Red Pepper Bruschetta Pasta

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food With Soul: Red Pepper Bruschetta Pasta! I truly enjoy perusing Italian gourmet markets. There’s something charming and romantic about choosing a jar of private-label olive oil, flavored balsamic vinegar, house roasted red pepper bruschetta, or four-fruit jam. An extensive collection of imported products can send my mind spinning as I begin to salivate with serving ideas. There are often aromas of freshly baked bread, smoked and cured meats, unique deli offerings, an antipasto bar, pizza nook, and fresh burrata station. San Marzano tomatoes always seem to make it into my cart as well as olive tapenades and basil pesto or marinated artichoke hearts. Before you leave, don’t forget a nice bottle of Chianti.

RED PEPPER BRUSCHETTA PASTA

Ingredients:

8 ounces spaghetti pasta

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1/3-1/2 cup red pepper bruschetta, prepared

Basil leaves, for garnish

Instructions:

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta in salted water for 8-10 minutes or until al dente, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta in a colander. Transfer cooked pasta back to the pot. Add prepared red pepper bruschetta mixture. Gently toss; heat through. Using tongs, place spaghetti clusters into a serving bowl. Garnish with fresh basil leaves. Serve immediately.

Hard Salami Corkscrew Pasta

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food With Soul: Hard Salami Corkscrew Pasta! Tricolor pasta always makes me feel like a special occasion. The burst of natural colors in spinach and tomato keep the dish from becoming humdrum, in my opinion. By adding veggies, cheese, or pickles, the salad becomes a meal-in-a-bowl. Mix things up by substituting artichokes, hard-boiled eggs, or cucumbers. It’s really up to your personal preference and cravings of the moment. Any leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days. As if. (smile)

HARD SALAMI CORKSCREW PASTA

Ingredients for Pasta Salad:

1 1/2 cups rainbow rotini corkscrew pasta, uncooked

4 ounces hard salami, cut into strips

1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup green olives, halved

1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped

1/2 sweet bell pepper, chopped

Ingredients for Dressing:

3 tablespoons garlic wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon marjoram

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions:

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Rinse under cold water. In a serving bowl, combine cooked pasta, hard salami, grape tomatoes, green olives, red onion, and bell pepper. Gently toss. In a small bowl, whisk together garlic wine vinegar, olive oil, sugar, sea salt, black pepper, oregano, basil, marjoram, and garlic powder. Mix well. Pour the dressing over the pasta. Toss to coat. Refrigerate for one hour. Serve.

Vodka Sauce Shrimp Fettuccine

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Vodka Sauce Shrimp Fettuccine! Here’s something a little different for you to try instead of the usual fettuccine alfredo. Now, wait a sec to hear me out. Don’t get me wrong. I love alfredo sauce as much as the next one, but sometimes you gotta think about limiting calories and fat just to squeeze into that favorite outfit. Marinara sauces might be just the answer you’re looking for on “Pasta Night”. You won’t sacrifice taste because there’s still butter, light cream, and vodka. Some alcohol does evaporate as it is simmering, but only about 15%. (However, it will completely burn off if the sauce cooks for long periods of time.) Because vodka is somewhat tasteless, it basically enhances all the other flavors of the dish without overpowering it. Try it, you may like it.

VODKA SAUCE SHRIMP FETTUCCINE

Ingredients:

6 ounces fettuccine pasta

1 tablespoon sea salt

1 tablespoon butter

3/4 cup onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

15-ounce Italian tomatoes, crushed

2 tablespoons vodka

3 tablespoons light cream

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1/2 pound precooked shrimp, peeled and deveined

Fresh basil, for garnish

Instructions:

In a large pan, add sea salt to 2 quarts boiling water. Cook pasta 10 minutes. Drain, cover, and set aside. For the vodka sauce, in a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onions; sauté for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Lower heat to medium. Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook one minute longer. Add the crushed tomatoes to the onions. Stir in vodka, light cream, and lemon zest. Simmer 5 minutes. Add the precooked shrimp, simmering 5 minutes longer. Gently fold the fettuccine noodles into the vodka sauce. Heat through. Divide portions into pasta bowls. Garnish with fresh basil. Serve immediately.

Hawaiian Mac Salad

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Bright Ideas: Hawaiian Mac Salad! Some things get a reputation for being “island food”. This is one of them. It was created out of economic necessity, just as SPAM® became a household staple. Both survived due to their lack of being perishable in a tropical climate as well as being tasty and affordable. The flavor of this Mac salad is so unique, it continues to remain a constant plate lunch for workers, surfers, schools, and just about anyone. Check out fish markets, food trucks, roadside stands, diners, and grocery store delis. Hawaiian Mac Salad pairs beautifully with fresh fish and a scoop of white rice. Now you can make it yourself without the cost of a plane ticket to the Hawaiian Islands.

HAWAIIAN MAC SALAD

Ingredients:

8 ounces macaroni pasta

1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup milk

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 stalk celery, diced

1 large carrot, grated

1/4 cup sweet onion, diced

Green onion snips, for garnish

Instructions:

Boil the macaroni in lightly salted water. Cook al dente; one minute less than package directions. Drain the macaroni and rinse with cold water. Set aside. For the sauce, in a large bowl combine the mayonnaise, milk, apple cider vinegar, sugar, sea salt, and black pepper. Mix well. Add the cooked macaroni, diced celery, grated carrots, and diced onions. Gently stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Toss before serving. Garnish with green onion snips.

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.

Basil Pesto Pasta

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Enjoyable Eats: Basil Pesto Pasta! I’m tired. And I’m hungry. What in the world can I cook for dinner that doesn’t take forever? But I want the taste to make me feel like I’m someone special. First of all, go over to the wine rack and open a nice bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. Pour a little into a stemmed glass. Swirl and take a sip. This will put you in the mood. The wonderfully sweet herbal notes of the fresh basil will complement the flavor of the wine. Plus, the olive oil and parmesan cheese in the pesto sauce enhance the richness of fruit in the Cab. Take another sip. Now let’s get started. (Footnote: Obviously if you already have a jar of your favorite Basil Pesto in the kitchen pantry, you’re one step ahead.)

BASIL PESTO PASTA

Ingredients:

10.5 ounce package of cherry tomatoes

12 large basil leaves

1/3 cup almonds, slightly toasted

1 garlic clove, peeled and minced

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup olive oil

1 pound spaghetti

1 tablespoon sea salt

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Instructions:

Combine cherry tomatoes, basil leaves, toasted almonds, garlic clove, and kosher salt in a food processor. Pulse to blend into a fine purée. Scrape the sides and turn the processor on Low setting. Slowly pour the olive oil into the mixture in a continuous stream. The pesto will thicken nicely. Set aside. Cook the spaghetti in salted water, according to package directions. Drain well. Transfer spaghetti to a bowl. Quickly toss with pesto sauce. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over all. Garnish with basil leaves.

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.

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.

Naples Flatbread Kitchen & Bar in Estero, Florida

Dining Outside the Home: Naples Flatbread Kitchen & Bar in Estero, Florida! Whenever people get the choice to dine outside among potted palms and waterfall fountains, they choose it. The feeling of nature creates a calming atmosphere for casual conversation. Food seems to taste better, too. In essence, it’s almost like a mental vacation to embrace the ambiance. The food choices encompass cravings from Appeteasers to Gourmet Salads to Triple ‘B’ Burgers, Wraps, and Famous Flatbreads. But that’s not all… NFB spotlights a Tap Wall with over 50 domestic and craft beer choices available on a self-serve draft system. You’ll find beers, wines, hard seltzers, ciders, nitro cold brews, meads, and kombuchas. Seriously, if you’re a food and drink enthusiast, it’s time to check this place out. What have you got to lose?