What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Graze or Gobble: Rise & Shine Breakfast! It’s no surprise America has turned to breakfast as the nutritional meal of the day. Especially with the rising cost of food. Eggs provide enough vitamins to justify a well-balanced diet. What I’ve noticed more than anything, is the fact that I feel fuller throughout the day and less apt to snack. I’m told it’s the power of protein, and I believe it.
RISE & SHINE BREAKFAST
1-2 tablespoons butter
2 slices honey wheat toast
2 slices, applewood smoked bacon, baked until crispy
Warm butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Crack each egg into a small bowl; this will eliminate bits of shell from being poured into the skillet. Pour the eggs over the melted butter. After one minute, the outer edges of the white appear opaque. For sunny-side up eggs, do not flip. Cover the skillet with a lid and lower the heat for 4 minutes. The steam will gently cook the top of the egg, leaving the yolks runny. Sprinkle with seasoning or herbs. Serve with toast points, bacon, and fresh fruit as desired.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Clean Eating: Quinoa Cheese Melt! Few things can take the place of the classic grilled cheese sandwich, in my opinion. Yet, in a world of imagination, anything goes. As long as the bread is crispy with a satisfying crunch, be inventive. Think about multigrain, brioche, sourdough, bagel, or baguette. Once that decision is made, take a look at the cheese options: cheddar, American, gouda, provolone, gruyère, or Swiss. Sometimes a mixture is the perfect choice. Layering extras can be just as mind boggling. Do you choose bacon or beef? Lettuce or sprouts? Tomatoes or onions? I can see your eyes darting in several different directions casting a puzzled look on your face. So the next time someone asks, “Should we have grilled cheese?”, simply throw your arms up in the air and say, “Sure! It’s easy for you to say!”
QUINOA CHEESE MELT
2 slices quinoa multigrain bread
2-3 tablespoons butter
4 slices American cheese
2 slices thick applewood smoked bacon, cooked
1 tomato, sliced
1/2 cup alfalfa sprouts
Preheat skillet over medium heat. Butter one side of quinoa multigrain bread. Place butter side down onto skillet bottom. Add four slices American cheese, stacked two high, to cover surface of bread. Arrange cooked bacon over all. Butter a second slice of quinoa multigrain bread on one side. Place butter side up on top of sandwich. Grill until lightly browned, then flip over. Continue grilling until cheese is melted. Remove to a plate. Stuff with sliced tomatoes and alfalfa sprouts. Cut in half. Serve immediately.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Next Step: Vermont Cheddar Multigrain Toast! Just because you hit the snooze button on the alarm clock does not mean you lose out on a healthy breakfast. Grab a slice of multigrain bread, a hard-boiled egg, and a wedge of white cheddar cheese. Why white, you ask? Um, because I like the deeper flavors of the older extra-sharp varieties. The longer a cheese ages naturally, the more pronounced the flavor. Besides, it tastes incredibly delish with the slightly salty applewood-smoked bacon as its companion. So, while the coffee’s brewing and the toast is browning, get slicing.
VERMONT CHEDDAR MULTIGRAIN TOAST
1-2 slices multigrain toast
1-2 tablespoons sea salt butter
3-4 slices Vermont White Cheddar cheese
1-2 slices applewood-smoked bacon, precooked
1 hard boiled egg, sliced
Snipped chives for garnish
Chia seeds for garnish
Toast multigrain bread on desired setting. Remove from toaster; place on a plate. Spread sea salt butter over toast. Next, layer with Vermont cheddar cheese, thick bacon, and sliced egg. Top with snippets of fresh chives. Sprinkle chia seeds over all.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Food Whisperer: Wrapped-in-Bacon Roast Turkey! Bacon-lovers unite. With the holidays looming on the horizon, this main dish is perfect for those who turn their nose up at Mr. Turkey. By wrapping applewood smoked bacon around the outside of the bird, the inside meat stays moist and a little bit salty while the outside gets crispy. No basting required. I was able to weave the bacon strips on a sheet of waxed paper therefore making it easier to cover the turkey breast. It sounds weird, but rub a little butter on the turkey skin first. It actually helps the bacon stay in place. As it bakes, the house begins to smell amazing. You know you want it.
WRAPPED-IN-BACON ROAST TURKEY
7-8 pound turkey breast, thawed
1 pound thick-cut applewood smoked bacon, sliced
1 yellow onion, quartered
Butter for rubbing
Rosemary sprigs for garnish
Preheat oven to 350°. Place turkey breast, breast-side up, in a shallow roasting pan. Tuck the onions quarters in the cavity of the breast. Brush turkey with butter. Add one cup water to the bottom of the pan. This keeps the bacon from shrinking while creating steam for a crispier skin. Place the woven bacon onto the turkey breast by flipping the waxed paper over it. Peel back and tuck the bacon edges around the breast to cover it evenly. The butter will help move it into place. Bake 3-3 1/2 hours. If the bacon becomes too golden-brown before the turkey is fully cooked, cover it with a loose tent of aluminum foil. Turkey is done when a meat thermometer registers at least 165° in the deepest part of the breast. Remove from oven and allow the cooked breast to stand 20-30 minutes. This allows the juices to settle and makes carving easier. To keep the bacon intact, cut through the bacon first before carving the breast beneath. Transfer to a platter with onions and rosemary sprigs.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Equal Measures: Knäckebröd Cucumber Salmon Crispbread! Some days time is in short supply and all we can hope for is a “working lunch”. At least you can treat yourself to something a little bit gourmet that says “I’m really worth it.” Knäckebröd whole grain crispbread is mighty enough to hold a layer of herbed cream cheese, a mini slice of seedless cucumber, wild Alaskan smoked salmon, fresh dill weed and chopped chives. How’s that for refueling your work day? Be forewarned: your coworkers may gather round the desk in curiosity while you’re nibbling away on finger food. Just hold up a single digit and keep nibbling. After all, it’s impolite to talk with your mouth full.
KNÄCKEBÖRD CUCUMBER SALMON CRISPBREAD
4-6 slices Knäckebröd sourdough crispbread
8 ounces Neufchâtel cheese, softened
1 tablespoon Italian herb seasoning mix
2 mini seedless cucumbers, sliced
4 ounces Wild Alaskan applewood smoked salmon
Sprig of dill weed
Combine Neufchâtel cheese and Italian seasoning mix. Stir until blended. Store in a covered container. To assemble, lightly spread crispbread with a layer of herbed cream cheese. Next add one or two slices of seedless cucumber. Top with smoked salmon. Garnish with dill weed and fresh chives.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Elevated Edibles: Upgraded Lunch Break! For those original gamers from the 1980’s, today’s snapshot may detect a slight resemblance to a popular video game character known as Pac-Man. I assure you, that was not my intention. My kids played that harmless game all the time, staring at a screen that literally ate its way to a high score. Then again, I seem to remember them requesting pizza delivery more often as a result of it. At least nowadays I can choose a healthier alternative with multigrain baked crackers that have wheat, corn, and oats. Plus it won’t cost me a roll of quarters.
UPGRADED LUNCH BREAK
6 multigrain baked crackers
3 slices cherrywood smoked ham, deli-style
1 golden delicious apple, sliced in wedges
Fresh chives, for garnish
Arrange multigrain crackers on a platter. Cut each slice of ham in half. Form into an accordion shape to create “wells”. Secure one end with two strands of fresh chives. Tie securely. Place the ham onto a multigrain cracker, fanning out the hills and valleys. Insert apple wedges where possible, allowing them to stand upright. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Elevated Edibles: New Potatoes Smashed! Is it a baked potato? A mashed potato? A fried potato? Or all three?! What it is, is freaking fantastic! Forget about dinner conversation. As soon as you place a platter of these tasty gems on the table, all bets are off. Don’t blame your partner or the kids, they don’t want to talk with their mouths full. These potatoes have a soft, earthy flavor surrounded by a crispy outer skin. Cheese and bacon make them downright irresistible. But don’t get carried away. Repeat after me: “This is meant to be a side dish.”
NEW POTATOES SMASHED
1 pound new red potatoes, skin on
2 teaspoons, plus 1/8 teaspoon sea salt, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 cup cheddar cheese, finely shredded
2 slices applewood bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 green onions, chopped
Put the red potatoes in a pot. Add enough water to cover by one inch. Add 2 teaspoons sea salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to medium and cook until potatoes pierce easily with a knife, about 20 minutes. While potatoes cook, preheat oven to 425°. Drizzle one tablespoon olive oil over a rimmed baking sheet. Drain potatoes; allow to cool for 5 minutes. Arrange the cooked potatoes on the prepared baking sheet. Carefully use a fork to gently “smash” the potatoes. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over potatoes. Sprinkle with the remaining sea salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and cracked black pepper. Bake 30 minutes until potatoes are crispy. Remove from oven, add shredded cheddar cheese and bacon crumbles. Broil for one minute, or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from oven. Garnish with chopped green onions. Serve warm.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Something to Savor: Ham Salad Spread! Tired of ho-hum tuna salad or egg salad sandwiches? Think all-natural applewood smoked ham with no artificial ingredients. When you begin with quality, the results are astounding. Add sweet pickle relish, chopped celery, and fresh horseradish. The biggest challenge is deciding if you wish to smear it on rye bread, add a dollop over wheat crackers, or simply scoop it onto a Bibb lettuce leaf. Skip the Deli-made and crank out a batch at home. It’s easier than you think. In no time at all, you’ll have a party favorite or lunchtime energy boost.
HAM SALAD SPREAD
2 cups applewood smoked ham chunks
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 eggs, hard-boiled and chopped
3 green onions, snipped
3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
1 teaspoon creamy horseradish
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Place ham chunks in a food processor. Pulse in batches until finely chopped. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Place celery in the food processor and Pulse until chopped. Add to bowl. Repeat with hard-boiled eggs. Add to bowl. Stir to mix. Add green onion snips, sweet pickle relish, horseradish, and mayonnaise. Mix well. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Something to Savor: Fig and Pig Flatbread! Make life easy tonight with an amazing twist on this sweet and salty sensation. Everyone loves bacon. I get it. And the fig preserves provide a sweet after taste that mingles with the natural crunch of crispy crust and salty meat. The gooey cheese is like the icing on a cake. With only a few ingredients, preparation is a snap leaving more time for settling in front of the television with a glass of wine and your favorite program. You can thank me later.
FIG AND PIG FLATBREAD
1 prepared flatbread
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon corn meal
1/2 cup fig and muscat wine preserves
4 slices applewood smoked bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled
Preheat oven to 400°. Brush both sides of flatbread with olive oil. Sprinkle corn meal on the bottom side of the flatbread. Place onto a baking sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick oil. Bake 5 minutes; remove from oven. Spread fig and muscat wine preserves evenly over flatbread, leaving a crust edge. Arrange crumbled bacon as next layer. Scatter mozzarella and feta cheese over top. Bake 10 minutes longer until crust is golden and cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven. Cool slightly. Cut into wedges and serve with a side salad.