Tag Archives: Recipes

Not Much Longer Now!

DH and I have just a few more days left on this ‘cycle’ of our diet, I mean new way of looking at food. I have to tell you and be very honest, I can’t wait for this to be over with. We will still watch carefully what and how we eat, just not in such a regimented way as we are right now. As I was saying the other day, it’s getting to be more and more of a challenge to come up with flavorful foods that will satisfy our appetites and taste buds. I was at my green grocer the other day and they had turkey breast cutlets on sale. Now what could I do that would be different with that?


Turkey Marsala with Whole Wheat Pasta

Turkey Marsala

4 Turkey Cutlets (Boneless-skinless Chicken thighs or breasts), cut into bit size pieces

¼ C. Flour

½ tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Pepper

10 oz. sliced Crimini Mushroom

½ small Onion, diced fine

1 Garlic clove, minced

¾ C. Dry Marsala Wine

1 ¼ C. Chicken broth

2 Tbsp. Butter + little bit more

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

In a large pan heat EVOO, sauté mushrooms until brown, remove to a bowl. Add more oil if needed along with a little butter for flavor and sweat onions until just translucent; add garlic & sauté until fragrant, transfer to a dish. Toss Turkey (chicken) in flour + salt & pepper and brown about 3 minutes per side; transfer to another plate. Add wine and scarp up all brown bits, reduce, pour in broth; add back onions and mushrooms to the pan and bring to a bubble. Swirl in 2 Tbsp of butter and reduce for a few minutes; add back in the chicken and simmer for about 5 minutes until sauce thickens further. Serve over pasta (we had whole wheat pasta) or polenta, also nice with roasted potatoes.

chicken marsala

Boneless-skinless Chicken Thigh Marsala with roasted Potatoes




House-made Salad Dressing

When DH and I went over to a friend’s home for dinner last week; I contributed to the evening’s meal with a salad.

Dinner At A Friend’s Home

Our Host made Smoked Pork loin as the entrée, so I figured that a bold-flavorful-dark green-salad would compliment that well. I was looking in my ‘fridge door for a dressing to along.  I must admit that I normally buy bottled dressings rather than make my own, but on this occasion it seemed like I should make it from scratch.

Prior to moving into our house in the middle of the desert full-time, we rented it as a vacation home, and we would visit once a year. As I filled the cupboards with groceries on this particular trip, I found a bottle of white balsamic vinegar that someone had left, along with the remainder of a small bottle of EVOO. Since I neglected to purchase any dressing, we had a very nice salad made from the gifts left behind by one of our guests, thank you very much. It was delicious!

But I do ramble on as my husband does like to point out.

House-made Salad Dressing

House-made White Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 tbsp. White Balsamic Vinegar

3 tbsp. EVOO

1 large Garlic clove

Goodly pinch of Sea Salt

Freshly ground Black Pepper

¼ tsp. Dijon mustard

Herbs of your choice (I used a little dried Basil & Oregano)


Smash the garlic REALLY good on your cutting board using the back of a chef knife. Sprinkle the salt on the garlic and run your knife over the mixture until it forms a paste. Scrap it all up and put it into a small jar with a tight fitting lid, like a mason jar, or empty pickle jar. Add the remaining ingredients, cover and shake well. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly.

This recipe may sound quite elementary, but honestly, how many folks do you know that makes salad dressing? It’s a dying culinary art form, and I can think of only one person who still practices it, and she does it for a living!


Favorite Dinner From Back Home

Back home in Hawaii, DH and I lived on the same property as my parents; I did a lot of the cooking for all of us. Once we all moved here to the middle of the desert, my mom decided that she wanted to have her own apartment. Mom now has to cook for herself, and it ain’t like my food, I’ll just say that! So when I invite mom up to our place for a meal with us, I make a point to make recipes that I’ve learned how to make from home.

Favorite Dinner From Back Home

This past Sunday we had mom over and I made Teriyaki chicken, my quick cucumber kim chee and marinated bean sprouts. My husband and I are back on our ‘no white foods’ diet, so that meant no steamed white rice for us, only mom.


I like to cut the chicken up and then garnish with more green onions and sesame seeds

My ono-licious (delicious in my world) teri-chicken was adapted from many recipes that I have found over the years.

½ C. low sodium Soy Sauce (you know I love Aloha brand)

¼ C. Vegetable oil

2 tbsp. Brown Sugar

1 Garlic clove, smashed

1 tbsp. Fresh Ginger root, grated

1 tbsp. Sesame oil

1 tbsp. Mirin

2 Green Onions, minced

1 tsp. Sesame seeds

5 boneless-skinless Chicken thighs

Combine all the ingredients in a gallon-size zip top bag and shake until the sugar is dissolved. Add the chicken and refrigerate overnight, turning it over occasionally. Grill and EAT!!!

Bean Sprouts

The bean sprouts (Kong Namul) are a Korean dish that we would always have on our take-out plates in Hawaii. My sweet DH found this recipe for me in the newspaper. Before we left Hawaii, I made sure to collect what recipes I could. This is super easy, quick and makes a fantastic side dish with any BBQ meats. I’ve changed it ever so slightly for a milder vinegar bite.

½ lb. fresh Bean Sprouts (mung bean)

1 tbsp. Rice Vinegar

1 tbsp. Granulated Sugar

1 tsp. Sesame oil

1 tbsp. low sodium Soy Sauce (Ponzu would be nice too)

½ tsp. Sea Salt

2 Green Onions, minced

1/4 tsp. Sesame Seeds

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and toss in the sprouts. Bring back up to a boil and cook about 1 minute, until they are crisp-tender but still pliable. Drain and rinse under cold running water. In a large bowl, combine the ingredients above until the sugar is dissolved; add in the sprouts and toss to combine with the sauce. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled.

And we’ve talked about the quick cucumber kim chee before, it’s just so good! But, put all of these dishes together and you have a very typical meal back in Hawaii.  I asked my husband after we dropped mom off back at her place if he tought she enjoyed her evening and all he said was, “OH YEAH!”



Oops, I Forgot To Give You The Recipe…

It dawned on me that I shared with you the wonderful Carrot Cake that we made for Easter supper, but I didn’t share the recipe!

This recipe I adapted (kind of) from Cook’s Illustrated American Classics Issue, which was on the newsstands in the Fall of 2008. I pulled that magazine down to re-read it, and it is a very good article.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


2 ½ C. Unbleached All purpose flour

1 ¼ tsp. Baking Powder

1 tsp. Baking Soda

1 ½ Tsp. ground Cinnamon

½ tsp. ground Nutmeg (we grated some fresh)

1/8 tsp. ground Cloves

½ tsp. Table Salt

1 lb. Carrots, peeled

1 ½ C. granulated Sugar

½ C. packed light Brown Sugar

4 large Eggs

1 ½ C. Vegetable Oil


8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened but still cool

5 Tbsp. unsalted Butter, softened but still cool

1 Tbsp. Sour Cream

½ tsp. Vanilla Extract

1 ¼ C. Powdered Sugar

For the Cake:

Preheat the oven to 350⁰

Prepare two 9 inch cake pans by buttering, placing a parchment paper round in the bottom, butter the paper and lastly, dust with flour, being sure to bang it against the counter to dislodge any excess flour.

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder & soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt, set aside.

In a food processer shred the carrots, this should give you about 3 cups, set this aside as well.

Fit the food processor with the metal blade; combine together the sugars and eggs for about 20 seconds until frothy. With the machine running, stream in the oil and process for another 20 seconds until light in color and emulsified. Scrape this mixture into a bowl; stir in the carrots and dry ingredients until there are no streaks of flour. Pour evenly into the prepared pans and bake on the middle rack in the oven for 35-40 minutes, rotating the pans half way through. Cool the cakes in their pans set on a wire rack until completely cooled, about 2 hours.

For the Frosting:

In the food processor combine cream cheese, butter, sour cream and vanilla for 5 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then add the powdered sugar; process for another 10 seconds until smooth.

Run a plastic knife around the pan and invert the cakes out onto the wire racks; remove the paper and frost, stacking the layers.

Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. (if it lasts that long!)




*I added 1 ½ Cups of toasted and chopped Pecans as well as 1 cup of Raisins to the batter. This required increasing the baking time by 10-12 minutes.*

This cake is well worth the effort.  I mentioned previously that I used two round cake pans, rather than the 9 X 13 inch pan that was called for in the original recipe.  If you like cream cheese frosting, I would double the recipe.


Plate Lunch Special, Chicken Katsu

Did we talk about the different foods that we eat in Hawaii?

Sure we have, what about Chicken Katsu?

Chicken Katsu Plate Lunch

Oh my, served with some steamed medium grain white rice, Aloha Shoyu and Furikake and a side of my quick cucumber kim chee, MAN!

The main dish here is uber easy…

Chicken Katsu

2-4 boneless-skinless Chicken thighs (or breast)

1 egg white, beaten

1 C Panko bread crumbs

¼ C Rice Flour (Mochiko)

Vegetable Oil

Pound the chicken meat just so that all of the pieces are even in thickness. Set up you breading station, rice flour, egg white and Panko. I keep a clean plate on the side as a landing spot once each piece of meat has been breaded. Dip the chicken, one at a time into the rice flour, shaking off the excess and then into the egg white and lastly the Panko. Press the Panko into the flesh and set aside. Repeat until all pieces are done, and stash in the refrigerator. In the mean time, in the largest skillet that you have add enough vegetable oil so that you come up the side of the pan about ½ inch deep. Heat over medium-high heat until the oil reaches 350⁰. If you don’t have a thermometer, the end of the handle of a wooden spoon will work. If you dip the end into the oil and it bubbles, you’re good to go. Carefully place as many pieces of chicken into the pan without crowding them. Fry on both sides until GBAO (golden brown and ONO, or delicious). As each piece is done, place on a rimmed baking sheet with a wire rack in it rather than on paper towels. This way that beautiful crispy crust you just achieved will stay that way. If need be, place the entire pan into the oven (150⁰) to keep them warm until rest are finished and you are ready to serve.

This recipe feeds two adults

Let’s talk about how to serve this dish. The way that we do it back home is you place each piece onto a cutting board and slice into one inch strips, crosswise. Place the strips on to a plate, together, along side the rice and veggie of your choice. Sauce is optional. We prefer not to, but if you must…


1/3 C. Ketchup

1/3 C. Soy Sauce

2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

You can either be a dipper or a pourer over all the chicken. If I do have sauce, I’m a dipper.

Chicken Katsu Plate Lunch

This here is what we would call a plate lunch in Hawaii.  Another variation to the plate would be a HUGE scoop of Macaroni Salad or a small toss (or green salad with French dressing, always!).  I know I put up the same photo twice, but I mean come on, how GOOD does that look.



Looks Like Spring

As I went through the produce at the green grocer the other day, I saw asparagus, WHAT? Already? It seems a little early, but I’ll take it, I mean buy it.

Chinese style Chicken Asparagus

Chinese-style Chicken and Asparagus


3 boneless-skinless Chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces (or breast meat if you prefer)

An equal amount of Asparagus, cut into large bite size pieces

Garlic, sliced, as much or as little as you like

1 Tbsp. fresh Ginger, finely grated

Vegetable Oil

2 Tbsp. Low-sodium Soy Sauce

2 Tbsp. Low-sodium chicken broth

1 Tbsp. Mirin

1 tsp Sesame Oil

1 tsp Corn Starch

1-2 stalks Green Onion, sliced


Heat a large skillet with just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan; sauté the chicken until just done. Add the asparagus with just a little water into the pan. Cover and allow the veg to steam until crisp tender. Add in the garlic and ginger; cook for 30 seconds. In a small dish, mix together all of the liquids and whisk in the corn starch. Pour the mixture over the chicken & veg, once it comes to a bubble, add the green onions, reserving some of the onions to top your dish. Once the sauce has thickened to your liking, serve over steamed rice or noodles.


This recipe serves two very hunger adults.

This recipe can be adapted to any meat you prefer, as well as veggie.  If the snow peas look good that day at the market, go for it.

Remember that a recipe is just someone else’s idea, you take it and run with it.



One of DH’s Favorite Dishes

My American-Italian husband loves this dish.

chicken marsala

Now that we are no longer banning all of the really tasty foods (such as pasta, potatoes, bread) from our home, I decided to make it for him. I feel like I haven’t cooked anything GOOD is ages. While I as in the supermarket down the road a piece, all the folk that work there kept asking me if we had been on vacation in Hawaii again. I didn’t want to say that I like the green grocer farther down the trail, and pretty much that’s all we’ve eaten.

Chicken Marsala dalla mia Cucina

4 boneless-skinless Chicken thighs (or breasts)

¼ C Flour

½ tsp Salt

1 tsp Pepper

10 oz sliced Crimini Mushroom

½ small Onion, diced fine

1 Garlic clove, minced

¾ C dry Marsala Wine

1 ¼ C Chicken broth

2 Tbsp Butter

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

In a large pan heat EVOO, sauté mushrooms until brown, remove to a bowl. Add more oil if needed along with a little butter for flavor and sweat onions until just translucent; add garlic & sauté until fragrant, transfer to the bowl with the mushrooms. Toss the chicken in flour, combined with the salt & pepper.  Shake off any excess flour and add more oil to the pan; brown the chicken for about 3 minutes per side; transfer to another plate. Add wine and scarp up all brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, then pour in broth; add back onions and mushrooms to the pan and bring to a bubble. Swirl in 2 Tbsp of butter and reduce for a few minutes; add back in the chicken and simmer for about 5 minutes until sauce thickens further. Serve over pasta or polenta, also nice with roasted potatoes. (I made Rosemary Potatoes, very delicious with the Marsala sauce)

I also made Peas (frozen) with Prosciutto. Very simple, brown a handful of chopped Prosciutto in some Olive Oil; add your peas, about 1/2 to 3/4 cup per person, along with a good splash (maybe a ¼ cup) of chicken broth. Cover and heat the peas through, serve.

This hit all the notes for me.


Haole Brownies In The Desert

Growing up in Hawaii, there were two schools that were, to put it simply, arch rivals. Both schools provided a hot lunch for the students every day. In ‘camp A’ there was Caramel Cuts and in ‘camp B’ there was Haole Brownies. Now, let me explain, haole is not a mean term, but it is a real Hawaiian word with several meanings and reported origin. These bar cookies have other names, such as Blondies or Butterscotch Brownies, but for me, they’re my childhood in my hand. I love them; I could easily sit and eat the entire pan, once they cool off that is.

Recently, we went to visit with friends and Mister Dear Friend can’t eat chocolate. Since I was bringing a nice bottle of Prosecco for Missus Dear Friend and I to enjoy, I needed something for the guys. Food always makes a wonderful gift for any occasion and I make a point of taking along something that everyone will enjoy.

This is my version …

Haole Brownies

Haole Brownies In The Desert

1 stick Butter, melted and cooled slightly

2 C. Brown Sugar (either light or dark, whatever you have on hand)

2 Eggs, beaten

2 C. Flour (I buy unbleached AP)

2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

2 tsp. Baking Powder

¼ tsp. Table Salt

2/3 C. Heath English Toffee Bits, divided


In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon. Add the next 5 ingredients, along with 1/3 cup of the Toffee bits; mix well, it will be very stiff batter. Prepare a 13x9x2 inch pan by spraying it with cooking spray and fitting it with a piece of parchment paper as a sling. This way you’ll be able to get them out easily and in one piece. Spread the batter evenly into the pan and bake in a preheated oven of 350⁰ for 18 minutes and sprinkle the top with the remaining Toffee bits; bake for another 8-12 minutes. Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then with a plastic-disposable knife, release the sides of the pan that are not covered by the paper and lift out carefully to a cooling rack to finish cooling. Cut into bars and devour!


(*did you figure out which camp I belong to?)


Fried Saimin, My Kind Of Beach Food

I could eat Fried Saimin any time of day or night, it’s so ONO (delicious). WHOA! Did you hear that? That was my stomach, that’s how much I like this dish. I never thought to make it myself; back home in Hawaii you can get it even at the gas station. I know, I know the jokes about gas station food, but in Hawaii there’s a company that only makes grab-n-go foods for gas stations, and they are very good.

On our last trip home, every day we went to the beach, duh! And on the way I made DH stop to get something to take with us on our long days of baking in the sun; it was a tough job, but someone had to do it. A favorite place for me is Zippy’s, a family restaurant with take outs and at most locations a full service restaurant and bakery. I counted no less than 4 times I got Fried Saimin or noodles. When we got home I did several searches on the Internet and morphed a recipe I like, maybe you will too.

Zippy’s Fried Saimin @ the BEACH!!

Zippy’s Fried Saimin @ the BEACH!!

Fried Saimin or Noodles

1 pkg. fresh Yaki Soba noodles (I get JFC Intl. brand, no sauce included)

1 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil

¼ C. Water

Prepare the noodles first, by heating the oil in a large non-stick pan over medium; add all 3 individual servings of noodles in along with the water. Wait a few minutes and loosen the noodles with tongs, tossing gently, until they are just warmed. Place in a large bowl and set aside.

Now let’s build:

½ – 1 C. matchstick Carrots (I buy the bagged stuff)

¼ of small Cabbage, shredded

½ of a pkg. Bean Sprouts (mung bean is best)

6-8 stalks Green Onion, chopped reserving some for garnish

1 6oz. pkg Kamaboko, sliced into large matchsticks (see photo below)

Approx. ½ lb. Char Siu or Chinese BBQ Pork, sliced (also see photo below)

Toss all of the above ingredients with the warm noodles.

You need a sauce:

½ C. Water

3 Tbsp. Soy Sauce (I go with Aloha brand Shoyu)

2 Tbsp. Oyster Sauce

1 tsp. Sesame Oil

<edit, I totally forgot>  1 tsp. – 1 Tbsp. Dashi, to taste

Combine your sauce and pour and toss with your noodles. Set aside to allow the sauce to be absorbed into your noodles mixture.  <edit – So sorry, I forgot about the dashi or the dried soup mix that usually comes with a package of Asian-style noodles.  If not, you can always look for that separately, it’s a great seasoning for other things too.>

Garnish with a handful of chopped Green Onion and more Char Siu. Serve warm or at room temperature.  Leftovers are excellent for breakfast.

Kamaboko or Steamed Fish Cake

**Tasty Additions-crispy fried SPAM!!!  Glorious SPAM!!

Kitchen-Diva’s Adapted Chicken Chili

I know that it’s still winter, but its beautiful here in the middle of the desert. Yeah, it’s a little chilly some days, and yeah we do have gloomy days. What a better time to make up a big pot of chili. DH and I try to eat healthfully, more chicken than red meat.

Many years ago there was a certain kitchen-diva, whose television programs I never missed. I adapted one of her recipes and made it my own. DH will request this chili, he loves it. There are so many variations to it that you could certainly make it yours.

Adapted Chicken Chili

5 boneless-skinless Chicken thighs cut into 1 inch chunks

1 large Onion, diced

4 Garlic cloves, minced

¼ C. Olive Oil

1 Tbsp. Cumin Seeds, toasted & ground (or buy the powder)

1 Tbsp. Oregano

1/8 tsp. Chipotle Chile powder (adds a nice smoky heat)

1 15 oz. can Petite Diced Tomatoes

1 4 oz. can diced Green Chiles (I like Hatch chiles)

1-2 C. Chicken Broth

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Sauté the onion until translucent; add the garlic and cook just until fragrant. Toss in the chicken and cook until the exterior turns white. Add the spices and cook for a few minutes. Stir in the broth, chiles and tomatoes (and any of the additions from below at this point), bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer partially covered until it starts to thicken, about 40 minutes.  This recipe will feed two very hungry adults.

Come on, how good does that look

Come on, how good does that look


We like a thick chili: stir in 1-2 tablespoons of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix while the chili is still bubbling

Add 2 Corn tortillas, chopped to thicken it up, let it cook for a while

Add 1-2 tablespoons of chopped Cilantro

Add 1 cup of Bird’s Eye brand ’Ultimate Southwest Blend’ (this has sweet corn, black beans, poblano chiles, red bell peppers, and roasted onions-YUM!)

Add any of the above items, individually

Add a finely diced Jalapeno pepper for more depth of heat

Any or all of the variations are great, believe me, we’ve tried them all. No pot of chili has ever been the same in our house, it always evolves. We eat our chili over steamed white rice, it’s a Hawaii thing. You could top it with shredded cheese, sour cream, freshly chopped onions or maybe a handful of cilantro. Make it yours.