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.

Fried Green Tomatoes

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Appetizers to Desserts: Fried Green Tomatoes! The key to success is using solid, firm green tomatoes. Ripe ones will turn mushy and very disappointing. Even if you don’t live in the South, everyone can enjoy these crisp and juicy medallions. The seasoned cornmeal crust will have you resurrecting a southern drawl that sounds as authentic as a waitress in a country café. Try the first one with a fork and then have seconds as a sandwich.

FRIED GREEN TOMATOES

Ingredients:

2 green tomatoes, sliced with skin on

1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup cornmeal

1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

1/4 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 large egg, beaten

2 tablespoons milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

Instructions:

On a sheet of waxed paper, combine flour, cornmeal, breadcrumbs, cheese, seasoned salt, and pepper. Blend with a fork. In a shallow bowl, mix egg and milk. Dip a green tomato slice in the egg mixture then coat with breadcrumb mixture. Repeat. Set aside. Continue until all slices have been coated. In a deep skillet on medium-high heat add vegetable oil for frying. Place tomatoes in a single layer. Do not crowd. Fry each side 3 minutes until golden brown. Turn over and fry the other side. Remove and place on a wire rack to remove excess oil. Repeat until all green tomato slices are used. Serve hot. Garnish with a dollop of wasabi aioli.

Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Yuletide Favs: Yellow Bloomin’ Onion!

Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Yuletide Favs: Yellow Bloomin’ Onion! Nothing is more fitting for cold weather than an appealing appetizer that resembles a winter flower, in my opinion. Now you can make a healthy version at home by baking the breaded onion instead of deep-frying it. The last few minutes under the broiler give it a crispy finish that adds extra crunch to the delicious petals. And the dipping sauce….oh my gosh, you have to try it!

YELLOW BLOOMIN’ ONION

Ingredients:

1 large yellow onion

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs

1/4 cup Panko crumbs

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1 tablespoon Cajun spices

2 eggs, beaten

1 tablespoon milk

1-2 tablespoons butter, melted

Seasoning salt to taste

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. In one bowl, combine the flour, bread crumbs, Panko crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and Cajun spice. Mix well. Set aside. In another bowl, combine beaten eggs and milk. Whisk together. Set aside. Cut the top side of the onion. Turn over and carefully cut the root side just enough to peel the outer skin of the onion. Leave the root intact as this will be the base and hold the onion together. Discard onion skins. In order to give the appearance of an open flower, 16 sections are made. With the root side up, place the knife 1/8″ away from the core and slice straight down. It is best to begin with quarters and then make 3 slices in each quadrant all the way around. Carefully turn the onion over and spread the “petals” apart. Dip the onion in the milk bath and wash it completely using a pastry brush. Carefully transfer the onion to the bowl filled with breading. Beginning at the bottom, cover each petal with dry coating. Again using the pastry brush, continue coating the petals until the egg wash is gone. You may alternate the egg mixture and dry coating to cover the petals. Transfer the onion to an oven-safe pie plate or dish. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Using hot pads, take the pan from the oven and remove the foil. Using a pastry brush, coat the onion with melted butter. Return to the oven. Bake 10 minutes longer, or until crispy. I set the broiler on High and broiled it for 4-5 minutes to make it extra-crunchy. Watch carefully so it does not burn. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with seasoned salt. Place on a serving platter. Serve with dipping sauce.

DIPPING SAUCE

Ingredients:

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

3 teaspoons ketchup

2 teaspoons Lea and Perrins

2 tablespoons horseradish

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

Instructions:

Combine mayonnaise, yogurt, ketchup, Lea and Perrins, horseradish, paprika, and cayenne. Mix well and refrigerate for one hour. Pour into a small cup and place in the center of the onion.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter I

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Sunshine Eats: Island Coconut Shrimp! After making this popular seafood appetizer at home, I realized what a bargain it was to do it myself. No more puny orders of 4 or 5 shrimp to share like when we go to a restaurant. lol. I’m sure my husband appreciates that little detail. Every ingredient was already on hand in my kitchen, making it a breeze. If you’re a shrimp-lover, like I am, put this recipe in your file entitled, “My Favorites!” 
ISLAND COCONUT SHRIMP 
Ingredients:

1 pound frozen shrimp, thawed with tails on

1/3 cup coconut flour

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup shredded coconut, sweetened

Vegetable oil for frying

Jezebel Sauce for dipping*

Fresh Pineapple chunks
Instructions:

Combine coconut flour, sea salt, and cracked black pepper on a sheet of waxed paper. Set aside. In a shallow dish, beat the eggs until blended. Set aside. In a bowl, mix together Panko bread crumbs and shredded coconut. Set aside. Working one at a time, dust the shrimp with the flour mixture. Dip the flour-coated shrimp in the egg batter, then dredge it in the coconut mixture. Coat well. Place the shrimp on a platter. Repeat until all shrimp have been breaded. Using an iron skillet, add enough vegetable oil to cover the entire bottom of the pan. Heat oil on medium heat. Working in batches if 5-6 shrimp, fry the coconut shrimp 2 minutes per side until golden brown. Watch carefully. Remove shrimp and place on a paper towel-lined platter. Repeat until all shrimp have been fried. Serve on skewers with Jezebel Sauce* and pineapple chunks. 
*Follow the link for this tasty Jezebel Sauce. 

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