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Easy weeknight cooking

Wouldn't it be great to view weeknight cooking as a pleasure rather than a chore? Or break out from take out and enjoy making home-cooked meals that fit into your schedule and your life? Now you can. Jennifer Bushman, a.k.a. "the kitchen coach," has recipes that are inspirational and simple.
/ Source: TODAY

Wouldn't it be great to view weeknight cooking as a pleasure rather than a chore? Or break out from take out and enjoy making home-cooked meals that fit into your schedule and your life? Now you can. Jennifer Bushman, a.k.a. "the kitchen coach," has recipes that are inspirational and simple.

Grilled beef with scallions wrap and garlic soy dipping sauce
Makes eight 8-inch wraps1/2 cup dry red wine1/3 cup olive oil1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsleySalt and coarsely ground black pepper, to taste 1 pound flank steak or thick-cut chuck steak, scored diagonally across the grain in a cross-hatch pattern1 bunch green onions or scallions (about 5) well washed, cut into 8-inch lengths, white end cut into brushes Fresh mint sprigs

1. Combine wine, oil, herbs, salt, and pepper in a resealable plastic bag.  Add the steak, seal the bag, and let sit in the refrigerator to marinate, turning occasionally for 15 minutes  up to overnight if you like.2. Make the Garlic dipping sauce. Then, preheat the grill 10 minutes on medium-high heat. 3. Preheat the oven to 200° F.  Stack the tortillas, wrap them in a cloth towel and warm in the oven.                        4. Remove the steak from marinade and pat dry.  Grill over medium-high heat about 4 minutes per side.  Slice very thinly on the diagonal, across the grain.5. Spread warm wraps on the work surface.  On each wrap arrange fresh lettuce, a scallion brush, mint sprigs and sliced beef.  Fold up bottom third of wrap and then roll from left to right.  Keep warm, covered with a slightly damp cloth, in the oven until all wraps are made and are ready to serve. Serve with Garlic-Soy Dipping Sauce.

Garlic-soy dipping sauce
Makes about 3/4 cupIngredients:1/2 cup rice wine or dry white wine3 tablespoons light soy sauce 1 teaspoon sugar1 tablespoons peanut or other vegetable oil4 cloves garlic, finely chopped2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger1/4 cup finely chopped green onions (white and up to 1 inch of dark green)

1. In a small bowl, combine wine, soy sauce, and sugar.2. Heat the oil in a heavy medium saucepan.  Add the garlic, ginger and green onions.  Cook 2 minutes over medium heat, stirring.  Add the wine mixture and cook 2 minutes longer.3. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

Pesto chicken and vegetables Ingredients:
1/2 cup store-bought pesto3 tablespoons peanut oil1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks1 yellow onion, sliced1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and sliced2 small zucchini, cut into 2-inch long strips2 vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded and chopped4 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1. Heat a wok or large, heavy skillet over high heat, add 2 tablespoons of oil and swirl the wok to coat.  When the oil is very hot, add the chicken pieces and stirfry until lightly browned and just cooked through, about 3 minutes.    Transfer the chicken to a dish and set aside.2. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan and swirl it in the wok to coat.  When the oil is very hot, add the onion.  Toss until the onion is softened, about 2 minutes.  Add the bell pepper, zucchini, and mushrooms.  Stir to coat with the oil and then return the chicken to the pan.  Add the stock and heat through, about 3 minutes.3. Remove the wok from the heat, add the pesto, and season with salt and pepper.  Toss until the chicken and vegetables are coated with the sauce.  Serve immediately.

4 cups water or milk1 teaspoon sea salt2 tablespoon unsalted butter1/4 teaspoon cayenne3/4 cup instant polenta1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Combine the water, salt, butter, and cayenne in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  Gradually add the polenta in a thin steady stream, whisking constantly so it doesn't lump.  Lower the heat and continue to cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until very thick and pulls away cleanly from the side of the pan, about 5 minutes.  2. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Remove from the heat and serve.

Roasted vegetable heroes
2 medium zucchini, ends trimmed, sliced lengthwise1 medium eggplant, ends trimmed, sliced lengthwise2 large sweet onions, thickly sliced2 large green bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and quartered3 tablespoons olive oil2 cloves garlic, finely chopped1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves1 tablespoon chopped fresh oreganoSalt and freshly ground pepper, to taste4 hero rolls

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.2. Toss the vegetables with the olive oil.  Spread the vegetables in one layer in a large shallow roasting pan. Sprinkle with garlic, thyme and oregano.  Season with salt and pepper. Roast the vegetables in the oven until tender and lightly browned, about 30 minutes, turning from time to time.  3. While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the dressing. Remove the roasted vegetables from the oven and cool slightly.4. Layer the vegetables on split hero rolls.  Drizzle with the dressing.  Close and cut in half on an angle.  Serve while still warm.

Hero dressing  Ingredients:
1/4 teaspoon salt1 teaspoon dried Italian herbsFreshly ground black pepper, to taste3 tablespoons vinegar1/2 cup olive oil

1. In a small bowl, combine salt, herbs, pepper and vinegar.  Beat in olive oil in a thin stream until the dressing thickens slightly.

Rigatoni and fast and crunchy pasta primavera
1 cup asparagus tips, cut about 1-1/2 inches long2 carrots, cut into 1-inch lengths and then thinly sliced lengthwise1/2 cup fresh green beans, cut diagonally into 1-1/2 inch pieces1/2 cup garden peas (or frozen, defrosted)1 cup fresh broccoli florets (or frozen, defrosted)1 small zucchini, cut into thin sticks 1-inch long5 to 6 green onions, cut into 1-1/2 inch lengths up to the dark green1/2 pound rigatoni1/2 cup heavy cream1 egg1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano cheese2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsleySalt and freshly ground pepper, to tasteMore Parmigiano Reggiano cheese for garnish

1. Steam the vegetables, each type separately, in a basket or strainer over boiling water until crisply tender - about 4 to 6 minutes.  Rinse under cold water to stop cooking, then kept warm over simmering water.2. Cook the rigatoni in 6 quarts boiling salted water for 6 to 9 minutes or until al dente.  Drain3. While the rigatoni is cooking, beat together cream, egg and cheese in a large bowl.  Drain the pasta and toss, while still very hot, with the egg and cream mixture.  Toss in the vegetables and parsley.  Season with salt and pepper. Serve very hot with more Parmigiano cheese on the side.