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Weekday dinner inspiration: Sichuan Noodles and more

Mon | Meatless meal

Sichuan Noodles (recipe below) from Moosewood, the famous vegetarian restaurant in Ithaca, N.Y., can be served warm, chilled or at room temperature. As a main dish, accompany with sauteed greens.

Tues | Mini comfort

Frosted Meatloaf Muffins are tiny bits of comfort that come together quickly. Make your favorite meat loaf mix and scoop into muffin tins. Bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Drain any rendered fat and then frost with mashed potatoes. Bake for another 10 minutes. Serve with steamed broccoli.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

Shredded rotisserie chicken and frozen pierogies are the basis for Chicken and Pierogies Stew. Saute chopped onion and diced celery and carrots in a bit of olive oil in a pot. Add a box of chicken broth, plus 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon of dried). Season with salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, whisk 1 cup of milk with 5 tablespoons of flour until lumps are gone. Whisk that into the pot of broth and sauteed vegetables and heat, stirring as it thickens slightly. Finally, add chicken and a box of frozen pierogies and let it all heat through. Garnish with fresh, chopped parsley.

Thurs | Party food

Make Stir Crazy favorite Seafood Taquitos the centerpiece of a finger-food meal. In a bowl, combine canned shrimp or crab with sour cream, shredded cheese and a bit of chili powder and ground cumin. Roll the mixture into corn tortillas, secure with a toothpick and fry in vegetable oil until golden. Drain on paper towels. Serve salsa and guacamole for dunking. Alongside: jicama, melon and watermelon slices.

Fri | Tried and true

Chicken and Artichoke Hearts is a favorite go-to Friday dish for which you need 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, a 6-ounce jar of marinated artichoke hearts and any variety of condensed cream soup you have. (I like mushroom.) 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

Sichuan Noodles

½ pound linguine, or soba or udon noodles

1 cucumber seeded, peeled, seeded and sliced into thin crescents

½ cup finely chopped scallions

Mung bean sprouts (optional)

For the peanut dressing:

cup peanut butter

cup warm water

2 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons vinegar (rice, cider or white)

1 tablespoon dark sesame oil

1 teaspoon Chinese chili paste with garlic (see note)

To cook the linguine, bring a large covered pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare the cucumber and scallions. In a small bowl, stir together the dressing ingredients.

When the water boils, cook the noodles until al dente. (If you think it's easier to eat, break linguine in half before cooking it.) Drain the pasta and toss it with the dressing, cucumbers and scallions. Garnish with mung bean sprouts, if you wish. Serve warm or chilled.

The noodles absorb the dressing over time, so if you made the noodles ahead, or are serving leftovers, taste them and stir in a little water, and maybe more vinegar, soy sauce and chili paste as needed.

Note: Chinese chili paste with garlic can be purchased at Asian markets. It is also stocked in the Asian ingredients aisle at larger grocery stores.

Serves 4.

Source: Moosewood Restaurant Favorites (St. Martin's Press, 2013)

Weekday dinner inspiration: Sichuan Noodles and more 09/16/13 [Last modified: Monday, September 16, 2013 2:10pm]
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