On a slightly snowy (finally!) Friday morning, it's time to get going on dinner plans through the weekend. With lots of indulging surrounding us for the holidays, plus an elaborate Christmas dinner on the horizon, my thoughts are turning to simple and largely vegetarian dinner ideas this week as an antedote. With the snow outside, tonight's a good night for a big, hot chowder, and I'm thinking of an experiment with a favorite, smoky shrimp and halibut stew from Bon Appetit. As for adjustments to the recipe, first off, I never ever use the half pound of bacon it calls for, trimming that to two or three pieces for flavor. Sunflower has raw e-z peel large shrimp for $3.97 a pound so that part's easy. But sustainably fished halibut is likely to run you in the $20 a pound range, if you can find it, so I'll experiment with substituting the flash-frozen haddock that Sprouts has this week for $4.99 a pound. It won't hold together as well as halibut, but I bet it will be delicious.
Then, since Sunflower has winter hard squash for a stunning 27 cents a pound this week (it's conventional, but you're going to peel it or not eat the shell anyway, right?), that calls for a giant pan of roasted winter veggies. There are tons of recipes out there (like herbed roasted winter vegetables), but you don't really need a recipe for this. Just put winter veggies of choice on a greased baking sheet, toss with a little olive oil and herbs of choice, then roast in a pretty hot oven until they're done to your satisfaction. Any protein of choice could accompany them, including salmon on a grill pan (look to the left margin for prices), or even one of the already cooked chickens Sprouts has on sale this week for $4.99 each (stick it in that hot oven to rewarm it).
Then for the first vegetarian dinner of the week, we'll take advantage of the fresh ricotta that's $2.99 a pound at Sunflower to make a winter comfort favorite, baked rigatoni with ricotta and collard greens from Cottage Living. It makes a big casserole, and I'm already planning ahead to how both this and today's stew will make second appearances later in the week. More on that to follow. Enjoy the somewhat wintery day out there!