Monday: Meatless Meal
Garden-Fresh Ratatouille can be served over penne pasta for a one-dish meal. Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil. Add diced eggplant, bell pepper, tomatoes and zucchini. Season with salt and pepper, plus dried Italian seasoning blend (basil, oregano and thyme).
Cook for about 15 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is soft. Finish with fresh chopped parsley. A few shaves of Parmesan to garnish. (This quick ratatouille can also be used to top a homemade flatbread or pizza. Jazz it up with crumbled feta or knobs of goat cheese, added before baking.)
Tuesday: Pot of goodness
Portuguese Mussels and Shrimp in Chorizo Sauce (see recipe) is a fast meal with lots of flavor. Look for small chorizo links where you find pepperoni and other cured, shelf-stable sausages.
Make sure you’ve got lots of crusty bread to sop up the spicy (thanks to the chorizo) tomato-wine broth.
Wednesday: Rotisserie chicken
Carve the golden bird and serve it with broiled tomatoes and steamed green beans. Make the tomatoes the star of the show by spreading first with Dijon mustard and sprinkling with grated Swiss cheese.
Mix dried bread crumbs with capers, any chopped fresh herbs you have on hand and a bit of melted butter. Sprinkle mixture on top of tomatoes and broil for 2 to 3 minutes.
Thursday: Easy shrimpwich
Sure, you can batter and deep fry shrimp for these sandwiches, but you can also get a head start with frozen. Spend your time making the dressing for Fried Shrimp Sandwiches.
Bake the shrimp according to package instructions and, in the meantime, make a dressing of 3/4 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup chopped dill pickle, 2 tablespoons ketchup, 1 tablespoon horseradish, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 4 scallions finely chopped and 1 tablespoon chopped parsley.
Spread dressing on toasted kaiser rolls, then top with fried shrimp and shredded iceberg lettuce. Serve with lemon wedges. Take advantage of the last of the summer fruit with a chunky salad on the side.
Friday: Italian flair
Steaks with Gremolata puts a spin on the usual grilled fare. Gremolata is a classic Italian fresh herb mix usually used to top meats. To make it, mix 1 bunch chopped parsley, 1 each minced shallot and garlic clove and 1 teaspoon lemon zest. Season with coarse salt. Dollop on steak when it comes off the grill.
Serve with a Caesar salad and potatoes wedges.
Mussels and Shrimp in Chorizo Sauce
1/2 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small chorizo, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 large tomato, seeds removed and diced
1 bay leaf
6 ounces tomato paste
1/2 (750-milliliter) bottle medium-bodied white wine, such as albarino or chenin blanc
1 pound mussels
1 pound shrimp, peeled
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Heat a heavy pan with a lid over medium-high heat. Pour olive oil into pan, making sure the bottom is generously coated. Add minced garlic, chorizo, diced pepper and tomato and simmer until slightly browned. Add bay leaf, tomato paste and wine and stir over medium heat until sauce is blended well.
Add mussels and shrimp and cover pot. Cook on medium for 8 to 10 minutes. Discard any unopened mussels and remove bay leaf. Sprinkle with parsley and salt and pepper and stir until well blended. Serves 4, with bread for sopping up sauce.
Per serving: 645 calories, 37.7 g fat (6.7 g saturated fat), 217 mg cholesterol, 18.9 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 616 mg sodium.
Source: Adapted from Isabel Laessig, familyfoodie.com.