Easy Red Snapper and Tomatoes

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Easy Red Snapper and Tomatoes! When I was a kid, I couldn’t stand the “fishy” taste of Midwestern fish fillets. The fact that I practically choked on a bone really didn’t make it enjoyable either. But fast forward to the fresh catch from the salty waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Red snapper is quite delicious, I must say. Because they thrive on mostly shrimp and crab, it intensifies their flavor, making red snapper mild and slightly sweet. The local fishermen have me spoiled, especially Dilly’s Fish Company. They catch the fish, transfer it on ice to a central location, clean it, debone it, remove the scales, fins, and head. Then they fillet the fish, package it, and identify it, since I’m usually buying more than one variety. Fish is sold by weight as caught out of the water. Once I know what I want, I simply need to decide how I’m going to cook it. As you can guess….for me that’s the best part….until I eat it.

EASY RED SNAPPER AND TOMATOES

Ingredients:

1 pound red snapper fillets, fresh

3-4 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

2 Roma tomatoes, quartered

Instructions:

Wash red snapper fillets and pat dry. Line a grill pan with aluminum foil. Spray with nonstick oil. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, sea salt, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and black pepper. Brush both sides of red snapper with mixture. Transfer fish to the grill pan. Arrange quartered tomatoes around fish. Drizzle remaining olive oil mixture over tomatoes. Preheat gas grill to medium-high heat, approximately 450°. Cook fish dinner for 4 minutes with the lid closed. Then carefully flip fish, close lid, and cook 4 minutes longer. Remove and serve immediately.

Yukon Gold Potato Medley

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Bright Ideas: Yukon Gold Potato Medley! For my friends who like their veggies, and prefer a meatless diet, here’s a quick way to combine potatoes, carrots, and onions into a very filling meal. It has herbs to enhance flavor, and delicious butter to combat hunger pangs. Plus, butter makes everything taste drool-worthy. Amirite? Did I ever tell you, every time I refill the butter dish, if there is even a sliver of butter in the wrapper, I swipe it across my finger and slip it into my mouth? True confessions. After all, I import the butter from France, so I’m not going to waste one dab.

YUKON GOLD POTATO MEDLEY

Ingredients:

3 Yukon Gold potatoes, skin on and quartered

16-ounce jar Pearl onions, drained

1 pound baby carrots, whole

2 cups vegetable broth

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon Italian herbs

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions:

Combine potatoes, pearl onions, and baby carrots in a 4-quart pan. Cover with vegetable broth. Add sea salt. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Drain the vegetables in a colander. Warm butter in the pan over medium heat. Add turmeric, Italian herbs, black pepper, and garlic powder. Mix thoroughly. Return the potato medley to the pan. Mix well to coat. Transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with fresh celery leaves.

Turmeric Roast Beef

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Bright Ideas: Turmeric Roast Beef! Turmeric is a spice in the world of superfoods. It begins as a plant, but the roots hold all the benefits. Turmeric can usually be found in the spice aisle of your favorite grocery store. Its golden-orange color makes a quick scan for identification pretty easy. The aroma has an earthiness to it, which is a compliment for vegetables and beef. Once you try it, your mind may wander to curry dishes, chili soup, and beyond.

TURMERIC ROAST BEEF

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pound chuck roast

2 cups beef broth

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon Salty Wahine Hawaiian Seasoning*

5-6 potatoes, washed with skin on, cut into bite-size chunks

16 ounces baby carrots, whole

10 ounces pearl onions, whole

1/4 teaspoon parsley flakes

Instructions:

Place the chuck roast in the slow cooker. Pour beef broth over meat. Sprinkle with turmeric and Salty Wahine Hawaiian Seasoning. Set slow cooker on Low heat for 4 hours. After that time, add the potato chunks, baby carrots, and pearl onions. Continue on Low setting for 4 more hours. Remove roast and vegetables to a platter. Garnish with parsley flakes. Reserve juices for au jus, gravy base, or soup starter.

*I receive no recompense for mentioning Salty Wahine Hawaiian Seasoning.

Olives, Herbs, and Cheese Crumbles

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Bright Ideas: Olives, Herbs, and Cheese Crumbles! I’m one of those people who are drawn to deli olive bars and gourmet cheese counters. And since they are usually located near the bakery department, picking up a freshly-baked baguette or artisan loaf is second nature as well. Because…sometimes you need an idea for a quick appetizer; thus, there is no shame in using the goodies you already have on hand. That’s when I pat myself on the back for thinking ahead.

OLIVES, HERBS, and CHEESE CRUMBLES

Ingredients:

8-ounces deli olive combination, with herbs

6-ounces crumbled feta cheese, with Mediterranean herbs

1/4 cup olive oil

Instructions:

This works best in small batches. In a mini chopper, add a small portion of the deli olive combination. Pulse to get a course chop. Transfer olives to a medium-size bowl. Repeat until all the olives are roughly chopped. Fold in the crumbled feta cheese. Drizzle olive oil over top. Gently stir to blend well. Cover olive mixture and refrigerate until ready to serve. When ready, allow olive oil to come to room temperature before serving. Spoon olive mixture onto toasted artisan bread slices.

Grill Pan Kabobs

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Bright Ideas: Grill Pan Kabobs! Sooo, what do you have for dinner when you plan on kabobs, but can’t find the skewers among all the kitchenware you’ve unpacked during the recent move? The answer: Improvise, by using a grill pan. After all, once the ingredients are cooked and presented for dinner, everyone grabs a fork to “shish” the food off the skewer onto the plate anyway. I see your eyes glazing over as you nod your head in agreement. Focus. The end result is still phenomenal. Now dig in. Your tummy will thank me.

GRILL PAN KABOBS

Ingredients:

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 pound beef tenderloin, cut into chunks

1/2 pound chicken tenderloin, cut into cubes

1 red onion, cut into wedges

1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into chunks

1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into chunks

4 ounces fresh mushrooms, stems removed

4 ounces cherry tomatoes

Instructions:

In a measuring cup, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, minced garlic, dry mustard, thyme, oregano, sea salt, and black pepper. Place the beef tenderloin chunks and chicken tenderloin cubes in a large zip-lock plastic bag. Pour half the marinade mixture into the bag, seal, shake, and refrigerate for one hour. Set aside remaining marinade for basting sauce while grilling. Preheat gas grill to 500°. Remove beef and chicken pieces from bag; discard marinade. Allow beef and chicken to “rest” at room temperature for 15-20 minutes. Transfer beef chunks, chicken cubes, red onion, green pepper, red pepper, mushroom caps, and cherry tomatoes onto a large grill pan that has been sprayed with nonstick oil. Brush kabobs with reserved marinade. To cook medium-rare steak kabobs (charred exterior, pink center), place the grill pan on the hot grill. Chicken tenderloins will cook in the same amount of time, with edges turning white. Close the lid to retain heat temperature. Set timer for 5 minutes. Then using a long-handled tongs, flip, rotate, and move larger pieces of beef and chicken on the grill pan to be in the center of the flame. Vegetables will char faster than the meat. Watch carefully. Cook the kabobs an additional 5 minutes, with the lid closed. Once finished, remove grill pan and turn off the grill. Allow food to “rest” for 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Leftover Turkey Orzo Soup

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Waste Not, Want Not: Leftover Turkey Orzo Soup! You can always tell when I’m going down a road of mealtime shortcuts. It might be because I stayed up late the night before binge-watching Netflix, or I suddenly got a burst of energy to work in the outdoor herb garden instead. Life in the country is always filled with distractions, that’s for sure. But that doesn’t mean we sacrifice healthy meals for fast-food. Leftover turkey roast can be magically transformed into a bowl of hearty, delicious soup loaded with vegetables, orzo pasta, and earthy herbs. Be good to yourself. You’re worth it.

LEFTOVER TURKEY ORZO SOUP

Ingredients:

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 sweet onion, diced

1 stalk celery, chopped

6-7 mini carrots, sliced

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon oregano

4 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup orzo pasta

2 cups cooked leftover turkey, shredded

Instructions:

In a large deep skillet, warm olive oil over medium heat. Sauté diced onion, chopped celery, and sliced carrots until softened, 5-6 minutes. Add garlic powder, thyme, and oregano. Cook for one minute longer until fragrant. Stir occasionally. Add chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Add uncooked orzo pasta and shredded turkey. Bring back to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Cover. Cook 15 minutes until orzo is tender. Remove from heat; stir. Ladle soup into bowls and serve.

Double-Decker Shrimp Nachos

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Waste Not, Want Not: Double-Decker Shrimp Nachos! Get set for a taste extravaganza that will implode inside your mouth. Talk about a nacho upgrade. It just may kick the ordinary version to the curb. Look at the ingredient list: sautéed shrimp, gooey cheeses, cayenne peppers, and fresh veggies. Double-Decker means two layers of mouthwatering goodness. Better add a side of plain yogurt or sour cream to control the fire, just in case. Keep ingredients on hand. You’re going to end up making it twice!

DOUBLE-DECKER SHRIMP NACHOS

Ingredients:

11-ounce bag corn tortilla chips

12-ounce bag large cooked shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon crushed oregano

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

8-ounces Mexican cheese blend, finely shredded

2 Roma tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup corn, frozen and thawed

4-5 green onions, snipped

1 avocado, sliced

1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a 9”x13” glass dish with nonstick oil. Set aside. In a large skillet over medium heat, warm olive oil. Arrange shrimp in a single layer. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, crushed oregano, and garlic salt. Turn shrimp to brown both sides. Remove from heat. Repeat if necessary until all shrimp is sautéed. Line bottom of glass dish with a single layer of corn tortilla chips, slightly overlapping. Place half the shrimp over chips. You may cut the shrimp into bite-size pieces. Sprinkle 1 cup of Mexican cheese blend over shrimp. Next top cheeses with one chopped tomato and corn. Using a kitchen shears, snip 2 green onions into bite-size pieces randomly over top. Repeat process for second layer, beginning with tortilla chips. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove from oven. Garnish with sliced avocado and a dollop of sour cream. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes for extra flavor. Serve warm.

Veggie Pot Pie

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Enjoyable Eats: Veggie Pot Pie! Do you like to make pie dough? What if it’s not flaky? Are you okay with that? How do you keep the bottom crust from being soggy? Is it necessary to have a top crust? All very good questions, I assure you. Forget them for now and come with me into the land of phyllo dough where tissue-thin layers of unleavened dough are brushed with melted butter creating a crispy golden crunch. Expert bakers took the time and skill to make our lives easier by rolling and stretching the dough multiple times so we don’t have to. The result is a product as close as our neighborhood grocer. With pre-made phyllo dough as your starting point, anyone can be a gourmet chef. No dough-making required.

VEGGIE POT PIE

Ingredients:

7-ounce box antioxidant blend frozen vegetables, thawed

1 cup pearl onions

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

1/2 cup frozen green beans, thawed

1 sweet potato, skin on

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 ounces fresh mushrooms, cut-up

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

12 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed in the refrigerator overnight

6 tablespoons butter, melted

2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Instructions:

Keep phyllo dough chilled until ready to use. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine antioxidant vegetable blend, pearl onions, corn, peas, and green beans. Gently toss to keep vegetables from mashing. Wash skin of sweet potato. Pierce with a knife. Microwave on High setting for 3 minutes. Let sweet potato cool enough to handle before cutting into cubes. Gently toss into vegetable mixture. Warm olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushroom pieces. Sprinkle with garlic powder. Cook, stirring occasionally until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl of mixed vegetables. Add parmesan cheese. Mix beaten egg into vegetables. Sprinkle with kosher salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Butter a 9” iron skillet. Unroll the phyllo sheets and lay them on a flat surface. Immediately cover with plastic wrap and a damp towel. This prevents the dough from drying out. Keep phyllo covered after removing each sheet. Fit one phyllo sheet into the skillet, allowing the edges to hang over the sides. Brush lightly with melted butter. Continue working quickly by placing one phyllo sheet in the skillet at a time. Turn skillet a quarter-turn, then top with a second sheet; brush lightly with butter. Repeat with remaining sheets and butter. When finished there should be about a tablespoon of butter left. Spoon vegetable mixture evenly over phyllo layers. Sprinkle goat cheese over top. Fold edges of phyllo dough up and over the filling toward the center, overlapping slightly. Center will be exposed. Brush the top of the phyllo with remaining butter. Bake for 40 minutes until golden brown. Transfer iron skillet to a wire rack. Allow to cool for 15 minutes. The flavor of roasted vegetables intensifies at room temperature. Serve warm. (Leftovers may be reheated in the iron skillet with the crust remaining crisp.)

Splatter Pan Roasted Peppers

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Enjoyable Eats: Splatter Pan Roasted Peppers! There’s something comforting about roasted vegetables. Perhaps it’s the amazing flavor as a result of dry oven heat. Ever notice that slightly caramelized texture? Sometimes it results in a toasted nutty-like flavor. Sweetness piques, especially in tomatoes. The soft brown garlic bulbs surprised me most of all. I mashed one against the roof of my mouth. The raw bitterness had been replaced with a savory sweetness that brought sheer pleasure to my taste buds. No wonder people say food can produce a seductive spark. Am I the last one to discover this about roasted garlic?

SPLATTER PAN ROASTED PEPPERS

Ingredients:

3 green bell peppers, seeded and halved lengthwise

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

24 ripe cherry tomatoes, halved

3 cloves garlic, halved

2 tablespoons capers

1 teaspoon basil, crushed

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a splatter pan with nonstick oil. Arrange green peppers, cut side up to fit. Brush the peppers, inside and out with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Divide mozzarella cheese between peppers. Arrange cherry tomatoes so they fill each pepper “boat” to overflowing. As they roast the tomatoes will shrink in size. Tuck garlic cloves in between the tomatoes. Finish with capers. Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Sprinkle crushed basil over all. Bake 40-45 minutes. Allow roasted peppers to cool to room temperature before serving.