

Fri | Winning combination

Chicken and Artichoke Hearts is a Stir Crazy favorite that bears repeating. All you need is 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, a 6-ounce jar of marinated artichoke hearts and any variety of condensed cream soup. (I like mushroom; low-sodium, low-fat.) Drain the artichoke marinade into a hot skillet and brown the chicken breasts on both sides. Add artichokes and soup and stir to combine. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. You may need pepper but not likely salt. Serve with egg noodles and steamed broccoli.

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

>>EASY

Creamy Polenta With Kale and Mushrooms

5 cups water

1 cup polenta or cornmeal

¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan

3 tablespoons heavy cream

2 tablespoons butter

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

2 pounds mixed mushrooms (whatever kind you like best), cut in half

2 shallots, finely chopped

1 bunch kale (8 large leaves), shredded

Sherry vinegar, for serving

Bring the water to boil in a large saucepan. Gradually add the polenta, whisking all the while.

Reduce the heat to medium and cook until thickened, stirring frequently, about 30 minutes.

Remove from the heat. Stir in the cheese, cream and butter. Season with salt and pepper, cover and keep warm.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the mushrooms and shallots, and cook, stirring, until the shallots are golden, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the kale and cook until it starts to soften, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide the polenta among four bowls and top with the kale mixture. Drizzle with a little sherry vinegar and olive oil and serve.

Serves 4.

Source: Eat & Make: Charming Recipes + Kitchen Crafts You will Love by Paul Lowe (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014)

Weekday dinner inspiration: Creamy Polenta With Kale and Mushrooms and more 04/07/14 [Last modified: Monday, April 7, 2014 6:49pm]

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