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.

Chorizo Beef Burger

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Bright Ideas: Chorizo Beef Burger! It’s crazy the foods we try, simply because we have a craving that refuses to compromise. During Covid-19, many restaurants and fast-food eateries would either not open, limit drive-through options, or simply close due to illness and labor shortages. Late one night, the hubs wanted a burger for dinner. We tried 3 different places without success. The only one open was a Mexican Cantina. We masked up, entered, and were seated in the bar at an isolated table for two. That’s when he saw it……a chorizo burger was listed on the menu. I think you know the rest of the story. Once we got home, you can guess what grocery items I added to the list on the refrigerator.

CHORIZO BEEF BURGER

Ingredients:

1/2 pound bulk chorizo sausage

1 pound lean ground beef

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon cornmeal

4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

4 brioche buns, split

Toppings: Lettuce, Tomato, Red Onion, Cilantro, and Salsa

Instructions:

In large bowl, combine chorizo sausage, lean ground beef, sea salt, black pepper, and cornmeal. Shape mixture into 4 patties, 1/2-inch thick. Place patties on preheated grill, over medium heat. Close grill cover. Cook 6-7 minutes, per side. Flip once. A meat thermometer inserted in the center needs to read 160°F. During last 2 minutes of cooking, top each chorizo patty with shredded cheese. Place buns, cut side down, on grill. Cook until cheese is melted and buns are toasted. Remove burgers and buns from grill. Serve immediately, topped with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and salsa to taste.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Fab Foodstuff: Buffalo Chicken Pizza! Combine two bar and grill favorites to equal one outstanding supper on game night. From the creamy ranch dressing slathered over a crispy olive oil crust to the tender rotisserie chicken dotted with robust bleu cheese and crunchy celery, you will not believe your taste buds. This is good stuff. Decide how high you want to crank up the heat by using spicy sriracha sauce and red pepper flakes. Go wingless for a sensational show-stopper that will leave everyone cheering.

BUFFALO CHICKEN PIZZA

Ingredients:

1 prepared naan, flatbread, or pizza crust

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon cornmeal

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4-1/3 cup ranch salad dressing

1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

1 cup deli-roasted chicken, shredded

1/2 cup bleu cheese crumbles

1/2 cup chopped celery

2-3 tablespoons sriracha sauce

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Brush both sides of a prepared pizza crust. Sprinkle cornmeal on the bottom only. Sprinkle garlic powder over top. Bake seasoned crust on a pizza stone for 5 minutes. Carefully remove from oven. Spread ranch salad dressing evenly over top crust. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese. Layer on shredded chicken. Dot with bleu cheese crumbles. Bake 10 minutes longer. Arrange chopped celery over pizza. Drizzle with sriracha sauce. Garnish with red pepper flakes. Serve immediately.

Tortilla Crusted Tilapia

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Next Step: Tortilla-Crusted Tilapia! I never thought of tilapia as an interesting choice of fish until I mixed things up with a Santa Fe style coating. The robust crunch of tortilla chips is a surprising prelude to the tender moist fish inside. It had me wishing I prepared seconds for the hubs and me. If you’re looking for a meatless meal, give it a whirl. Who knows, you may find yourself adding tilapia to the weekly menu.

TORTILLA CRUSTED TILAPIA

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Santa Fe style tortilla strips, crushed

1 tablespoon natural cornmeal

1 tablespoon panko bread crumbs

1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon parsley flakes

2 tilapia fish fillets

1 egg, room temperature

Fresh cilantro, garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425°. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick oil. Set aside. Whisk egg in a shallow dish. Set aside. On a sheet of waxed paper, combine crushed tortilla strips, natural cornmeal, panko bread crumbs, lemon pepper, cayenne pepper, kosher salt, and parsley flakes. Mix well with a fork. Working one at a time, dip a tilapia fillet into the beaten egg. Flip over to coat both sides. Press fillet onto the crumb mixture; turn over and repeat. For an extra crispy crust repeat process. Carefully transfer crusted fish fillet to the baking sheet. Continue with second fillet. Bake 10 minutes or until crust is golden and crunchy. Serve with fresh cilantro.

Pulled Pork BBQ Pizza

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

Ingredients:

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

Instructions:

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.

Flatbread Fiesta

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Cheerful Choices: Flatbread Fiesta! Do you ever tire of the same old pizza choices? I get in a rut the same way everyone else does. About that time I stand in front of the freezer, door open, peering into its contents searching for ideas to try something extraordinary. Sure, I’m the one buying the groceries (and should know what’s in the house) but that’s when I surprise myself with unexpected specials. Chorizo is one of those impulse items that make it into the cart. I often fry it up, crumble it for meals later on, label it, and then store it in the freezer for another day. It’s at times like this I pat myself on the back with congratulations for having such foresight.

FLATBREAD FIESTA

Ingredients:

1 naan flatbread

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon cornmeal

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 cup chunky salsa, prepared

1 cup Mexican cheeses, shredded

1/2 cup cooked chorizo, drained and crumbled

2 tablespoons yellow onion, chopped

2 tablespoons green chilies, chopped

2 tablespoons jalapeño peppers, chopped

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick oil. Set aside. Rub olive oil on bottom of flatbread. Spread with cornmeal, pressing into the dough. Sprinkle with garlic powder. Flip over and place this side down on prepared baking sheet. Brush top with remaining olive oil. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove flatbread from oven. Carefully spoon chunky salsa over flatbread, spreading to edges. Layer Mexican cheeses over top. Divide cooked and crumbled chorizo over salsa. Finish layering with chopped onions, green chilies, and jalapeño peppers. Bake 15 minutes longer to melt the cheeses for a nice crispy crust. Remove flatbread from oven. Cool slightly before using a pizza cutter. Serve with a tossed garden salad.

Spinach Ricotta Flatbread

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Country Casual Cravings: Spinach Ricotta Flatbread! Savory flatbreads have to be on my Top 10 list of foods to make. Growing up as a child of the ‘60s, Sunday nights were the night for pizza. Because my mother cooked well-balanced meals all week, she boldly declared Sundays “Pizza Night”. Back then it still meant she made homemade pizza because we lived in the country and, to my knowledge, there was no such thing as pizza delivery. Years later, while raising my own children, I adopted her “modus operandi” and to this day I still honor it. Sometimes I make the dough from scratch, and other times I take a shortcut by using prepackaged flatbreads found in the bakery department of the grocery store. The toppings change according to the mood of the day and the ingredients in the kitchen. So far, no complaints from the husb.

SPINACH RICOTTA FLATBREAD

Ingredients:

1 flatbread, prepackaged

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon cornmeal

1/2 cup marinara sauce

3/4 cup ricotta

1 cup grilled chicken, precooked and cubed

1 cup baby spinach leaves, stems trimmed

1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush both sides of flatbread with olive oil. Sprinkle bottom side with cornmeal. Place flatbread, bottom side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Spread marinara sauce evenly over top of flatbread. Place dollops of ricotta cheese over marinara sauce, leaving 1/2” perimeter around the edge. Arrange grilled chicken and baby spinach leaves as the next layer. Sprinkle mozzarella and parmesan cheeses over top. Garnish with dried oregano and red pepper flakes. Bake for 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and slightly gooey. Remove flatbread from oven. Allow to cool for 2 minutes before cutting into slices. Serve warm with extra marinara sauce for dipping.

Mashed Potato Fritters

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Country Casual Cravings: Mashed Potato Fritters! Time to stretch the budget a little bit. Whether you have leftover mashed potatoes from another meal or purchase your favorite prepared brand at the grocery store, this recipe offers a flavorful experience that is unforgettable. Is it the gooey combination of cheeses? The crisp potato cake with the fluffy center? Or perhaps it’s the zing of spice that piques the taste buds. For me it’s all about nostalgia. My mother made them for supper when I was a child.

MASHED POTATO FRITTERS

Ingredients:

2 cups mashed potatoes

1 tablespoon yellow onion, diced

1/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated

2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated

1 egg, whisked

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons cornmeal

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper

3/4 cup vegetable oil

Green onion snips, for garnish

Instructions:

In a mixing bowl, combine mashed potatoes, yellow onion, cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, beaten egg, flour, cornmeal, garlic powder, and cracked black pepper. Mixture should be stiff. By heaping spoonful, form a small disc with your hands, about 1/2”-inch thick. Set aside. Repeat with remaining mixture. In an iron skillet, warm vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with paper towels. Place potato cakes in the skillet without touching sides. Cook 2-3 minutes until deep brown. Flip and cook 2-3 minutes longer. Transfer potato cakes to the paper towel-lined baking sheet to absorb excess oil. Place on a platter and garnish with green onion snips. Serve with dipping sauce.

SRIRACHA MAYO

Ingredients:

1/4 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon sriracha hot sauce

1 teaspoon lime juice

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Red pepper flakes and green onion snips m, for garnish

Instructions:

In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, sriracha hot sauce, lime juice, soy sauce, and kosher salt. Stir until smooth. Garnish with red pepper flakes and green onion snips.

Copycat Jiffy Cornbread

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Country Casual Cravings: Copycat Jiffy Cornbread! If you’re wondering why anyone would make a homemade version of a boxed mix, read on. Could it be I’m a control freak? Maybe I want a healthier version? Or is it because my adult son says he recalls fond memories of the blue and yellow box from his childhood? Truth be told, I was too lazy to drive into town to buy the store-bought variety. Good thing I keep a well-stocked pantry.

COPYCAT JIFFY CORNBREAD

Ingredients:

2/3 cup flour

1/2 cup organic cornmeal

1/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 egg

1/3 cup milk

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a square pan with non-stick oil. Set aside. In a bowl, combine flour, organic cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and sea salt. Mix well. Whisk in vegetable oil until smooth. Add egg and milk. Stir only until lumps no longer remain. Do not over-beat. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Serve warm.