Watercress Spinach Salad In A Jar

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Watercress Spinach Salad in a Jar! My heart beats a little faster whenever I come across a bunch of watercress at the fresh marketplace. I know immediately that I will pair it with baby spinach because they work well together. Its slightly peppery taste is an amazing balance to the mild sweetness of spinach leaves. By portioning salads in a jar, they keep a couple days in the refrigerator, as long as the dressing is added later, when served. Not only is the salad appealing, it comes across as pure genius. Mmm Mmm Good.

WATERCRESS SPINACH SALAD IN A JAR

Ingredients:

3/4 cup watercress leaves

1 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves

2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced

1/2 red onion, sliced

1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced

1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced

4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled

4 pint-size jars, with lids

Caesar dressing, prepared

Instructions:

Layer each jar beginning with watercress and spinach leaves. Carefully place sliced eggs along the inside. Add layers of sliced red onions, cherry tomatoes, and mushrooms. Finish with crumbled bacon on top. Twist the lid to seal each jar. Refrigerate salads until ready to serve. To serve, empty contents of jar onto a plate or bowl. Add bottled Caesar dressing, per taste.

Vodka Sauce Shrimp Fettuccine

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Vodka Sauce Shrimp Fettuccine! Here’s something a little different for you to try instead of the usual fettuccine alfredo. Now, wait a sec to hear me out. Don’t get me wrong. I love alfredo sauce as much as the next one, but sometimes you gotta think about limiting calories and fat just to squeeze into that favorite outfit. Marinara sauces might be just the answer you’re looking for on “Pasta Night”. You won’t sacrifice taste because there’s still butter, light cream, and vodka. Some alcohol does evaporate as it is simmering, but only about 15%. (However, it will completely burn off if the sauce cooks for long periods of time.) Because vodka is somewhat tasteless, it basically enhances all the other flavors of the dish without overpowering it. Try it, you may like it.

VODKA SAUCE SHRIMP FETTUCCINE

Ingredients:

6 ounces fettuccine pasta

1 tablespoon sea salt

1 tablespoon butter

3/4 cup onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

15-ounce Italian tomatoes, crushed

2 tablespoons vodka

3 tablespoons light cream

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1/2 pound precooked shrimp, peeled and deveined

Fresh basil, for garnish

Instructions:

In a large pan, add sea salt to 2 quarts boiling water. Cook pasta 10 minutes. Drain, cover, and set aside. For the vodka sauce, in a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onions; sauté for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Lower heat to medium. Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook one minute longer. Add the crushed tomatoes to the onions. Stir in vodka, light cream, and lemon zest. Simmer 5 minutes. Add the precooked shrimp, simmering 5 minutes longer. Gently fold the fettuccine noodles into the vodka sauce. Heat through. Divide portions into pasta bowls. Garnish with fresh basil. Serve immediately.

Orange-Tomato Pico de Gallo

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Orange-Tomato Pico de Gallo! Chunky sauces and relishes make a wonderful addition to any meal, in my opinion. First of all, they can be substituted for a vegetable side dish. They also serve as a nice condiment for stuffing into tacos or for sharing a plate of scrambled eggs. The vibrant colors will even catch the eye of a fussy-eater, if you know what I mean. Pico de Gallo compliments seafood, pork, chicken, and beef as well as any vegetarian star attraction. Better make a batch for dinner tonight. It’s a healthy option you can thank me for later.

ORANGE-TOMATO PICO DE GALLO

Ingredients:

4 navel oranges, peeled and chopped

2 tomatoes, diced

1 cup red onion, roughly chopped

1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

2 teaspoons orange peel, grated

Fresh cilantro, chopped

Instructions:

In a bowl, combine chopped navel oranges, diced tomatoes, roughly chopped red onions, and finely chopped jalapeños. Toss gently. Sprinkle with kosher salt, garlic powder, ground ginger, grated orange peel, and chopped cilantro. Stir gently to combine thoroughly. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for one hour. Serve with tortilla chips.

Maryland-Style Crab Cakes

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Maryland-Style Crab Cakes! When my step-daughter, Brandi, gifted me with a copy of one of her favorite seafood cookbooks, I knew exactly what dish I was going to make first. After all, the cookbook is based on a popular Hilton Head Island restaurant that has become her family’s traditional spot whenever they visit. Because Florida has an abundance of connections for fresh seafood, vendors are able to get premium, wild-caught crab meat to sell to their customers. Farmers Markets, as well as fish companies specialize in pre-made crab cakes. One taste and I thought, why compete with the best? So, I use two or three resources for incredible tasting Maryland crab cakes. Supporting local businesses builds strong communities and helps everyone thrive. For dinner in a snap, read on.

MARYLAND-STYLE CRAB CAKES

Ingredients:

6 pre-made Maryland crab cakes

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons red onion, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup diced tomatoes

1 cup spicy Bloody Mary mix

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Lemon slices, for garnish

Parsley flakes, for garnish

Instructions:

To make the gazpacho sauce, warm olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add red onion and minced garlic. Cook 1-2 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, Bloody Mary mix, Worcestershire sauce, sea salt, and black pepper. Stir to combine. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Transfer gazpacho to a bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use. To bake the crab cakes, preheat oven to 425°. Place crab cakes on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick oil. Bake 12 minutes, flip, and bake 3 minutes longer until golden brown. To serve, ladle the slightly chilled gazpacho onto a plate; center a crab cake on top. Arrange lemon slices. Sprinkle with parsley flakes.

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.

Italian Sheet Pan Tilapia

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Italian Sheet Pan Tilapia! What’s for dinner? You gotta love a one-pan meal. It not only makes preparation and clean-up a breeze, it typically turns into a healthy option as well. Choose seafood, meat, or veggies and then customize the flavor with tangy spices, fresh herbs, and natural oils. Things honestly could not get any easier. You can even take things one step further and divide the pan to accommodate a spicier version on one end and something a little more bland on the other. No matter how you split things up, watch them disappear.

ITALIAN SHEET PAN TILAPIA

Ingredients:

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning mix

1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed

1/4 cup olive oil, divided

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

2 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets

2 Roma tomatoes, sliced and halved

Parsley, for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425°. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick oil. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together melted butter, garlic powder, lemon juice, and Italian seasoning mix. Reserve 2 tablespoons and set aside. Place asparagus in a single layer on the left side of the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Place Roma tomatoes in a single layer down the middle of the baking sheet. Drizzle with remaining olive oil, kosher salt, and black pepper. Arrange tilapia fillets in a single layer on the right side of the baking sheet. Drizzle with butter mixture. Bake 12-14 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve immediately with reserved butter mixture. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Easy Red Snapper and Tomatoes

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Easy Red Snapper and Tomatoes! When I was a kid, I couldn’t stand the “fishy” taste of Midwestern fish fillets. The fact that I practically choked on a bone really didn’t make it enjoyable either. But fast forward to the fresh catch from the salty waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Red snapper is quite delicious, I must say. Because they thrive on mostly shrimp and crab, it intensifies their flavor, making red snapper mild and slightly sweet. The local fishermen have me spoiled, especially Dilly’s Fish Company. They catch the fish, transfer it on ice to a central location, clean it, debone it, remove the scales, fins, and head. Then they fillet the fish, package it, and identify it, since I’m usually buying more than one variety. Fish is sold by weight as caught out of the water. Once I know what I want, I simply need to decide how I’m going to cook it. As you can guess….for me that’s the best part….until I eat it.

EASY RED SNAPPER AND TOMATOES

Ingredients:

1 pound red snapper fillets, fresh

3-4 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

2 Roma tomatoes, quartered

Instructions:

Wash red snapper fillets and pat dry. Line a grill pan with aluminum foil. Spray with nonstick oil. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, sea salt, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and black pepper. Brush both sides of red snapper with mixture. Transfer fish to the grill pan. Arrange quartered tomatoes around fish. Drizzle remaining olive oil mixture over tomatoes. Preheat gas grill to medium-high heat, approximately 450°. Cook fish dinner for 4 minutes with the lid closed. Then carefully flip fish, close lid, and cook 4 minutes longer. Remove and serve immediately.

Scoop Chili Cheese Nachos

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Bright Ideas: Scoop Chili Cheese Nachos! Before you sit down to watch your favorite sports team or series on Netflix, throw together a sheet pan of nachos to snack on. It’s the perfect food for grazing because everyone seems to like them. First of all, nachos are finger food. They’re also snackable ( is that a made-up word?) They feel like a treat or a party’s going on. And there’s enough for everyone. Add some sour cream, guacamole, and sliced jalapeños, if you choose. On second thought, better double the recipe if you’re expecting more than two or four. Be forewarned.

SCOOP CHILI CHEESE NACHOS

Ingredients:

9.25 ounce bag Scoops® corn chips*

15-ounce can chili, any brand

15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

2-3 tomatoes, diced

2 green onions, snipped

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Sriracha sauce, for drizzling

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400°. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick oil. Set aside. In a glass mixing bowl, combine chili with black beans. Warm slightly in the microwave. Fill each corn chip with a tablespoon of filling. Place chili chip on the prepared baking sheet, forming a single layer. Repeat until the tray is full. Layer the shredded cheese over all. Place diced tomatoes onto cheese. Finish with green onion snips and red pepper flakes. Bake 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted. Serve with sriracha sauce for extra zing.

*I receive no recompense for mentioning this product.

Nosh Crostini and Oranges

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Bright Ideas: Nosh Crostini and Oranges! When you’re not exactly hungry, but could use a snack between meals or to satisfy a late night craving for “something”….crostini fits the bill, so to speak. Crostini adds the crunch of potato chips and the flavor of croutons, only better. Fresh mozzarella melts incredibly well because it contains less moisture. You can thank fresh mozzarella for those ah-mazing cheese pulls that become gooey strands of seductiveness. Uh-huh, I see you nodding your head in total agreement. Better grab a napkin.

NOSH CROSTINI AND ORANGES

Ingredients:

1 large tomato, diced

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1/2 loaf baguette bread, sliced

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

6 slices fresh mozzarella cheese

1 navel orange, peeled with each segment cut in half

Fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Arrange diced tomatoes in a single layer on the cutting board. Sprinkle with kosher salt and oregano. Allow to rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place baguette slices on a baking sheet. Brush each slice with olive oil. Sprinkle garlic powder on top. Place one slice of fresh mozzarella on each piece of baguette. Spoon diced tomatoes over cheese. Bake for 10 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven. Garnish crostini with fresh basil. Serve with navel orange segments.