Tzatziki is the delicious accompaniment sauce to many Greek dishes, and you can make a quick one for tonight’s Greek Quesadillas. For a fast tzatziki sauce, mix 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1 or 2 minced garlic cloves and a peeled, seeded and diced small cucumber. Set aside. To assemble the quesadillas, place a flour tortilla on a hot skillet and layer on shredded mozzarella cheese, feta cheese, strips of roasted red pepper and chopped Kalamata olives. Top with a second tortilla. Let brown and then flip. Dollop with sauce. Serve green beans cooked in stewed tomatoes on the side.
Tuesday: Seafood pasta
Do not despair about the amount of olive oil in Lemony Scallop Linguine — it’s the sauce for 1 pound of pasta. Heat 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil in a skillet and cook scallops for about 1 minute, until firm and white. Pour over drained hot linguine in a large serving bowl, squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over all and season with white pepper. Stir gently to combine, then scatter parmesan cheese and chopped Italian parsley over dish plus lemon zest. Serve with a green salad.
Wednesday: Adaptable salad
Chicken Cobb Salad takes just about whatever you have in the fridge. In a wide, shallow bowl, mound sturdy greens (Romaine or iceberg). In neat piles, mound diced rotisserie chicken, tomatoes and cucumbers, along with blue cheese (or feta or goat) crumbles, sliced hard-boiled eggs and crumbled bacon. Add croutons if you’d like and the dressing of your choice. Serve crunchy bread sticks or crackers on the side. Tinker as you see fit.
Thursday: Savory pie
Chicken Tamale Pie (see recipe) definitely hits the spot. The cornmeal topping mixes in with the savory-spicy chicken mixture for a satisfying taste. Add a dollop of sour cream.
Friday: Meat and potatoes
We’re heading outside tonight for Grilled Marinated Skirt Steak served with grilled asparagus and Caesar salad. You can buy a marinade, but I like this one from the Food Network’s Alton Brown: Blend 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup soy sauce, 4 scallions (washed and cut in half), 2 large cloves garlic, 1/4 cup lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin and 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar until smooth. This is enough marinade for 2 pounds of skirt steak. The steak will pick up the flavors in as little as an hour, but I like to let it marinate a little longer. After grilling, let the steak rest, loosely tented, for at least 10 minutes. Cut across the grain.
Saturday: Easy Entertaining
Serve your guests Broiled Tandoori Chicken. Combine 1 cup fat-free plain yogurt, 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, 2 tablespoons canola oil, 4 cloves minced garlic, 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger, 1 teaspoon curry powder, 1 teaspoon coarse salt, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon turmeric; mix well. Place 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves in a glass baking dish; pour marinade over chicken. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours to overnight; turn occasionally. Heat broiler. Remove chicken and discard marinade; broil 6 to 8 minutes per side or until chicken is golden brown and no longer pink. Serve with basmati rice, steamed carrots, a Boston lettuce salad and flatbread. Buy pound cake for dessert and top it with fresh strawberries.
Sunday: Family Day
Introduce the family to the flavors of Greece with Honey-Lemon Rack of Lamb (see recipe). Serve with rice tossed with chopped fresh mint. Add frozen green peas and crusty rolls to accompany the meal. Dessert is ambrosia parfaits. Mix together 1 1/2 cups fat-free vanilla yogurt with 1 (8-ounce) can drained crushed pineapple. Spoon 2 tablespoons of mixture into 4 tall stem glasses; top with a few banana slices, 2 more tablespoons yogurt mixture, some mandarin orange sections and the remaining yogurt mixture. Add toasted coconut and fresh strawberries for garnish.
Chicken Tamale Pie
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound skinless chicken breast, cubed
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup chopped onion
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14-ounce) can sweet corn, drained and rinsed
1 (4-ounce) can chopped hot green chiles
1 (12-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
1/4 cup chicken stock (optional)
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon butter
Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large pot or deep saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add cubed chicken, garlic, coriander, cumin and chili powder. Cook until chicken is browned on all sides, then remove and set aside. Add chopped onion to the pot and cook down until soft and fragrant. Add beans, corn, chiles and tomatoes, including the liquid. If there is not much juice with the tomatoes, add up to 1/4 cup chicken stock. You want enough liquid to cook everything together but you don’t want a soupy chili.
Bring mix to a boil, and allow to cook and thicken. When nearly done, add chicken and mix in, heating through to finish. Remove chili from heat. In a small pot, heat water and salt over medium-high heat; it doesn’t need to be boiling. Stir in cornmeal and continue whisking while it incorporates into the water and thickens, about 5 minutes. When thick, add butter and mix in to melt. Remove from heat. Pour all of the chili in a deep, round glass dish. Scoop the cornmeal mixture over the top of the chili and spread into a single layer. Top with a sprinkling of black pepper. Bake for 30 minutes, or until cornmeal mixture has firmed up. Allow to cool briefly then scoop into bowls to serve. Serves 4 to 6.
HONEY-LEMON RACK OF LAMB
2 to 2 1/2 pounds well-trimmed lamb rib roasts
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut 1-inch-deep slits in lamb; insert garlic slices. Place lamb in shallow roasting pan. In a small saucepan, combine honey, brown sugar, lemon juice, garlic powder and salt; cook over low heat until bubbly, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat; stir in lemon zest, mint and walnuts. Spoon glaze over lamb; bake 30 minutes or until internal temperature registers 135 degrees; baste occasionally. Remove from oven; let stand 5 to 10 minutes or until the internal temperature is 145 degrees. Slice and serve. Makes 4 to 5 servings.
Per serving: 356 calories, 21 g protein, 14 g fat (34 percent calories from fat), 3.7 g saturated fat, 39 g carbohydrate, 64 mg cholesterol, 197 mg sodium, 1 g fiber. Carb choices: 2 1/2.