World-Class Steak Salad

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food With Soul: World Class Steak Salad! There’s nothing more satisfying than a bowl of fresh salad greens, crumbled cheese, and garden veggies…unless you add a juicy grilled steak. Suddenly, the meal becomes restaurant-worthy. It’s filling, protein-rich, and pretty! It seems like a lot is going on there, but once you plan it out, the assembly takes mere minutes. To save money, you can use flank steak instead of sirloin or ribeye, as long as you tenderize it in a marinade. Giving you options makes everything taste better. Wouldn’t you agree?

WORLD CLASS STEAK SALAD

Ingredients for Steak:

1 pound flank steak

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon garlic wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Ingredients for Salad:

2 cups iceberg lettuce

2 cups romaine lettuce

1 cup Campari tomatoes, quartered

1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced

1 ripe avocado, sliced

1/4 teaspoon lime juice

3 strips precooked bacon, crumbled

1/4 cup bleu cheese, crumbled

1 green onion, sliced

Everything But Bagel seasoning

Instructions:

In a shallow dish, combine olive oil, garlic wine vinegar, kosher salt, and black pepper. Coat both sides of flank steak. Cover dish with plastic wrap and marinate steak for one hour. Meanwhile, prepare the salad. In a serving bowl, layer the iceberg and romaine lettuce leaves first. Leave a small area for the grilled steak. Arrange Campari tomatoes, red onion slices, and avocados around the edge of the bowl. Sprinkle lime juice over avocado slices to prevent browning. Top salad with crispy bacon pieces, bleu cheese crumbles, and sliced green onions. Sprinkle Everything But Bagel seasoning over all. Refrigerate salad until ready to serve. To grill the steak, preheat grill to 450°. Remove the steak from the marinade and place directly on grill grates. Close lid; cook for 3 minutes. Discard marinade. Turn steak and grill 3 minutes longer with lid closed. Transfer steak to a cutting board. Allow to “rest” for 5 minutes. Slice meat and place onto the prepared salad. Serve with bleu cheese dressing.

Watercress Spinach Salad In A Jar

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Watercress Spinach Salad in a Jar! My heart beats a little faster whenever I come across a bunch of watercress at the fresh marketplace. I know immediately that I will pair it with baby spinach because they work well together. Its slightly peppery taste is an amazing balance to the mild sweetness of spinach leaves. By portioning salads in a jar, they keep a couple days in the refrigerator, as long as the dressing is added later, when served. Not only is the salad appealing, it comes across as pure genius. Mmm Mmm Good.

WATERCRESS SPINACH SALAD IN A JAR

Ingredients:

3/4 cup watercress leaves

1 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves

2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced

1/2 red onion, sliced

1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced

1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced

4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled

4 pint-size jars, with lids

Caesar dressing, prepared

Instructions:

Layer each jar beginning with watercress and spinach leaves. Carefully place sliced eggs along the inside. Add layers of sliced red onions, cherry tomatoes, and mushrooms. Finish with crumbled bacon on top. Twist the lid to seal each jar. Refrigerate salads until ready to serve. To serve, empty contents of jar onto a plate or bowl. Add bottled Caesar dressing, per taste.

White Chicken Flatbread

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Bright Ideas: White Chicken Flatbread! Nowadays I look for any excuse to have pizza, or a close second. All I have to do is go to my freezer to decide what ingredients to use. In there is often naan flatbread, precooked grilled chicken strips, and previously oven-baked bacon. In lieu of marinara sauce, creamy ranch dressing makes a tasty sauce. People know cheese is always my friend, along with fresh veggies, herbs, and spices. Throw it all together and boom; 20 minutes later it’s ready to eat. I think I deserve a star for that.

WHITE CHICKEN FLATBREAD

Ingredients:

1 Naan flatbread

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon cornmeal

1/2 cup prepared ranch dressing

4 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced

1 cup precooked, grilled chicken chunks

1/4 cup precooked bacon, crumbled

2 tablespoons sweet onions, chopped

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Brush the bottom side of the naan flatbread with olive oil; dust with cornmeal. Transfer to a pizza stone. Bake 5 minutes. Remove from oven and assemble the ingredients. Spread the ranch dressing onto the top crust. Layer, in order, the fresh mozzarella slices, grilled chicken chunks, bacon crumbles, and sweet onions. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and golden. Serve immediately.

Quirky Clean Salad

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Bright Ideas: Quirky Clean Salad! We’ve all heard the word “clean” when referring to food. Once upon a time, it meant wash the vegetables before eating them. Now it seems to have multiple meanings. Some of those phrases include “unprocessed foods, organically grown, no preservatives, low carbs, gluten-free, free-range, or no high fructose corn syrup.” Basically, it translates to what is clean for YOU. My unwritten rule is, if I have a craving for it, I’m eating it. Perhaps that’s why I added the word “Quirky” to the title. You do what is right for you. Are we good?

QUIRKY CLEAN SALAD

Ingredients:

1 head broccoli, florets only and chopped

1 green apple, peeled, cored, and diced

1/4 cup almonds, chopped

1/4 cup green olives, sliced

1/4 cup raisins

5 pitted dates, chopped

2 slices bacon, crispy cooked and crumbled

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 tablespoon garlic wine vinegar

1 tablespoon natural honey

1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1 teaspoon rosemary, chopped

Instructions:

In a large mixing bowl, combine broccoli florets, diced apples, chopped almonds, sliced green olives, raisins, chopped dates, and crumbled bacon. Gently toss to mix. In another bowl, whisk together lime juice, olive oil, Dijon mustard, garlic wine vinegar, natural honey, Himalayan salt, cracked black pepper, and chopped rosemary. Pour the vinaigrette over the broccoli salad; mix thoroughly. Serve immediately.

PB, Bacon & Jam Burger

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Bright Ideas: PB, Bacon & Jam Burger! Let the debate begin over peanut butter on a hamburger or an American cheese slice…because you can’t have both. Bacon gets to stay since everyone loves bacon. Amirite?! Peanut butter’s nutty taste actually compliments the beef patty. And it’s salty enough to take the place of cheese. The strawberry jam, with a sprinkling of hot pepper flakes, tickles the taste buds at the back of your throat making it an insanely good experience. I’m kind of a snob now that I’ve tasted brioche buns. Their buttery flavor, and the fact that they keep everything contained, is worth the cost difference. Are we good? Then carry on without regrets.

PB, BACON & JAM BURGER

Ingredients:

1 pound lean ground beef

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

4 tablespoons natural peanut butter, creamy variety

1-2 tablespoons sriracha sauce

4 tablespoons strawberry jam

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional

8 slices bacon, cooked until crispy

4 lettuce leaves

4 brioche hamburger buns

Instructions:

Combine ground beef, sea salt, and black pepper in a mixing bowl. Mix well. Divide meat into four equal portions. Flatten into hamburger patties. Set aside. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Meanwhile, combine the natural peanut butter with sriracha sauce. Stir until smooth. Grill burgers for 4 minutes per side or until a meat thermometer reads 160°F. To build-the-burger, layer two strips of bacon on the bottom bun. Place the hot hamburger patty over the bacon. Immediately spread the peanut butter mixture on top. It will begin to soften and melt. Drop a dollop of strawberry jam on top. Sprinkle red pepper flakes into the jam, if desired. Finish with a lettuce and the top of the brioche bun. Serve immediately.

Wing Beans Shoyu

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Waste Not, Want Not: Wing Beans Shoyu! Have you ever seen a four-angled bean? It actually has four corners. The rough texture looks a little odd, all jagged and such. Since they grow in tropical climates where there is plenty of humidity, rainfall, and warmth, there’s a pretty good chance you won’t find them at your local grocery store. However, they are readily available at Farmers Markets in the Hawaiian Islands, which is where I got these delectable little jewels. They taste similar to a snow pea with a slightly sweet crunch. Then there’s the sauce. YUM!

WING BEANS SHOYU

Ingredients:

1/2 pound wing beans, washed, ends trimmed, and cut into bite-size pieces

1/4 cup soy sauce, Japanese-style

2 tablespoons agave nectar

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 strip bacon, cooked and crumbled

Instructions:

Place prepared wing beans in a covered casserole dish. Add 2 tablespoons water. Microwave on High setting for 3 minutes until crisp-tender. Do not cook until mushy. Drain. Add crumbled bacon. Combine soy sauce, agave nectar, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes in a bowl. Whisk to blend flavors. Drizzle over wing bean mixture. Toss to coat. Serve warm.

Jalapeño Celery Crack

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Waste Not, Want Not: Jalapeño Celery Crack! I’m not ashamed to say I’ve found a new addiction. Hence the name. By the time I wrote this post, I had already made this recipe 3 times and shared it once with a close friend. Jalapeño Celery Crack has a spicy creaminess that screams, “just one more bite”. When I ran out of celery, I discovered it tastes amazing on tortilla corn chips. Sometimes you need an appetizer. Sometimes you want a snack. And sometimes making it part of a meal is justification enough. Perhaps you should try it. You know you want some.

JALAPEÑO CELERY CRACK

Ingredients:

1 bunch of celery, cut into 4” pieces

8-ounce cream cheese, room temperature

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon dill

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon parsley

2/3 cup pickled jalapeños, chopped

1 tablespoon pickled jalapeño juice

2 strips of applewood smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled

Instructions:

Cut celery into 4” pieces. Set aside.

Combine softened cream cheese and mayonnaise in a medium bowl. Mix until smooth. Add sea salt, dill, onion powder, garlic powder, and parsley. Mix thoroughly. Add chopped jalapeños, pickled jalapeño juice, and crumbled bacon. Stir well to blend. Refrigerate one hour. Arrange celery stalks on a platter. Fill with jalapeño mixture. Garnish with extra dill. Serve.

Angus Beef Burger

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Waste Not, Want Not: Angus Beef Burger! Anyone who is a beef-eater understands that when meat has a high level of marbling, it keeps it moist for longer when cooking. Why is marbling important, you wonder? Because the fat ratio is scattered throughout creating juicy, tender, and more flavorful results. Long story, short, angus beef means better burger. No one wants a hockey puck for a hamburger. Right? Although it may cost a little more per pound, the end results are worth it.

ANGUS BEEF BURGER

Ingredients:

1 pound Angus beef, ground

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 hamburger buns, split and toasted

Lettuce, tomato, bacon and condiments as desired

Instructions:

Preheat a gas grill on High temperature. Form the ground beef into four equal portions. Season both sides of each patty with sea salt and black pepper. Brush the burgers with olive oil. Grill the burgers for 3 minutes until brown and slightly charred. Flip over. Do not press down to release juices! Cook 4 minutes longer, for medium rare, until golden and charred. Grill longer for desired results. Assemble the burgers on toasted buns. Add fixings and condiments to taste. Serve immediately.

Cheese-Stuffed Jalapeño Piggies

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Start Smart: Cheese-Stuffed Jalapeño Piggies! Sooo, when you’re looking at a bounty of jalapeños and you’ve already pickled several jars, what’s next? Jalapeño poppers, with a bacon twist! These fiery devils will awaken your taste buds, so it’s a good idea to cool things down a bit with dairy products. Hence the need for a melted cheese filling and a yogurt-ranch dipping sauce. My husband and I feasted on a plate of these one night, so you can too—-if you dare!

CHEESE-STUFFED JALAPEÑO PIGGIES

Ingredients:

12-14 jalapeño peppers, red or green

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

3-4 mozzarella string cheese sticks

2 slices bacon, precooked and crumbled

Crushed tortilla chips

Cilantro for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with foil. Spray a wire rack with nonstick oil and place on the baking sheet. Set aside. Wash the jalapeño peppers. Pat dry. Wearing gloves, slice the top of each jalapeño vertically, removing a small section to create a well. Remove seeds and ribs. Discard. Brush each jalapeño pepper with olive oil. Sprinkle on seasonings. Place jalapeños on the wire rack with cut side down. Bake 10 minutes; then set broiler to High and broil 2-3 minutes until peppers are slightly charred. Remove from oven. Cool slightly. Using a tongs, flip them over. Divide the cheddar cheese between the jalapeño peppers. Using a kitchen shears, cut the string cheese into strips. Layer over cheddar cheese. Sprinkle the bacon crumbles over the cheese-filled jalapeños. Top with crushed tortilla chips. Broil stuffed “piggies” on High another 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Remove pan from oven and let cool slightly before transferring stuffed jalapeños to a platter. Serve with ranch salad dressing that has a dollop of Greek yogurt mixed in. Garnish with fresh cilantro.