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.

Unwrapped Burritos

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Unwrapped Burritos! Casual meals come in handy on those days that are filled with unlimited tasks, scheduled appointments, and day-to-day responsibilities. Or you just don’t feel like making a full-course meal. Presenting……burrito fixings! It has all the good stuff: seasoned meat, tasty jalapeños, shredded cheeses, fresh onions, tomatillos, and corn kernels. Always remember to add crunchy tortilla chips and chunky salsa. Think of it as sinfully wicked. Kinda like sneaking more pizza toppings, scooping out lasagna fillings, or gobbling up the creme “Stuf” in an Oreo® cookie. Guilty, as charged.

UNWRAPPED BURRITOS

Ingredients:

1 pound lean ground beef, browned and crumbled

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Jalapeño slices, for garnish

2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed

1 red onion, sliced

4 tomatillos, sliced and halved

1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped

1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Salsa, for dressing

Corn Tortilla Chips, for serving

Instructions:

Combine cooked ground beef, sea salt, garlic powder, and ground cumin. Keep warm, top with jalapeño slices; set aside. For the salad, in a medium bowl combine corn kernels, red onion slices, tomatillos, cilantro, cheddar cheese, and Monterey Jack cheese. Toss gently. To serve, arrange burrito fixings on the table, along with chips and salsa. Enjoy.

Teriyaki Chicken Bowl

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Teriyaki Chicken Bowl! Do-ahead meals take a little bit of planning, but the “devil is in the details”, they say. In this case it means, make sure the chicken breasts are thawed AND marinated 24 hours before you plan on serving them. I realize that requires the cook to be somewhat organized. Pantries don’t stock themselves. There’s nothing worse than trying to make a dish without all the ingredients. Take sesame oil, for example. I find it absolutely delicious because it adds an earthy nuttiness to Asian food. Vegetable oil tastes meh, in my opinion. Not only does it alter the taste, the texture will be different. When I can find it, I buy toasted sesame seeds so I don’t have to worry about toasting them on the stove or in the oven. That’s 10 minutes I could be planning tomorrow’s meal. Idiosyncratic, but true.

TERIYAKI CHICKEN BOWL

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless

1/2 cup teriyaki sauce

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Green onion snips, for garnish

Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Instructions:

Place chicken breasts, teriyaki sauce, lemon juice, minced garlic, and sesame oil in a shallow dish. Baste chicken completely. Cover dish with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 24 hours. When ready to cook, preheat grill to 450°. Lightly oil grill grate. Remove chicken breasts from marinade, place directly on grill, close lid, and cook for 5 minutes. Discard marinade. After 5 minutes, open lid, flip over chicken breasts, close lid, and cook 5 minutes longer, or until cooked through and no longer pink. Remove teriyaki chicken from grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with green onion snips and toasted sesame seeds. Serve with sticky rice and mixed vegetables.

Swordfish On The Grill

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Swordfish on the Grill! Swordfish is called “Steak” for a reason. Forget fishy-tasting fish. (Say that 3 times really fast!) Swordfish, when grilled, looks more like a ribeye steak. It’s a dense, thick piece of fish. Now that doesn’t mean it is dry and tough. Actually the opposite is true. When you plan ahead and use a marinade, it becomes meaty and juicy, thereby satisfying both meat lovers and fish lovers. You can tell it is cooked because it actually changes color. One more thing, when setting the table…don’t forget the steak knife.

SWORDFISH ON THE GRILL

Ingredients:

4 6-ounce swordfish steaks

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon garlic red-wine vinegar

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons grated lemon rind

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Instructions:

Rinse swordfish; pat dry. Set aside. To make the marinade, combine olive oil, soy sauce, garlic red-wine vinegar, dried rosemary, minced garlic, ground coriander, ground cumin, grated lemon rind, and red pepper flakes. Whisk to blend. Place swordfish steaks in a single layer of a shallow dish. Pour marinade over all. Coat both sides of fish. Cover dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours. Remove dish from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature while preheating the gas grill to 400°. Place swordfish steaks on the preheated grill. Close lid and cook for 5 minutes. Turn, close lid, and cook 5 minutes longer. Fish will be charred on the edges. Serve immediately.

Orange-Tomato Pico de Gallo

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Orange-Tomato Pico de Gallo! Chunky sauces and relishes make a wonderful addition to any meal, in my opinion. First of all, they can be substituted for a vegetable side dish. They also serve as a nice condiment for stuffing into tacos or for sharing a plate of scrambled eggs. The vibrant colors will even catch the eye of a fussy-eater, if you know what I mean. Pico de Gallo compliments seafood, pork, chicken, and beef as well as any vegetarian star attraction. Better make a batch for dinner tonight. It’s a healthy option you can thank me for later.

ORANGE-TOMATO PICO DE GALLO

Ingredients:

4 navel oranges, peeled and chopped

2 tomatoes, diced

1 cup red onion, roughly chopped

1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

2 teaspoons orange peel, grated

Fresh cilantro, chopped

Instructions:

In a bowl, combine chopped navel oranges, diced tomatoes, roughly chopped red onions, and finely chopped jalapeños. Toss gently. Sprinkle with kosher salt, garlic powder, ground ginger, grated orange peel, and chopped cilantro. Stir gently to combine thoroughly. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for one hour. Serve with tortilla chips.

Maryland-Style Crab Cakes

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Maryland-Style Crab Cakes! When my step-daughter, Brandi, gifted me with a copy of one of her favorite seafood cookbooks, I knew exactly what dish I was going to make first. After all, the cookbook is based on a popular Hilton Head Island restaurant that has become her family’s traditional spot whenever they visit. Because Florida has an abundance of connections for fresh seafood, vendors are able to get premium, wild-caught crab meat to sell to their customers. Farmers Markets, as well as fish companies specialize in pre-made crab cakes. One taste and I thought, why compete with the best? So, I use two or three resources for incredible tasting Maryland crab cakes. Supporting local businesses builds strong communities and helps everyone thrive. For dinner in a snap, read on.

MARYLAND-STYLE CRAB CAKES

Ingredients:

6 pre-made Maryland crab cakes

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons red onion, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup diced tomatoes

1 cup spicy Bloody Mary mix

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Lemon slices, for garnish

Parsley flakes, for garnish

Instructions:

To make the gazpacho sauce, warm olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add red onion and minced garlic. Cook 1-2 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, Bloody Mary mix, Worcestershire sauce, sea salt, and black pepper. Stir to combine. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Transfer gazpacho to a bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use. To bake the crab cakes, preheat oven to 425°. Place crab cakes on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick oil. Bake 12 minutes, flip, and bake 3 minutes longer until golden brown. To serve, ladle the slightly chilled gazpacho onto a plate; center a crab cake on top. Arrange lemon slices. Sprinkle with parsley flakes.

Italian Sheet Pan Tilapia

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Italian Sheet Pan Tilapia! What’s for dinner? You gotta love a one-pan meal. It not only makes preparation and clean-up a breeze, it typically turns into a healthy option as well. Choose seafood, meat, or veggies and then customize the flavor with tangy spices, fresh herbs, and natural oils. Things honestly could not get any easier. You can even take things one step further and divide the pan to accommodate a spicier version on one end and something a little more bland on the other. No matter how you split things up, watch them disappear.

ITALIAN SHEET PAN TILAPIA

Ingredients:

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning mix

1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed

1/4 cup olive oil, divided

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

2 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets

2 Roma tomatoes, sliced and halved

Parsley, for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425°. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick oil. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together melted butter, garlic powder, lemon juice, and Italian seasoning mix. Reserve 2 tablespoons and set aside. Place asparagus in a single layer on the left side of the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Place Roma tomatoes in a single layer down the middle of the baking sheet. Drizzle with remaining olive oil, kosher salt, and black pepper. Arrange tilapia fillets in a single layer on the right side of the baking sheet. Drizzle with butter mixture. Bake 12-14 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve immediately with reserved butter mixture. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Haricot Vert Hot Off The Grill

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Haricot Vert Hot Off the Grill! I’m not trying to go all fancy shmancy with you. I just like the French language and use some terminology whenever I can. Cooking seems to be the logical place to do that. I bet you do, too. Ever hear the words aioli, béchamel sauce, baguette, charcuterie, julienne, pâté, roux, or soufflé? I’m sure you can come up with a few words yourself. We live in that kind of a world. Check out any list of restaurants in your area and you’ll see what I mean. Well, that being said, “haricot vert” translates into “green beans”. And this recipe may transport you to a place you’ve never been.

HARICOT VERT HOT OFF THE GRILL

Ingredients:

1 pound fresh green beans

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon garlic herb seasoning

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup French fried onions, for garnish

Instructions:

Place a grill pan on the grill. Close the lid and preheat to 400°. Rinse the fresh green beans and pat dry. Trim the ends off the green beans and discard. In a large bowl, toss the green beans and olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic herb seasoning and sea salt. Gently toss. Using grill tongs, transfer the green beans to the grill pan. Close the grill cover and cook for 3 minutes. Open the lid, and toss the green beans. Cook 1-2 minutes longer. They should blister and slightly char. Transfer green beans to a serving dish and garnish with French fried onions before serving.

Greek Oven Potatoes

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Greek Oven Potatoes! This sounds crazy, but these potatoes are baked and steamed at the same time. The end result is tenderness and flavorful, an extraordinary combination. It sounds like a lot of liquid, but trust me, the potatoes literally soak up the moisture. They can handle it. The spice mix does a great job of penetrating the potatoes while teasing the senses with a whiff of aromatic pleasantness. For a side dish that is anything but hum-drum, give this one a whirl. No regrets.

GREEK OVEN POTATOES

Ingredients:

1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon smoky paprika

1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

4 red potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges

4 garlic cloves, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 lemon, juiced

2/3 cup vegetable broth

1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Fresh basil, for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a small baking dish with nonstick oil. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine seasoned salt, black pepper, smoky paprika, and dried rosemary. Set aside. Arrange red potato wedges in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with spice mix. Toss briefly to cover all. In a bowl, whisk together garlic cloves, olive oil, lemon juice, and vegetable broth. Pour over potatoes. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Carefully take the baking dish from the oven, remove the foil, and sprinkle the potatoes with parmesan cheese. Return dish to oven and bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes longer. Potatoes will be cooked through and golden brown in color. Garnish with fresh basil. Serve immediately.