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Weekday dinner inspiration: Brown Rice Gratin With Lemon, Pine Nuts and Chicken and more

Mon | Meatless meal

Bea Dreier of Tampa has been so generous sharing her ideas for meatless meals. Here's her Broccoli Cheese Soup, which she says even those who don't like broccoli will love. Bring 3 cups vegetable broth to a boil. Add one chopped onion, 6 cups chopped broccoli, a dash of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon dried thyme and 2 bay leaves. Simmer 10 minutes. Remove bay leaves and put in blender, pulsing until smooth. In same saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter and add salt and pepper to taste. Slowly add 2 cups milk, then add 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, stirring until well mixed and the cheese is melted. Add broccoli mix to milk mixture, heat through and serve.

Tues | Simply salmon

When you see salmon on sale, grab it and make a Stir Crazy favorite, Sauteed Salmon With Grape Tomatoes. Saute fillets seasoned with salt and pepper in olive oil, about 4 minutes a side. Remove from skillet and add grape tomatoes, a bit of butter, fresh lemon juice and capers to pan. When tomatoes go soft, dump the chunky sauce over the salmon and serve. Five-minute couscous on the side.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

If you're making brown rice for a meal, make double for Brown Rice Gratin With Lemon, Pine Nuts and Chicken (recipe below). Rice can be cooled and stored in a sealed plastic bag and frozen. Thaw before mixing with casserole ingredients.

Thurs | The big salad

Top leafy greens and fresh, chopped vegetables (go for radishes!) with marinated, grilled and sliced skirt steak for a Grilled Steak and Greens Salad. Add crumbled blue cheese and whatever dressing you'd like. Serve with a hunk of fabulous artisan bread that you bought at an outdoor market. (Freeze bread until you're ready to use it. It'll stay just as fresh as the day you bought it.)

Fri | TGI-pasta

Make a simple Shrimp Scampi Pasta by sauteing minced garlic and a bit of shallot in equal parts butter and olive oil. Add some white wine and toss in peeled shrimp and small broccoli florets that have been steamed. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook through and serve over angel-hair pasta with a sprinkling of chopped fresh parsley. (Save some of the pasta water in case you need to loosen the sauce.) French bread and a spinach salad complete the meal.

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

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