Very Cheddar Potato Gratin

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food With Soul: Very Cheddar Potato Gratin! It’s no secret some of us have a love affair with cheese. It’s not enough to sprinkle a handful of cheese on top of scalloped potatoes before sliding them into the oven. Sometimes you have to be downright sneaky about it. And you can blame me for it, if need be. By hiding grated cheese between two layers of sliced potatoes, and then sprinkling more cheese across the top of these mini casseroles, you not only guarantee a cheesy, ah-mazing dish, you have one that is comfort-food all the way to your favorite spot on the couch. Now where’s the remote?

VERY CHEDDAR POTATO GRATIN

Ingredients:

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup light cream

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and sliced thin

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Everything But Bagel seasoning

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray single two serving pans with nonstick oil. Set aside. In a bowl, combine chicken broth, light cream, Dijon mustard, kosher salt, black pepper, and thyme. Mix well. Layer half the potatoes in the prepared dishes. Sprinkle half the cheese over each; divide half the liquid over top. Repeat with remaining potatoes, cheese, and broth. Transfer cookware to a baking sheet. Cover each pan with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake 30 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender when tested with a knife. The top will be crispy. Sprinkle with Everything But Bagel seasoning. Cool slightly before serving.

Smoked Mahi Fish Dip

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food With Soul: Smoked Mahi Fish Dip! If you haven’t had the opportunity to taste Florida’s smoked fish dip, you must add it to your list of interesting foods. It has a creamy texture accented by a rich smoky flavor. Did you just wrinkle your nose at the word “Fish”? Hold on a sec, because we’re not talking about pungent canned tuna here. The fish that is used has white flesh, is pretty mild and actually sweet tasting, so it balances beautifully with a citrusy kick that will entice you to another mouthful. Try it in a restaurant or seafood diner first. Then come back for this recipe and make it yourself. Without reservations.

SMOKED MAHI FISH DIP

Ingredients:

2 8-ounce smoked fillets of mahi-mahi, skin removed

1/2 cup cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1/2 cup scallions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped

1 tablespoon capers, finely chopped

Instructions:

Flake smoked mahi-mahi fish into 1/2” chunks in a bowl. Set aside. In a larger bowl, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, olive oil, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt, and white pepper. Mix until smooth. Add sliced scallions, chopped dill, and capers. Gently stir. Fold in smoked mahi-mahi until incorporated. Do not over mix. Small chunks will keep the dip from turn mushy. Chill slightly. Spread the smoked fish dip over crackers or toasted baguettes.

Cold Brew Iced Latte

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food With Soul: Cold Brew Iced Latte! Ever wonder why coffee tastes so much better at the local coffeehouse than at home? Know how you can duplicate that incredible brew at home, especially if it’s iced? Well, for starters, go back to that coffeehouse and buy a pound of the brand they use. If you don’t own a coffee grinder, no worries, they will coarsely grind it as a complimentary favor to you. (Plus it gives you, yet another, reason to buy a to-go beverage to sip on while you wait. I discovered I’m crazy about a Colombian brand with medium notes of milk chocolate and orange grown in. When I was preparing for Hurricane Ian, I made a batch of cold brew to have on hand in case the power went out. I told you earlier….. coffee makes me happy.

COLD BREW ICED LATTE

Ingredients:

1 cup whole coffee beans

4 cups filtered water

Light Cream, to taste

Ice

Instructions:

Freshly grind the coffee beans on the coarse setting. Place the grounds in a quart-size jar or French press. Pour the water over the beans to saturate all the coffee grounds. As needed, use a spoon to gently stir the grounds, allowing them to be completely wet. Cover the cold brew and refrigerate it for 24 hours. Place a fine-mesh sieve over a large measuring bowl. Pour the coffee to completely strain it. Discard coffee grounds. To serve, fill a glass with ice. Add cold brew, desired sweetener, natural flavoring, or light cream to taste. Store cold brew in the refrigerator.

Frozen Whipped Cream

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Delicious Holiday Foods: Frozen Whipped Cream! Now here’s an indulgence anyone can afford. Frozen whipped cream. Simply spread the prepared mixture into a loaf pan, freeze overnight, and cut into chunks. Store in ready-to-use ziplock freezer bags. Then let the fun begin. Replace the creamer in your morning cuppa joe with a block or two, swirl, and watch the magic happen. You can also substitute those stale hardened marshmallows with whipped cream cubes in your favorite hot cocoa beverage. What about fruit smoothies? Throw a few chunks of frozen whipped cream into the blender with fresh fruit for a satisfying snack. Mmmm. Whipped cream isn’t just for dessert any more.

FROZEN WHIPPED CREAM

Ingredients:

1 cup heavy cream

4 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:

Chill the mixer bowl and whisk attachment 15 minutes before using. Pour the heavy whipping cream into the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Set speed to medium for 5 minutes. Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Beat 3-4 minutes longer or until the cream takes on volume and forms stiff peaks. The cream will have doubled in size. Do not over-beat or the cream will turn buttery. Spread whipped cream into a parchment paper-lined loaf pan and freeze overnight. When mixture is frozen, remove from pan and cut into chunks or cubes. Store in a freezer bag and keep frozen until ready to use.

Quick-Set Party Cheesecakes

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Delicious Holiday Foods: Quick-Set Party Cheesecakes! You’re stopping by a friend’s house later on and were asked to bring something delish. These miniature cheesecakes are super-easy and can be whipped up in a few minutes first thing in the morning. They refrigerate while you’re at work or the gym, so no worries there. Top with fresh fruit, seedless jam, chocolate bits, or candied ginger. Dust with powdered sugar for a professional finish. Another one-bite wonderful dessert can be found in the Fruit Tart recipe at the following link.

http://Snapshotsincursive.com/2015/12/11

QUICK-SET PARTY CHEESECAKES

Ingredients:

24 mini cupcake liners

24 Nilla wafers

2 8-ounce packages Neufchâtel cheese

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla

Fresh Fruit, Chocolate Chips, or Candied Ginger

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Beat Neufchâtel cheese and sugar. Add eggs, beating well. Fold in lemon juice and vanilla extract. Beat until light and fluffy. Place cupcake liners in muffin tin. Put 1 Nilla wafer in each. Fill with 1 heaping tablespoon of cheese mixture. Bake 15 minutes. Cool. Refrigerate 3 hours. Garnish with assorted toppings.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Delicious Holiday Foods: Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake! You know you love chocolate. Who doesn’t? If you find yourself avoiding baked goods due to its wheat content, worry no more. This cake is completely flourless. The results are rich, chocolaty, and extremely satisfying for any sweet tooth craving. Dust it with powdered sugar and garnish each slice with fresh strawberries for a gourmet finish. Hurray for Chocolate!


GLUTEN-FREE CHOCOLATE CAKE


Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

15-ounce can organic garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

4 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder 

1 tablespoon almond extract

1 tablespoon powdered sugar, for dusting

1/4 cup almond slices (optional)

Whipped cream

Fresh strawberries, garnish


Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9″ round cake pan. Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl for 2 minutes on high. Stir after 1 minute. Repeat until chocolate is melted and smooth. In a food processor, combine garbanzo beans and eggs. Blend until smooth, about 4 minutes. Add sugar and baking powder. Pulse to mix. Pour in melted chocolate and almond extract. Blend until smooth, scraping sides as needed. Transfer batter to the cake pan. Bake 40 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert onto a serving plate. Dust with powdered sugar. Sprinkle with almond slices. Garnish with whipped cream and strawberries.

Almond-Vanilla Popovers

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Delicious Holiday Foods: Almond-Vanilla Popovers! What if I told you it was possible to eat a serving of bread, but without all the preservatives? It is. And then, what would you say if I told you the outside was golden brown and the inside was hollow? That’s right. Hollow. These light and airy popovers of pancake-like batter puff up into delectable buttery crowns that leave you singing their praises and clapping your hands. It’s like you just witnessed a bit of magic in your very own kitchen.

ALMOND-VANILLA POPOVERS

Ingredients:

6 large eggs

2 cups light cream

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

2 teaspoons almond extract

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon sea salt

3 tablespoons sugar

2 cups flour

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Move the oven rack one setting below the middle row. Grease a 12-count bouchon pan. In a food processor, combine eggs, light cream, butter, almond extract, vanilla extract, sea salt, sugar, and flour. Blend until no lumps remain and batter is light yellow and frothy, approximately one minute. Fill each bouchon cup 2/3 full. Do not overfill. (Refrigerate leftover batter until ready to make the next batch. At that time, use a whisk to vigorously stir the batter.) Place bouchon pan in the oven; bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Do not open the oven door during baking or the popovers will deflate. When golden brown, remove from the oven. After 2 minutes in the pan, remove and transfer popovers to a wire rack. Do not allow them to cool in the pan or they may turn soggy. Serve warm as is or with a dollop of honey, jam, or butter.

Neufchâtel Crab Dip

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Delicious Holiday Foods: Neufchâtel Crab Dip! Easy seafood appetizers can be prepared in no time at all. By substituting miniature phyllo dough shells for snack crackers, the results are impressively gourmet. Who doesn’t love that WOW factor?! Make this appetizer the star of your next gathering. Everyone will thank you.

NEUFCHÂTEL CRAB DIP

Ingredients:

1 6-ounce can crabmeat, drained, flaked, and cartilage removed

1/2 cup lobster meat, chunk style

1 green onion, snipped

1 teaspoon dried dill weed

1 teaspoon lemon peel, finely shredded

1 teaspoon lemon juice

8-ounces Neufchâtel cheese, softened

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

1/4 cup Jalapeño Confetti Jelly

15-count package miniature phyllo dough shells

Fresh dill sprigs

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Arrange phyllo shells on a baking sheet. Bake 5-7 minutes until crisp. Remove and set aside. In a medium bowl, toss crabmeat, lobster, and green onion snips in dill weed, shredded lemon peel, and lemon juice. In a another bowl, combine Neufchâtel cheese, mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, seasoned salt, and red pepper flakes. Mix well. Fold crabmeat mixture into mayonnaise mixture. Transfer dip to an oven-proof dish. Top with Jalapeño Confetti Jelly. Bake 20 minutes. Spoon warm crab dip into phyllo shells. Garnish with fresh dill sprigs. Serve warm.

Vodka Sauce Shrimp Fettuccine

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Vodka Sauce Shrimp Fettuccine! Here’s something a little different for you to try instead of the usual fettuccine alfredo. Now, wait a sec to hear me out. Don’t get me wrong. I love alfredo sauce as much as the next one, but sometimes you gotta think about limiting calories and fat just to squeeze into that favorite outfit. Marinara sauces might be just the answer you’re looking for on “Pasta Night”. You won’t sacrifice taste because there’s still butter, light cream, and vodka. Some alcohol does evaporate as it is simmering, but only about 15%. (However, it will completely burn off if the sauce cooks for long periods of time.) Because vodka is somewhat tasteless, it basically enhances all the other flavors of the dish without overpowering it. Try it, you may like it.

VODKA SAUCE SHRIMP FETTUCCINE

Ingredients:

6 ounces fettuccine pasta

1 tablespoon sea salt

1 tablespoon butter

3/4 cup onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

15-ounce Italian tomatoes, crushed

2 tablespoons vodka

3 tablespoons light cream

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1/2 pound precooked shrimp, peeled and deveined

Fresh basil, for garnish

Instructions:

In a large pan, add sea salt to 2 quarts boiling water. Cook pasta 10 minutes. Drain, cover, and set aside. For the vodka sauce, in a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onions; sauté for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Lower heat to medium. Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook one minute longer. Add the crushed tomatoes to the onions. Stir in vodka, light cream, and lemon zest. Simmer 5 minutes. Add the precooked shrimp, simmering 5 minutes longer. Gently fold the fettuccine noodles into the vodka sauce. Heat through. Divide portions into pasta bowls. Garnish with fresh basil. Serve immediately.