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Published Jun. 20, 2012

Mon - Going meatless

Bean, Spinach and Pasta Parmesan Bake is a good go-to Monday dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While a penne pasta is cooking, saute chopped onions and a garlic clove in olive oil. Add 2 cans diced tomatoes with herbs and a can of drained Northern white beans. Mix with drained pasta and some roughly chopped spinach. Spoon into casserole dish and sprinkle with buttered bread crumbs and grated Parmesan cheese. Bake until top is bubbly and brown, about 15 minutes. Serve with a leafy salad studded with sliced strawberries and toasted almonds dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette.

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Tues - Fast soup

Cheese Tortellini and Sausage Soup With Greens is a fast go-to weeknight meal. Saute chopped onion and garlic in olive oil in a large saucepan and then add 1/2 pound sliced cooked sausage, such as kielbasa, and brown slightly. Add about 28 ounces of chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and stir in 1 teaspoon of dried Italian seasoning blend. Let cook for about 10 minutes and then add a bag of frozen cheese tortellini. Cook until tender, and stir in 1/2 bag of fresh spinach leaves or 1 box of frozen chopped spinach that has been thawed and well drained. Serve with breadsticks.

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Wed - Rotisserie chicken

BBQ Chicken Joes start with shredded cooked chicken mixed with barbecue sauce. Heat them together in a saucepan and then pile on soft buns and top with crunchy coleslaw, homemade or store-bought. (If you use prepared, add more freshly shredded cabbage. There's always plenty of dressing.) Salute the start of stone-fruit season with a salad of sliced peaches and nectarines tossed with fresh mint.

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Thurs - Stir-fry salad

Shrimp Stir Fry Salad will give them something to talk about. In a large skillet or wok, saute peeled shrimp in vegetable oil. Remove shrimp and add chopped peanuts, grated fresh ginger and about 1/4 cup Asian sesame salad dressing to the pan. Remove from heat and return shrimp to pan. In a large bowl, toss packaged broccoli slaw, thinly sliced cucumber and red pepper strips with another 1/4 cup of the dressing. Toss with warm shrimp mixture.

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Fri - Hot and cold

Thursday's hot-cold salad was such a hit, we're extending the idea with Skirt Steak With Arugula Salad (recipe below) tonight. The heat from the meat mixed with pepper arugula, plus croutons made from ciabatta rolls, turns simple ingredients into an elegant meal. Pour a glass of syrah and toast the coming weekend.

Janet K. Keeler can be reached at or (727) 893-8586.

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Skirt Steak With Arugula Salad

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

2 ciabatta rolls, cut into cubes (about 5 cups)

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup sliced radishes

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

2 tablespoons capers, plus 2 tablespoons brine from the jar

1 1/4 pounds skirt steak

6 cups baby arugula

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bread cubes and cook until crisp and slightly golden, turning as needed, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook, tossing, until the garlic is slightly golden, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a large bowl; wipe out the skillet. Add the radishes, tomatoes, basil, capers and caper brine to the bowl and toss to combine.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Season the steak with salt and pepper, add to the pan and sear until browned on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Turn and sear until browned on the other side, 3 to 5 more minutes. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes.

Add the arugula and the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil to the bowl with the salad and toss to coat; season with salt and pepper. Thinly slice the steak against the grain and divide among plates. Serve with the salad.

Serves 4.

Source: Food Network