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Weekday dinner inspiration: The Surprise Is Inside Meatloaf and more

Mon | Meatless meal

It's not exactly spring yet but that doesn't mean you can't prepare Primavera Pasta for dinner tonight. Prepare a pound of cavatappi — hollow corkscrew pasta — then make the sauce by heating 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil in a skillet. Saute 1 cup chopped carrots and 1 minced garlic clove over medium heat. Add 2 cups cherry tomatoes and saute for another 30 seconds. Add 1 cup veggie stock, bring to a boil and add 1 pound asparagus, cut into 1-inch lengths, and 1 box frozen peas. Cook until vegetables are tender. Add to pasta with 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese and ¼ cup chopped fresh basil.

Tues | Bowl of warmth

We're springing back to fall with Sausage, Spinach and Lentil Soup, a soul-warming meal if there ever was one. To make the soup, bring 6 cups of chicken stock to a boil. Add 10 ounces lentils, 1 cup diced carrots and 2 minced garlic cloves. Simmer for about 30 minutes or until lentils are soft. Add 1 pound sliced cooked kielbasa and fresh or frozen chopped spinach. Corn bread on the side.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

Buffalo Chicken Salad starts with shredded meat from one bird. Heat about ⅓ cup of hot wing sauce with 1 tablespoon each of butter and honey. While that's heating, make a big green salad, full of whatever veggies you'd like. Set aside, and stir shredded chicken into wing sauce. Top salad with blue cheese dressing and add chicken. Serve with biscuits.

Thurs | Comfort food

Everyone has a good meatloaf recipe. Oh, you don't? Then give The Surprise Is Inside Meatloaf (recipe below) a try. Nearly a dozen years ago, we asked readers to send in their favorite meatloaf recipes and some 500 recipes flooded into the newsroom. This one, from Jean Lanier of Seminole, was a big hit. We loved it then and love it now. The surprise inside is a layer of spinach and Swiss cheese. I always serve mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli with meatloaf.

Fri | Greater tuna

Bobby Deen, Paula's son, has written a new cookbook in which he scaled back the calories and fat of classic recipes. From Mama's Table to Mine features a delicious Sweet Chili-Glazed Grilled Tuna that I would serve with sauteed bok choy drizzled with sesame oil. To make enough glaze for 4 tuna fillets, mix ¼ cup honey and 2 tablespoons chili sauce. Grill tuna steaks on one side for 3 minutes, brush with glaze and flip. Grill for another 3 minutes. Remove from grill and brush with more glaze. Serve with lime wedges.

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

>>EASY

The Surprise Is Inside Meatloaf

For the filling:

1 package fresh spinach or two boxes frozen chopped spinach

½ cup shredded Swiss cheese

For the meatloaf:

1 pound ground beef

½ pound ground veal (see note)

½ pound ground pork

¼ cup chopped onion

¼ cup chopped red pepper

2 cloves chopped garlic

2 pinches kosher salt and pepper

1 beaten egg

¾ cup milk or cream

For the topping:

¼ cup ketchup (optional)

1 tablespoon brown sugar (optional)

2 slices bacon (optional)

Cook spinach and drain well in sieve. Squeeze out excess liquid. Set aside with shredded cheese. Mix together ground meats, onion, red pepper, garlic, salt and pepper, beaten egg and milk or cream. Divide meat mixture in half and press half into a greased 9- by 5-inch loaf pan. Spread cooked spinach evenly over meat and sprinkle cheese on top. Put the other half of meat mixture on top.

Mix ketchup and brown sugar together and spread on top of meatloaf mixture. Lay bacon slices over the top and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Note: If you don't want to use veal, add more pork or beef or a mixture of both to equal ½ pound.

Serves 6.

Source: Jean Lanier, Seminole

Weekday dinner inspiration: The Surprise Is Inside Meatloaf and more 02/05/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 12:13pm]
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