Thai Peanut Noodles

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? All the Buzz: Thai Peanut Noodles! Take advantage of that extra serving, or two, of leftover spaghetti noodles in the fridge right now. As long as you kept them separate from the sauce, you have the option to eliminate one step in making Thai Peanut Noodles to eat with a sandwich for lunch. If not, then boil up a batch of spaghetti first and let it cool a bit. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. I like the spicy kick of red pepper flakes blended with the smooth creaminess of chunky peanut butter. The fresh green onion bits give it an added crunch. Have I piqued your taste buds?

THAI PEANUT NOODLES

Ingredients:

2 servings of plain spaghetti, cooked and drained

1/3 cup chunky peanut butter

4 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons vinegar

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon ginger powder

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1-2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

6 tablespoons green onions, sliced

Instructions:

Make spaghetti according to package directions. Drain and cool. Set aside. In a medium bowl combine chunky peanut butter, soy sauce, honey, and vinegar. Stir with a whisk until smooth. Add garlic powder, ginger, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes. Blend well. Add noodles and toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with green onion bits and serve.

Instant Mac ‘n Cheese

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? All the Buzz: Instant Mac ‘n Cheese! Face it. Every once in awhile the craving hits us to settle into a comfy chair with a warm bowl of Mac ‘n Cheese. Most pantries have all the ingredients you need to make it at home in a flash. Pasta, butter, milk, cheese, and seasonings. If you don’t have elbow macaroni, substitute ziti. If you’re low on cheddar cheese, use a couple slices of Velveeta instead. It’s all good. Sprinkle the gooey Mac ‘n Cheese with Cajun seasoning for extra zest. Oh, yeah!

INSTANT MAC ‘N CHEESE

Ingredients:

4 ounces pasta

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup milk

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Dash of Cajun seasoning

Instructions:

Cook pasta according to package directions. In medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add flour and sea salt. Stir until smooth. Raise heat to medium. Slowly add milk, stirring occasionally. Cook until bubbly. Add cheese and stir well until melted. Drain pasta. Blend with cheese sauce stirring to coat. Sprinkle with Cajun seasoning.

Creamed Honey on Toast

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? All the Buzz: Creamed Honey on Toast! Begin today at the Farmers Market on a quest for liquid gold. This version of natural honey is thicker in consistency, lighter in color, and creamier than ordinary honey varieties. For one, it does not contain the noticeable sugar crystals that can often leave a grainy aftertaste. Trained beekeepers put more effort into this little delicacy but, in my opinion, it is worth the extra time and effort. Pick up a couple jars this summer. Store them at room temperature and they will be good until you scrape the bottom of the jars.

CREAMED HONEY ON TOAST

Ingredients:

Artisan bread, sliced

Sea salt French butter

Creamed honey

Ground cinnamon

Instructions:

Choose a nice artisan bread for toasting. Slather on a tablespoon of sea salt French butter and watch it melt. Next, drizzle a generous swirl of creamed honey over the butter layer. Finally, top it off with a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Johnny Cake

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food Junkie Favorites: Johnny Cake! When my kids were younger, I made them Johnny Cake for breakfast. It was right-out-of-the-oven steaming hot cornbread topped with real butter and maple syrup. Growing up in the country, my mom made me Johnny Cake for breakfast once a week. And when she was a little girl, her mom made it for her, too. I guess that’s why it’s considered a comfort food. As Dr. Seus once said, “You will know the true value of a moment when it becomes a memory.” Family traditions are to be cherished.

JOHNNY CAKE

Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 cup milk

1 egg

1 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal

1 cup flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray an 8″x8″ pan with nonstick oil. In a large bowl, beat the melted butter, milk, and egg with a wire whisk until well mixed. Add the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and sea salt at one time. Stir just until moistened. The batter will be lumpy. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Spread evenly in pan and smooth top of batter Bake 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. A toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean. Serve warm topped with butter and maple syrup.

Griddle Golden Pancakes

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food Junkie Favorites: Griddle Golden Pancakes! Dust off that old iron skillet you’ve shoved to the back of the cabinet; you’ll never use the electric griddle again. The benefits? Foods brown beautifully holding the cooking temperature steady, plus cleanup is a snap. Just saying. The results are light, fluffy, and golden brown pancakes that would make your grandma proud.

GRIDDLE GOLDEN PANCAKES

Ingredients:

1 cup flour

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 egg, beaten

1 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons butter, melted

Vegetable oil for skillet

Instructions:

Heat an iron skillet on medium to low heat. This may take about 5-8 minutes. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and sea salt in a bowl. Form a well in the center. Add egg, milk, vanilla extract, and butter. Mix until a few lumps remain. Brush vegetable oil evenly onto the skillet. Using a 1/4 cup, drop batter into the oiled skillet. Cook 2-3 minutes on side one. Bubbles will appear on the surface before flipping over. Then cook 1-2 minutes longer. Serve with warm maple syrup and butter.

Yeast Cinnamon Rolls

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Take a Seat at the Table: Yeast Cinnamon Rolls! Don’t you just love modern kitchen appliances? My husband already owned a countertop Bread Machine when we got married seven years ago, so today I decided to try it out. (First I had to find it. When combining two households, things get shuffled around.) The recipe booklet boasted the best glazed cinnamon rolls and the photo bolstered my confidence enough to put it to the test. I’m glad I did. The house smelled like a family-owned bakery and the warm, gooey cinnamon buns were phenomenal. The challenge came at only eating one.

YEAST CINNAMON ROLLS

Ingredients for Dough:

1 cup water

2 tablespoons butter, softened

3 cups bread flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Ingredients for Filling:

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

Ingredients for Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons milk

Instructions:

Measure all dough ingredients carefully and place in the bread machine in the order they are listed: water, butter, flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Select “Dough” cycle and “Start”. When the timer rings, remove the dough and flatten with a rolling pin into a 9-inch square on a lightly floured surface. Spread with 2 tablespoons of butter. Sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon filling over the buttered dough. Roll the dough up tightly; pinch the ends to seal. Cut the dough into 1-inch slices. Place in a 9″x9″ square pan. Cover with a wet tea towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours or until double. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown. Combine Glaze ingredients mixing powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk until smooth and thin enough to drizzle. Remove from pan to wire rack. Drizzle glaze over warm rolls. Serve warm.

Oyster Snack Crackers

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Take a Seat at the Table: Oyster Snack Crackers! When you get that craving for something slightly salty partnered with a crunchy snack, turn to these little gems made from basic oyster crackers. Add seasonings and oil; bake and store in an airtight container. I literally sprinkle them on homemade soups, organic salads, and sometimes the palm of my hand. In a pinch, I’ve crushed them as a coating for baked chicken or fish. It’s all up to you.

OYSTER SNACK CRACKERS

Ingredients:

16-ounce package of oyster crackers

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup olive oil

1 envelope dry ranch dressing mix

1/2 teaspoon dill weed

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325°. Take a one gallon ziplock bag. Pour oyster crackers into bag. In a glass measuring cup, combine butter, olive oil, ranch seasoning mix, dill weed, onion powder, and lemon pepper. Stir well. Pour over crackers. Seal the bag and toss to coat, alternating every 5 minutes until all liquid is absorbed. Transfer to a baking sheet. Form single layer. Bake 10 minutes; toss and bake 10 minutes longer. Do not burn. Let cool and then store in an airtight container. Will keep for weeks.

Haricot Vert

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Take a Seat at the Table: Haricot Vert! From the French countryside to your spacious farm table, this international string bean (haricot vert) is an all-time favorite side dish that is worth the effort. The first savory bite will have you craving for a second one. Watch this specialty disappear.

HARICOT VERT

Ingredients:

1 pound green beans, fresh

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup yellow onion, chopped

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

2 tablespoons pimento, diced

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Instructions:

Snap the ends of the green beans. Discard. In a medium skillet over low heat, combine butter and olive oil. Increase the heat to medium setting. Add garlic and onions. Cook one minute. Add green beans and cook one minute longer until they turn bright green. Immediately add chicken broth, pimento, seasoned salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Leave the lid cracked to allow steam to escape. Cook for 25 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. The beans should be soft, yet slightly crisp. Bon Appétit!

Belgian Waffles

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Take a Seat at the Table: Belgian Waffles! Call me crazy, or call me lazy, but truth be told sometimes you need to take a shortcut in preparing a meal. Just because you’re short on time doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice taste. Here’s a perfect example: Belgian Waffles made from starter pancake mix in a box. Add a few extras like pure vanilla and fresh fruit to turn an ordinary waffle into a spectacular one. Make a batch for breakfast, brunch, or dinner. Let the cheers begin!

BELGIAN WAFFLES

Ingredients:

2 cups Log Cabin All Natural Pancake Mix

4 tablespoons oil

2 eggs

1 1/3 cups milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Instructions:

Preheat waffle iron. Combine pancake mix, oil, eggs, milk, and vanilla in a blender. Blend 30 seconds until lumps are removed. Let batter rest for a few minutes. Grease waffle iron if necessary. Pour batter by scant cupfuls onto center of hot waffle iron. Bake 3-5 minutes or until steaming slows and waffle is golden brown. Carefully remove. Serving suggestions: Fresh fruit, melted butter, dark amber maple syrup, pecans, whipped cream, and a side of bacon.