Velvet-Filled Pumpkin Roll

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Appetizers to Desserts: Velvet-Filled Pumpkin Roll! Announcing a festive cake that looks as though you stopped by the bakery. Anyone can feel like a professional pastry chef with this holiday specialty. In a few simple steps, the rich pumpkin flavor is enhanced by the velvety cream filling. Afterwards all you have to do is sit back and bask in the accolades.

VELVET-FILLED PUMPKIN ROLL

Ingredients for Pumpkin Roll:

3 eggs

2/3 cup pumpkin purée

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 cup flour

1/3 cup chopped pecans

Ingredients for Velvet Filling:

8 ounces Neufchâtel cheese

3/4 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375°. Grease and line a 10″x15″ jelly roll pan with waxed paper. For pumpkin roll combine eggs, pumpkin purée, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and flour. Mix until well blended. Pour into jelly roll pan and spread evenly to edges. Sprinkle with chopped pecans. Bake 12-15 minutes. Watch carefully. Remove from oven. Sprinkle powdered sugar on a tea towel, turn cake onto towel, and remove the waxed paper. Starting at one end, roll the cake up, and refrigerate for one hour. Meanwhile, combine Neufchâtel cheese, vanilla, butter, and powdered sugar. Mix together until smooth and velvety. After one hour, unroll cake and spread the filling all the way to the edges. Reroll cake and refrigerate two hours longer. Dust with powdered sugar. Slice and serve.

Unbelievable Cheesy Pimento Spread

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Appetizers to Desserts: Unbelievable Cheesy Pimiento Spread! If you’re a cheese lover, this is a “must-do” appetizer. It is guaranteed to bring big raves at the next holiday gathering. The smokey-peppery version is sure to test your willpower. Should it just be slathered on crackers or bagel chips? What about apple slices? Or will you take it one step further and build a grilled cheese sandwich on sourdough bread? Whatever you choose, create all sorts of ideas for enhancing this nostalgic Southern favorite.

UNBELIEVABLE CHEESY PIMENTO SPREAD

Ingredients:

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons French Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

4-ounce jar of diced pimientos, drained

2 green onions, snipped

8 ounces extra sharp yellow cheddar cheese, finely shredded

10 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, medium shredded

1 teaspoon sriracha hot chili sauce (optional)

Instructions:

In a large bowl, stir together mayonnaise, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper flakes, seasoned salt, and pepper. Mix well. Fold in pimientos and onions. Stir in both cheeses until blended. Add sriracha for a kick of heat. Chill one hour or overnight.

Serving Suggestion: Serve as an Appetizer with crackers or assorted vegetables. Also excellent as finger sandwiches.

*For block cheeses, grate one kind with small holes and the other with medium holes on a box grater or using food processor blades.

Timely Turkey Tetrazzini

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Appetizers to Desserts: Timely Turkey Tetrazzini! Now here’s a great way to turn leftover turkey into a tantalizing meal. By adding a few ingredients, a magical transformation takes place. Simply add turkey to mixed vegetables for a creamy pasta dish with a buttery breadcrumb topping. Can anyone say YUM?!

TIMELY TURKEY TETRAZZINI

Casserole Ingredients:

8 ounces spaghetti, cooked

4 ounces can mushroom caps, sliced

2 tablespoons butter

3 cups cooked turkey, cut up

1 can cream of chicken soup, undiluted

1 cup Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons sherry

1 teaspoon sriracha sauce

1/4 teaspoon celery seed

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup pimentos, diced

1 tablespoon diced onion

Topping Ingredients:

1/3 cup croutons, crushed*

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

2 tablespoons butter, melted

*May be substituted for breadcrumbs.

Instructions:

Preheat oven to. 325°. Grease a 9″x13″ casserole dish. Prepare spaghetti according to package directions. Drain. Sauté mushrooms in butter. Set aside. In a large bowl combine cream of chicken soup, yogurt, sherry, sriracha sauce, celery seed, and salt. Blend well. Fold in pimentos and onion. Add sautéed mushrooms and butter. Mix in spaghetti and turkey until completely combined. Spread evenly in the casserole dish. Top with crushed croutons and Parmesan cheese. Drizzle melted butter over all. Bake for 45 minutes. Serve immediately.

Sugar-Spun Sponge Candy

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Appetizers to Desserts: Sugar-Spun Sponge Candy! Take a walk down Memory Lane. Wonderful childhood memories come flooding back with this old-time classic favorite. You will seldom find it in candy stores unless you happen to stumble upon a family-owned place where the bell above the doorjamb jingles as you cross the threshold. Once inside, the glass showcase will feature this honeycomb-type toffee, golden in color, nestled inside a rich chocolate covering. It’s crisp and air-filled with a sponge-like appearance. Once you’ve had it, the memories linger on. Spoil yourself and make up a batch. Just like magic, it can be whipped up in about 15 minutes. Carry on the tradition, or begin your own this year.

SUGAR-SPUN SPONGE CANDY

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar

1 cup dark corn syrup

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 tablespoon baking soda

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate morsels

3 teaspoons vegetable oil

Instructions:

Combine sugar, corn syrup, and vinegar in a heavy-bottomed 3-quart pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Continue cooking about 10 minutes until mixture reaches 300° on a candy thermometer, or a drop of syrup becomes brittle in a glass of cold water. Immediately remove pan from heat and sift in baking soda. Mixture will foam up madly. Stir gently but thoroughly. Pour into well-buttered 9″ square pan. Do not spread. Let cool. Remove from pan and break into pieces over a large bowl. Sugary crumbs will appear all over the counter if the bowl is too small.

Instructions for Chocolate Coating:

Pour chocolate morsels into a glass bowl. Add 3 teaspoons of vegetable oil. Stir. Place in microwave for 5 minutes on 30% power. Halfway through, stir to blend smooth. Do not over cook. Keep warm on the stovetop over a double boiler. Dip each piece of sponge candy into chocolate. Coat completely or halfway depending on preference. The honeycomb and chocolate look appealing, in my opinion. Place pieces on waxed paper lined sheet pan. Chill to set.

Quazy Carrot Cake

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Appetizers to Desserts: Quazy Carrot Cake! “What’s up, Doc?” is something we’ve all heard Bugs Bunny say more than once. You may find yourself asking the same question when you take a bite of this tasty version of Carrot Cake. It’s loaded with fresh carrots, pineapple tidbits, and chopped pecans. The crowning moment comes when you smack your lips together over the wonderful cream cheese icing. I have seen expressions of jubilation over this award-winning dessert. Treat yourself to something special this weekend.

QUAZY CARROT CAKE

Ingredients:

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 1/4 cups vegetable oil

4 eggs

3 cups carrots, grated

1 cup crushed pineapple, drained

1 cup pecans, chopped

Ingredients for Icing:

1/2 cup butter, softened

8 ounces Neufchâtel cheese, softened

3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9″x13″ pan with nonstick oil. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Mix well. Add oil, eggs, carrots, pineapple, and nuts. Beat for 2 minutes on medium speed. Transfer to baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes or until done. Meanwhile, cream together the butter and Neufchâtel cheese. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth and creamy. When cake is cool, top with cream cheese icing. Garnish with a pecan half.

Paleo Pepper Steak

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Appetizers to Desserts: Paleo Pepper Steak! Before you delete this post, hear me out for sec. Paleo does not mean blah, boring, and tasteless. In fact, this recipe gives you permission to only eat the stuff you crave. No hidden sauces or funky herbs. Basically, what you see is what you get. (Disclaimer: Pay no attention to that slice of garlic bread. It was put in the photo by my alter ego who loves carbs.) The green and red peppers are so fresh you may feel like nibbling on one or two as you slice them into strips. And the caramelized onions compliment the taste of steak, in my opinion.

PALEO PEPPER STEAK

Ingredients:

1 large green bell pepper, sliced and seeds removed

1 large sweet red pepper, sliced and seeds removed

1 large yellow onion, skin removed and sliced

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper

2-6 ounce filet mignon steaks

Sea salt, black pepper, and garlic powder steak to taste

1 pat of butter

Instructions:

Salt and pepper both sides of the steak while the gas grill is preheating from 450°-500°. At this time sprinkle the steak with garlic powder as well. The salt begins to draw out a little bit of moisture which makes the steak sizzle when it hits the grill grate, sealing in the flavor. For accuracy in grilling, my husband sets the timer on his cell phone, which is quite handy. Grill the steak for 2 1/2 minutes on one side before flipping over for the remaining 2 1/2 minutes. The finished steak will be medium-rare. Now this is the most difficult part. Let it rest for about 5 minutes before serving. The juice will reabsorb back into the steak to give you that moist and meaty taste.

Meanwhile, sauté pepper and onion slices in olive oil and seasonings in a large skillet on medium heat. Turn often to gradually brown the vegetables and avoid burning. They will be tender in about 20 minutes. Reduce heat to low simmer to keep warm. Before serving, surround the steak with peppers and onions. Finish with a pat of butter.