Some inspirations for weekday dinners:
Monday: Meatless meal
Give your portobello mushrooms a taste of the islands with Jerk-Spiced Portobello Steaks (recipe below). A melange of spices flavors the meaty ‘shrooms and you can serve them over rice or on toasted buns. A bright side salad of pineapple and any other tropical fruit that looks good at the store would be a nice accompaniment.
Tuesday: Greek shellfish
For Shrimp and Orzo Pasta, cook and drain a package of orzo according to instructions. While that’s cooking, saute 1 pound of peeled, uncooked large shrimp in olive oil and minced garlic. Remove from heat when just cooked. Mix cooked orzo with shrimp and 1 can diced tomatoes, ½ cup of white wine, a couple teaspoons of Greek seasoning and salt and pepper. Layer in lightly greased casserole and dot with feta cheese crumbles. Bake at 350 degrees until cheese is bubbly, about 12 minutes. Before serving, garnish with chopped fresh parsley.
Wednesday: Rotisserie chicken
Rotisserie Chicken Pot Pie is a quick and simple Stir Crazy classic, especially tasty to young palates. Mix 1 cup diced frozen mixed veggies, 2 cups diced white meat only, ¼ teaspoon dried thyme and 1 can of low-sodium condensed cream of chicken soup. Spoon into a small casserole dish and cover with a prepared pie crust. Trim, tuck in the edges, then prick. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
Thursday: Fancy tuna
Tuna sandwiches for dinner? Sure, especially if you give them a French twist. Mix canned tuna – really great if you can find it packed in olive oil – with diced red onion, sliced hard-boiled eggs, chopped kalamata olives and sliced marinated artichoke hearts plus some of the marinade as a dressing. Pile mixture on the best rolls you can find and garnish with sliced radishes and arugula. Fresh fruit on the side.
Friday: Lots of flavor
Chicken Artichoke Bake uses chopped, marinated artichoke hearts (it’s a theme this week!) so you don’t have to worry about getting pricked by the edible thistles. To prepare, brown six chicken thighs (with skin or without, your choice) on both sides in a bit of olive oil. Set aside. In same pan, saute chopped onion and some minced fresh garlic for about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Place browned thighs in a baking dish and cover with sauteed onion and garlic. Pour a jar of chopped marinated artichokes with juice over all. Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes. Rice on the side.
Jerk-Spiced Portobello Steaks
2 teaspoons natural sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cayenne
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 large portobello mushroom caps, gills scraped out
¼ cup olive oil, divided use
In a shallow bowl, combine the sugar, cumin, allspice, oregano, paprika, salt, cayenne and nutmeg. Set aside.
Coat the mushroom caps with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, then coat them evenly with the spice mixture. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until tender, about 5 minutes per side. Serve hot over rice or on toasted buns. Serves 4.
Source: Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson (Harvard Common Press, revised and updated edition 2014)