What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Kidney Bean Chili Pizza! If you like the spiciness of chili and can’t resist a slice of gooey cheese pizza, prepare yourself for an endorphin rush like no other. Happiness is contagious and I guarantee you, chili pizza will put you in a good mood. Now let me be clear, the pizza itself is not “make you sweat hot”, which is why I listed the hot pepper rings and sriracha as garnishes to taste. To each his own. I probably overdo the spiciness compared to my husband. Just remember, if it’s too spicy, drink milk. It soothes the body much better than soda, beer, or water.
KIDNEY BEAN CHILI PIZZA
1 pound lean ground beef
1 envelope original chili seasoning mix
14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
15-ounce kidney beans, with juice
12-inch prepared pizza crust
1/4 cup red onions, sliced
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
Hot pepper rings, for garnish
Sliced green olives, for garnish
Sriracha Sauce, to taste
Preheat oven to 400°. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown ground beef. Drain fat. Stir in chili seasoning mix, diced tomatoes, and kidney beans. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Place pizza crust on a baking sheet. Spoon chili evenly onto crust. Layer with sliced red onions. Cover all with shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is crispy. Top with hot pepper rings and green olives. Drizzle with sriracha sauce. Serve immediately.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Bang Bang Sauce! Look no further for a tasty condiment that can be smeared, dunked, or drizzled all over fried chicken, grilled shrimp, or even steamed broccoli if the mood strikes you. It’s smooth and creamy, a little bit spicy, honey sweet, and tingles your tongue. You absolutely must share with everyone else at the table. After all, garlic tastes delicious in food, but it leaves behind a slightly pungent odor that can find some people feeling offended or jealous. And we wouldn’t want that.
BANG BANG SAUCE
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
1 tablespoon sriracha
1 teaspoon natural honey
1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
Green onions, for garnish
Red pepper flakes, for garnish
In a mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce, sriracha, natural honey, rice vinegar, and minced garlic. Whisk until everything is combined. Pour into a serving dish. Garnish with green onion snips and red pepper flakes. Serve as a dipping sauce with seafood.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Bright Ideas: Scoop Chili Cheese Nachos! Before you sit down to watch your favorite sports team or series on Netflix, throw together a sheet pan of nachos to snack on. It’s the perfect food for grazing because everyone seems to like them. First of all, nachos are finger food. They’re also snackable ( is that a made-up word?) They feel like a treat or a party’s going on. And there’s enough for everyone. Add some sour cream, guacamole, and sliced jalapeños, if you choose. On second thought, better double the recipe if you’re expecting more than two or four. Be forewarned.
SCOOP CHILI CHEESE NACHOS
9.25 ounce bag Scoops® corn chips*
15-ounce can chili, any brand
15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2-3 tomatoes, diced
2 green onions, snipped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Sriracha sauce, for drizzling
Preheat the oven to 400°. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick oil. Set aside. In a glass mixing bowl, combine chili with black beans. Warm slightly in the microwave. Fill each corn chip with a tablespoon of filling. Place chili chip on the prepared baking sheet, forming a single layer. Repeat until the tray is full. Layer the shredded cheese over all. Place diced tomatoes onto cheese. Finish with green onion snips and red pepper flakes. Bake 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted. Serve with sriracha sauce for extra zing.
*I receive no recompense for mentioning this product.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Start Smart: Tuna Tartare with Seaweed! Do you wrinkle your nose when you hear the word “raw”? Some people get a little squeamish. How about if you see the word “sushi”? My grandkids’ eyes light up and their mouths begin to salivate. See the difference? “Tartare” is a fancy word for raw meat or seafood. In Hawaii, you may see the words “Ahi Poke”, which is a healthy raw tuna dish made with the best tuna right out of the sea. By adding a mixture of ginger, garlic, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes, the flavor becomes incredibly irresistible. Check out the closest Asian Deli to pick up a container of ready-to-serve seaweed salad. It’s already marinated in a delicious sauce. Together on a plate, you’ve just created a masterpiece.
TUNA TARTARE WITH SEAWEED
2 ahi tuna steaks, cut into 1/4” cubes
3 tablespoons organic soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1/2 green onion
1 red jalapeño pepper, sliced
4-ounce container of prepared seaweed salad
Green onion slivers for garnish
Pat ahi tuna dry with a paper towel. Transfer to a bowl. Add organic soy sauce, sesame oil, chili garlic sauce, toasted sesame seeds, the chopped white ends of the green onions, and the red jalapeño pepper slices. Gently toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate one hour. To serve, place prepared seaweed salad on a plate. Layer ahi tuna over salad. Garnish with the remaining green onion curls.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Next Step: Zestful Ahi Poke! Have you noticed all the rage about eating raw tuna? Whether it’s an appetizer or poke bowl, ahi seems to be the star attraction. If you’ve never tried it, perhaps it takes some getting used to. After all, the texture is totally different from cooked fish. When saturated in a spicy sesame soy marinade, I found it absolutely irresistible. Then served with crunchy wonton crisps, taro chips (my fav), or corn tortilla chips it evolves from a curiosity to a craving. Just so you know, premium ahi tuna steaks are now available in the freezer aisle for those, like me, who are landlocked part of the year.
ZESTFUL AHI POKE
2 ahi tuna steaks, premium grade
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup green onion, chopped
Wonton Crisps, Taro Chips, or Corn Tortilla Chips
Pat ahi tuna steaks dry with a paper towel. Cut into 1/2” cubes. Transfer to a bowl. Add soy sauce, sesame oil, chili garlic sauce, toasted sesame seeds, and chopped green onions. Gently toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate one hour. Serve as an appetizer with choice of chips.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Next Step: Pulled Pork BBQ Pizza! Need a break from ordinary pizza? Here’s a unique twist on an old classic. Take southern pulled pork, usually served on a toasted bun, lose the bread, and spread the pork over pizza crust instead. Tangy barbecue sauce is used in lieu of marinara, providing just enough zing to alert the taste buds. Since barbecue sauces come in a multitude of options from hickory smoke to brown sugar sweet, you may want to blend two flavors together like I’ve done here. The results will astound you.
PULLED PORK BBQ PIZZA
1 prepared pizza crust
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon cornmeal
3/4 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup chili cocktail sauce
1 cup pulled pork
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 400°. Rub both sides of prepared pizza crust with olive oil. Season bottom with garlic powder. Sprinkle cornmeal over the bottom side. Bake on a pizza stone for 5 minutes. Remove from oven. Combine barbecue sauce and chili cocktail sauce. Mix well. Spoon onto pizza dough. Top with pulled pork and mozzarella cheese. Return to oven and bake 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Cheerful Choices: Sweet Potato Wedges! Mention the word sweet potato french fries and watch everyone’s eyes glaze over. Just the thought of a crispy outer skin surrounding a fluffy center sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Add homemade ketchup or sriracha mayo for dipping. Ahhh. Suddenly it’s a meal in itself……unless family members think you should share. Better make more.
SWEET POTATO WEDGES
2 sweet potatoes, skin on and cut into wedges
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons agave nectar
Green onion, snipped, for garnish
In a microwave-safe bowl, combine sweet potato wedges and olive oil. Toss to coat. Cover. Microwave on HIGH for 6 minutes or until tender when pierced with a knife, tossing and replacing lid after 3 minutes. Allow to cool 10 minutes. Add chili powder, coarse sea salt, and black pepper. Toss to coat. Preheat grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush with olive oil. Place sweet potato wedges on oiled grill pan. Cook 3 minutes per side until charred and tender. Remove from heat. Drizzle with agave nectar. Garnish with green onion snips. Serve immediately.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Cheerful Choices: Queso Blanco Shrimp Street Tacos! Not everyone has the luxury of accessibility to freshly-made corn tortillas. Because corn tortillas contain less fat than flour tortillas, they are more prone to breakage. One way to prevent this from happening is to dip them in warmed vegetable oil. The extra moisture enhances the taste. Another way is to take two corn tortillas to create a double-layered shell. That way if the inside tears or cracks when folded in half, the outer shell will keep all the ingredients from falling into your lap. Make sense?
QUESO BLANCO SHRIMP STREET TACOS
8 corn street tacos
1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 pound medium shrimp, precooked, peeled, deveined, and tail removed
2 tablespoons bacon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon raspberry chipotle seasoning
1 ripe avocado, peeled, stone removed, and sliced into wedges
1 cup broccoli slaw
2 large leaves romaine lettuce, gently torn
1/2 cup prepared queso blanco with jalapeños
Fresh lime, for garnish
Cilantro, for garnish
Preheat oven to 300°. Set aside a baking sheet. Warm vegetable oil over medium-high heat in an iron skillet. One at a time, dip a corn tortilla into the oil for about 15 seconds; flip and repeat. Drain and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining tortilla shells. Stack them two to a pile on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt (optional). Keep warm in the oven. Using the remaining vegetable oil, add bacon olive oil to the skillet. Gently place the shrimp in the warmed oil. Sprinkle with raspberry chipotle seasoning. After one minute, flip. Shrimp should be slightly charred. Cook one minute longer. Remove from heat. In a bowl, combine the broccoli slaw with the gently torn romaine leaves. Toss. Remove tortillas from the oven. On the four stacks of warmed tortilla shells, place avocado wedges. Divide the broccoli slaw blend between the tacos. Top with sautéed shrimp. Warm the jalapeño queso blanco for 20 seconds in the microwave on high setting. Stir. Repeat, if necessary. Drizzle over street tacos. Squeeze fresh lime juice over all. Garnish with fresh cilantro.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Country Casual Cravings: Pom Pom Salad! You can’t miss the incredibly bright red edible seeds of a ripe pomegranate. It’s actually the only part of the fruit that can be eaten. The naturally sweet and slightly tart flavor of an aril almost tastes like a piece of candy. They look incredibly enticing when sprinkled on a leafy salad. Wouldn’t you agree?
POM POM SALAD
1 lime, juice of
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon raw honey
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 smidgen cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon chili-lime seasoning
25 baby spinach leaves, chopped
6 navel oranges, peeled and sliced into rounds
1/4 cup pomegranate arils
To make the dressing, in a small bowl combine the lime juice, olive oil, raw honey, kosher salt, cinnamon, and chili-lime seasoning. Whisk until smooth. Set aside. To assemble salad, place baby spinach leaves on a large platter or individual salad plates. Arrange orange slices on spinach. Drop pomegranate arils on top. Drizzle the prepared dressing over salad. Serve slightly chilled.