World-Class Steak Salad

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food With Soul: World Class Steak Salad! There’s nothing more satisfying than a bowl of fresh salad greens, crumbled cheese, and garden veggies…unless you add a juicy grilled steak. Suddenly, the meal becomes restaurant-worthy. It’s filling, protein-rich, and pretty! It seems like a lot is going on there, but once you plan it out, the assembly takes mere minutes. To save money, you can use flank steak instead of sirloin or ribeye, as long as you tenderize it in a marinade. Giving you options makes everything taste better. Wouldn’t you agree?

WORLD CLASS STEAK SALAD

Ingredients for Steak:

1 pound flank steak

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon garlic wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Ingredients for Salad:

2 cups iceberg lettuce

2 cups romaine lettuce

1 cup Campari tomatoes, quartered

1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced

1 ripe avocado, sliced

1/4 teaspoon lime juice

3 strips precooked bacon, crumbled

1/4 cup bleu cheese, crumbled

1 green onion, sliced

Everything But Bagel seasoning

Instructions:

In a shallow dish, combine olive oil, garlic wine vinegar, kosher salt, and black pepper. Coat both sides of flank steak. Cover dish with plastic wrap and marinate steak for one hour. Meanwhile, prepare the salad. In a serving bowl, layer the iceberg and romaine lettuce leaves first. Leave a small area for the grilled steak. Arrange Campari tomatoes, red onion slices, and avocados around the edge of the bowl. Sprinkle lime juice over avocado slices to prevent browning. Top salad with crispy bacon pieces, bleu cheese crumbles, and sliced green onions. Sprinkle Everything But Bagel seasoning over all. Refrigerate salad until ready to serve. To grill the steak, preheat grill to 450°. Remove the steak from the marinade and place directly on grill grates. Close lid; cook for 3 minutes. Discard marinade. Turn steak and grill 3 minutes longer with lid closed. Transfer steak to a cutting board. Allow to “rest” for 5 minutes. Slice meat and place onto the prepared salad. Serve with bleu cheese dressing.

Pork Tenderloin Chimichanga

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food With Soul: Pork Tenderloin Chimichanga! If you want to step up your game from an ordinary burrito, but really prefer the flavor of crispy fried foods, there are healthier ways to accomplish it without a deep fryer. Anyone who owns an air fryer will attest to that. I haven’t purchased this countertop convection yet, although my new kitchen does have the option on the built-in wall unit. The one time I tested it produced a charred burn mark on the wooden cutting board afterwards. The jury is still out if I’ll make another attempt at it. These chimichangas are baked in the oven and deliver golden brown crunchy results. Tried-and-True techniques go a long way in my book.

PORK TENDERLOIN CHIMICHANGA

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups pork tenderloin, cooked and shredded

2/3 cup medium picante sauce, prepared

1/3 cup green onions

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

8 flour tortillas

1/4 cup melted butter

1 cup Mexican blend cheeses, shredded

Lettuce, tomatoes, onions

Ranch dressing, prepared

Fresh lime wedges, for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425°. Spray a 9”x13” baking dish with nonstick oil. Set aside. In a large skillet, combine shredded pork tenderloin, picante sauce, green onion, ground cumin, dried oregano, and sea salt. Simmer 5 minutes to heat through and allow most of the liquid to evaporate. Remove from heat. Brush both sides of a flour tortilla with melted butter. Spoon 1/3 cup meat mixture into the center; top with 2 tablespoons Mexican blend cheese. Fold 2 sides over filling; fold ends down. Place seam side down in prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Bake 15 minutes or until crisp and golden brown. Serve lettuce fixings drizzled with ranch dressing. Garnish with lime wedges.

Hard Salami Corkscrew Pasta

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food With Soul: Hard Salami Corkscrew Pasta! Tricolor pasta always makes me feel like a special occasion. The burst of natural colors in spinach and tomato keep the dish from becoming humdrum, in my opinion. By adding veggies, cheese, or pickles, the salad becomes a meal-in-a-bowl. Mix things up by substituting artichokes, hard-boiled eggs, or cucumbers. It’s really up to your personal preference and cravings of the moment. Any leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days. As if. (smile)

HARD SALAMI CORKSCREW PASTA

Ingredients for Pasta Salad:

1 1/2 cups rainbow rotini corkscrew pasta, uncooked

4 ounces hard salami, cut into strips

1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup green olives, halved

1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped

1/2 sweet bell pepper, chopped

Ingredients for Dressing:

3 tablespoons garlic wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon marjoram

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions:

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Rinse under cold water. In a serving bowl, combine cooked pasta, hard salami, grape tomatoes, green olives, red onion, and bell pepper. Gently toss. In a small bowl, whisk together garlic wine vinegar, olive oil, sugar, sea salt, black pepper, oregano, basil, marjoram, and garlic powder. Mix well. Pour the dressing over the pasta. Toss to coat. Refrigerate for one hour. Serve.

Watercress Spinach Salad In A Jar

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Watercress Spinach Salad in a Jar! My heart beats a little faster whenever I come across a bunch of watercress at the fresh marketplace. I know immediately that I will pair it with baby spinach because they work well together. Its slightly peppery taste is an amazing balance to the mild sweetness of spinach leaves. By portioning salads in a jar, they keep a couple days in the refrigerator, as long as the dressing is added later, when served. Not only is the salad appealing, it comes across as pure genius. Mmm Mmm Good.

WATERCRESS SPINACH SALAD IN A JAR

Ingredients:

3/4 cup watercress leaves

1 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves

2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced

1/2 red onion, sliced

1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced

1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced

4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled

4 pint-size jars, with lids

Caesar dressing, prepared

Instructions:

Layer each jar beginning with watercress and spinach leaves. Carefully place sliced eggs along the inside. Add layers of sliced red onions, cherry tomatoes, and mushrooms. Finish with crumbled bacon on top. Twist the lid to seal each jar. Refrigerate salads until ready to serve. To serve, empty contents of jar onto a plate or bowl. Add bottled Caesar dressing, per taste.

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.

Iceberg Lettuce Salad

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Waste Not, Want Not: Iceberg Lettuce Salad! Generally speaking, we all become pretty accustomed to grocery prices in our home town. We know, when it comes to produce, we can expect to pay a little more for berries than bananas. Just like the many varieties of leafy greens. Typically, spinach, kale, and romaine are always way more than iceberg lettuce. Right? So recently while visiting Kauai, knowing that a lot of food is imported, I made the decision to make some compromises. I picked up a head of iceberg lettuce listed at $3.99. In the States it’s around $1.49 a head. Okay. When I checked out, the register rung up $6.00. Imagine the sticker shock. Come to find out, the sign actually said iceberg lettuce was $3.99 a pound. Let me tell you, I stretched that head of lettuce over many meals and savored every bite.

ICEBERG LETTUCE SALAD

Ingredients:

3 leaves of lettuce, gently torn

1 Roma tomato, chopped

1 green onion, snipped

2 tablespoons Caesar dressing, prepared

1 tablespoon parmesan cheese, grated

1/8 teaspoon oregano

Instructions:

Divide the gently torn lettuce leaves between two salad plates. Arrange chopped tomatoes over lettuce. Using a kitchen shears, snip the green onion pieces over top. Drizzle with salad dressing. Sprinkle on parmesan cheese and oregano. Serve chilled.

Salad on a Fork

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Start Smart: Salad on a Fork! Try something different the next time you throw a party. Instead of serving an ordinary relish tray, choose interesting veggies to spear on a salad fork. Your guests will be so intrigued, they won’t realize they’ve chosen a salad bite over a brownie. Cherry tomatoes, crunchy romaine, and garden green beans make preparation easy. Offer two or three salad dressings for topping things off. Portions are bite-sized to avoid waste. Forks stand upended in a bowl or a pitcher. I happened to have an antique ice bucket that worked out nicely. Variety creates a beautiful presentation, so include baby carrots, snow peas, and perhaps a piece of bacon. Just think of it as a “conversation starter”.

SALAD ON A FORK

Ingredients:

1 bunch romaine lettuce

1 head iceberg lettuce

10.5 ounces cherry tomatoes

1/2 pound fresh green beans

Prepared salad dressings

Salad forks

Instructions:

Wash and pat dry lettuce, tomatoes, and green beans. Tear or cut lettuce leaves into bite-sized portions. Spear several leaves onto a salad fork. Add a green bean. Crown with a cherry tomato. Stand the forks upright in a bowl. Repeat steps until all the forks are used and the bowl is filled. Squeeze bottles of 2-3 prepared salad dressings make self-serve options available and entertaining.

Cheese-Stuffed Jalapeño Piggies

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Start Smart: Cheese-Stuffed Jalapeño Piggies! Sooo, when you’re looking at a bounty of jalapeños and you’ve already pickled several jars, what’s next? Jalapeño poppers, with a bacon twist! These fiery devils will awaken your taste buds, so it’s a good idea to cool things down a bit with dairy products. Hence the need for a melted cheese filling and a yogurt-ranch dipping sauce. My husband and I feasted on a plate of these one night, so you can too—-if you dare!

CHEESE-STUFFED JALAPEÑO PIGGIES

Ingredients:

12-14 jalapeño peppers, red or green

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

3-4 mozzarella string cheese sticks

2 slices bacon, precooked and crumbled

Crushed tortilla chips

Cilantro for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with foil. Spray a wire rack with nonstick oil and place on the baking sheet. Set aside. Wash the jalapeño peppers. Pat dry. Wearing gloves, slice the top of each jalapeño vertically, removing a small section to create a well. Remove seeds and ribs. Discard. Brush each jalapeño pepper with olive oil. Sprinkle on seasonings. Place jalapeños on the wire rack with cut side down. Bake 10 minutes; then set broiler to High and broil 2-3 minutes until peppers are slightly charred. Remove from oven. Cool slightly. Using a tongs, flip them over. Divide the cheddar cheese between the jalapeño peppers. Using a kitchen shears, cut the string cheese into strips. Layer over cheddar cheese. Sprinkle the bacon crumbles over the cheese-filled jalapeños. Top with crushed tortilla chips. Broil stuffed “piggies” on High another 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Remove pan from oven and let cool slightly before transferring stuffed jalapeños to a platter. Serve with ranch salad dressing that has a dollop of Greek yogurt mixed in. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

Orzo Shrimp Salad

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Fab Foodstuff: Orzo Shrimp Salad! In case you did a double-take, this is not a rice dish. Orzo, for those who are new to its origin, is a rice-shaped pasta popular in Italy. Most often it is used in soups, chilled salads, and pasta recipes. It is not gluten-free, if that is important to you. Because of its unique texture, the flavor of orzo bonds wonderfully with olive oil or butter and fresh herbs. Make it early in the day or right before supper. Either way, the taste is incredible with garden fresh veggies and cocktail shrimp. A little orzo goes a long way.

ORZO SHRIMP SALAD

Ingredients:

1/4 cup lemon olive oil

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup uncooked orzo

1/2 pound precooked jumbo cocktail shrimp

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon dill

1/2 teaspoon tarragon leaves, chopped

4 ounces asparagus, sliced into 1-inch pieces

1/2 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed

1/2 cup frozen English peas, thawed

Lemon slices for garnish

Instructions:

For dressing, whisk together lemon olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, kosher salt, and black pepper. Set aside. Prepare orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain. Transfer to a platter and cool 10 minutes to room temperature. In a skillet, warm olive oil over medium heat. Remove shells from shrimp tails. Place shrimp in a single layer in the skillet. Sprinkle with dill and tarragon. Lightly brown, turning once. Reduce heat to keep from burning. Remove from stove. Let shrimp cool. Meanwhile, in a steamer basket, bring water to a boil. Add asparagus, sugar snap peas, and English peas. Cook 2 minutes until bright green and tender crisp. Immediately transfer vegetables to an ice bath. Drain. Toss together shrimp and vegetables with orzo. Drizzle with lemon dressing, to taste. Toss to combine. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Garnish with lemon slices.