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
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
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.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Eat More: X-traordinary Pesto Pepperoni Pita! When there’s nothing in the house for lunch, take stock of leftovers in your refrigerator. Transform that last pita pocket into a personal pizza with basil pesto, sliced pepperoni, a dollop of tomato sauce, and a handful of mozzarella cheese. That’s what I did. Suddenly, it’s an appealing alternative to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
X-TRAORDINARY PESTO PEPPERONI PITA
1 pita bread
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
2 tablespoons basil pesto
3-5 slices pepperoni
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon black olives
1 teaspoon pimento
Spread olive oil evenly over one side of pita bread. Warm pita bread in an iron skillet over medium heat for one minute. Press to flatten. Next build the pizza. Spread with tomato sauce and basil pesto. Layer pepperoni over sauces. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Top with black olives and pimento. Reduce heat to low. Cover skillet to allow cheese to melt. For a crispy crust, remove lid and raise the heat back to medium. Do not burn. Serve whole with salad greens.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Next Step: X-citing Everyday Salad! Whoever said salads are ho-hum hasn’t raided the refrigerator for a weeknight dinner, especially on a rainy day. Just use your imagination. After all, you only buy produce that you really like, right? I’m a fan of herbed olive oil and tomatoes, so by turning that into a dressing it satisfies my quest for the perfect Italian vinaigrette. Look again at the photo. See the leafy greens? Start there and build the layers. By the time you finish adding what you like (substituting stuff like green olives for black), you have a meal-in-a-bowl that rivals your neighborhood eatery. Enough talking, now let’s get moving.
X-CITING EVERYDAY SALAD
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon basil
1/8 teaspoon marjoram
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Italian cheese, finely shredded
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups mixed greens, gently torn
1/2 cup broccoli florets
10-12 pepperoni slices
1/3 cup green olives, sliced
Cracked black pepper
In a small bowl, combine olive oil, oregano, basil, marjoram, garlic powder, and sea salt. Stir well. Add balsamic vinegar and Italian cheese. Fold in cherry tomatoes to coat. In a large bowl, layer mixed greens, broccoli florets, pepperoni slices, and green olives. Drizzle with tomato herbed vinaigrette. Gently toss before serving. Garnish with cracked black pepper.
Dining Outside the Home: Pizzeria Portofino in Lihue, Kauai! If the aromas of Italian tomato, roasted garlic, and fresh basil waft through the air the second you raise the lid of the takeout box, you already know the pizza inside is going to taste good. The Americano combination of savory sauce, salty pepperoni, and gooey mozzarella cheese make chowing down come easy. Whether the crust is chewy soft or charred crisp, everyone wins at Pizzeria Portofino. That’s the beauty of ordering to please. Spend all day at the beach, then save some serious dough. Dine-in or carry out. For me? With a view like this with a private balcony, it was an easy choice to make.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Joy of Eating: Salad and Slice! Now here’s a perfect combo that won’t set you back on the calorie-counter scale. One slice of pizza with a garden salad is a deliciously satisfying portion any time of day or night. Add a Greek peperoncino and a couple of olives for that burst of flavor and you’ll be patting yourself on the back for stirring up that wall of will power. Who says you can’t have your cake (or pizza) and eat it, too?
SALAD AND SLICE
Ingredients Single Serving Pizza:
1/2 cup bread flour
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup warm water
Toppings of your choice
Get the oven warm and then turn it off. This helps the dough to rise. Combine flour, yeast, olive oil, and sugar. Gradually add the warm water and stir. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Knead the dough on a floured surface until it forms a ball. Place the ball in a bowl, cover it loosely with plastic wrap and set it in the warm oven for 30 minutes. It will double in size. Remove from oven, flatten to the size of a plate, and add sauce and desired toppings. Bake on a pizza stone in a 400° oven for 12-15 minutes. Cut into 4 pieces for now and later.
Ingredients for Garden Salad:
1-2 Romaine leaves, gently torn
2 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 teaspoon Parmesan cheese
2-3 crunchy croutons
Garlic Vinegar and Olive Oil, salad dressing
Mix together and serve.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Color of Food: Oval Pizza Rolls! Do you ever get the munchies during that last hour of late-night tv? When it hits me and the commercials seem to become more frequent, my willpower eventually wanes and I succumb to the nibbling temptation. I’m here to say, this is a perfect bedtime snack. Just the right sized portion to satisfy those late night cravings under the bluish glow of a 42-inch screen. You no longer have to sit and devour an entire pizza while being absorbed in your favorite program or professional sports. Permission granted.
OVAL PIZZA ROLLS
1 prepared pizza crust
1/2-3/4 cup pizza sauce
3 ounces provolone cheese, sliced
4 ounces smoked ham, thinly sliced
2 ounces pepperoni slices
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon parmesan cheese, shredded
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1-2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon dill weed
Garlic salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a 9”x9” pan with nonstick oil. Set aside. Remove pizza dough from can to a lightly floured work space. Unroll dough. Spread with pizza sauce. Layer with provolone cheese, ham slices, and pepperoni slices. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese. Beginning at the long end, roll up dough. Brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Wrap in parchment paper, seam side down. Freeze for 20 minutes to chill. Remove dough roll from freezer. Slice into 1 1/2-inch ovals. Transfer to prepared pan, slice side up. Bake in oven for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Brush with butter; sprinkle with dill weed and garlic salt.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Color of Food: Gluten-Free Crustless Pizza! Are you ever tempted to just eat the toppings off a pizza? For those who require a gluten-free lifestyle or simply desire fewer carbs, here is a healthy alternative on pizza night. Eliminate the crust altogether. By substituting eggs and cheese for bread dough, it’s surprising how this turns into a delicious deep dish pizza.
GLUTEN-FREE CRUSTLESS PIZZA
8-ounce cream cheese
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
1/2 cup pizza sauce
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
4 ounces pepperoni, sliced
1/3 cup ham, chopped
1/3 cup chorizo sausage, cooked and crumbled
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/8 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon basil
1/8 teaspoon marjoram
Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 10”-12” iron skillet with nonstick oil. Set aside. Combine cream cheese, eggs, black pepper, garlic powder, and parmesan cheese. Spread in a single layer in the prepared pan. Bake 20 minutes until light brown. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes. Spread pizza sauce over crust. Top with mozzarella cheese. Arrange pepperoni, ham, chorizo sausage, bacon, mushrooms, and chopped onion. Sprinkle with oregano, basil, and marjoram. Bake 15 minutes longer until cheese is melted. Cool 5 minutes before cutting into pizza slices.
Dining Outside the Home: Mama’s Pizza in Manhattan, New York City, New York! When it’s late at night, in the city that never sleeps, stumbling across a no frills food court filled with oven-fresh New York-style pizza-by-the-slice is shear heaven. No reservation needed in this counter-served eatery, known as Mama’s Pizza. The challenge came in choosing which toppings to indulge, on a crust that was crisp along the edge and soft enough in the middle to fold in half to eat. That’s the way it’s done in New York City. In the end, I went with a four-cheese and fresh basil White Pizza. The hubs stuck to the classic standby, Pepperoni. And then we satisfied our sweet tooth with a chocolate chip cannoli for dessert. Yum!
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food for Sharing: Fondue Pizza Party! Revitalize the 1970s by throwing a fondue party. Gather up the dipping forks, where everyone chooses their favorite color. Remember, these forks are for spearing and dipping only. Never allow your guests to eat from the sharp pointed ends. Another reason eating from the fondue forks is a no-no is to avoid adding germs to the fondue sauce. So, set the table and let the fun begin!
FONDUE PIZZA PARTY
1 pound Italian meatballs, pre-cooked and ready-to-serve
8 ounces bite size dry salami or pepperoni slices
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 pound cherry tomatoes
8 ounces mozzarella sticks, cut into chunks
28-30 ounce jar pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce
Heat pizza sauce to boiling, then reduce to simmer, stirring constantly. Keep warm. Transfer to a fondue pot when ready to serve. Set on low heat to maintain a constant temperature. Arrange meatballs, pepperoni slices, green pepper, onion, cherry tomatoes, and cheese chunks on one or two serving platters. Include breadsticks, crostini, or bagel chips as another option. Spear dippers with fondue forks or rosemary sprigs. Dip ingredients into the fondue sauce for pizza party magic.