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.

Kidney Bean Chili Pizza

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Kidney Bean Chili Pizza! If you like the spiciness of chili and can’t resist a slice of gooey cheese pizza, prepare yourself for an endorphin rush like no other. Happiness is contagious and I guarantee you, chili pizza will put you in a good mood. Now let me be clear, the pizza itself is not “make you sweat hot”, which is why I listed the hot pepper rings and sriracha as garnishes to taste. To each his own. I probably overdo the spiciness compared to my husband. Just remember, if it’s too spicy, drink milk. It soothes the body much better than soda, beer, or water.

KIDNEY BEAN CHILI PIZZA

Ingredients:

1 pound lean ground beef

1 envelope original chili seasoning mix

14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice

15-ounce kidney beans, with juice

12-inch prepared pizza crust

1/4 cup red onions, sliced

2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

Hot pepper rings, for garnish

Sliced green olives, for garnish

Sriracha Sauce, to taste

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown ground beef. Drain fat. Stir in chili seasoning mix, diced tomatoes, and kidney beans. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Place pizza crust on a baking sheet. Spoon chili evenly onto crust. Layer with sliced red onions. Cover all with shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is crispy. Top with hot pepper rings and green olives. Drizzle with sriracha sauce. Serve immediately.

White Chicken Flatbread

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Bright Ideas: White Chicken Flatbread! Nowadays I look for any excuse to have pizza, or a close second. All I have to do is go to my freezer to decide what ingredients to use. In there is often naan flatbread, precooked grilled chicken strips, and previously oven-baked bacon. In lieu of marinara sauce, creamy ranch dressing makes a tasty sauce. People know cheese is always my friend, along with fresh veggies, herbs, and spices. Throw it all together and boom; 20 minutes later it’s ready to eat. I think I deserve a star for that.

WHITE CHICKEN FLATBREAD

Ingredients:

1 Naan flatbread

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon cornmeal

1/2 cup prepared ranch dressing

4 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced

1 cup precooked, grilled chicken chunks

1/4 cup precooked bacon, crumbled

2 tablespoons sweet onions, chopped

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Brush the bottom side of the naan flatbread with olive oil; dust with cornmeal. Transfer to a pizza stone. Bake 5 minutes. Remove from oven and assemble the ingredients. Spread the ranch dressing onto the top crust. Layer, in order, the fresh mozzarella slices, grilled chicken chunks, bacon crumbles, and sweet onions. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and golden. Serve immediately.

Nosh Crostini and Oranges

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Bright Ideas: Nosh Crostini and Oranges! When you’re not exactly hungry, but could use a snack between meals or to satisfy a late night craving for “something”….crostini fits the bill, so to speak. Crostini adds the crunch of potato chips and the flavor of croutons, only better. Fresh mozzarella melts incredibly well because it contains less moisture. You can thank fresh mozzarella for those ah-mazing cheese pulls that become gooey strands of seductiveness. Uh-huh, I see you nodding your head in total agreement. Better grab a napkin.

NOSH CROSTINI AND ORANGES

Ingredients:

1 large tomato, diced

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1/2 loaf baguette bread, sliced

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

6 slices fresh mozzarella cheese

1 navel orange, peeled with each segment cut in half

Fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Arrange diced tomatoes in a single layer on the cutting board. Sprinkle with kosher salt and oregano. Allow to rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place baguette slices on a baking sheet. Brush each slice with olive oil. Sprinkle garlic powder on top. Place one slice of fresh mozzarella on each piece of baguette. Spoon diced tomatoes over cheese. Bake for 10 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven. Garnish crostini with fresh basil. Serve with navel orange segments.

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.

Fabulous Seafood Lasagna

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Bright Ideas: Fabulous Seafood Lasagna! Because I really like seafood, and for the first time in my life I have access to it, I decided to think “outside the box” for a new dinner idea. Combining pasta and seafood seemed like a nice transition. To keep the cost down, I did end up substituting imitation crabmeat, but of course you may use the real deal, especially if you have connections with a fisherman. I’m working on that.

FABULOUS SEAFOOD LASAGNA

Ingredients:

9 uncooked lasagna noodles

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup sweet onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup flour

2 cups light cream

1 cup chicken broth

1/3 cup dry sherry

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 egg, slightly beaten

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

15-ounce container ricotta cheese

1 tablespoon dried parsley

16 ounces imitation crabmeat, salad-style, drained, and chopped

8 ounces precooked salad shrimp, drained

3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

Freshly grated parmesan cheese, for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9”x13” glass baking dish with nonstick oil. Cook lasagna noodles as directed on package. Set aside. In a 4-quart pan, warm butter over medium heat. Add chopped onion and minced garlic. Cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender. Gradually add flour, stirring constantly. Cook and stir until bubbly. Slowly stir in the light cream, chicken broth, dry sherry, sea salt, and black pepper. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for one minute longer. Do not scorch. Remove white sauce from heat and set aside. In a bowl, combine beaten egg, parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese, and dried parsley. Mix well; set aside. Drain lasagna noodles. Spread 3/4 cup white sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Top with 3 lasagna noodles. Layer half the crabmeat and half the shrimp over the noodles. Add another 3/4 cup white sauce over seafood. Sprinkle one cup mozzarella cheese on top. Next, add a layer of 3 lasagna noodles. Spread ricotta mixture over noodles. Add 3/4 cup white sauce. Sprinkle with one cup mozzarella cheese; layer with 3 lasagna noodles. Spread the remaining seafood and sauce over all. Sprinkle with the last cup of mozzarella cheese. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until cheese is light golden brown. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Dang Good Mac & Cheese

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Enjoyable Eats: Dang Good Mac & Cheese! I just cranked up this all-time favorite dish a notch, maybe two. Cheddar cheesy? It’s in there. Mozzarella madness? Oh, yeah. Palatable parmesan? Absolutely. Sooo, what’s the big deal, you wonder. Well…I kinda switched out the macaroni pasta noodles for gnocchi’s pillow-like tender dumplings that swaddle themselves in a blanket of creamy cheese sauce. Hold on. Then I topped it all with a buttery crunch topping of panko and Italian bread crumbs. Mmmwah! Life doesn’t get any better that this.

DANG GOOD MAC & CHEESE

Ingredients:

1-pound package gnocchi

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 clove garlic, chopped

1/2 cup milk, warmed

3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup panko and Italian bread crumbs

1 tablespoon butter, melted

Parsley, for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325°. Spray a casserole dish with nonstick oil. Set aside. Cook the gnocchi, according to package directions. Drain, transfer to a large bowl, and set aside. Whisk together cornstarch and chicken broth in a measuring cup until completely dissolved. Set aside. Warm olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic. Sauté 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Slowly add cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly to make a light brown roux. Add warm milk, stirring until smooth as the mixture reaches a low boil. Remove pan from heat; stir in mozzarella, cheddar, and parmesan cheeses until melted and smooth. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Pour the cheese sauce over the gnocchi until evenly coated. Transfer to the prepared casserole dish. Combine panko and Italian seasoned breadcrumbs with the melted butter. Sprinkle over the cheesy gnocchi. Bake 15 minutes to brown the topping. Garnish with fresh parsley. 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.

Vine-Ripened Tomato Pie

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Start Smart: Vine-Ripened Tomato Pie! Oddly enough, I’ve had a couple people tell me they’ve never heard of tomato pie. It may be more of a southern dish, or perhaps its more familiar to those of us who live in the country and can’t figure out what to do with the abundance of garden tomatoes. Who knows? I must admit there is a secret ingredient that I discovered from the Savannah restauranteur and popular chef, Paula Deen. Maybe you can pick it out, too.

VINE-RIPENED TOMATO PIE

Ingredients:

1 prepared deep-dish pie shell

4-6 Roma tomatoes, sliced

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon oregano

1/8 teaspoon marjoram

1/8 teaspoon basil

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 cup sweet onion, chopped

1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

3/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

1 cup mayonnaise

Cherry tomatoes, for garnish

Basil leaves, for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Bake the pie shell according to package directions. Remove from oven and set aside. In a bowl, combine sliced tomatoes, kosher salt, oregano, marjoram, basil, and garlic powder. Allow tomatoes to “weep” for 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer seasoned tomatoes to the pie shell. Layer sweet onion over tomatoes. In another bowl, combine mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, pepper jack cheese, and parmesan cheese with mayonnaise. Mix well. Spread cheese mixture over top of tomatoes and onions. Bake 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Garnish with cherry tomatoes and basil leaves.