We had a little party last night. It was only about 19 people if you counted all the kids. For our house that’s not a lot of people. We almost always have more people than we actually invited. One year for Thanksgiving I invited 15 people and 55 people showed up. How does that happen, you wonder? Well, people bring people. They know they’ll be welcome at our house so they bring their friends. The only problem it sometimes poses is that I don’t know about it in advance. It’s hard to feed 55 when you’re cooking for 15-20. I have learned to always make extra for those unexpected (but welcome) guests. Now my friends from the Marshall Islands, they know how to “partay”. They routinely have get-togethers for large crowds. There is no such thing as a small Marshallese gathering. They celebrate EVERYTHING. Oh, it’s Tuesday…let’s have a party. They never miss a chance to live in community. I love that about them as a people group as much as I love their grilled chicken. Of course when I asked around for a recipe nobody could really quantify anything. So, I decided to come up with my own concoction. You’ll be happy to know that many Marshallese have eaten my chicken and given it the “NOD” of approval!
Come on over for some good food, good times and mehndi (henna tattoos). There’s always room for a few extra people…
Marshallese Style Grilled Chicken
10-12 bone-in chicken thighs with the skin off and visible fat trimmed
1 1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 bunch flat leafed parsley, chopped
1 whole garlic
2 inch piece of fresh ginger
1 small onion
dash of chilli flakes
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
Take the skin off the chicken thighs and trim all visible fat. Wash and set aside. Blend in a blender or processor garlic, ginger and onion together. In a bowl, mix together all ingredients before pouring in soy sauce, stir to incorporate well. Pour over chicken and either place in a large ziplock bag and seal or put in an airtight container. Marinate overnight in refrigerator. Grill over medium heat and serve!
Grilled Portobello mushrooms are a wonderful delight. They are smokey, meaty and juicy. Almost like a burger. They are stupendous when stuffed with other delicious things. I wanted to have a tasty and filling meal without a lot of fat and plenty of proteins. I had some extra lean ground beef on hand but you can easily use ground turkey or chicken. I added caraway and sage to make it taste like sausage then added some low-fat goat cheese and fat-free feta cheese to the mix. I also added fresh baby spinach leaves which was great as a “filler”. These turned out wonderful. They were cheesy, melty and bursting with flavor. We felt like we were treated to a restaurant quality meal and we even had left overs for lunch the next day.
Grilled “Sausage” Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
4 Portobello mushroom caps
1/2 pound extra lean ground beef or turkey
3 scallions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup fat-free feta cheese
1/4 cup goat cheese
1 cup chopped fresh baby spinach
1 tsp dried basil
Wipe the mushroom caps with a damp paper towel and salt and pepper them on both sides, set them aside on a cookie sheet. In a small bowl mix together the ground beef/turkey, caraway seeds, sage, garlic, salt, scallions. Mix well together and cook over medium high heat until meat is nicely browned and all the flavors are “married”, about 2-3 minutes. Mix to the cooked “sausage” mixture the feta and goat cheese, basil and baby spinach. Top each of the four mushroom caps equally and place on a heated grill, covered, for about 12-15 minutes. Serve as a main dish along with some fruit or a nice crunchy salad.
I am doing a shout out to my former student “Nate”. He mentioned several times in class how much he loves to grill and I promised him some Indonesian/Thai inspired food…. so here it is Nate!! Not only are these Chicken Satays very quick and easy to do, they are high in flavor and low in fat. Perfect accompaniment for our summer workouts. (I should mention that we’re almost done with our first week of P90x and Insanity and I’ve lost 1 1/2 pounds so far….13 1/2 to go!).
I should mention that I always prefer to use chicken thighs over chicken breast because they have a lot more flavor and they are a lot cheaper too. You can buy boneless, skinless chicken thighs or you can easily de-bone the chicken thighs at home. All you need is a sharp knife and the ability to cut along the edges of the bone and you’re done!!
The secret to this dish of course is the sauce. I love how this sauce turns out. I could eat it by the spoonful but then I’d have to work out some more. Please do use the Sweet Soy Sauce instead of the regular soy sauce. If you must use regular soy sauce then choose the low sodium kind and use only 1/8 cup otherwise your sauce will be very salty. This is great as an appetizer or a main dish served with Coconut Fried Rice and a fresh crunchy salad. We also ate other veggies dipped in the sauce along with our chicken!
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into strips
1/2 cup natural peanut butter (or you can grind up some peanuts) – I like chunky
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sweet soy sauce
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3 garlic cloves, minced
scallion, diced (for garnish)
In a saucepan place all ingredients except chicken and scallion. Cook over medium heat until sauce is bubbly. Take off heat and cool sauce. Divide sauce into two parts.
Cut chicken into 1″ inch long strips and thread onto skewers. If using bamboo skewers make sure you soak them before hand so they don’t burn and fall off. Spray chicken with non-stick cooking spray and place on hot grill (about 300-350 degrees) cook for 6-10 minutes covered, turning once. Baste with half of the sauce (make sure the dipping portion is never in contact with the raw chicken) during the grilling process and serve with remaining sauce garnished with sliced scallions. The sauce is also fantastic for dipping carrots, cucumbers and other fresh veggies as well.
It’s (almost) summer time and that means lots of cooking on the grill. I really enjoy using the grill to cook during the warmer weather because it keeps the house cooler and I love how everything tastes when they are grilled. I decided to make pizzas on the grill. It’s one of my fast go-to grill dishes because everything can be cooked outside without any prep in the “house” kitchen. All you need is a grill basket for vegetables so smaller pieces don’t fall through and you’re good to go.
I have been using the no-knead artisan bread for my pizza crusts because they turn out beautifully and this bread dough is a dream. You mix the thing up with a wooden spoon and stick it in your fridge, it’s sooooo easy! I usually have some in my fridge ready to go (each batch can keep in the fridge for almost 2 weeks). The toppings for these pizzas are as varied as the person making them. I hope you try some out and go crazy with the toppings. When my basil is full-grown, I plan to make home made mozzarella and have Margherita pizzas on the grill. What’s not to love?
Assorted vegetables: red onion, bell peppers, zucchini, eggplants etc.
If using chicken breasts, cut into strips and marinate in a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar,salt, garlic and thyme and throw it on the grill to cook.
Cut vegetables into strips and the cherry tomatoes into halves. Toss with salt, fresh cracked pepper, basil and olive oil and place in grill pan on the grill and let it cook.
Take a small portion of the dough and roll it out fairly thin (about 1/4 inch thick) and pat it lightly with olive oil on both sides. I like to make it personal size – so about 6-8 inches “circles” or whatever shape they turn out to be. When vegetables are cooked, place pizza directly on the grill and close the lid for 3 minutes (grill should be on high heat, 600 degrees or so). Flip the dough over so the cooked side is on top and place some of the grilled cherry tomatoes on the dough along with other veggies and chicken (if using). Sprinkle a little cheese (go easy) less is better. Close the lid and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Pizza should be done with the cheese melted and the crust wonderfully crunchy and smoky.