Quinoa Cheese Melt

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Clean Eating: Quinoa Cheese Melt! Few things can take the place of the classic grilled cheese sandwich, in my opinion. Yet, in a world of imagination, anything goes. As long as the bread is crispy with a satisfying crunch, be inventive. Think about multigrain, brioche, sourdough, bagel, or baguette. Once that decision is made, take a look at the cheese options: cheddar, American, gouda, provolone, gruyère, or Swiss. Sometimes a mixture is the perfect choice. Layering extras can be just as mind boggling. Do you choose bacon or beef? Lettuce or sprouts? Tomatoes or onions? I can see your eyes darting in several different directions casting a puzzled look on your face. So the next time someone asks, “Should we have grilled cheese?”, simply throw your arms up in the air and say, “Sure! It’s easy for you to say!”

QUINOA CHEESE MELT

Ingredients:

2 slices quinoa multigrain bread

2-3 tablespoons butter

4 slices American cheese

2 slices thick applewood smoked bacon, cooked

1 tomato, sliced

1/2 cup alfalfa sprouts

Instructions:

Preheat skillet over medium heat. Butter one side of quinoa multigrain bread. Place butter side down onto skillet bottom. Add four slices American cheese, stacked two high, to cover surface of bread. Arrange cooked bacon over all. Butter a second slice of quinoa multigrain bread on one side. Place butter side up on top of sandwich. Grill until lightly browned, then flip over. Continue grilling until cheese is melted. Remove to a plate. Stuff with sliced tomatoes and alfalfa sprouts. Cut in half. Serve immediately.

Ice Cream Grilled Pineapple

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Clean Eating: Ice Cream Grilled Pineapple! If you’ve decided it’s better to unplug with a “staycation” this year, there’s no need to give up guilty pleasures. Minimizing expenses with less stress is smart living. Take advantage of the leisure activities and points of interest in your own community. When was the last time you popped in to the local Welcome Center or Chamber of Commerce? You may see things through a fresh pair of eyes. Others do. Make a tropical dessert that will transport you to your very own private island. Dress it up with colorful parasol party picks.

ICE CREAM GRILLED PINEAPPLE

Ingredients:

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

4-6 fresh pineapple rings

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Maraschino Cherry, for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat a gas grill to medium-high temperature. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a shallow dish. Mix well. Rub both sides of pineapple rings with brown sugar mixture. Transfer to a large baking dish for 10 minutes. Using a heat-proof brush, lightly grease the grill with vegetable oil. Place pineapple slices directly on grill, leaving space between fruit slices. Cook 1-2 minutes per side to sear the pineapple rings. You should see grill marks. The pineapple will turn a golden yellow. Remove from grill. Allow pineapple rings to cool before adding a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. Garnish with maraschino cherry. Serve immediately.

Inside Out Bagel Grilled Ham ‘n Cheese

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Talking Points: Inside Out Bagel Grilled Ham ‘n Cheese! My world has always been part of the bagel craze. Think about it. It’s a quick breakfast smeared with cream cheese, it’s mobile for on-the-go travels, compact for a bento box, and incredibly satisfying as a lunch buddy. And then there’s the varieties: blueberry or strawberry, sun-dried tomato, cinnamon raisin, garlic and onion, plus everything seasoning on a wheat, rye, or sourdough bagel. There’s usually at least three kinds of cream cheese spreads to choose from, unless you make your own. Building a sandwich includes fresh vegetable sides of tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, and avocados. It can be exhausting. The list goes on and on, that’s for sure. I think when it all comes down to it, a bagel is simply my comfort food. And that is exactly why I turned it into a grilled cheese sammie. Spread the love.

INSIDE OUT BAGEL GRILLED HAM ‘N CHEESE

Ingredients:

1 cinnamon raisin bagel, halved

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

2 slices smoky provolone cheese

3 deli slices cherrywood smoked ham

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Lay the bagel slices with the inside halves open. Smear mayonnaise on each half. Warm an iron skillet over medium-low heat. Place the mayonnaise side down in the skillet. Layer the cheese over the bagel, then arrange the cherrywood smoked ham on top. Place the remaining bagel half, mayonnaise side up, over the sandwich. Press down with a spatula. Cook until the bagel turns golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Then carefully flip the sandwich over. Bake 3 minutes longer. Transfer the bagel sandwich to the oven for the cheese to continue melting and the bagel to turn crisp. Add Dijon mustard, if desired. Serve warm.

Okinawan Sweet Potato Medley

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Waste Not, Want Not: Okinawan Sweet Potato Medley! Way back when I was in middle school, my home economics teacher actually graded us on how colorful the foods looked on the plate. Her thoughts were “If it tempts your eyes, your stomach will want it.” I never forgot that message. She was pretty adamant about food presentation. So having mashed potatoes, rolls, and cauliflower was kind of a no-no when meal planning. That’s one of the reasons I was intrigued by Okinawan sweet potatoes when visiting Kauai. They are buff-skinned on the outside with a violet-purple flesh inside. It’s not as sweet as the orange variety I’m accustomed to, but nonetheless, it’s pretty tasty. And as you can see, it passes the color test.

OKINAWAN SWEET POTATO MEDLEY

Ingredients:

1 large Okinawan sweet potato, skin on, washed and sliced

1 medium sweet onion, sliced

2 each of mini sweet peppers in red, yellow, and orange; stems and seeds removed, cut in wedges

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

1 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

4 tablespoons butter

Instructions:

Spray a sheet of heavy aluminum foil with nonstick oil. Arrange Okinawan sweet potatoes on foil. Add sweet onion slices and mini sweet pepper wedges. Sprinkle with seasoned salt, oregano, and cinnamon. Dot with pats of butter. Place another sheet of heavy aluminum foil over top of vegetables. Fold sides twice to seal. Fold ends twice to seal. Avoid puncturing foil. Place packet on a 425° preheated grill. Close lid. Cook 25 minutes, or until vegetables are fork tender. Remove from grill. Carefully open one corner of foil packet to release steam. Then remove top layer of foil. Transfer sweet potatoes and vegetables in the herbed butter to a platter. Serve immediately.

New York Strip Steak

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Waste Not, Want Not: New York Strip Steak! The secret to a good steak, when grilling, is to crank up the heat. It took years to figure this out because grilling is different than baking. A steak likes to have the outside seared, or even charred, in order to keep those wonderful juices inside. The secret is to get the outside seared as soon as possible. When I asked my husband how high the gas grill was set, he replied, “All the way up!” Next, take your cell phone because you’re going to need a timer. For me, the soft pink center of a medium-rare steak is perfection. Obviously, if you prefer it more well done, you add extra time. Ready? Grilling season is upon us.

NEW YORK STRIP STEAK

Ingredients:

1-inch thick New York strip steaks,(for two)

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 tablespoon butter, per steak

Instructions:

Remove steak(s) from the refrigerator 20 minutes before grilling. Season both sides with sea salt and black pepper. Preheat gas grill to highest setting. When you hold your hand over the grill, you have to pull it back immediately. Place steaks directly on grill for 4 minutes. Close the lid. Flip and sear the remaining side for another 3 minutes, with lid closed. Remove from heat and allow steaks to “rest” on a platter for 5 minutes. Add a pat of butter at this time. Serve steak immediately.

Angus Beef Burger

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Waste Not, Want Not: Angus Beef Burger! Anyone who is a beef-eater understands that when meat has a high level of marbling, it keeps it moist for longer when cooking. Why is marbling important, you wonder? Because the fat ratio is scattered throughout creating juicy, tender, and more flavorful results. Long story, short, angus beef means better burger. No one wants a hockey puck for a hamburger. Right? Although it may cost a little more per pound, the end results are worth it.

ANGUS BEEF BURGER

Ingredients:

1 pound Angus beef, ground

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 hamburger buns, split and toasted

Lettuce, tomato, bacon and condiments as desired

Instructions:

Preheat a gas grill on High temperature. Form the ground beef into four equal portions. Season both sides of each patty with sea salt and black pepper. Brush the burgers with olive oil. Grill the burgers for 3 minutes until brown and slightly charred. Flip over. Do not press down to release juices! Cook 4 minutes longer, for medium rare, until golden and charred. Grill longer for desired results. Assemble the burgers on toasted buns. Add fixings and condiments to taste. Serve immediately.

Uvetta Apple Chutney Grilled Cheese

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food for Sharing: Uvetta Apple Chutney Grilled Cheese! When I was a kid, the word “chutney” meant something yucky with raisins and spices. That was before my taste buds matured and I acquired an exotic palate. Nowadays I appreciate the characteristics of fancy foods filled with specialized ingredients. By adding a spoonful of apple chutney to a grilled cheese sandwich, it transforms an ordinary meal into an extraordinary one. You should try it.

UVETTA APPLE CHUTNEY GRILLED CHEESE

Ingredients:

1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil

1/4 cup sweet onion, finely chopped

1 candied ginger disc, chopped

2 teaspoons pineapple juice

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon cognac (optional)

2 tablespoons raisins

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cumin powder

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon natural honey

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped

Instructions:

In a large saucepan over medium heat, add olive oil, sweet onions, and candied ginger. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat. Add pineapple juice, apple cider vinegar, cognac, and raisins. Cook on low another 2 minutes. Stir in garlic powder, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin powder, cayenne pepper, brown sugar, and honey. Mix well. Add chopped apples. Coat with sauce. Simmer 10-15 minutes until apples are soft and sauce is like syrup. Remove from heat. Serve as a condiment on your favorite grilled cheese sandwich.

Chapter One Food and Drink in Mystic, Connecticut

Dining Outside the Home: Chapter One Food and Drink in Mystic, Connecticut! Small town restaurants along the eastern seaboard captivate visitors with delicacies from the Atlantic Ocean. Combine that with the charm of a landmark drawbridge on main street Mystic plus an executive chef on staff at Chapter One Food and Drink for a delightful combination. Take, for instance, their wildly popular Lobster Grilled Cheese sammie. Chunks of succulent lobster are bathed in a thick blanket of slightly salty buttery cheese. Add crispy crunchy onion rings for a party in your mouth. Better get some before they’re gone.

Quickly Grilled Pork Loin Chops

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Timeless Classics: Quickly-Grilled Pork Loin Chops! Uncover the grill for another mouth-watering main course that is sure to please. Imagine the sound of a sizzle soon followed by an aroma-filled cloud of char-grilled pork that is enough to make your stomach growl. Within minutes, a tender moist slice is tested and savored before anything else.

QUICKLY-GRILLED PORK LOIN CHOPS

Ingredients:

4 bone-in pork loin chops, center cut 3/4″ thick

3-4 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Herb and Garlic seasoning*

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

1 tablespoon butter, unsalted

Rosemary sprigs to garnish

Instructions:

Place 2 tablespoons olive oil in a shallow dish. Sprinkle with half the Mrs. Dash Herb and Garlic seasoning plus the seasoned salt. Place pork loin chops in a single layer, pressing down slightly to absorb the spices. Pour remaining olive oil over top; sprinkle with seasonings. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate one hour. Remove dish from refrigerator 15 minutes before grilling. Preheat grill on medium-high heat, about 375°. Cook pork loins for 6 minutes per side for 3/4″ chops. Turn only once. Cut time in half for thinner chops. Discard marinade. Do not over cook. The internal color of cooked pork is white fading to light pink in the center. Transfer pork loin chops to a serving platter; let rest for 10 minutes before serving. This results in juicier meat. Garnish with a dab of butter and rosemary sprigs.