Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Take a Seat at the Table: Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup! The crockpot is essential, in my opinion. Never mind the fact that a slow-cooker turns the entire house into a well-seasoned bistro. It’s the hands-free unattended cooking with astounding results that makes it a winner in my book. Throw everything together, let it simmer, and enjoy the meal to come. Leftovers are delicious and clean-up is a snap!

CREAMY CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP

Ingredients:

4-6 chicken fillet tenders

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/8 teaspoon lemon pepper

1/8 teaspoon thyme

1/8 teaspoon rosemary

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon celery seed

60-ounces chicken broth

23-ounce can of cream of chicken soup

3 stalks celery, cut-up

1/2 pound mini carrots, whole

1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced

1/4 cup onion, chopped

3 bay leaves

2 cups home style noodles

1/2 cup butter

Instructions:

Sauté chicken tenders in a large skillet with olive oil, lemon pepper, thyme, rosemary, garlic powder, and celery seed. Remove from heat. Pour the cream of chicken soup into the crockpot. Slowly add the chicken broth, stirring until the two are well. blended. Transfer the sautéed chicken tenders from the skillet. Add celery, carrots, mushrooms, and onions. Stir gently. Add bay leaves. Heat on high setting for four hours. Remove lid and shred the chicken for a chunky consistency. Return to soup. Add noodles and butter. Reduce heat to low and simmer two hours longer. Remove bay leaves before serving.

Upright Pot Pie

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Joy of Eating: Upright Pot Pie! Do you ever have those nights when you can’t decide what to cook for dinner? You look in the refrigerator and all you see are leftovers? Again? Well, I had made a beef pot roast earlier in the week, so all the ingredients were on hand to make individual servings of pot pies. Obviously, if you don’t have mashed potatoes and gravy on hand, you can improvise. Keep it upright by filling custard dishes with single servings and then top them off with crescent roll pastry sheets. It requires very little effort, but the taste is home cooking at its best.

UPRIGHT POT PIE

Ingredients:

2 cups beef pot roast, chunks

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/3 cup onion, chopped

1 cup brown gravy

1/2 cup frozen mixed vegetables, thawed

Crescent rolls

1/2 cup baby carrots

1 cup mashed potatoes

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375°. In a large skillet, sauté onion in olive oil over medium heat. Add beef and stir. Reduce heat and gradually add gravy and mixed vegetables. Spoon mixture in ungreased single serving custard cups. Transfer cups to a baking sheet, in case they bubble over while baking. Remove dough from tube. Do not separate into triangles. Place one square over each custard dish. Press lightly around edges. Bake for 15-20 minutes until crust is golden brown. Serve with mashed potatoes and baby carrots.

Jazzy Jerk Sauce

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Joy of Eating: Jazzy Jerk Sauce! Get fired up as you crank up the heat with this homemade habanero pepper sauce. Choose those festive little lantern-shaped peppers from the local market or nearby health food resource, don a pair of vinyl gloves, and fill your kitchen with aromas from the Caribbean Islands. As it cooks, let your imagination run wild for the condiment that sends the temperature rising!

JAZZY JERK SAUCE

Ingredients:

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 sweet onion, diced

1 cup baby carrots, chopped

2 cups water

10-12 habanero peppers, seeded and finely chopped

3 tablespoons orange juice

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions:

In a medium sauce pan, sauté garlic in olive oil. Add onion, carrots, and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until carrots are soft. Remove from heat. Add habanero peppers, orange juice, vinegar, and sea salt. Transfer to a blender and purée until smooth. Pour into a jar and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

*Serving suggestion: Wicked Hot Wings and Drummies!

White Bean Hot Dish

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? A Burst of Flavor: White Bean Hot Dish! One of the secrets of being a seasoned cook is knowing when to use quality ingredients to your advantage. Especially when you’re short on time or just needing a mid-week break. I keep my pantry stocked with what I refer to as “staples”; standby products that produce excellent results. Then on the nights when we are on the go, I can turn to a delicious alternative while serving another food-lover’s favorite. Pat yourself on the back and make yourself a hero, too.

WHITE BEAN HOT DISH

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 sweet yellow onion, chopped

1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon celery seed

1 24-ounce jar Randall’s Great Northern Beans*

16 ounces ham, cooked and shredded

16 ounces baby carrots

14.5 ounces diced potatoes, including liquid

3 bay leaves

Instructions:

In a large deep skillet, heat olive oil on medium-high heat. Sauté chopped onions in seasoned salt and pepper until they turn opaque. Reduce heat to medium. Add beans, ham, carrots, and potatoes. Stir to combine thoroughly. Add bay leaves and celery seed. Cover and reduce to simmer for 15 minutes. Remove lid and simmer longer for thicker results. Before serving remove bay leaves.

*I receive no recompense for promoting their product.

Indian Couscous With Saffron

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? A Burst of Flavor: Indian Couscous with Saffron! This side dish is wonderful to have with poultry instead of potatoes or stuffing. I like its versatility because it doesn’t weigh me down, but offers appealing flavor. You can add or subtract herbs and vegetables to your heart’s delight, choosing what you have on hand. I tend to serve it warm rather than cold. Others make a meal out it. Either way, it’s very economical as well as exotic.

INDIAN COUSCOUS WITH SAFFRON

Ingredients:

1 cup couscous

2 cups chicken broth

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon parsley flakes

1/8 teaspoon turmeric

1/8 teaspoon paprika

1/8 teaspoon onion powder

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1 stalk celery, diced

1 carrot, diced

1 tablespoon chives, snipped

1/4 cup pine nuts

2 tablespoons hot water

4 threads saffron

Instructions:

Dissolve saffron in hot water. Set aside. In a 2-quart pan, combine chicken broth, olive oil, parsley, turmeric, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, celery, and carrots. Add saffron mixture. Bring to boil. Remove from heat. Stir in couscous. Cover and let stand until liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Couscous will be tender. Fluff with fork. Add the snipped chives and pine nuts. Season to taste with sea salt and cracked black pepper. Serve warm.

Giddyup Gazpacho

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? A Burst of Flavor: Giddyup Gazpacho! Yee-haw! Get set to gather the bounty of your garden because this dish has quite a variety of appetizing vegetables! You’ll experience an explosion of flavor in every mouthful. Gazpacho is one of those mysterious soups that is meant to be eaten COLD. Sound bizarre? I know, right! Trust me, the fusion of wholesome produce is unsurpassed. And the temperature is perfectly refreshing this time of year.

GIDDYUP GAZPACHO

Ingredients:

4 large ripe tomatoes, chopped

1 small sweet onion, finely chopped

2 stalks of celery, diced

1 small green pepper, diced

1/2 cup baby carrots, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons garlic vinegar

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1 teaspoon sriracha hot chili sauce (optional)

2 cups 100% vegetable juice, low sodium

Instructions:

In a large mixing bowl add all the ingredients from the top of the list to the bottom. Stir well. The vegetable juice is added last so you can determine the consistency of the soup. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter M

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Color of Food: Mustard Glazed Rainbow Carrots! Have you noticed carrots now come in rainbow colors? How exciting is that?! It’s not only the color that catches your attention, it’s the difference in flavor. Traditional orange carrots have a certain sweet earthiness we’re all familiar with, whether you eat them raw or cooked. Others colors may range from a slightly peppery taste to mildly subtle one. Either way, the combination offers a range of nutrients linking benefits to eye health, better digestion, and possibly even cancer prevention. Refine your taste buds. Give rainbow carrots a try. Organic, of course.

MUSTARD GLAZED RAINBOW CARROTS

Ingredients:

12 ounces organic rainbow baby-cut carrots, cut lengthwise or left whole

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon natural honey

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon rosemary leaves

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425°. Place carrots in a shallow dish. Combine olive oil, natural honey, Dijon mustard, rosemary leaves, garlic powder, sea salt, and white pepper. Mix well. Pour over carrots to coat. Transfer mixture to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 20-30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes for a roasted, golden glow. Serve immediately.

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 R

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Home Cooking: Rolled Fillets of Chicken! There seems to be a hundred ways of serving chicken, but I like this one best because it makes a savory meal that is also filling. Split one serving with your partner and add another vegetable side dish for a healthy alternative. I omitted salt in lieu of herbs.

ROLLED FILLETS OF CHICKEN

Ingredients:

1 pkg. Stove Top Chicken Stuffing

2 stalks celery, diced

2 cups chicken broth

1/4 teaspoon rosemary

1/4 teaspoon sage

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1/4 teaspoon parsley

4 chicken breasts

1 cup baby carrots

1 cup chopped celery

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. In a medium pan, bring one cup chicken broth and seasonings to a boil. Add stuffing mix and diced celery. Mix, cover, and set aside for 5 minutes. Flatten chicken breasts with a rolling pin. Fill with stuffing and roll up. Place seam side down in covered casserole dish. Sprinkle herbs on top. Surround chicken with celery and carrots. Add one cup of chicken broth to the bottom of the dish to keep it from going dry. Cover tightly. Bake for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove lid and butter tops of chicken. Then sprinkle with parsley. Bake 5 minutes longer uncovered.

*The pan drippings can be made into gravy or simply spoon the juice over the chicken for a moist finish.