Chef’s Plate

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food for Sharing: Chef’s Plate! Pull together a party-friendly charcuterie platter where finger foods rule. Make it as elaborate as you choose, depending on the size of the guest list. Obviously for an intimate dinner for two, something like this is a perfect balance of contrasting flavors. Keep the bread crunchy and the jam or jelly sweet. It offsets the fatty, salty meat by cutting through the richness of the buttery cheese. The tartness of gherkins is a classic choice for nibbling in between. Be creative. Anything goes.

CHEF’S PLATE

Ingredients:

Jalapeño Pepper Jelly

Cornichons Gherkins

Red Onion

Baguette Toast

Mixed Nuts

Summer Sausage Sticks

Aged Bleu Cheese

Bite-size Dry Salami

Instructions:

Fill small condiment bowls with pepper jelly, baby gherkins, and assorted mixed nuts. Slice baguette. Rub with olive oil and bake in a 350° oven for 10 minutes. Turn over and bake 5 minutes longer. Place on a chef’s board or in a bread basket. Arrange cured hard sausages around the wedge of Bleu cheese. Slices red onion and “fan” near the bread. Once the food is arranged, open a bottle of wine, and enjoy the experience of grazing.

Kickstart Breakfast Burrito

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Timeless Classics: Kickstart Breakfast Burrito! Eggs have a way of warding off those mid-morning hunger pangs, in my opinion. Being high in protein makes them a favorite and keeps me from caving in to foods with empty calories later on. Because I’m a bread-lover, the tortilla satisfies like manna from heaven. Cheese, turkey sausage, and veggies kickstart my breakfast so I can stay focused and on point. Choose a breakfast wrap the next time you want a little variety in your day.

KICKSTART BREAKFAST BURRITO

Ingredients:

2 flour tortillas, burrito size

2 tablespoons salsa

2 tablespoons onion, chopped

1 small green pepper, chopped

1 tomato, chopped

1 lemon chili pepper, chopped (optional)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

4 eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons milk

2-4 turkey sausage links, precooked and sliced

4 tablespoons Colby-Monterey Jack cheese, finely shredded

Instructions:

Top tortillas with salsa. Set aside. Combine onion, green pepper, tomato, and lemon chili pepper in a microwave-safe dish. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Microwave on High for 1 minute, 45 seconds. Remove and set aside. Heat turkey sausage chunks for 30 seconds on High in the microwave oven. Set aside. In a nonstick medium skillet over medium heat, add beaten eggs. Cook, stirring occasionally for one minute. Add turkey sausage, shredded cheese, and vegetable mixture. Cook one minute longer or until eggs are set. Do not burn. Divide scrambled egg mixture between the tortilla shells. Fold into a burrito. Makes two breakfast burritos.

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.

Yellow Squash Bolognese

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Eat More: Yellow Squash Bolognese! I’m at it again. The Spiralizer has become my new best friend. This time the star attraction is yellow squash noodles in place of pasta. But first, prepare the Bolognese sauce. It not only takes a bit longer, but it will turn your kitchen into an aromatic sensation. The rich Italian Bolognese sauce is a time-honored tradition that can take up to four hours to duplicate. This version, however, requires less than an hour from start to finish. I knew you would appreciate that fact.

YELLOW SQUASH BOLOGNESE

Ingredients for Bolognese Sauce:

1/4 cup olive oil

1 Vidalia onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 carrot, diced

4 ounces mushrooms, sliced

1 pound ground Sweet Italian sausage

1 teaspoon fennel seed

1/8 teaspoon marjoram

1/8 teaspoon oregano

1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

8 basil leaves, chopped

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions:

In an iron skillet over medium heat, combine olive oil, Vidalia onion, and minced garlic. Add celery, carrot, and mushrooms. Sauté 5 minutes. Increase heat and add ground Italian sausage, fennel, marjoram, and oregano. Cook until meat is no longer pink and appears crumbled, approximately 10 minutes. Lower heat and add tomatoes, parsley, basil, sea salt, and pepper. Cook until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally, approximately 30 minutes.

Ingredients for Noodles:

1-2 yellow squash

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions:

Spiralize the yellow squash into noodles. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil. Add yellow squash noodles; toss gently. Sauté no longer than two minutes. The noodles will turn soft, but not translucent. Serve with Bolognese sauce garnished with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.

Jambalaya with Garlic Mussels

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? All the Buzz: Jambalaya with Garlic Mussels! Traditional Flavor, Deep South flavor, intense flavor. Your mouth will thank me. Everything you need for dinner is in this hearty dish. All you want to add is your favorite jazz music to feel the unique culture and staple food of New Orleans. For the seafood lover as well as those who crave veggies, try something a little different this week when you hanker after a taste of Louisiana. “Laissez les bon temps rouler.” (Let the good times roll.)

JAMBALAYA WITH GARLIC MUSSELS

Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter

1 1/2 cup egg noodles

1 cup minute brown rice

1/3 cup onion, chopped

15 ounce can chicken broth

8 ounce can diced tomatoes and green chiles, with sauce

1 cup okra, frozen

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 pound kielbasa sausage, pre-cooked

1/4 pound shrimp, pre-cooked

1 pound mussels in tomato garlic sauce, frozen

Instructions:

Melt butter in large skillet on low-medium heat. Add egg noodles, instant brown rice, and chopped onion. Stir to coat well; brown to a golden color but avoid burning. Add chicken broth, diced tomatoes and green chiles with sauce. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile cook okra in microwave for 2 minutes, together with soy sauce, fish sauce, and red pepper flakes. Set aside. Heat shrimp and sausage. Set aside. In a saucepan, heat mussels on high for 4 minutes; reduce and simmer 3 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. When rice blend is cooked, add okra mixture to large skillet. Add sausage and shrimp to large skillet. Toss gently to blend. Serve jambalaya with mussels and sauce in a bowl.

Lasagna Lovers

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Take a Seat at the Table: Lasagna Lovers! Move over, ho-hum lasagna; Baby Kale Lasagna Roll-ups are here. This dish is fast and easy to prepare, while managing portion-control at the same time. If you are looking for a meatless meal, simply adjust the recipe to suit your needs. The taste is unbelievable and leftovers will have you looking forward to a savory dinner later in the week. Mama Mia, that’s amazing!

LASAGNA LOVERS

Ingredients:

1 pound Italian sausage, bulk

1/4 cup onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon fennel

1/8 teaspoon basil

1/8 teaspoon oregano

1/8 teaspoon marjoram

4 ounces mushrooms, sliced

24 ounces pasta sauce

1 cup water

2 cups ricotta cheese

2 cups mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

2 eggs

1 tablespoon parsley flakes

16 ounces lasagna noodles

Baby Kale Leaves, stems removed

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large skillet brown Italian sausage until crumbly. Drain. Add onion, garlic, fennel, basil, oregano, marjoram, and mushrooms. Mix well. Add pasta sauce and water to the browned meat mixture. Simmer 10 minutes. Set aside. In a medium bowl, stir together ricotta cheese, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, and parsley. Prepare lasagna noodles per package directions. Drain. When cooked, place the noodles lengthwise in a single layer on two sheets of aluminum foil. This makes it very easy to fill and roll up. Grease a 9″x13″ baking dish. Spread one half of the meat mixture on the bottom of the dish. To assemble lasagna rolls, spread 2-3 heaping tablespoons of ricotta cheese filling along noodle. Top with baby kale leaves. Beginning at one end, roll the noodle up. Transfer to baking dish. Repeat until all ingredients are assembled and arranged. Finish by pouring the remaining pasta sauce over lasagna rolls. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese over top. Cover with foil. Bake 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake 10 minutes longer until hot and bubbly. Serve immediately.

Festive Breakfast Pizza

Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Festive Foods: Festive Breakfast Pizza! Whether you prepare a holiday brunch for invited guests or gather ’round the table in your pajamas, this recipe is a winner. Simply because, everyone loves pizza! You now have an excuse to eat it for breakfast, even if you’re “Home Alone”. It has baked eggs, it has shredded potatoes, it has crumbled sausage, and gooey cheese all together over a golden deep dish crust. So there you have it. Bring out the holiday movies, set up the TV tray, and eat pizza for breakfast. Permission granted.

FESTIVE BREAKFAST PIZZA

Ingredients:

1 pound pork sausage, ground

1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

1/4 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Herb and Garlic Seasoning*

1 green pepper, chopped

2 ounces pimentos, diced

1 cup hash brown potatoes, shredded

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1 tube prepared pizza crust

5 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown sausage until cooked and crumbly. Drain well. Sprinkle with seasoned salt, white pepper, and Mrs. Dash Herb and Garlic Seasoning. Microwave chopped green pepper on HIGH for two minutes. Combine diced pimentos, green peppers, and sausage. Mix well. For a deep dish pizza, roll out pizza crust and press into an iron skillet bringing dough up the sides of the pan. Layer with sausage mixture, hash browns, and cheddar cheese. Whisk eggs and milk together. Pour over the pizza. Top with Parmesan cheese. Bake 30-35 minutes or until eggs are set and crust is golden.

*I receive no recompense for recommending Mrs. Dash Herb and Garlic Seasoning.

Southern-Style Sausage Gravy and Biscuits

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? A Burst of Flavor: Southern-Style Sausage Gravy and Biscuits! Some call it “comfort food”, others say it reminds them of Home. Whether you’re from the southern states or not, this meal is a hardy choice for an early breakfast, mid-day brunch, or late-night dinner. Add a side of tomatoes, eggs, cheese, or grits and you’ll soon have another family favorite.

SOUTHERN-STYLE SAUSAGE GRAVY AND BISCUITS

Ingredients:

12-ounces of bulk pork sausage

1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup flour

2 cups milk

1 tube buttermilk biscuits

Instructions:

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown sausage with black pepper, 1/8 teaspoon seasoned salt, and red pepper flakes, stirring occasionally. It will be crumbly when cooked through. Set aside. In a 2-quart pan, melt butter and remaining 1/8 teaspoon seasoned salt over medium-low heat, being careful not to scorch. Add flour all at once into the butter to make a roux. Whisk vigorously for about one minute. The mixture will thin and begin to bubble. Reduce heat to low and let it cook for two minutes more, stirring occasionally. Continue whisking and gradually pour the milk into the mixture, eliminating any lumps. Bring the gravy to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and gently simmer for two minutes longer or until thickened. Using a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to the gravy, reserving 1/3 cup for garnish. Meanwhile, bake biscuits according to package directions. Remove from oven.

Split biscuits in half and top with sausage gravy. Sprinkle crumbled sausage over all and serve immediately.

Cornbread Cornucopia

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? A Burst of Flavor: Cornbread Cornucopia! This is the perfect accompaniment to any bean dish. It’s delicious hot and savory when eaten later warmed up in the microwave.

CORNBREAD CORNUCOPIA

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal

1 1/2 cups wheat flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup olive oil

2 eggs, beaten

1 1/4 cups milk

1/4 pound smoked sausage link, pre-cooked and diced

1 cup extra-sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded

1/4 cup pickled jalapeño peppers, sliced

1 tablespoon pimento, diced

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Sift cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sea salt, and sugar into a mixing bowl. Blend beaten eggs and oil; add milk. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients stirring until just blended. Fold in meat, cheese, peppers, and pimento. Pour into an 8″x8″ pan that has been sprayed with a non-stick oil. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm with butter.