Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food Junkie Favorites: Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner! What I love about this recipe is any type of chicken will do. If you prefer wings, thighs, drumsticks, breasts, or all of the above, it works! The lemony citrus accent is perfect with a side salad and a piece of warm crusty bread. If you can get your hands on a lemon infused olive oil, you may want to take the plunge. It’s also a great way to jazz up an ordinary salad with the bright, tangy flavor of citrus. Balance it out with a pomegranate balsamic vinegar for a winning combination. Who knows, you may have found a new favorite.

WINNER, WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER

Ingredients:

6 chicken fillets

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon thyme, chopped

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon granulated lemon zest

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 lemon, sliced and quartered

6 green onions

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Trim and pat dry the chicken fillets. In an iron skillet over medium heat, add olive oil. When hot, carefully place chicken in pan. Season with salt, pepper, thyme leaves, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Sear both sides for 3-4 minutes each. Add lemon slices, wedges, and green onions. Transfer skillet to oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Serve chicken with roasted lemons and onions.

Vermicelli Pasta Salad

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food Junkie Favorites: Vermicelli Pasta Salad! A little advance planning goes a long way whether you choose to make this a side dish or a main course. Plus, you get bonus points if it becomes your Midweek Meatless Meal. It’s easy, it’s versatile, and it’s made with fiber-filled veggies for extra crunch and flavor. Substitute ingredients to match your family’s personal cravings. On the go? Pack it in single serving jars for fuss-free options.

VERMICELLI PASTA SALAD

Ingredients:

1 pound vermicelli

1 1/2 tablespoons Accent seasoning

2 tablespoons seasoned salt

1/2 cup lemon juice

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup green pepper, chopped

3/4 cup onion, chopped

1 1/2 cups broccoli/carrot/red cabbage slaw

1 cup black olives, sliced

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

1 cup mayonnaise

Instructions:

Cook vermicelli as directed on package. Rinse in cold water. Drain. Place in large bowl. Make a marinade of Accent seasoning, seasoned salt, lemon juice, and vegetable oil. Pour over vermicelli; mix well. Cover and marinate for two days, stirring once or twice. Add green pepper, onion, cut-up broccoli/carrot/cabbage slaw, black olives, poppy seeds, and mayonnaise. Mix well. Marinate overnight. Serve chilled.

Black Pepper Bacon

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food Junkie Favorites: Black Pepper Bacon! Bacon, bacon, bacon. Did someone mention Bacon? Nothing smells more amazing than the aroma of hickory-smoked maple bacon lightly wafting through the home. It has been known to make robust men weak in the knees and healthy women light-headed. By adding the spicy jolt of black pepper, it kicks the fragrance up a notch and awakens the taste buds.

BLACK PEPPER BACON

Ingredients:

1 pound hickory-smoked maple bacon, thick cut

1 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Place bacon strips on a baking sheet lined with a wire rack. Sprinkle black pepper over all. Bake 40-45 minutes or until crisp. Carefully remove pan from oven, being careful not to spill the hot liquid. Drain bacon on paper towels. Serve warm.

Haricot Vert

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Take a Seat at the Table: Haricot Vert! From the French countryside to your spacious farm table, this international string bean (haricot vert) is an all-time favorite side dish that is worth the effort. The first savory bite will have you craving for a second one. Watch this specialty disappear.

HARICOT VERT

Ingredients:

1 pound green beans, fresh

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup yellow onion, chopped

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

2 tablespoons pimento, diced

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Instructions:

Snap the ends of the green beans. Discard. In a medium skillet over low heat, combine butter and olive oil. Increase the heat to medium setting. Add garlic and onions. Cook one minute. Add green beans and cook one minute longer until they turn bright green. Immediately add chicken broth, pimento, seasoned salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Leave the lid cracked to allow steam to escape. Cook for 25 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. The beans should be soft, yet slightly crisp. Bon Appétit!

Loaded Lettuce Cups

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Appetizers to Desserts: Loaded Lettuce Cups! Eating with your fingers is so much fun! Here’s an idea for supper that is not only kid-friendly, but has an Asian flair that adults adore. By toasting the rice and noodles in butter, it gives the food a nice crunchy taste complimented by sesame and soybean undertones. Add chicken and water chestnuts for a healthy meal. The mere fact that it’s all wrapped up in the soft, buttery Boston lettuce leaves make it an all-star hit!

LOADED LETTUCE CUPS

Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter

1 cup instant white rice

1 1/2 cups fine home style noodles

10-ounce can chunk chicken breast, drained

14-ounce chicken broth

4 green onions, chopped

8-ounce can of slivered water chestnuts, drained

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 cup soybean seasoning sauce

Boston lettuce leaves

Instructions:

Melt butter in a deep skillet. Do not burn. Add white rice and thin noodles. Coat well. Cook them over medium heat 3-5 minutes, turning often until golden brown. Stir in chicken broth and chicken chunks. Cover. Simmer 15 minutes until all liquid is absorbed. Add chopped green onion with tops, water chestnuts, sesame seeds, red pepper flakes, and soybean seasoning sauce. Mix well and serve in Boston lettuce cups.

Garlic Roasted Thyme Tomatoes

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Food Whisperer: Garlic Roasted Thyme Tomatoes! Turn ordinary tomatoes into a savory side dish with earthy vigor. Have you experienced roasted garlic lately? Don’t hate me if I describe it as smooth and sweet as a dab of butter. Having said that, I can tell by the look in your eye, you’re gonna roast more garlic cloves than I pictured here. Go for it. By quick-roasting vegetables on high heat in the oven, you’ll notice a natural hint of smokiness that satisfies the palate. Although they turn from shiny smooth to a dull luster when finished, the taste is what will win you over. I promise you this, here’s a down-home recipe that will not disappoint.

GARLIC ROASTED THYME TOMATOES

Ingredients:

6 medium tomatoes

6 cloves garlic, peeled

5 sprigs fresh thyme

1/2 cup olive oil

Kosher salt

Cracked black pepper

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425°. Rub tomatoes with olive oil and place in a baking pan. Add garlic cloves and thyme sprigs. Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Season, to taste, with kosher salt and cracked black pepper. Bake 25-30 minutes, occasionally brushing tomatoes with olive oil from the pan. Skins may split. Remove from oven. Spoon tomatoes, garlic, and thyme into serving bowls. Drizzle with pan juices. Serve warm.

Xtreme Sloppy Joes

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Joy of Eating: Xtreme Sloppy Joes! Some days you crave a sweet and savory warm sandwich over a lunchbox ham and cheese on wheat. Sure, it can be a little messy, but pile it high anyway and add a mound of shredded cheese. Then watch things melt together.

XTREME SLOPPY JOES

Ingredients:

2 pounds lean ground beef

1/2 cup onion, chopped

1/3 cup green pepper, chopped

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons pimento, diced

1/4 cup vinegar

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon mustard

2 cups ketchup

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325°. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown ground beef, onion, and green pepper seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cook until meat is in crumbles. Reduce heat. Add diced pimento. Stir in vinegar, lemon juice, brown sugar, mustard, and ketchup. Mix well. Transfer to an ovenproof covered dish and bake in the oven for one hour.

Not Your Momma’s Scrambled Eggs

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Joy of Eating: Not-Your-Momma’s Scrambled Eggs! Do you have a fussy eater? Sometimes it takes a lot of energy to keep things interesting and fun. Here’s your answer for simplifying breakfast or dinner: put the scrambled egg mixture in a hollowed out pepper shell. Bake it in the oven while the bread is toasting. The aromas alone will grab their attention. Trust me, it’s worth the wait.

NOT-YOUR-MOMMA’S SCRAMBLED EGGS

Ingredients:

3 sweet peppers, seeded and ribs removed

1/4 cup dry aged prosciutto, cubed

2 tablespoons sweet red pepper, diced

2 tablespoons onion, diced

1 tablespoon olive oil

smidgen of seasoned salt

nip of cracked black pepper

1/2 cup cheddar cheese, finely shredded

2 eggs

1 tablespoon milk

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Coat oven-proof baking dish with nonstick spray. Place peppers upright in bottom of dish, like a boat. They need to sit flat in order to keep the eggs from running out. In a small skillet, add olive oil, red pepper, onion, and prosciutto. Sauté in seasonings. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Beat well. Layer the pepper boats with cheese and prosciutto mixture. Pour eggs over all to fill. Bake for 30 minutes or until set. Serve with buttered toast and salad.