Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Chicken Skewers

This is the time of year to grill! This recipe has lots of flavor and is actually rather simple. I got 11 skewers out of five chicken breasts, and there is enough marinade for up to twice that amount if you want to make more.

If you are using wooden instead of metal skewers, be sure to soak them in water at least one hour before grilling or you will have a fire on your hands.

If you are wondering how to cut up your chicken, I hope this photo helps:

Use a very sharp knife and cut vertically and lengthwise through the breast. I made my strips about 1/2 inch thick. Or you can use breast tenders.

After marinating the chicken, thread 2-3 strips onto the skewers like so:

adapted from Marinade for Chicken on

1-3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into strips (or tenders)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup lower sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp. Worchestershire sauce
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. ground (dry) mustard
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. parsley

Combine all ingredients in a gallon-size Ziploc bag and marinate for at least 2 hours. Thread chicken strips on skewers.

Heat grill to medium-high heat. Place skewers perpendicular to grill grate (so they don't fall through). Grill about 4 minutes on each side or until done.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

My friend Becky recently asked me why these weren't on my food blog, and the simple reason is that I forgot all about them! Not sure how I forgot about them, since they are like the perfect blend of three cookies in one. I can't remember where I first got the's been a while.

The cookies in the photo don't look that great because I made them big this time around but forgot to flatten them a bit with the bottom of a glass before putting them in the oven. So I did it after they had already been in the oven for about 5 minutes = odd shaped cookies.

These cookies are a great choice for those on gluten-free diets because they don't have any flour in them.

(these need a new, shorter name - any ideas?)

1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
3 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup chocolate chips or M&Ms

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars. Beat in eggs then stir in vanilla and peanut butter. Mix in the baking soda, oats, and chocolate chips until well blended. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls on ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Flatten slightly with a fork or the bottom of a glass.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool 1 minute on cookie sheet before transferring to wire rack to cool completely. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Oven Roast

My mom-in-law asked me to put this recipe on my blog. The problem is, I don't have an actual recipe, per se. I just throw stuff together. But I made this today and tried to pay attention to what I did so I could give some helpful instructions.

Essentially, this is very simple. There is not a lot added to the beef - just a few spices to enhance the flavor of the meat. You can do this with pretty much any beef roast, but I really like two particular cuts: Bottom Round roast and Eye of Round roast. They have less fat and great flavor. The Bottom Round I usually just shred, but the Eye of Round is good for slicing.

The high temperature at the beginning sears the roast, so there is no need to brown it ahead of time. Once the temperature is reduced, you can follow the usual rule of thumb: one hour for each pound. I typically like to cook it longer than that because I think it gets more tender that way. If you wanted to cook it all day, just reduce the temp to 300 or even 250 degrees. Today I used a Bottom Round roast that was about 3 pounds and cooked it for a little over 4 hours.

The roast will shrink as it cooks (see photos below), so take this into account when purchasing your roast. It does produce some wonderful drippings that you can either mix back in with the meat after shredding or slicing, or use as a base for gravy.

So here are a list of ingredients and the instructions will follow:


beef roast
minced dried onion
3 garlic cloves, sliced in thirds
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Line a casserole dish (I use a 9x9 glass dish) with a large piece of heavy duty aluminum foil, shiny side facing up. Place roast in dish, fat side up. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and onion:

Add sliced garlic and water to dish:

Wrap roast tightly with the foil. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue to bake at least one hour per pound.

Remove roast from oven and let stand for 10 minutes. Unwrap roast:

If desired (I prefer it), scrape or remove fat from top of roast. Shred or slice (against the grain!). Drippings can be added to beef or:

Pour drippings into a sauce pan (you may want to strain out the garlic cloves). Add one cup of water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir in 1 tsp. of beef bouillon. In a small resealable container, combine 2 Tbsp. cornstarch with 2 Tbsp. water. Shake until no lumps remain. Slowly stir cornstarch mixture into gravy, until desired consistency (more for a thicker gravy, less for a thinner gravy). Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve with beef.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Fantastic Fruit Dip

I got an ant bite while taking this photo. The things I do for you!

Now that it's summer, all best fruits are coming in season. I thought this would be the perfect time to share this recipe. My favorite fruit dip! I first had it at a party that my friend Holly threw. It is simply delicious. And it's simple to make. Just two ingredients for creamy, fluffy bliss.


1 (8 oz) tub strawberry cream cheese spread
1 (7 oz) jar marshmallow creme

Combine both ingredients in a medium bowl until smooth. Serve with fruit. Refrigerate leftovers.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Potatoes Au Gratin

You can always make the box mix, but the real thing tastes better. And believe it or not, it's actually fairly easy to put together. The most time consuming part is slicing the potatoes. The thinner they are, the faster they will cook. Some food processors have a slicing blade that can make quick work of this step. Or use a mandoline if you have one. I have to do it the old fashioned way.

To keep the potatoes from turning black while you make the cheese sauce, keep them in a bowl with ice water. Drain thoroughly just before adding to the casserole dish.

adapted from the Betty Crocker Cookbook

2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 1/2 cups milk
dash of hot sauce (optional)
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
6 medium potatoes, scrubbed and thinly sliced (6 cups)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Melt butter in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion in butter until tender. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until bubbly; remove from heat.

Stir in milk and hot sauce (if using). Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute; remove from heat. Stir in cheese until melted.

Spread potatoes in ungreased 13x9 glass baking dish. Pour cheese sauce over potatoes. Bake uncovered 45 minutes - 1 hour or until potatoes are tender (check with a fork).

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Chicken Spagetti Bake

I think I got this recipe from Southern Living magazine a couple of years ago. It has great flavor and is one of my husband's favorites. It calls for a 5 oz jar of processed cheese spread. This is what it's talking about:

Depending on your grocery store, you can find it in one of three places: in the cracker aisle, in the deli, or in the pasta aisle next to the Velveeta. Just don't get the one with pimentos because that is not the same thing. If you can't find it, just use a little over half a cup of Velveeta.

One more note: break the spaghetti into smaller pieces as you drop it in the pot. It will make serving this dish much simpler.


1 (8 oz) pkg. spaghetti
1 tsp. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 (14.5) cans diced tomatoes with garlic, basil, and oregano
2 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
1 (5 oz) jar processed cheese spread
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 1/2 cups (6 oz) shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and pepper; saute until tender. Add tomatoes and Worchestershire sauce; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 8-10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350. Remove lid from cheese jar and microwave on HIGH for 30-45 seconds or until melted, stirring once. Add to tomato mixture, stirring well.

In a large bowl, combine spaghetti, tomato mixture, and chicken, stirring until blended. Spoon into lightly greased 11x7 baking dish or 2 quart casserole dish and sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until heated through and cheese melts.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Guri Guri

You are probably wondering, "What the heck is Guri Guri?" It is kind of a cross between ice cream and sherbet and can only be found at Tasaka Guri Guri in Kahului, Maui. My family has visited Maui a couple of times and there are two treats on that island that we always get: cream puffs from a bakery on Haleakala and Guri Guri in Kahului. Both are yummy.

We found a copycat recipe for Guri Guri (pronounced grr - ee grr -ee) in a Hawaiian cookbook. It's not the same thing but it comes close. The biggest difference is the texture. I've never been able to get it to be creamy like at Tasaka's. It's more icy like a granita. However, I've never tried making it in an ice cream maker. Can you put a carbonated beverage in an ice cream maker? Somebody please try it and let me know what happens!*

Make sure you buy a brand-name soda like Crush or Fanta. I bought a store brand this time and the flavor was weak. I've only ever made it with strawberry soda, but I don't see why you couldn't try a different flavor like grape or orange. And maybe if you added a teaspoon of vanilla to the orange it would taste like a Creamsicle? Who knows.

Don't be afraid of the ingredients. It sounds disgusting, but it really tastes good. This is a great treat now that the weather is heating up. My daughter wants some every 5 seconds.

*Update: my friend Tammy says that this can be made in an ice cream maker. That should help the texture be more creamy!


1 (2-liter) bottle strawberry soda
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)

Combine both ingredients in a glass 13x9 baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 5 - 6 hours. When it is mostly frozen, scoop mixture into a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until all lumps are gone. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and foil and return to freezer for at least 1 hour. Use an ice cream scoop to serve. Can be kept frozen for up to a week (although I don't recommend this because it will eventually start to taste like your freezer).

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Stir Fry

I usually don't follow a recipe when I make stir fry. I just throw stuff together and hope it tastes good. But I realized I don't have a lot of Asian-inspired food on here even though I make it fairly often. So tonight I actually paid attention to the amounts I was using and "created" a recipe.

If you don't have a wok, you can use a large saute pan. Just consider the amount of food that will need to fit in it at the end of cooking.

When it comes to cooking the chicken or pork strips, do it in batches like below:

That way you are sure to get the strips nice and browned. Throwing all of the chicken in at once will prevent your chicken from browning at all.

Also don't overcook your vegetables. You want them slightly crisp and bright green:

They are healthier for you that way!


1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast or pork, cut in strips
1 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 tsp. sesame oil (or vegetable oil)

2 cups fresh broccoli florets
2 cups fresh snow peas
2 carrots, thinly sliced
3 celery stalks, sliced
6 green onions, sliced
2 Tbsp. water

1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth (or water)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
dash of hot sauce
1 Tbsp. cornstarch

In a medium bowl, combine chicken or pork, 1 Tbsp. soy sauce, 1 clove garlic, and 1/2 tsp. ginger. Marinate 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine all sauce ingredients until smooth. Set aside

Heat sesame oil in wok on med-high heat. Brown chicken or pork in batches, 2-3 minutes each side or until cooked through; remove to plate. Add broccoli, snow peas, carrots, celery, and water to wok. Reduce heat to medium. Cook until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 6 minutes. Add onions.

Stir sauce again; add to wok. Bring to a boil and cook 1-2 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Add chicken or pork and heat through. Serve with steamed rice.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Mini Cheesecakes

Don't be fooled by the ugly little cheesecakes in this photo. I accidentally turned off my oven mid-way through the baking time and so these little guys turned out kinda wonky. They still taste good, but the texture and presentation are a bit off.

These will puff up like a cupcake while baking and then the center will fall during cooling. This creates a perfect indentation for the fruit filling. You can serve them in the muffin liners, but I prefer to take them off.

makes about 15

Nilla wafers
2 (8 oz) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 can cherry or blueberry pie filling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins. Place a Nilla wafer in bottom of each liner.

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in eggs. Fill muffin cups 2/3 way full. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool in muffin tin for 20 minutes then remove to wire rack until cooled completely.

Remove liners, if desired, and spoon pie filling into centers. Can be chilled before serving. Store in airtight container in fridge.