Vermicelli Pasta Salad

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food Junkie Favorites: Vermicelli Pasta Salad! A little advance planning goes a long way whether you choose to make this a side dish or a main course. Plus, you get bonus points if it becomes your Midweek Meatless Meal. It’s easy, it’s versatile, and it’s made with fiber-filled veggies for extra crunch and flavor. Substitute ingredients to match your family’s personal cravings. On the go? Pack it in single serving jars for fuss-free options.

VERMICELLI PASTA SALAD

Ingredients:

1 pound vermicelli

1 1/2 tablespoons Accent seasoning

2 tablespoons seasoned salt

1/2 cup lemon juice

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup green pepper, chopped

3/4 cup onion, chopped

1 1/2 cups broccoli/carrot/red cabbage slaw

1 cup black olives, sliced

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

1 cup mayonnaise

Instructions:

Cook vermicelli as directed on package. Rinse in cold water. Drain. Place in large bowl. Make a marinade of Accent seasoning, seasoned salt, lemon juice, and vegetable oil. Pour over vermicelli; mix well. Cover and marinate for two days, stirring once or twice. Add green pepper, onion, cut-up broccoli/carrot/cabbage slaw, black olives, poppy seeds, and mayonnaise. Mix well. Marinate overnight. Serve chilled.

Delicious Dill Dip

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food Junkie Favorites: Delicious Dill Dip! “Remember to eat your veggies.” We’ve all ignored that inner voice that tends to remind us not to reach for a second cookie. So today we’re going to make eating vegetables FUN! This dip is so yummy, you can scoop it up with cucumber spears, celery sticks, baby carrots, snow peas, cherry tomatoes, or cauliflower. But don’t stop there. The fresh dill even complements a toasted bagel, which you’ll see later on.

DELICIOUS DILL DIP

Ingredients:

1 cup Greek yogurt

1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon celery seed

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1 tablespoon celery flakes

1 tablespoon onion, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh dill

Instructions:

Mix thoroughly yogurt and mayonnaise. Add sea salt, celery seed, onion powder, celery flakes, and chopped onion; blend well. Fold in fresh dill. Refrigerate one hour before serving.

Unlimited Broccoli Tidbits

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Take a Seat at the Table: Unlimited Broccoli Tidbits! Here is a salad you can snack on over and over. It keeps for days in the refrigerator as the flavor intensifies. And because the broccoli is fresh, the crunch appeases the taste buds. By adding the sweetness of raisins and the saltiness of bacon, it soothes those unexpected cravings that sabotage even the strictest diet enthusiast. Go ahead, take a bite. Permission granted.

UNLIMITED BROCCOLI TIDBITS

Ingredients:

2 heads broccoli, cut into florets and stems

1/3 cup raisins

1/3 cup bacon bits, fully cooked

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 envelope of Italian dry salad dressing mix

Instructions:

Combine broccoli tidbits, raisins, and bacon in a covered bowl. Whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, and Italian dry seasoning mix in a glass measuring cup until blended. Pour marinade over broccoli mixture. Gently stir to coat well. Cover and refrigerate salad for two hours. Spoon reserve marinade over salad before serving.

Edamame Chicken Broccoli Stir-Fry

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? A Burst of Flavor: Edamame Chicken Broccoli Stir-Fry! Mention the word “Stir-Fry” and watch people gather around the table. There’s something about the freshness of vegetables combined with chicken tenders smothered in a nutty savory sauce that screams “More! More!” It’s healthy, it’s easy, and it’s filling. The versatility of stir-fry makes an instant star of leftover ingredients. Everyone wins!

EDAMAME CHICKEN BROCCOLI STIR-FRY

Ingredients:

3/4 pound of chicken tenders, boneless and skinless

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 pound of broccoli florets, stalks trimmed

1 cup pineapple chunks

1/4 cup edamame, dry roasted nuts

Ingredients for Sauce:*

4 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons peanut butter, creamy

1 tablespoon molasses

2 teaspoons vinegar

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 garlic powder

20 drops of sriracha sauce

*If you’re short on time, you may substitute bottled Hoisin Sauce for the homemade one.

Instructions:

The sauce can be made first so it is ready when you need it. Simply mix all the ingredients together until you have a smooth and creamy consistency.

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook chicken tenders in olive oil, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. Chicken should be browned and cooked through after 3-4 minutes. Be prepared to add a tablespoon or two of water if the pan goes dry. Reduce heat to low. Place broccoli around the edge of the pan before finishing in the middle. Add pineapple chunks and edamame. Pour sauce over all and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes longer. Serve over rice.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter N

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Color of Food: Normandy Vegetable Soup! Take a stroll down a country lane where small-scale growers of local gardens nourish a family farm with adventurous dishes. Simple vegetable consumption combined with milk, butter, and cheese appeals to the taste buds. Perhaps it’s a throwback to our childhood where nothing went to waste. Or maybe it’s the fact that classic veggies are always a good idea. Normandy Vegetable Soup. Put a twist on your next meal-in-a-bowl.

NORMANDY VEGETABLE SOUP

Ingredients:

1 sweet onion, chopped

1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

2 cups light cream

2 cups chicken broth

16-ounce bag Normandy vegetables, thawed*

4-6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Instructions:

In a skillet over medium-high heat, add chopped sweet onion, herbs de Provence, and olive oil. Sauté 5 minutes or until soft. Set aside. In a 2-quart pan over medium-low heat, melt butter. Do not scorch. Add flour, sea salt, and pepper. Stir for 2-3 minutes to make a roux. Slowly add light cream, stirring often to remove lumps. Bring to a slow boil. Carefully add chicken broth, onions, Normandy vegetables. Bring mixture back to a boil. Reduce to medium-low and cook for 20 minutes until vegetables are tender. Stir in sharp cheddar cheese until cheese is melted. Ladle into bowls. Serve hot.

*Normandy vegetables are broccoli and cauliflower florets, sliced carrots, zucchini, and yellow squash. Some varieties include a few red pepper bits, green beans, and lima beans.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter K

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Color of Food: Korean Pork Tacos! Once you get a taste for spicy food, the cravings thrive. That doesn’t mean dinner has to be boring, to say the least. Be creative. I like corn tortillas so I transformed an ordinary pork loin into slightly hot Korean tacos. Forego the kimchi and traditional greens by substituting with crispy broccoli strips and shredded carrots. Fresh cilantro and green onions add zest, not heat. Trust me, this recipe is not “burn your lips off” hot, it’s just more balanced between flavor and spice.

KOREAN PORK TACOS

Ingredients:

1 pound pork loin, cut into chunks

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/4 cup ground fresh chili paste

1 tablespoon dried garlic

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1 tablespoon red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon sugar

2 green onions, snipped

1/4 yellow onion, chopped

Corn tortillas, warmed

10-ounce bag broccoli and carrot slaw

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

Fresh cilantro

Instructions:

Combine rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, chili paste, dried garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, black pepper, sugar, green onions, and yellow onions in a bowl. Add pork chunks, mixing well to coat. Transfer to a ziplock bag, seal, and marinate for 2-4 hours. Heat vegetable oil in an iron skillet over medium-high heat. Cook pork 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Be sure the meat is no longer pink in the center. Lower heat and shred pork with two forks. Simmer to absorb liquid to enhance flavor. For coleslaw, mix broccoli and carrot blend with mayonnaise. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Fill bottom half of corn tortillas with coleslaw. Top with shredded pork. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter A

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Home Cooking: Asian Noodle Salad! Not only does this dish make a stunning presentation of color, it also boasts a crunchy taste of the Orient. The sesame and ginger dressing is so yummy, you’ll find yourself making excuses to eat this salad every week.

ASIAN NOODLE SALAD

Ingredients:

1 package ramen noodle soup mix, any flavor

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup almonds, sliced

1 pound of shredded broccoli and carrot slaw mix

3/4 cup roasted Cardini’s Gourmet Asian Sesame Dressing*

2 green onions, sliced

Instructions:

Melt butter in a medium skillet over low heat. Remove noodles from soup mix. Discard seasoning mix. Break up uncooked noodles. Add to the skillet, along with the almonds. Stir to combine and brown until slightly toasted and brown. Do not burn. Remove from heat. In a large bowl add broccoli/carrot slaw and the noodle/almond mixture. Pour salad dressing over all and toss until combined. Garnish with green onion snips. Serve immediately. Leftovers may be refrigerated but the noodles will lose their crunch.

*I receive no recompense for mentioning Cardini’s Gourmet Asian Sesame Dressing.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter O

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Chow Down: Organic Red Lentil Pasta Salad! Every once in awhile it’s a good idea to serve up gluten-free meals. This one, in particular, is packed with protein and fiber, plus non-GMO red lentils. You don’t need to have allergic restrictions to appreciate its natural goodness. The texture is firm while providing an amazing taste sensation. Eat it cold or warmed up a bit. You decide. Either way, the health benefits will have you patting yourself on the back for making such a healthy choice. 
ORGANIC RED LENTIL PASTA SALAD
Ingredients:

8 ounces organic red lentil pasta

1 cup broccoli florets

1 cup cauliflower florets 

1/3 cup red onions, sliced

1 tablespoon pimento, diced

1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted

1/4 cup garlic wine vinegar 

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon dry Italian dressing and seasoning mix

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 

1 tablespoon natural honey 

Sea salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions:

Cook red lentil pasta 8-10 minutes, according to package directions. Water will turn cloudy and foam up, so be sure to use enough water. Remove from heat. Drain, rinse, and set aside. To make dressing, combine garlic wine vinegar, olive oil, Italian seasoning mix, Dijon mustard, and natural honey. Whisk together until nicely blended. Fill a large bowl with pasta, broccoli florets, cauliflower florets, red onion slices, diced pimento, and Kalamata olives. Pour dressing over all. Toss gently to coat ingredients. Serve cold. 

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter O

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Foodstuff Redefined: Onion Broccoli Florets! Sweet onions, whether they are Vidalias grown in Georgia or Walla Wallas grown in Washington, are mild-tasting onions that fans wait all year to magically appear in the produce aisle. Combine them with the natural sweetness of raisins, the crunch of honey-roasted sunflower seeds, the earthiness of broccoli florets, and the smoky taste of bacon. Then watch it totally disappear at the next family reunion.
ONION BROCCOLI FLORETS
Ingredients: 

1 stalk broccoli 

2.5 ounce package real bacon bits

1/2 sweet onion, chopped

1/2 cup raisins 

3/4 cup honey roasted sunflower seeds

1 cup mayonnaise 

2 tablespoons vinegar 

1/2 cup sugar
Instructions:

Cut the stalk off a head of broccoli high enough so the florets fall away. Discard stalk. Cut each floret in half or quarters. In a large bowl, combine florets, real bacon bits, sweet onion, raisins, and honey-roasted sunflower seeds. Mix well. In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, and sugar until blended. Add dressing to broccoli salad one hour before serving.