May 11, 2018

Grilled Hawaiian Chicken Teriyaki Bowls

My husband doesn't get overly excited about dishes too often, but he did about this one. We ALL loved it but my 5 year old. Coconut rice is the only rice my kids will eat and the sauce? YUM! You could probably add whatever veggies you wanted and it'd still be amazing. Don't use chicken and it's vegetarian. Use gluten-free soy sauce to it's gluten free. YUM! Thank you, Lauren Allen, for this amazing recipe! Serves 4.

Grilled Hawaiian Chicken Teriyaki Bowls

6 boneless, skinless chicken tenders
1 zucchini, sliced into chunks
4 mini bell peppers, or 1 large, seeded and cut in half
1 small or 1/2 large pineapple, peeled and cut into spears
1 small onion, sliced into wedges
1/2 c toasted sweetened coconut flakes, optional

Coconut Rice - (you can use my coconut rice or this one)
2 c water
1-15 oz can coconut milk
2 tsp light brown sugar, packed
1 tsp salt
2 c white or jasmine rice

Teriyaki Sauce
1/2 c soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1/4 c + 1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp honey
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp cornstarch + 2 tsp water, dissolved
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

For the coconut rice:
1. Stir the water, coconut milk, sugar, salt and rice into a rice cooker. OR
Add the water, coconut milk, sugar and salt into a a large saucepan; bring to a boil then stir in rice. Return to a boil.
2. Reduce heat to low and cover; cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat source and let sit at least 10 minutes.

For the Teriyaki Sauce:
1. Add all of the sauce ingredients to a smalls saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and boil for 1 minute. Sauce should be thick enough to coat the spoon.
2. Pour 1/4 of the sauce over the chicken and marinate at least 15 minutes (at least 30 minuets if you're using chicken breast halves).

GRILL:
1. Spray grill with cooking spray and heat to medium heat (350 degrees).
2. Coat vegetables and pineapple lightly in olive oil. Grill vegetables for 4-5 minutes on each side. Cook pineapple 3 minutes on each side. Set aside.
3. Grill the marinated chicken 2-3 minutes each side, or until no longer pink inside. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing into thin strips.

To Serve:
1. Add coconut rice to each bowl.
2. Top with grilled veggies, pineapple and chicken.
3. Drizzle teriyaki sauce on top.
4. Sprinkle with toasted coconut, if desired.
Serve immediately and enjoy!

Slow Cooked Baked Potato Soup

My husband flew me home to CA for Christmas (brownie points!) and after a long flight home which didn't allow me to eat lunch, he had THIS in the slow cooker at home (double brownie points!!). SO tasty, so hearty and warm and filling. You could prepare this without meat as is, or cook with sausage (sweet Italian would be ideal). Hubby used bratwurst and it was so good! Looks like he got it off of 12Tomatoes website. Serve with crusty bread. Makes 6 servings.

Slow Cooked Baked Potato Soup

1-32 oz bag frozen hash brown potatoes
4 c chicken broth
1-10 oz can cream of chicken soup
1-8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 c grated cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, minced, or 1/8 tsp dried
salt and pepper to taste, if needed

1. Combine ingredients in slow cooker. Cover and cook in HIGH for 3 hours, stirring occasionally, or until potatoes are tender.
2. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Serve hot and enjoy!

April 25, 2018

Slow Cooker OR Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana


I've heard about this soup for years, people ranting and raving about how good it is. It's a soup! How good can it be?
SO good! Serve with bread for dipping. Yum, yum, yum. I got the slow cooker version from Heather Stalzer and, since I hadn't started it soon enough, I varied it for the Instant Pot (my new...glorious...wonderful...love-of-my-kitchen Instant Pot). Serves 6.

Slow Cooker OR Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana

1 lb pork sausage
1 large onion, chopped
2 Tbsp minced garlic, about 6 cloves
4 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 pinch red pepper flakes, according to taste
32-oz chicken broth, or 4 c water with 4 tsp chicken boullion
1 c heavy whipping cream*
1 bunch kale, washed, stems removed and leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
1/2 c shredded Parmesan cheese, optional

Slow Cooker:
1. Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook sausage until browned and crumbly, 5 to 7 minutes. Add onion and garlic; saute until onion is translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain any remaining grease.
2. Place potatoes in slow cooker. Add cooked sausage mixture, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Pour chicken broth on top and add up to 2 cups water to completely cover potatoes. Stir soup gently. Cover and cook on low until potatoes are fork-tender, 5 to 6 hours. Stir in heavy cream and kale pieces. Cook on High until flavors are incorporated, about 30 minutes. Garnish with Parmesan cheese.

Instant Pot:
1. Press 'Saute' until 'More' is lit and wait until hot. Add sausage and stir until browned and crumbly, 5 to 7 minutes. Add onion and garlic; saute until onion is translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain any remaining grease. Press 'Cancel'.
2. Place potatoes, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Pour chicken broth on top and add up to 2 cups water to completely cover potatoes. Stir soup gently. Lock on the lid and press 'Pressure Cook' for 10 minutes. Once it's finished, quick release the pressure (see manual).
3. Stir in heavy cream and kale pieces. Lock on the lid and press saute until 'More' is lit. Let cook 5 minutes and quick release. Garnish with Parmesan cheese.

* I forgot heavy cream so while the soup was cooking in step 2, I made a roux: melt 3 Tbsp butter in small saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in 3 Tbsp flour. Slowly pour 3/4 c milk, whisking as you pour, so lumps won't form. Keep whisking until it begins to thicken. Turn burner off and wait for step 2 to be complete. Use in place of whipping cream in step 3.

January 9, 2018

Creamy Turkey Soup

This was the best way to use leftover turkey! I make a clear broth soup that's similar to this, but this is so delish. My husband and boys RAVED about it and ate until they were stuffed. Thank you, RedVinoGirl!

Creamy Turkey Soup

1 turkey carcass, plus extra meat scraps
2 bay leaves
3 medium onions, chopped
2 large carrots, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c butter
1 c flour
2 c half-and-half cream
2 tsp salt
1 tsp chicken bouillon
3/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 potatoes, peeled and diced OR 1 c rice, uncooked

1. Place turkey carcass in large soup pot and cover with water. Add 2 bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 hour.
2. Remove carcass and let cool. Set aside 3 quarts of the broth. Remove turkey from bones and cut into bite-sized pieces. Add extra meat scraps to pile; set aside.
3. In soup pot, melt butter. Saute onions, carrots, garlic and celery until tender, about 4 minutes. reduce heat; stir in flour until blended. Gradually add 1 quart of reserved broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
4. Add cream, salt, bouillon, pepper, potatoes or rice, remaining broth and reserved turkey pieces. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 30-35 minutes or until rice is tender (if using).

October 16, 2017

Candied Coconut


I love the dried coconut we used to buy from Costco for road trips. Now that we're in Okinawa without Costco (SNIFF!), I ventured to make my own. SUPER tasty! Takes some time peeling, peeling, peeling, but it's so worth it. Especially if you have easy access to fresh coconut. I found this on one of my favorite recipe websites, allrecipes. Enjoy!!

Candied Coconut

1 whole coconut
1/4 c water
3/4 c sugar
1 tsp salt

1. Bake coconut for 15 minutes at 350 degrees, let cool and crack open with a hammer. Remove meat of coconut in as big of chunks as you can from hard shell. Peel brown skin off meat with peeler. Use peeler to cut meat into thin strips (or use sharp knife) about an inch or two long.
2. Add coconut strips to medium saucepan, cover with water and boil 5 minutes. Drain. Place coconut back into saucepan and add 1/4 c water, 3/4 c sugar and 1 tsp salt. Bring to boil over medium heat. Lower heat to as low as it’ll go while still simmering. Stir constantly until syrup dissipates.
3. Spread coconut out on cookie sheet to cool, separating and opening pieces before they cool. Store in an air right container.


Slow Cooked Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Soup

I had a giant sweet potato and 3/4 head of cauliflower to use up and found this recipe. I'm lessening the meat in our diet and this is a wonderful, tasty recipe! The kids really liked it but I made it too spicy. Oops. They still ate it but I think they'll eat any soup to get more homemade bread. :) You can top with things such as shredded cheese, crumbled bacon, chopped green onions, croutons, hot sauce (for added kick) and additional salt and pepper. I got this recipe from Jenn on peasandcrayons.com. Serve with your favorite bread. Makes 4 hearty servings.

Slow Cooked Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Soup

1 lb fresh cauliflower, roughly chopped
1 lb sweet potato, peeled and cubed
2 c broth of your choice, though I used chicken
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
2 stalks green onion
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 c milk
2 oz cream cheese

1. Set the slow cooker to high and add cauliflower, sweet potato, broth, onion, green onion, garlic, thyme, paprika, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Cook and cover 4-5 hours.
2. Once veggies are super tender (a fork slides right through the thickest center), turn off the slow cooker and add milk and cream cheese. Blend to your taste. I pulsed for one second in my Blendtec and that was plenty--I like a bit of texture in my soup.
3. Serve immediately with toppings. Enjoy!

December 19, 2016

Divine Turkey Brine

I tried brine from a packet with my Butterball turkey a couple years ago and I was anything but impressed. This year I bought a random brand turkey from a discount food store and worried about the outcome. Yum! The meat was moist and tasted sooooooo good! I didn't even need to eat with stuffing to give it flavor. So good!
Make sure you use a food grade container to brine the turkey so you don't add any harmful additives to your bird. Makes 1 large turkey.

Divine Turkey Brine

1 gallon chicken, vegetable or turkey broth
1 c  sea salt
1 Tbsp crushed thyme, or 3 Tbsp fresh leaves (or 3 fresh sprigs)
1 Tbsp dried sage, or 3 Tbsp fresh
1 Tbsp dried rosemary, or 3 Tbsp fresh leaves
1 Tbsp dried savory or marjoram
1 gallon ice water
1 turkey up to about 20 lbs

1. Add broth, salt and herbs to large stock pot. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until salt is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature; pour into a 5 gallon bucket.
2. Remove innards from turkey. Rinse turkey and place in bucket, breast down, making sure liquid fills cavities. Cover and place in fridge (I kept mine in the cold garage) overnight, up to 24 hours.
3. Remove turkey from brine and cook as desired, tossing out brine. Brined turkeys tend to cook about 30 min faster so keep an eye on it. Enjoy!

December 18, 2016

Delicious Roasted Chicken Rub

This rub is divine! I want to eat the whole bird with this recipe. Good thing I didn't because the leftovers made delicious enchiladas the next day! It was a success with EVERYONE. Makes one whole chicken or about three large breasts (I'm talking double D's). Enjoy!

Delicious Roasted Chicken Rub

1 whole chicken*
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp celery salt
1 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp onion powder
2 Tbsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried parsley
2 tsp dried rosemary
2 tsp dried sage, or 1 tsp ground sage
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or a dash of red chili sauce

1. Stir oil and seasonings in small bowl. Let sit 5 minutes for seasonings to re-hydrate a bit. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 475 degrees.
2. Remove giblets from bird, cut off excess skin and rinse in cold water. Pat dry with a paper towel. Place chicken in roasting pan. Rub the...well...RUB all over the chicken, getting under the skin where you can and coating the skin. Add any large chunks of veggies around the bird (quartered potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, etc), if desired.
3. Place chicken in preheated oven.
*2 1/2 to 3 lb chicken cook an hour to an hour 15 minutes
 3 lb to 3 1/2 lb chicken cook an hour 15 minutes to an hour and a half
 3 1/2 lb to 4 lb chicken cook an hour and a half to an hour 45 minutes
 4 1/2 lb to 5 lb chicken cook an hour 45 minutes to 2 hours
If you have a larger chicken, you just might've bought a turkey. :)
4. It's done once internal temperature reaches 180 degrees, juices run clear, drumstick meat falls easily off the bone and there is no pink meat. Let rest 10 minutes before carving.