Cantaloupe Chicken Salad

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Be Our Guest: Cantaloupe Chicken Salad! Indiana Cantaloupe is a popular fruit these days. Some even dub it a “labor of love”. As a sweet and fragrant melon, it quickly becomes a perfect alternative to the summer watermelon. Wonderfully rich and appealing in color, the cantaloupe becomes an ideal serving vessel. One scoop and the seeds are gone. Fill half with a savory chicken salad and save the other for vanilla ice cream later on. Win, Win!

CANTALOUPE CHICKEN SALAD

Ingredients:

1 cantaloupe, cut in half or quarters, seeds removed

10-ounce can premium chicken breast, chunk in water; drained

1/4 teaspoon celery seed

1/4 cup mayonnaise

10 seedless green grapes, halved

1 tablespoon pecan pieces

1/8 teaspoon fresh Mexican tarragon, chopped

Instructions:

One cantaloupe serves four. Cut the cantaloupe in half; using a spoon, scoop out the seeds. Tip to remove any juice. Slice each half into a quarter wedge. Place each wedge into a luncheon plate. Set aside. In a large bowl, add drained chicken chunks. Shred chunks slightly, using two forks. Sprinkle with celery seed. Add mayonnaise and mix well. Fold in green grapes and pecan pieces. Stir to blend together. Divide chicken salad equally over each cantaloupe wedge. Garnish with chopped tarragon. Serve.

Smoked Turkey Thyme Salad

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Fab Foodstuff: Smoked Turkey Thyme Salad! One of my offseason luxuries is baking a turkey during the summer months. Think about it. There’s less holiday stress, plenty of time, and loads of leftover ideas. Think it’s way too much meat for the two of you? No worries. Divide the cooked turkey into gallon-size freezer bags to use as timesaving options later on. Turkey makes a refreshing substitute for most chicken or pork recipes by simply adding different herbs and spices. I’ve served turkey carnitas with chunky salsa for a Mexican fiesta, shredded turkey and hash browns with eggs for a weekend breakfast, and added garden vegetables for a farm table midday Cobb salad. Today though, in lieu of chicken salad, turkey is the star attraction for a summertime picnic.

SMOKED TURKEY THYME SALAD

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked turkey, shredded

1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup celery, chopped

1/3 cup sweet pickle relish

1 hard-boiled egg, chopped

2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced

Instructions:

In a large bowl, combine shredded turkey, liquid smoke, mayonnaise, sea salt, black pepper, chopped celery, and sweet pickle relish. Mix well. Gently fold in chopped hard-boiled egg and minced thyme leaves. Serve over a bed of alfalfa sprouts, or mixed greens, with seasonal fruit.

Ranch Deviled Eggs

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Fab Foodstuff: Ranch Deviled Eggs! Behold the egg. It serves many options from breakfast omelets to afternoon appetizers, light snacks to mealtime casseroles. And who doesn’t love deviled eggs? Talk about versatility. This version implements the tangy creaminess of ranch flavor so popular in salad dressing. Add a garnish of applewood smoked honey ham crumbles for a superb finish. Make a dozen and watch them disappear.

RANCH DEVILED EGGS

Ingredients:

12 eggs

3 teaspoons dry ranch dressing mix

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon minced chives

1/2 pound applewood-smoked honey ham or bacon, crumbled

Instructions:

In a 4-quart pan, place eggs in a single layer. Add enough water to cover eggs. Heat to boiling. Remove from heat; cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Drain; rinse with cold water. To remove eggshell, crack it by tapping gently all over; roll between hands to loosen it. Peel, beginning at the large end. Cut eggs lengthwise in half. Transfer to a platter. Remove yolks. In a medium bowl, mash the egg yolks with a fork. Sprinkle with dry ranch dressing mix. Add mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and minced chives. Stir well. Spoon yolk mixture into egg white halves. Garnish with applewood-smoked honey ham crumbles. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes before serving. May be prepared a full day in advance.

Mealtime Crab Cocottes

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Fab Foodstuff: Mealtime Crab Cocottes! Seafood can be my obsession and I’m not afraid to be a glutton of it, especially if I’m visiting a locale that is a coastal destination. In my defense, how can anyone resist signs and billboards openly declaring “Best Seafood in Town!”? But eventually one returns home to a land-locked State where seafood is as scarce as hen’s teeth. So when the cravings continue, I head over to the local supermarket in search of a packaged substitute. Maybe it’s the succulent crabmeat or perhaps it’s the French butter, but I have to admit this recipe isn’t half bad.

MEALTIME CRAB COCOTTES

Ingredients:

1 cup mayonnaise

3/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

1 1/4 teaspoon seafood seasoning

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

8 ounces jumbo lump crabmeat

8 ounces imitation crabmeat, flaked

1 tablespoon pimento, diced

1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs

1 teaspoon ground paprika

1-2 tablespoons French butter, melted

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Coat bottoms and edges of two ramekins with nonstick oil. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, parmesan cheese, seafood seasoning, garlic powder, sea salt, and black pepper. Mix well. Gently fold in lump crabmeat, imitation flaked crabmeat, and diced pimento. Divide crabmeat mixture evenly between ramekins. Top with Panko breadcrumbs. Sprinkle paprika over all. Drizzle melted butter on top. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned and bubbly. Serve with artisan bread and side salad.

Island Sweet Potato Salad

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Next Step: Island Sweet Potato Salad! There is nothing wrong with your smart phone screen. The colors of Hawaiian sweet potatoes range from orange to green to purple. Notice the creamy texture. The slightly sweet taste may remind you more of a piece of fruit than a root vegetable. Sure it’s popular among the Asian markets, and it can be a little drier than its American cousin, but didn’t someone once say, “Variety is the spice of life”? Go ahead, add your version of seasonings. The results will amaze you.

ISLAND SWEET POTATO SALAD

Ingredients:

3 sweet potatoes, Hawaiian assortment, cooked with skin on and cubed

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon parmesan cheese, grated

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt

3 strips bacon, crumbled

2 green onions, chopped

Instructions:

In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, parmesan cheese, black pepper, and Himalayan sea salt. Place cubed sweet potatoes in a large bowl. Coat with mayonnaise mixture. Fold in bacon crumbles and green onion. Chill for one hour. Serve.

Yucca Crispy Sticks

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? All the Buzz: Yucca Crispy Sticks! From time to time I get a little help from my friends. Recently The Dancing Herbalist* suggested I share a post on the yucca root with my readers. To be honest, I have yucca plants growing all over my yard, and while I enjoy their hardy green foliage year round, and their beautiful white fan of blossoms every summer, I never gave them a second thought as a food source. Apparently they contain dietary fiber advantageous in controlling blood sugar and cholesterol levels in subtropical regions. Tasting very much like a potato, with roots that simulate a sweet potato, the yucca root is an healthy option loaded with antioxidants. I admit, I learn something new every day.

YUCCA CRISPY STICKS

Ingredients:

1 large yucca, peeled and cut into sticks

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1/2 cup Panko seasoned bread crumbs

1/3 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs, finely ground

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425°. Peel yucca with vegetable peeler to remove waxy skin. Cut into sticks, as uniform in thickness as possible. Do not make too thin. Place in a 2-quart pan with enough water to cover. Bring to boil. Cook 5-7 minutes. Remove and drain immediately. Submerge in an ice bath. Transfer drained sticks to a large bowl. Coat with olive oil and chili pepper, seasoned salt, and cracked black pepper. Mix together panko crumbs, Italian seasoned bread crumbs, and Parmesan cheese. Spread on waxed paper. Roll each seasoned yucca stick in the crust mixture to coat and line in a single layer on a wire rack nested on a baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes, turn and bake 5 minutes longer until golden brown. Serve warm with spicy mayo.

Ingredients for Spicy Mayo:

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1-2 tablespoons sriracha sauce

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon chili pepper rings

Instructions:

Combine mayonnaise, sriracha sauce, lemon juice, and soy sauce in a bowl. Mix well until smooth. Garnish with chili pepper rings.

* Please visit The Dancing Herbalist at

https://thedancingherbalist.wordpress.com

Potato Chip Potluck

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food Junkie Favorites: Potato Chip Potluck! This one-dish wonder is so yummy, it can be packed in a picnic basket and taken along on your next adventure. With the double crunch of water chestnuts and potato chips, it almost seems like a party dip. Wrap it in foil and you’re good-to-go. Kids love the salty chips and adults appreciate the herbed chicken chunks.

POTATO CHIP POTLUCK

Ingredients:

3 cups chicken, cooked and cubed

1/2 cup mayonnaise

3 green onions, snipped

8-ounce can water chestnuts, drained and chopped

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon celery seeds

2 tablespoons chopped tarragon leaves

Sea salt to taste

Dash of pepper

1 cup extra sharp cheese, sliced or shredded

1-2 tomatoes, sliced

1 cup potato chips, crushed

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine chicken, mayonnaise, onions, water chestnuts, lemon juice, celery seed, tarragon leaves, salt, pepper, and half the cheese. Mix lightly. Spoon into a casserole dish. Layer with sliced tomatoes. Bake for 20 minutes. Top with remaining cheese and potato chips. Bake another 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Marble Rye Deli Classic

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food Junkie Favorites: Marble Rye Deli Classic! One of the most sophisticated breads around is the marble rye with its identifiable dark swirls in geometric design. Did you know that cocoa powder is responsible for this transformation? Truth. Another little secret about marble rye is when eaten for breakfast, it actually keeps hunger pangs at bay for the rest of the morning. I like that idea, which is why an egg salad sandwich on rye is often my choice. The next time you pass by the deli, pick up a loaf of bakery fresh marble rye bread.

MARBLE RYE DELI CLASSIC

Ingredients:

4 slices marble rye bread

1 tablespoon butter

4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 teaspoon celery seed

Salt and pepper to taste

2 slices red onion

Curly endive lettuce

Instructions:

Toast and butter the marble rye bread. Set aside. Using a mini chopper, pulse the eggs to bite size crumbles. Mix together the chopped egg and mayonnaise. Fold in celery seed. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. To assemble sandwich, place the lettuce on the rye bread. Next spread the egg salad. Layer with red onion slices. Top with another slice of buttered marble rye bread. Voilà! A Deli-style egg salad sandwich.

Kidney Bean Salad

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food Junkie Favorites: Kidney Bean Salad! I find this chilled high protein dish a complement to any menu. It is especially delightful for Summer road trip outings, lake-side picnics, and cookouts on the deck. Store it in a glass jar for easy serving or make up individual potluck portions. For an exciting, easy, and often overlooked alternative that is vegan and gluten-free, add these ingredients to your grocery list and take a trip on the wild side.

KIDNEY BEAN SALAD

Ingredients:

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

1 smidgen sugar

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/3 cup onion, chopped

1/3 cup celery, chopped

1 can red kidney beans, drained

2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish

Instructions:

Mix mayonnaise, olive oil, red wine vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Blend in onions. Add celery, beans, and relish. Chill two hours before serving.