What should I cook for supper? Believe it or not, that’s an almost daily question at our house. When it’s just Vince and me at the dinner table, I’m inclined to try some new ideas. That’s what I did on Tuesday. My broccoli salad recipe had originally consisted of broccoli, strawberries, salted cashews and toasted coconut, but when I couldn’t find any pretty fresh strawberries, I had to resort to Plan B. Necessity is the mother of invention. It was also a serendipity. The combination of the flavors of the raspberries, pistachios and toasted coconut is fabulous! The dressing is slightly sweet and tangy. I still plan to test the recipe with strawberries and cashews. Two recipes for the price of one. You’ll love the chicken thighs. They’re great weeknight fare. Besides being quick to prepare and simple to make, they’re just plain delicious. The sauce makes the meat tender and prevents the chicken from being dry. My favorite is the mushroom lasagna. Served as a side dish with this menu, it could easily be prepared as a vegetarian entree as well. The bechamel sauce makes it a rich dish. A small serving is a gracious plenty. Use a variety of fresh mushrooms for the most flavor. There’s no reason why Tuesday night supper has to be boring. I hope you’ll enjoy what may turn out to be some new weeknight favorites.
Broccoli and Raspberry Salad
2½ cups broccoli florets, trimmed
1½ cups fresh raspberries
1/3 cup salted pistachios
3 tablespoons toasted coconut
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt, plain
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
Dash ground cinnamon
Place broccoli florets, raspberries, pistachios and toasted coconut in a salad bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, balsamic vinegar, honey and dash of ground cinnamon. Pour dressing over salad and toss gently to combine. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
Maple-Dijon Chicken Thighs
2 pounds skinless chicken thighs
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup dijon mustard
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place chicken thighs in an 8×8-inch foil-lined baking dish. Season with salt and pepper. In a small mixing bowl, combine dijon mustard, maple syrup and rice wine vinegar. Pour maple-mustard mixture over the chicken thighs, turning to coat well. Place the chicken, uncovered, in preheated oven and bake for 45-50 minutes. Baste the tops of the chicken thighs with the sauce halfway through. Let chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving. Drizzle with pan juices and garnish with fresh rosemary, if desired. Serves 3.
2 tablespoons butter
2 pounds assorted fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 stick butter
¾ cup all-purpose flour
4 cups milk, heated
1 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste
8 pieces oven-ready lasagna*
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
Chopped fresh Italian parsley, to garnish
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large saute pan. Add sliced mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are tender and have released some of their juices. Remove from heat and set aside. To make the white sauce: Melt 1 stick butter in a medium saucepan. Add flour, whisking constantly for 1 minute. Add hot milk all at once. Whisk until smooth and thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 cup parmesan cheese. Season to taste with nutmeg, salt and pepper. To assemble the lasagna: Spread some of the sauce in the bottom of an 8×8-inch baking dish. Arrange a layer of 2 pieces of lasagna on top, then more sauce, then 1/3 of the mushrooms, 2 more more pieces of lasagna, more sauce, 1/3 of the mushrooms, 2 more pieces of lasagna, more sauce and the remaining 1/3 of the mushrooms. Top with the remaining 2 pieces of lasagna and cover with the last of the sauce. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup parmesan cheese and cover with aluminum foil. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and the sauce is bubbly and hot. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serves 6 to 8. *Regular lasagna pasta may be used. Cook pasta according to package directions and assemble as described above.
The writer owns Catering by Debbi Covington and is the author of two cookbooks, Gold Medal Winner of the Benjamin Franklin Award, Celebrate Everything! and Dining Under the Carolina Moon. Debbi’s website address is www.cateringbydebbicovington.com. She may be reached at 525-0350 or by email at email@example.com.