Naan Italian Meatball Subs

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Naan Italian Meatball Wraps! Don’t you just love naan? It is a nice alternative to a sub bun or slice of bread when desiring a sandwich. For those who haven’t tried it yet, naan is a soft flatbread which typically has any airy-like texture. I find it more appealing than pita bread, which tends to be a little drier. Because this recipe included a marinara sauce, naan helps to soak up the flavors and keep the sauce from dripping out, most likely due to the small pockets of air. Looks like it’s time for you to give it the taste test and tell me what YOU think.

NAAN ITALIAN MEATBALL WRAPS

Ingredients:

16 Italian meatballs, frozen pre-made variety; thawed

16 ounces pizza sauce

8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded

4 mini naan portions

Baker’s twine

Instructions:

Place Italian meatballs in a microwave-safe covered dish. Heat on High for 3-4 minutes. Drain excess liquid, if any. Add pizza sauce and heat in microwave on 50% for 3 minutes. Remove and set aside. Layer one mini naan on a microwave-safe plate. Sprinkle with a few drops of water; cover with parchment paper. Repeat others to form a stack. Warm naan in the microwave on 40% power for 30 seconds. Repeat, if needed. This will soften the naan in order to make it pliable. Working quickly, arrange 4 meatballs and sauce in each mini naan. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese. Secure the stuffed wrap with bakers twine. Transfer meatball wrap to a plate. Repeat until all four are complete. Microwave again on 20% power for 30 seconds or until cheese is melted. Serve warm.

Meatball Lollipops

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Bright Ideas: Meatball Lollipops! This is such a wonderful prelude to a pizza party. It’s simple, delicious, takes minutes to prepare, and makes life easy for the host or hostess. Whether you’re making pizza from scratch or ordering it for delivery, this is a great appetizer to keep things festive. Just remember to make enough to share. You won’t regret it.

MEATBALL LOLLIPOPS

Ingredients:

10 precooked frozen Italian meatballs, thawed

15 ounces of prepared marina sauce

1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/8 teaspoon oregano

1/8 teaspoon basil

1/8 teaspoon marjoram

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

10 party picks

Instructions:

Cook meatballs in a microwave-safe dish, with lid, according to package directions. Drain. Add prepared marina sauce. Cook on 40% power in microwave-safe covered dish for 10 minutes. Pierce each meatball with a party pick and transfer to a platter, or 5 per serving. Spoon marinara sauce over meatballs. Sprinkle with oregano, basil, marjoram, and garlic powder. Divide the shredded mozzarella cheese between portions. Serve immediately.

Xtra Healthy Turkey Spaghetti

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Start Smart: Xtra Healthy Turkey Spaghetti! It’s true you can limit your weekly intake of meat by choosing vegetarian recipes and meatless meals. On the other hand, by making a simple substitution of turkey over beef, you’re getting a leaner, less fatty meat without sacrificing taste. But the debate continues. Some report that nowadays leaner beef choices still make beef the winner when it comes to fat, sodium, and cholesterol. To be honest, I already had baked turkey on hand, so I took advantage of it and went for something a little different. Variety, in my kitchen, is the spice of Life.

XTRA HEALTHY TURKEY SPAGHETTI

Ingredients:

1 pound of shredded turkey, precooked

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 poblano pepper, chopped

1 green pepper, cut into strips

1/3 cup onion, chopped

15-ounces prepared marinara sauce or spaghetti sauce

6 ounces angel hair pasta

2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

Grated parmesan cheese, for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray four individual casserole pans with nonstick oil. Set aside. In a skillet over medium heat, warm olive oil. Add poblano pepper, green pepper, and chopped onions. Sauté until tender. Stir in the shredded turkey and marinara sauce. Turn heat off and set aside. Prepare angel hair spaghetti according to package directions. Drain thoroughly. Add cooked pasta to sauce. Stir to mix. Transfer turkey spaghetti to individual casseroles. Divide mozzarella cheese between them. Bake 20-25 minutes until cheese is golden and melted. Garnish with parmesan cheese before serving.

L’Olivo Ristorante in Naples, Florida

Dining Outside the Home: L’Olivo Ristorante in Naples, Florida! Located in the heart of Fifth Avenue is an authentic Italian restaurant where Happy Hour, Three-Course Specials, and Featured Entrees make it a memorable place. Although there is a main menu, sometimes it’s a good idea to go with the flow, especially when the chef suggests preset combinations. The portions were reasonable in order to keep a steady pace from one specialty to another. The Bruschetta Prosciutto with shaved parmesan cheese was an easy start, allowing time for sipping on an Aperol Spritzer. The oven-baked Lasagna with bolognese sauce and melted mozzarella cheese was hearty, down to the very last dredge of crusty bread across the marinara. As a finale, there’s always room for dessert when it’s Tiramisu. The espresso-soaked ladyfingers are like eating air. Grazie!

Lentil Rotini Pizza Pasta

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Start Smart: Lentil Rotini Pizza Pasta! Going organic, especially with red lentils, doesn’t necessarily mean the meal has to be completely plant-based. Sure, you still get the protein and fiber you need, but think about making it appealing to your family as well. By adding cheese and pepperoni slices, you can turn the rotini spirals into an Italian favorite. Pizza Pasta. Spice things up with red pepper flakes, garlic, and oregano. Now you’re talking. Serve in individual baking dishes for extra special treatment. You may even have the kids asking for it again.

LENTIL ROTINI PIZZA PASTA

Ingredients:

12-ounce box of organic red lentil rotini

1 1/2 cups prepared marinara sauce

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 cup pepperoni slices, divided

2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

Crushed basil for garnish

Instructions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add rotini. Cook until tender, stirring occasionally, 8-10 minutes. Caution: Watch carefully as the lentils will foam up to overflowing. You may have to reduce heat to a Simmer. Drain well. In a large bowl, combine marinara sauce, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and oregano. Add rotini; stir to coat. Fold in 3/4 of the pepperoni and half the mozzarella cheese. Divide into individual broiler-proof baking dishes. Top with remaining pepperoni and shredded mozzarella cheese. Adjust oven rack to at least 4” away from broiler coils. Preheat broiler on High setting. Arrange individual casseroles on a baking sheet. Transfer sheet to oven. Cook until cheese is melted and slightly brown. Garnish with crushed basil. Serve with garlic bread.

Tony Sacco’s Coal Oven Pizza in Estero, Florida

Dining Outside the Home: Tony Sacco’s Coal Oven Pizza in Estero, Florida! You’re probably wondering what the big deal is about mentioning “coal oven” in the name of this pizza joint. Basically, it boils down to the deliciousness of a charred crust enclosing a chewy center without overcooking the toppings. You get this from very high, dry heat contained within the oven walls. The coal oven is a little larger than the others, so it holds more pizzas. Makes sense, amirite? There’s nothing worse than sinking your teeth into a pizza pie loaded with extra cheese only to discover the bottom crust is a bit soggy. That’s not going to happen at Tony Sacco’s. In fact, customize your creation like I do. For cheese-lovers, request shredded mozzarella, smoky provolone, grated parmesan, and fresh mozzarella over authentic Italian marinara. The cheese pulls will practically make your mouth drool in public. Slowly wipe your chin. Then garnish a pizza slice with freshly chopped basil and dig in.

Unstuffed Green Pepper Bake

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Next Step: Unstuffed Green Pepper Bake! If you love the taste of stuffed green peppers, but really hate the extra steps of preparation, look no further. This “unstuffed” version can be served in individual casserole dishes or a family-style pan, thus eliminating the need for hollowed-out green peppers. Still yummy, still Spanish-flavor, still way back generational goodness like your grandma used to make. Be good to yourself when the week gets crazy busy. Make a batch of “unstuffed” green peppers and sit back with a glass of wine while the oven does all the work. You’re worth it.

UNSTUFFED GREEN PEPPER BAKE

Ingredients:

2 green peppers, coarsely chopped

24-ounce jar traditional pasta sauce

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon oregano

1/8 teaspoon basil

2 cups rotisserie chicken or turkey, shredded

1 cup cooked brown rice

1 1/2 cups Italian cheese blend, shredded

2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs

1 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Cook chopped green peppers in the microwave-safe dish for 2 minutes on High setting. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine pasta sauce, garlic powder, oregano, and basil. Mix well. Fold in shredded meat, brown rice, and 1/2 cup shredded cheese. Add green peppers. Transfer filling into prepared casserole dish(es). Top with remaining cheese. In a small bowl coat panko crumbs with olive oil. Mix well. Spoon crumbs over cheese. Baked 25 minutes or until heated through.

Italian Meatball Manicotti

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Cheerful Choices: Italian Meatball Manicotti! Pasta tubes, known as manicotti, are mere vessels for holding melted cheese, savory meat, Italian herbs, and certain vegetables like spinach or mushrooms. The marinara sauce is spread on the bottom of the dish to prevent the pasta from sticking, or tearing, which would ruin the whole idea of creating the perfect pocket of delicious fillings. With a crowning layer of marinara sauce on top, it deserves a round of applause for the extra cheese sprinkled there for good measure. Cray, Cray!

ITALIAN MEATBALL MANICOTTI

Ingredients:

6 dried manicotti shells

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 clove garlic

12 Italian meatballs, cut in quarters

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herb blend

8 ounces marinara sauce, prepared

1/2 cup ricotta cheese

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded

2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, shredded

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray an 8.5”x5.5” baking dish with nonstick oil. Set aside. Cook manicotti shells in boiling water for 9 minutes. Drain and cool on a baking sheet pan. Set aside. In a skillet, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic clove, meatballs, sea salt, cracked black pepper, and Italian herb blend. Cook until heated through, stirring occasionally. Remove and set aside to cool slightly for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, spread half the marinara sauce in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. In a bowl, mix ricotta cheese and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese. Gently fold in meatball mixture. Fill each manicotti shell with meat and cheese mixture; place in the prepared baking dish over the marinara layer. Top with remaining marinara sauce. Cover dish with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

Toasted Cheese Ravioli

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Country Casual Cravings: Toasted Cheese Ravioli! Crunchy on the outside, creamy on the inside. Take a walk on the wild side by turning dumpling-style pasta dough into a flavorful, tart, and cheesy appetizer. Panko breadcrumbs provide a crunchier coating that taste more like a fried shell when baked. This is due to the fact that panko breadcrumbs are made from crustless bread, thereby making them have an airier texture. The results are amazing.

TOASTED CHEESE RAVIOLI

Ingredients:

8-ounces fresh cheese ravioli, found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store

1 egg

1 tablespoon milk

1/2 cup plain panko breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Marinara sauce, for dipping

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425°. Spray a wire rack with nonstick oil. Place rack on a baking sheet. Set aside. In a shallow dish, whisk together egg and milk until fully incorporated. In another shallow dish, combine panko breadcrumbs, grated parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and kosher salt. Mix well. Working one at a time, dip ravioli in egg mixture. Allow excess to drip off before generously coating both sides with breadcrumb mixture. Place ravioli on prepared wired rack. Leave spaces between ravioli to allow even browning. Spray tops of ravioli with nonstick oil. Bake 10 minutes until ravioli is golden brown. Turn ravioli over and bake 10 minutes longer. Serve immediately with marinara sauce for dipping.