Air-Fried Parmesan Dusted Polenta Sticks

Air-Fried Parmesan Dusted Polenta Sticks are french fries made of polenta so they are sweet and creamy inside and crispy on the outside. If you omit the breadcrumbs from the recipe they are also gluten-free. Serve with your favorite burger or sandwich.

Air-Fried Parmesan Dusted Polenta Sticks
(Mark Kelly, 2018)

1 tube of prepared polenta, halved crosswise and then cut into 1/2″ x 1/2″ sticks
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray

Place the polenta sticks on a paper towel-lined rimmed baking sheet and cover them with another layer of paper towel. Refrigerate for about an hour.

In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, Italian seasoning, salt, black pepper and mix thoroughly.

Remove the polenta sticks from the paper towels from the paper towels and arrange on the baking sheet. Spray all sides with cooking spray. Coat with the parmesan-breadcrumb mixture and carefully toss to coat all sides.

Preheat oven to 200F.

Preheat Air-fryer to 390F. Working in batches air-fry for 10 minutes. Placed fried sticks on a new clean baking sheet and place them in the oven to keep warm. Repeat until all sticks have been fried.

Serve warm with your favorite sauce or aioli.

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Shrimp Tostadas with Avocado Crema

Shrimp Tostadas with Avocado Crema can be served as an appetizer or as a meal when accompanied with some rice or your other favorite Mexican sides.

Shrimp Tostadas with Avocado Crema
(Mark Kelly, 2018)

Serves 4 – 6

1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined, at room temperature
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp Mexican chili powder
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp garlic powder

1 14.5 oz. can of vegetarian refried beans, warmed.

12 crispy tostadas

1 large, ripe avocado, pitted and cubed
8 oz. light sour cream
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp hot sauce
2 tsp fresh lime juice
Kosher salt, to taste

Fresh salsa, cilantro and cojita cheese to garnish

To prepare the Avocado Crema: Put the avocado, sour cream, cumin, hot sauce and lime juice in the food processor and pulse until smooth. Season with salt, to taste. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. The crema can be made up to 1 day ahead.

Preheat oven to 375F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and coat the foil with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, toss the shrimp with the oil and spices to coat. Spread the shrimp evenly across the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes. Turn each shrimp individually. Bake for another 6 minutes.

To serve: Spread a layer of refried beans over each tostada and divide the shrimp among the tostadas. Top with fresh salsa and cilantro. Garnish with a healthy dollop of Avocado Crema and a couple of shakes of cojita cheese.

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Chicken Tender Asparagus and Goat Cheese Wraps with Lemon Garlic White Wine Sauce

Chicken Tender Asparagus and Goat Cheese Wraps with Lemon Garlic White Wine Sauce is a simple and elegant meal that is very easy to prepare and doesn’t require any exotic ingredients.

Chicken Tender Asparagus and Goat Cheese Wraps with Lemon Garlic White Wine Sauce
(Mark Kelly, 2018)

Serves 6

6 large chicken tenderloins, pounded flat
12 asparagus sprigs, trimmed
12 oz. creamy goat cheese
6 large basil leaves, intact
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

6 thick cut slices of bacon, 1/4-inch dice
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 shallots, minced
1 lemon, juiced
1 1/2 cups white wine at room temperature
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
Kosher salt
Coarsely ground black pepper

Sautéed sliced shiitake mushrooms to garnish along with bacon lardons

Preheat oven to 400F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Place one pounded chicken piece on the sheet, put 1/6th of the goat chess in the center of the piece, top with a basil leave, add two asparagus sprigs. Fold the chicken over itself and secure with a toothpick. Repeat five more times until all six wraps are complete. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 minutes or until the center of each wrap registers 160F.

While the chicken wraps are baking, in a large skillet, render the bacon lardons until crispy. Strain the bacon from the pan and set aside for garnish. Add the oil to the skillet with the bacon grease. Over medium-low heat quickly saute the shallots, about 1 minute, add the garlic and remove from heat. Stir so as not to burn the garlic. Add the flour to the skillet and return it to medium-low heat. Whisk constantly until a light golden roux has formed. Add the wine and lemon juice. Continue whisking until the sauce boils and thickens. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Just before serving whisk in the butter.

To serve: Plate the chicken wraps, drizzle with sauce and garnish with the sautéed mushrooms and bacon lardons.

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Muffuletta Stromboli

Muffuletta Stromboli is nice alternative to pizza or calzone. The Italian Olive Salad and stone ground mustard give this sandwich roll a deli flavor.

Muffuletta Stromboli
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of Louisiana Cookin’, Jan/Feb 2018)

Serves 6

1 lb. pizza dough (prepared or from scratched)
2 Tbsp stone ground mustard (Creole mustard is preferred)
1/4 lb. thinly sliced mild soppressata
1/4 lb. thinly sliced tavern ham
1 cup olive salad (Boscoli or Racconto Italian Olive Salad is preferred)
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
6 slices provolone cheese, halved
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 24 oz. jar of marinara sauce

Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a 14-inch square. Spread the mustard evenly over the dough. Cut the dough in half. Cut one half of the dough crosswise into 1-inch wide strips.

On the prepared baking sheet, arrange overlapping slices of soppressata down the center of one piece of dough, leaving a 2-inch border on both sides and 1-inch top and bottom. Top with three slices of ham, 1/4 cup of olive salad, 1/4 cup mozzarella, and three provolone halves; repeat layers three times. Fold the border edges over the filling. Braid the dough strips diagonally over the top of the stromboli. Brush the dough with egg.

Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool before slicing. Serve with warm marinara sauce for dipping.

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