Queso Chicken Flautas

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Elevated Edibles: Queso Chicken Flautas! Are you as torn between corn tortillas and flour tortillas as I am? There are days, and certain dishes, where nothing but corn will do: tamales, taquitos, enchiladas, tacos, and chips. Corn tortillas, generally, are much smaller and easier to hold. When they are soaked in sauce, they are more pliable and suitable for baking. If you like the taste of toasted corn as well as the chewy texture, corn tortillas are for you. The same applies to flour tortillas: quesadillas, flautas, fajitas, chimichangas, and burritos. Flour tortillas are bigger, not to mention softer for folding. You already know this if you’ve ever eaten a monster burrito or ginormous chimichanga. One is baked, the latter is fried. Today’s recipe features the sturdiness of a flour tortilla to hold the juicy chicken and melted cheese filling without turning soggy or falling apart. What a delicious dilemma.

QUESO CHICKEN FLAUTAS

Ingredients for Herbed Sour Cream:

8 ounces sour cream

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon lime juice

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped

2 tablespoons green onions, chopped

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked chicken, shredded

1 cup Mexican cheese blend, shredded

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

4.5 ounce can green chiles, drained and diced

1 envelope taco seasoning mix, less 1 tablespoon for remaining recipe

12-count flour tortillas

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

15-ounce jar queso cheese dip, warmed

Instructions:

To make the herbed sour cream, combine sour cream, honey, lime juice, and sea salt in a bowl. Stir until smooth. Gently fold in chopped cilantro leaves and green onions. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. In a medium bowl, combine shredded chicken, Mexican cheese blend, cream cheese, and diced green chilies. Sprinkle with taco seasoning mix (less 1 tablespoon of mix). Stir thoroughly. Set aside. In a small dish, whisk vegetable oil with reserved taco seasoning mix. Set aside. Preheat oven to 425°. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick oil. To assemble flautas, place 1/4 cup chicken mixture on bottom third of each flour tortilla. Roll up tightly, leaving ends open. Place seam-side down on prepared baking sheet. Brush filled chicken flautas with seasoned oil mixture. Repeat until all tortillas are filled. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until flautas are crispy. Serve with warmed queso cheese dip, herbed sour cream, and chunky salsa.

Volcano Cheese Fries

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Waste Not, Want Not: Volcano Cheese Fries! Say, Whaaat? I first had these tasty morsels at my fav fish hut in Kauai. But after returning home, I really had a craving for them again. Granted, being a Midwesterner, I simply couldn’t resist adding a glob of queso cheese on top. In my defense, the bonfires we have always mix the colors of fiery red and golden yellow. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. But if you have the willpower, I won’t be offended if you skip it. The furikake seasoning and sriracha sauce are the star attractions anyway.

VOLCANO CHEESE FRIES

Ingredients:

16 ounces shoestring fries, frozen

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons sriracha sauce

1/3 cup Queso cheese dip, warmed

1 tablespoon furikake seasoning

Instructions:

Bake French fried potatoes according to package directions. Remove from oven, sprinkle with sea salt. Toss gently. Transfer to a large bowl so the fries can be piled into a volcano mound. Drizzle sriracha sauce over the top, to taste. Add the warmed Queso cheese dip. Sprinkle with furikake seasoning. Serve immediately.

Nacho Daddy in Las Vegas, Nevada

Dining Outside the Home: Nacho Daddy in Las Vegas, Nevada! What’s not to love about a Mexican restaurant whose name is Nacho Daddy with a slogan of “Never a Dry Chip”. The name alone sounds like a party. Peruse the menu to find a list of incredible nacho combinations smothered in cheesy queso and spicy salsa. But the challenge doesn’t end there. Nacho Daddy double-dog dares you to sling back an original Scorpion Shot, which is actually served with a real scorpion in the tequila glass. If you go to Vegas and want to return home with a story to tell, check out this must-see hotspot and #getstung as seen on the Food Network.

Deveined Shrimp Queso

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food for Sharing: Deveined Shrimp Queso! As the nights turn cool, cozy up around the fire with warm appetizers that are sure to please. Save prep time by beginning with precooked shrimp. It takes all the worry out of wondering if the shrimp is cooked through. I find the convenience of having frozen shrimp on hand an advantage. You will, too.

DEVEINED SHRIMP QUESO

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons lemon olive oil

1 pound jumbo shrimp, cooked, peeled, and deveined

1/8 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/2 teaspoon seafood seasoning

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 cup tequila

1/4 cup margarita mix, liquid

1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon water

3/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

1/4 cup Romano cheese, shaved

Fresh dill

Tortilla chips

Crostini

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil, shrimp, seasoned salt, seafood seasoning, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. Cook 5 minutes; turn and cook 2 minutes longer. Reduce heat to simmer. Cover shrimp with tequila and liquid margarita mixture. Add butter. Cook 5 minutes. Transfer shrimp to an ovenproof casserole dish. Arrange in single layer. Mix the cornstarch and water until smooth. Bring pan drippings to a boil. Gradually add cornstarch mixture. Stir constantly as sauce thickens. If necessary, add more water. Pour sauce over shrimp. Cover with Monterey Jack cheese, spreading evenly. Top with shaved Romano cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbly. Garnish with fresh dill. Serve warm with tortilla chips or crostini.

The Salty Angler in Key West, Florida

Dining Outside the Home: The Salty Angler in Key West, Florida! When a coastal downpour catapults you indoors for cover, thank your lucky stars if it happens to be The Salty Angler. Not only is it a comfy watering hole, the live music from local talent is a plus. Pub-worthy Loaded Fries are smothered in jalapeño queso dip and crispy bacon. Perfect for sharing. Go ahead, smack your lips and lick your fingers. The laid-back atmosphere is like being surrounded by friends. Add a Bloody Mary with garnishes that perfect the flavor. Make it spicy, if you dare. At The Salty Angler, they aim to please. Give ‘em a nod for food, drink, and entertainment.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter Q

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Home Cooking: Queso Casa Dip! Here’s an all-around favorite for any social gathering. The cheese delivers a smooth creamy taste followed by a “bite” of chile! Some say it’ll curl the tines of a fork. Just kidding! But seriously, it’s so popular you’ll have your friends asking for the recipe!

QUESO CASA DIP

Ingredients:

4 cups cheddar cheese, extra-sharp finely shredded

1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons butter

1/7 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

1 ghost chile pepper, cut-up and seeds discarded*

2 Roma tomatoes, cut-up

2 green onions, cut-up

16-ounce can green-chile and lime refried beans

Greek Yogurt and jalapeños for garnish

*Ghost peppers are extremely hot, so you may substitute jalapeño peppers instead.

Instructions:

Empty cheese into a large bowl, sprinkle with corn starch, and toss to coat. Melt butter into a large saucepan and add garlic, cheeses, and milk. Set on low heat and cook slowly, stirring mixture to keep from scorching. As it melts, fold in the 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt. Continue for 10-15 minutes until mixture is smooth and velvety. Add fresh tomatoes, green onions, and the ghost pepper. Stir gently to blend. Keep warm. Meanwhile, place refried beans in a microwave-safe dish and heat through. To serve, layer refried beans on a platter, pour Queso dip over top. Dollop with Greek yogurt. Serve with tortilla chips, café style.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet; Letter D

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food for Sharing: Deveined Shrimp Queso! As the nights turn cool, cozy up around the fire with warm appetizers that are sure to please. Save prep time by beginning with precooked shrimp. It takes all the worry out of wondering if the shrimp is cooked through. I find the convenience of having frozen shrimp on hand an advantage. You will, too. 
DEVEINED SHRIMP QUESO
Ingredients:

2 tablespoons lemon olive oil

1 pound jumbo shrimp, cooked, peeled, and deveined 

1/8 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/2 teaspoon seafood seasoning 

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes 

1/4 cup tequila 

1/4 cup margarita mix, liquid

1/2 teaspoon cornstarch 

1 tablespoon water

3/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

1/4 cup Romano cheese, shaved

Fresh dill

Tortilla chips

Crostini 
Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil, shrimp, seasoned salt, seafood seasoning, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. Cook 5 minutes; turn and cook 2 minutes longer. Reduce heat to simmer. Cover shrimp with tequila and liquid margarita mixture. Add butter. Cook 5 minutes. Transfer shrimp to an ovenproof casserole dish. Arrange in single layer. Mix the cornstarch and water until smooth. Bring pan drippings to a boil. Gradually add cornstarch mixture. Stir constantly as sauce thickens. If necessary, add more water. Pour sauce over shrimp. Cover with Monterey Jack cheese, spreading evenly. Top with shaved Romano cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbly. Garnish with fresh dill. Serve warm with tortilla chips or crostini. 

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet; Letter Q

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Home Cooking: Queso Casa Dip! Here’s an all-around favorite for any Summer gathering. The cheese delivers a smooth creamy taste followed by a “bite” of chile! Some say it’ll curl the tines of a fork. Just kidding! But seriously, it’s so popular you’ll have your friends asking for the recipe! 
QUESO CASA DIP
Ingredients:

4 cups cheddar cheese, extra-sharp finely shredded 

1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded 

1 tablespoon cornstarch 

2 tablespoons butter

1/7 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

1 ghost chile pepper, cut-up and seeds discarded*

2 Roma tomatoes, cut-up

2 green onions, cut-up

I 16-ounce can green-chile and lime refried beans

Greek Yogurt and jalapeños for garnish

*Ghost peppers are extremely hot, so you may substitute jalapeño peppers instead. 
Instructions:

Empty cheese into a large bowl, sprinkle with corn starch, and toss to coat. Melt butter into a large saucepan and add garlic, cheeses, and milk. Set on low heat and cook slowly, stirring mixture to keep from scorching. As it melts, fold in the 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt. Continue for 10-15 minutes until mixture is smooth and velvety. Add fresh tomatoes, green onions, and the ghost pepper. Stir gently to blend. Keep warm. Meanwhile, place refried beans in a microwave-safe dish and heat through. To serve, layer refried beans on a platter, pour Queso dip over top. Dollop with Greek yogurt. Serve with tortilla chips, café style.