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Weekday dinner inspiration: Low-Salt Shrimp and Spinach Pasta and more

Mon | No meat

Boil some frozen gnocchi — the Italian potato pasta curls — and serve it with a chunky, homemade tomato sauce and lots of Parmesan cheese. To make the sauce, saute a garlic clove and half a small, diced onion in olive oil. Add a large can of diced tomatoes and their juice along with a teaspoon of sugar. Let simmer for about 5 minutes until slightly thickened, then season with black pepper and toss in lots of chopped, fresh basil. Green salad and rolls on the side.

Tues | No salt

Trimming salt from our sodium-heavy diet is a good thing, and a new cookbook from the American Heart Association provides plenty of ideas and recipes. For Low-Salt Shrimp and Spinach Pasta (recipe below) the flavor boost comes from lemon zest and lemon juice added at the end of cooking to brighten the entire dish. Remember, too, that shrimp are naturally a bit salty.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

It seems every chip manufacturer is crisping up sweet potatoes for our snacking pleasure. We should embrace the orange more, too. Tonight, make Old-Bay Roasted Sweet Potatoes to serve with rotisserie chicken. This Stir Crazy favorite, from the now defunct Everyday Food, starts with preheating the oven to 450 degrees. Clean 3 medium sweet potatoes then chop into 1-inch pieces. Toss with 1 ½ teaspoons of Old Bay seasoning and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Thurs | No gluten

Pork Chops With Greek Brown Rice is a hearty dinner that's good for those people not eating wheat. Grill your chops any way you'd like then make a pot of brown rice. When rice is ready, stir in diced and seeded tomatoes, feta cheese crumbles, chopped kalamata olives and fresh parsley, seasoning with black pepper. Drizzle olive oil over all and stir.

Fri | No (or little) fat

Grilled Veggies With Fish Packets is a lean dinner if there ever was one. The asparagus is looking pretty good now so clean some spears, brush very lightly with olive oil and season with coarse salt to get them ready for the grill. Then place thin fish fillets on foil on top of sliced lemons. Top with chopped red onion and diced zucchini, squeeze on more lemon and scatter lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper and then drizzle with a wee bit of olive oil. Fold packets tightly but leave room for steam to rise. Toss on the grill next to asparagus spears. They will all be ready to eat in about 15 minutes. (Turn asparagus a few times.)

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

>>EASY

Low-Salt Shrimp and Spinach Pasta

8 ounces whole-grain linguine, spaghetti or vermicelli

6 ounces spinach, chopped (about 4 cups)

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 small red onion, thinly sliced crosswise

1 small red, yellow or orange bell pepper, cut into thin strips

1 pound raw medium shrimp, peeled, rinsed and patted dry

2 medium garlic cloves, minced

¼ teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Prepare the pasta using the package directions, omitting the salt.

Put the spinach in a large colander in the sink. Pour the pasta and cooking water over the spinach. Drain well.

Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Cook the onion and bell pepper for about 3 minutes, or until soft, stirring frequently.

Stir in the shrimp and garlic. Cook for 3 minutes or until the shrimp are pink, stirring frequently.

Add the pasta mixture and pepper to the shrimp mixture, stirring to combine. Remove from the heat. Stir in the lemon zest and lemon juice.

Serves 4.

Source: Low-Salt Cookbook by the American Heart Association (Clarkson Potter, 2013)

Weekday dinner inspiration: Low-Salt Shrimp and Spinach Pasta and more 03/12/13 [Last modified: Monday, March 11, 2013 5:03pm]
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