Egg Noodle Chicken Casserole

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Table Food: Egg Noodle Chicken Casserole! Do you ever become territorial with your food, perhaps hiding it in secret places no one ever looks? I do. In fact I keep a very unique bag of Iowa potato chips in the freezer to nibble on whenever I get the urge. Yes, you can freeze potato chips, but that’s another story. Comfort food also means having your very own individual crock in order to savor every bite, like today’s version of chicken casserole. It especially means the buttery cracker topping is all yours, to save until the very end or to mix into every bite. The choice is yours.



1 cup egg noodles

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 onion, diced

1 stalk celery, diced

1 cup frozen grilled chicken chunks, fully cooked and thawed

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped

For the topping:

1/2 cup Ritz* crackers, crushed

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped


Preheat oven to 400°. Grease two individual casserole dishes with nonstick oil. Set aside. Cook egg noodles according to package directions. Drain, rinse, and set aside. In a skillet over medium-high heat, warm butter. Add diced onion and celery. Cook until soft, about 5 minutes. In a large bowl, combine egg noodles, onions, celery, chicken chunks, mayonnaise, cheddar cheese, and chopped parsley. Mix well. Divide between the two prepared casserole dishes. In a small bowl, stir together cracker crumbs, melted butter, and cheddar cheese. Sprinkle mixture evenly over the casseroles. Bake 20 minutes until golden brown. Let rest 5 minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley. Serve immediately.

*I receive no recompense for mentioning this product.

Dalgona Espresso Shots

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Table Food: Dalgona Espresso Shots! If it’s one thing I learned during our time of self-isolation, it was how to make each day something special to look forward to. So every afternoon, in the middle of our day, I’d stop what I was doing and pad off to the kitchen for a delightful diversion. Thanks to my virtual friends, Jyothi* and Judy**, I became a connoisseur of the “Coffee Break”. Both women perfected the art of Dalgona Coffee, a form of whipped coffee that requires only a few simple ingredients: instant coffee, sugar, and milk. (Feel free to click on their links at the bottom of the page.) I became quite lazy about whipping the topping into a mountain of fluff by allowing the milk frother on my espresso machine to become the workhorse. At the press of a button, it became thick, frothy, and ready to pour. Although the aroma would waft throughout the house announcing my arrival, I’d still carry the espresso shots into my husband’s office and proclaim with a smile, “Time for coffee.”



4 teaspoons sugar

4 teaspoons instant Mexican espresso coffee

4 teaspoons cold water

Light cream, for serving

Dark chocolate espresso beans, crushed, for garnish


Using a milk frother, combine sugar, instant espresso coffee, and cold water. Press the setting for a cold beverage. Let the machine run through two cycles to thicken the whipped coffee. Fill two espresso shot glasses 3/4 full with light cream. Carefully spoon the whipped espresso topping over the cream. Garnish with a sprinkling of crushed chocolate-covered espresso beans. Serve immediately.

*Follow the link to Jyothi

**Follow the link to Judy

Coconut Sprinkled Fruit Cup

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Table Food: Coconut Sprinkled Fruit Cups! Whether you choose to enhance a hearty breakfast, compliment a light lunch, or serve as a healthy dessert, fresh fruit is always a good idea. Take a moment to look in the fridge. Perhaps you see an apple, a bunch of green grapes, a ripe banana, or a few stragglers from a berry basket. Combine them together for a surprising and colorful addition to any meal. Sprinkle on some coconut flakes to jazz things up. Drizzle with maple syrup, wildflower honey, or agave nectar. Just a touch. Then, for a nice finish, sprinkle on cinnamon, nutmeg, or citrusy cardamom. Dessert-lovers may add a dollop of whipped cream. The choices are endless. When building a fruit salad, think color, flavor, and presentation. The results may surprise you.



1 Cara Cara orange, divided into segments

1/2 cup pineapple, tidbits

2 tablespoons coconut, shredded

2 teaspoons agave nectar

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, ground


Fill two fruit cups with orange segments and pineapple tidbits. Sprinkle shredded coconut over top. Drizzle with agave nectar. Garnish with ground nutmeg.

Brazen Broccoli Bites

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Table Food: Brazen Broccoli Bites! Do you roast vegetables in your oven? Of course, you do. Who doesn’t? It’s simple, appealing, tasty, and healthy. It also makes the kitchen smell wonderful, like a woodsmoke fire on a pleasant afternoon in autumn. Herbs and spices enhance the flavor. Olive oil makes them sizzle, while giving veggies visibly charred edges. After a few minutes, fresh produce becomes fork-tender and ready-to-serve. But wait, this is only supposed to be a side dish.



3/4 pound broccoli crowns

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons sliced almonds

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, shaved

Lemon slices, for garnish


Preheat oven to 425°. Wash the broccoli; dry thoroughly. Cut the broccoli florets from the stalks, slicing some lengthwise. In a bowl, whisk together olive oil, minced garlic cloves, red pepper flakes, and kosher salt. Add broccoli; toss to coat. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Arrange in a single layer; avoid crowding. Roast broccoli for 10-12 minutes. Flip and bake 10 minutes longer. Sprinkle almond slices over all. Roast 10 minutes longer until broccoli is evenly caramelized. The almonds will be toasted and golden. Transfer to a platter. Gently toss with lemon juice. Top with shaved parmesan cheese. Garnish with lemon slices. Serve immediately.

Applesauce Morning Muffins

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Table Food: Applesauce Morning Muffins! I have always been a fan of fruity sweet apples. Growing up in an apple orchard, on a road called Orchard Lane, I never grew tired of picking the dark red and yellow-striped fruit off a low tree limb on my way home from school. I’d twist the stem, quietly reciting the alphabet until the stem snapped off. Whatever letter I was on told me the name of my next boyfriend. My heart would flip into a flutter as I whispered his name under my breath before sinking my teeth into its tasty core. Juice would run down my chin before I could swipe it away as I continued crunching. Did those wise and wonderful apples ever grant me a wish? I’ll never tell.



1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

3/4 cup applesauce

1 3/4 cup flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For topping:

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup butter, melted


Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly spray a muffin pan with nonstick oil. Set aside. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, beating well after each addition. Stir in applesauce. Combine flour, baking powder, and sea salt. Add to batter; stir just until moistened. Spoon batter into muffin tins, filling 2/3 full. Bake 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing muffins from pan. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a shallow dish. Dip muffin tips into melted butter. Roll in cinnamon sugar. Serve warm.

Table Food

Most people have pretty busy schedules nowadays, no matter what stage of life you are living. Fast food, carry-out, and dining in food joints can supplement our weekly meals, that’s for sure. Yet, if you desire a more efficient way to stretch the budget, think low-key menu planning. This segment on the food blog, entitled “Table Food”, can be another option to reduce the stress of figuring out what to eat. I tend to follow my own grocery store shopping rule as much as possible: Shop the perimeter of the store for most of my grocery list. Usually that includes produce, bakery, meat, fish, and dairy products as a top priority. It keeps me from binge-buying junk food in a moment of weakness. Obviously, pantry staples need to be replenished from time to time. Basically, I try to fuel my body with healthy options. When I slip, I’ve learned to let go of the guilt. Some of my posts have been favored by the “Food Network” on Twitter (Snapshotsincursive @DornaGail) as well as Ina Garten’s The Barefoot Contessa, on Instagram (gail _dorna). You can even find me on Pinterest at Gail Dorna. I’d love to connect with you there as well. I also met Chef Michelle Tribble of Hell’s Kitchen reality cooking show. Fun times. Experience different flavors and textures one bite at a time. Catch a glimpse of “Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Table Food!” This remarkable journey of the palate is unique because it gives me a few moments with you. Thanks very much to all of my guests and followers on for the uplifting support, award nominations, and moving words of encouragement.

Za’atar Quail Eggs

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Graze or Gobble: Za’atar Quail Eggs! This isn’t just another hard-boiled egg post that makes you go “meh”. It’s one that will take you on an adventure; an adventure for the tastebuds. Everyone has figured out that eggs keep midday food cravings at bay. Imagine bringing your lunch to work, let’s say a half a dozen quail eggs, rolled in a crown of za’atar seasoning and sea salt. Already people are gathering around the refrigerator to see what makes them so special. You could tell them quail eggs provide more protein, have a rich taste, are hypoallergenic, and can boost the metabolism. But don’t get carried away. Otherwise come break time you may discover only 3 quail eggs in your lunchbox and suddenly everyone is too busy to chat.



12 quail eggs, natural farm raised

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 teaspoons za’atar seasoning


Gently place quail eggs in a medium pan of cold water. Bring to a boil for 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Immediately transfer eggs to a bowl of water filled with ice to completely cool. In a shallow dish, combine sea salt and za’atar seasoning. Carefully peel each quail egg, removing tiny bits of shell and membrane. Roll each egg in the za’atar mixture to coat. Set upright on a platter or place eggs on a bed of mixed greens to serve.

Yo-Yo Strawberry Froyo

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Graze or Gobble: Yo-Yo Strawberry Froyo! During strawberry season, there are so many ways to serve this jubilant fruit without getting bored. Once one has made a couple jars of jam, a strawberry rhubarb pie, bakery-style muffins, and angel food shortcake, the list goes on. Strawberries are a nice addition to a spinach salad. They also present a festive twist on the classic margarita to offset a platter of tortilla chips and salsa. If you’ve had your fill of strawberries before the season ends, no worries. Wash them, remove the leaves and stems, halve them, then pop them in the freezer for using later on. I like to place them in a single layer on a baking sheet in the freezer for 24 hours before storing them in ziplock bags. That way they don’t end up as a giant blob of frozen strawberries.



2 bananas, peeled, sliced, and frozen

1 cup frozen strawberries, halved

2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

1/4 teaspoon coconut extract

1/4 cup frozen strawberry chunks, optional for texture

Fresh mint, for garnish


Using a food processor, combine frozen sliced bananas, frozen strawberry halves, sweetened condensed milk, Greek yogurt, and coconut extract. Blend until smooth and creamy. It will look like softened ice cream. Gently fold in strawberry chunks for color and texture. Transfer mixture to a loaf pan. Cover with aluminum foil. Freeze overnight. To serve, scoop frozen yogurt into dessert bowls. Garnish with fresh mint. Serve immediately.

Xnipec Habanero Salsa

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Graze or Gobble: Xnipec Habanero Salsa! Anyone who craves the jolt of hot tropical salsa can read on. Others who don’t….No judgement, we’ll catch you tomorrow. For those who are up to the challenge, let me give you a little background before you dive in. The word “Xnipec” translates in Mayan to “dog’s nose”, which implies you may sweat droplets like a dog’s wet nose the more bites you take. If so, wipe your forehead and walk away. You’re done. I’ve been known to ask for the “muy caliente” salsa in a Mexican restaurant. At which time, the server brings me my own special bowl usually reserved for the kitchen staff. The hubs typically laughs and tells them I can practically drink it with a straw. What can I say? I’m hopelessly addicted to habaneros.



3 habanero peppers

2 Roma tomatoes, chopped

1/2 red onion, finely diced

3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons orange juice

Pinch of sea salt


Using disposable gloves, halve habaneros. Remove stem, pith, and seeds. Dice peppers; place in a bowl. Add chopped tomatoes, finely diced red onion, chopped cilantro, lime juice, and orange juice. Add a pinch of sea salt. Toss well. Refrigerate one hour before serving.