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Weeknight dinner inspiration: Balsamic Glazed Sea Scallops and more

Mon | Meatless meal

Kale is all the rage these days and reader Bea Dreier in Tampa shares this quick Kale and Chickpea Soup that features the healthy, leafy green. Bea uses either a bag of chopped kale or buys fresh and chops it herself. She cooks it with a 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes flavored with onion and green pepper. (Bea doesn't like the texture of the tomatoes so she purees it in the blender first.) Add 1 teaspoon or so of dried thyme leaves (or 3 teaspoons fresh) and simmer for about 20 minutes until the kale is well wilted. Add a can of drained chickpeas and cook another 10 to 15 minutes. If the soup is too thick, add vegetable broth.

Tues | Waist watcher

Back in my Weight Watchers days — and there have been many — I often substituted spaghetti squash for pasta. The stringy squash isn't exactly the same because it takes longer to cook (cut in half and roast, cut side down on baking sheet, at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes) and is more watery. You can top it with traditional spaghetti and meatballs, but for something different make Spaghetti Squash Tossed With Olive Oil, Avocado and Parmesan. Scrap the hot, cooked, stringy squash into a bowl and toss with olive oil and a minced garlic clove. Add grated Parmesan cheese, chopped fresh basil leaves and 2 diced avocados and toss again. Season with salt and pepper. This can stand on its own or you can serve with grilled chicken or fish.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

Stir Crazy favorite Barbecued Chicken Quesadillas make quick work of the rotisserie bird. For each quesadilla, mix about ½ cup shredded chicken, ⅓ cup shredded cheese, some chopped onion and a tablespoon (or more to taste) of barbecue sauce. Spread it on a flour tortilla and place in a hot, dry skillet. Cook until tortilla is golden and cheese begins to melt. Flip and repeat. Serve with melon slices.

Thurs | Something fishy

Big Fish Sandwiches don't need coleslaw served with them because it's on the buns! Grill or saute whatever type of fish fillets you'd like then douse them with fresh lemon juice and pile on a toasted whole wheat bun with some sloppy coleslaw. Florida watermelon is in season so slice up some juicy slabs to serve alongside.

Fri | Splurge night

Balsamic Glazed Sea Scallops (recipe below) is an elegant dish that can be ready in just about 30 minutes — and 20 minutes of that is for marinating. Serve with thin green beans and sugar snap peas that have been sauteed in garlic and olive oil. Freshen the veggie side with lemon juice and lemon zest.

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

>>EASY

Balsamic Glazed Sea Scallops

1 pound sea scallops

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil for sauteing

For the marinade:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon light or dark brown sugar

Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Whisk marinade ingredients together in a large bowl. Add scallops and marinate for 20 minutes, then pat dry. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil and when hot, add the scallops without crowding them. Sear them for about 3 minutes without moving so that the bottoms brown, about 3 minutes. Turn the scallops and sear them until they are browned on the second side and the insides are almost opaque, about 3 minutes longer. Remove the scallops from the heat and let them sit for a minute before serving.

Serves 4.

Source: The Mom 100 Cookbook by Katie Workman (Workman Publishing, 2012)

Weeknight dinner inspiration: Balsamic Glazed Sea Scallops and more 04/23/13 [Last modified: Monday, April 22, 2013 4:35pm]
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