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.

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.

Kid-Friendly Breadsticks and Knots

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Enjoyable Eats: Kid-Friendly Breadsticks and Knots! Here’s a treat that will get your kids involved in cooking for a tasty after school snack. I learned a long time ago, when the kids get cooking, they get pretty excited about the results. By choosing a prepared pizza crust from the dairy section of the grocery store, there’s no time needed for the dough to rise. Plus, moms and dads can be particular about the ingredients. I chose a European bakery-style dough that had no artificial flavors or colors, no high fructose corn syrup, no hydrogenated oils, and no bleach flour. It was made with olive oil and suitable for vegetarians. It even came with parchment paper for baking. Now you’re talking!

KID-FRIENDLY BREADSTICKS AND KNOTS

Ingredients:

14-ounce package of refrigerated classic pizza dough, family-style crust

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon Everything But Bagel seasoning

1 teaspoon dill weed

1-2 tablespoons butter, melted

3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with a silpat mat or parchment paper. Unroll pizza dough. Cut into 12 strips. Twist the dough into ropes before laying them on the baking sheet. If you prefer knots, tie the dough as you would a pretzel; over, under, and through. Place them on the baking sheet. Lightly brush breadsticks and knots with olive oil. Sprinkle on Everything But Bagel seasoning and dill weed. Bake 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven. Brush with melted butter. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese over all. Serve warm.

Rosati’s Pizza in Estero, Florida

Dining Outside the Home: Rosati’s Pizza in Estero, Florida! You learn a lot about a business by talking to the owners. Perhaps that is why I sometimes visit a restaurant in the off hours of the day. You are more apt to find the owners working face-to-face with customers. Rosati’s Pizza is owned and operated by a family who not only strives for perfection, but also cares about the people who walk through their door. When they expanded their business in Estero for dine-in service, Covid hit with a vengeance and caused them to shift to delivery and carry-out service only. That takes a chunk out of overhead, which translates to selling a boatload of pizza. Yet, they endured. And thrived because they do things the old-fashioned way: like sourcing local ingredients, fresh mozzarella, and homemade crusts. Their story goes all the way back to the first pizzerias in Chicago; Italian roots to the core. So proud, they live by the motto, “We don’t cut corners, just slices of pizza.” Dine in, smell the aromas, chat with the staff, and over-order so you have extra servings for leftovers. Don’t forget to add a jar of the Hot Giardiniera. It is ah-mazing!

Marinated Mozzarella Flatbread

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Start Smart: Marinated Mozzarella Flatbread! You’re probably like everyone else right now and could go to the freezer to pull out a prepared flatbread for supper. Another shortcut is to use marinated mozzarella cheese which already comes sliced in a blend of herbs and olive oil. Oftentimes, I freeze a surplus of cooked meat as well. In this case I already had seasoned Italian sausage, but you could certainly switch things up with pepperoni or sun-dried tomatoes. That’s the beauty of cooking at home. The results bring satisfaction. Just be careful of those piping hot stretchy cheese pulls.

MARINATED MOZZARELLA FLATBREAD

Ingredients:

1 prepared naan flatbread

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon cornmeal

1 cup cooked and crumbled Italian sausage

16 ounces marinated mozzarella slices

Crushed basil leaves

Red pepper flakes, to taste

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Rub 1 tablespoon of olive oil on the bottom of the flatbread. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Carefully flip it over onto a pizza stone. Rub the remaining olive oil onto the top of the crust. Make a layer with the crumbled Italian sausage. Arrange marinated mozzarella slices over meat. Bake for 15 -20 minutes for a crispy crust. The longer it bakes, the more gooey the cheese becomes. When finished, remove from the oven and garnish with crushed basil and red pepper flakes.

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.

Tavern on the Bay in Naples, Florida

Dining Outside the Home: Tavern on the Bay in Naples, Florida! Imagine yourself on a sunny afternoon, perched at the edge of a patio, under a swaying palm tree, sipping on a refreshing beverage with a panoramic view of Naples Bay. Ahhh. These are the moments when Time stands still. Notice the Mediterranean-style architecture, the brick-laden pathways, the gurgling fountains, and the waterfront activity. It practically feels like an oasis in the middle of paradise. Feeling hungry? The Tavern on the Bay menu has you covered. The freshest ingredients are used in an ahi poke bowl, chopped salad, prime rib slider, snapper sammie, or shrimp taco. It sure makes choosing something a tough decision. No worries. There really isn’t a wrong choice. Sit back and enjoy.