By JANET K. KEELER
Times Food and Travel Editor
Weekday dinner inspiration: Soba noodle salad with chicken and more
Mon | Meatless meal
Versatile ratatouille can be mixed with brown rice, spooned over pasta or even used as a pizza topping. To make, heat ¼ cup of olive oil in a large skillet, then saute 1 diced eggplant for about 5 minutes. Add 2 sliced zucchini, 1 large diced onion and 1 large diced green pepper and saute for another 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of whole, drained tomatoes, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 bay leaf and 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves. Season with salt and pepper and simmer, uncovered, for 35 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
Tues | Ultimate fruit
Roasted Apple Salad pairs great with grilled pork chops or pork tenderloin. For four servings, cut two firm apples, such as Red Delicious, in half and scoop out seeds and a bit of the flesh to leave a hole. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Mix toasted pecans, dried cherries, a bit of brown sugar and blue cheese crumbles and spoon into hole. Drizzle with olive oil and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Serve on a bed of lettuce and dollop with blue cheese dressing if you'd like.
Wed | Rotisserie chicken
Soba Noodle Salad With Roast Chicken, Cucumber, Peanuts and Mint (recipe below) is a dish that holds up well to pack for work or school the next day. Soba buckwheat noodles have a bold, nutty flavor and can be eaten warm or at room temperature.
Thurs | Melt with you
Don't think of them as low-brow, think of Open-Face Tuna Melts as a throwback to those long-gone childhood days. Serve them with fruit or salad and make the tuna salad any way you like. Me? Mayo and tiny bits of celery, plus pepper. Toast the bread first, then spread with tuna and top with a slice of cheese. Melt under the broiler. I like my cheese brown and bubbly.
Fri | TGI-Steak
Go classic tonight with grilled steak, Caesar salad and baked potato. Buy whatever steak you like and can afford. Lately, I've been in love with skirt steak. I marinate it in Lawry's 30 Minute Steak & Chop Marinade, though I let the flavors meld for longer. Thin skirt steak cooks quickly on the grill, just about 5 minutes per side. Let rest and cut in thin pieces against the grain. Yeah, it's Friday . . . sour cream and butter on the potato.
Janet K. Keeler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8586. Follow her on Twitter at @roadeats.
Soba Noodle Salad With Roast Chicken, Cucumber, Peanuts and Mint
1 pound dried soba noodles
1 large cucumber
3 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
1 ¼ teaspoons fine sea salt
2 cups small shreds of rotisserie chicken breast
2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
½ cup coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
⅓ cup coarsely chopped roasted salted peanuts
Red pepper flakes, optional
Bring large pot of unsalted water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook according to package directions, stirring occasionally, until tender.
Meanwhile, cut the cucumber in half lengthwise, then seed and cut crosswise into thin slices.
Drain the noodles in a colander and rinse with cold water. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the sesame oil and toss to coat, then add the salt and toss again. Add the cucumber, chicken, scallions, mint and peanuts. Toss to thoroughly combine. Adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes if you like a little heat.
Source: The Perfectly Roasted Chicken by Mindy Fox (Kyle, 2013)