Sunday, July 27, 2014

How Hawaiian is Hawaiian Chicken?

I keep seeing recipes being posted on food sites or Facebook for "Hawaiian Chicken", but the Asian influences are so obviously strong...teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, sweet and sour sauce, Thai chiles. Then there are those strictly American add-ins such as bottled barbecue sauce or ketchup...ketchup! How Hawaiian is ketchup!?!

The closest recipe I could find for an authentic Hawaiian recipe was for "Huli Huli Chicken" ("huli" means "turn" in Hawaiian) and the chicken is cooked on a grill.  The recipe for "Huli Huli Chicken" was invented by Ernest Morgado; he cooked this version of teriyaki chicken for a group of farmers in 1955. This became a Hawaiian staple, served with sticky rice, ever since.   Even then, the ingredients for the sauce are ginger, garlic, teriyaki or soy sauce, ketchup and brown sugar.

So, to make my version of "Hawaiian Chicken", I decided to go with tastes more associated with that state: coconut and pineapple, and a mixture of Asian influenced ingredients to complete the recipe.  The first time I made it, well it tasted good, but something was obviously missing.  A friend of mine agreed and suggested some heat, so the Thai chiles were added in.  Whenever I can get fresh Thai chiles, I either freeze them or dry them; then I have them available whenever they're needed.  If you cannot find them, use fresh whole cayenne peppers, dried and crushed, or ground.  The other change I made from most recipes is cooking the chicken in a crock pot, instead of on a grill or in the oven.

 Hawaiian Chicken with Rice

3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, excess fat removed
4 large red bell peppers
2 whole Thai Chiles, stems removed (whole cayenne chiles can be substituted or 1/8 tsp ground per chile needed)
2 large onions
1 jar (10 oz) La Choy Sweet and Sour Duck Sauce
1 fresh pineapple
1 container (11.1 oz) Vita CoCo Pure Coconut Water
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 cups white rice




Spray the interior of a 6 quart crock pot with nonstick cooking spray; layer chicken inside.

Remove stem, seeds and white pith from the bell peppers; cut into one inch strips, then into one inch chucks; layer on top of chicken with the chiles.  Remove skin and roots from onions, cut into one inch chunks; layer on top of peppers.  Pour the Duck sauce over all.



Clean the pineapple, cut into one inch spears, then into one inch chunks and spread out over ingredients in crock pot.  Pour the coconut water and soy sauce over all; put on cooking lid, set on low and cook for 6 hours.  If whole chiles used, remove and discard.


Ladle 4 cups of liquid from crock pot to medium saucepan, bring to a boil on high heat.  Stir in rice, turn heat to low, cover and let cook for 20 - 25 minutes.  Turn off heat, uncover, fluff with a fork and let sit for 5 minutes.

Makes 6 servings.

Mary Cokenour

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Honeyville is a Sweet and Friendly Place to Visit.


33633 Hwy 550
Durango, CO 81301

Phone: (800) 676-7690
Fax: Fax: 970-403-0022


On Route 550, north of Durango, is one of the sweetest shops in the area...Honeyville.  This small shop is packed full of products made from wildflower honey such as jams, jellies, sauces, whiskey and wine aka mead.  The staff inside are just as sweet as their products and go out of their way to help you make perfect selections; a taste sample is not out of the question.  In the back of the store is a viewing area of the processing room.  I was recently informed that approval was given for Honeyville to expand, so more luscious honey products can be made available!

Honey Bourbon Whiskey

Honey Wine aka Mead
Throughout the shop are recipes cards to give you great ideas on how to use Honeyville's products.  Can't get to the shop, go to their website and shop, or order a catalog.  Never say never, Honeyville has something for anyone.
Mary Cokenour

Friday, July 18, 2014

Crock Pot Roast with a Kick.

You are going to love this pot roast recipe; it only has four...yes, count them, four ingredients. It's done up in the crock pot and only needs six hours for complete yumminess. Now I used medium heat diced tomatoes with green chiles; like it hotter, than use hot; like it milder, than use mild.

Spicy BBQ Pot Roast


1 large onion, chopped
2 and 1/2 to 3 lb. roast (eye round or sirloin), trimmed of fat
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with green chiles (medium heat)
2 cups BBQ sauce (homemade or bottled)


Spray inside of 4 quart crock pot with nonstick spray; set on low. 


Spread onions on bottom of pot; place roast on top of onions.   Pour diced tomatoes over the roast; pour BBQ sauce over all.

Cook for six hours.

Makes six servings.
Note: if sauce is too thin, transfer to saucepan and cook on high heat until thickened.

Mary Cokenour

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Philly Cheesesteak as a Filling.

Philly Cheesesteak as a filling?  Well of course it is, you're thinking; it's a filling in a bread roll.  I've already shown you my version of the sub and how it can also be made into a pizza, so yes, it can be more than just a filling for a sandwich. I've gone and put it inside a bell pepper, baked it in the oven, and created a "yes, you need a fork to eat it" package deal.  How good could it taste?  My hubby answered that by eating both of the ones I made when I tested out my recipe, and then asking if I had anymore for later on.

If you think about it, I've taken the filling, but instead of chopping up the bell peppers to add to the mixture, I've made them into the package.  No bread!  If you really need the bread, go ahead and make some rolls to act as a side dish; you truly won't miss it though.

Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers


2 large green bell peppers
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 and 1/2 cups chopped cooked beef
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese


Preheat oven to 375F; spray a one quart baking dish with nonstick spray.

Cut tops off peppers, remove seeds, stem and white pith; set aside.

In a small skillet, medium-high heat, sauté onions until they soften (about 5 minutes); season with salt and black pepper.


On a medium bowl, mix together onions, beef and cheese.  Stuff each pepper with the mixture and put tops on.  Bake for 30 - 40 minutes; until tops just begin to brown.


Makes two servings.

Now, if you really need that bread, make some crusty dinner rolls, fill them with some of the green bell pepper and cheesesteak filling.  There you go, Philly Cheesesteak Sliders!

Mary Cokenour

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Jacob Lake Inn; Kaibab National Forest, Arizona

Jacob Lake Inn

HWY 89A & AZ-67
Jacob Lake, AZ 86022

Phone:(928) 643-7232


Nestled in the Kaibab National Forest, on the way to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, is a beautiful oasis; the Jacob Lake Inn.  I can't tell you anything about the lodging, you can look that up on their website; but I can tell you about the restaurant and bakery.  The day we were there, a tour bus group had taken over the main dining area, so we sat at the counter.  It reminded us of the old time diners and the décor is farm country meets the southwest.  

The menu offered a nice variety of items from sandwiches to burgers, salads and hot entrees.

The "bull" burgers caught our interest, so I ordered the Kaibab Bull while hubby got the Grand Bull.  Might as well tell you now, we inhaled our meals; they were so delicious!

The Kaibab Bull Burger has "hunter sauce" (a sweetened brown sauce), grilled onions/ green peppers/mushrooms medley, bacon, tomato and Swiss cheese on grilled bread.  The meat was cooked well, yet still juicy; bacon thick cut and crispy; the "hunter sauce" was mildly sweet and brought out the flavors of the vegetables.  Skin-on, shoestring fries were crispy on the outside, tender on the inside; but I did miss the fry sauce (it's a Utah thing).

The Grand Bull Burger has mild green chiles, tomatoes, grilled onions, Cheddar cheese and bacon on grilled bread.  Again, meat cooked well, but juicy; thick cut and crispy bacon, yummy grilled onions and a slight, but sweet heat to the chiles.  We tried each other's burgers and both agreed that the "hunter sauce" on the Kaibab Bull Burger added so much to the overall flavor. 

Next to the counter area is a small store with dry goods, souvenirs and candy; but we were fascinated by the bakery counter.  A large assortment of freshly baked, soft, huge cookies of wondrous combinations: chocolate raspberry, German chocolate cake with a coconut topping, lemon zucchini, lemon raspberry, chocolate parfait and many more...I'm starting to drool.  We purchased a dozen to take home; yes they made it, and even after a few days, they were still soft and delicious.

Heading to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon?  Save your appetite and stop at Jacob Lake Inn for a good meal and delicious baked goods.  You won't regret the wait all the way to get there.

Mary Cokenour

Jacob Lake Inn on Urbanspoon

Thursday, July 10, 2014

K & A Chuckwagon Still Dishing Out Good Grub.

K & A Chuckwagon

496 N Main
Monticello, UT 84535

(435) 587-3468

Hours: 5pm - 9pm; Thurs, Fri and Sat only

While K & A Chuckwagon is still for sale, the owner, Anna Clarke, opened up her outdoor eatery on June 1, 2014 once again.  She was not going to disappoint the locals, visitors, groups and bus tours who look forward each summer to her most delicious chuckwagon style menu.  What is so wonderful about her food; homemade with love!  That's right, homemade bread, salads, desserts, honey butter for the bread, ranch beans, country style potatoes.  To add to it, she does the grilling herself of a full pound of either boneless, skinless Chicken Breast, New York Strip Steak or Baby Back Ribs.  Hold on for a sec while I wipe the drool off my chin just thinking about all that awesome food.

Alright, back to writing; after placing your order, Anna gets to work grilling it up to perfection.  The chicken is basted in a lemony butter sauce; the ribs and steak sprinkled with a seasoning mixture; the ribs get a good basting of her "secret bbq sauce" at the end.  The Colonel of KFC stole the phrase "finger lickin' good" from Anna, I will attest to that!  Don't be fooled by Anna's appearance; just because she is sporting a bit of grey on top of that head of hers; she ain't no fool, has lots of sass, yet full of sweetness.

Now I'm going to call a spade a spade here; this has got to be some of the best chuckwagon style food around Southeastern Utah. Anyone looking at the photos saying, "Yuck, that's gross; I wouldn't eat that!" Well you can stick with your foie gras, bonbons and dabbing your dainty lips with a linen napkin. I'm going to enjoy chowing down on those sides and wearing that bbq sauce all over my face when I'm eating those ribs. 

Oh, right, I'm supposed to describe the food itself too; tender, juicy, mouth watering, not a single bite leftover of the chicken, ribs or steak; well except the bones from the ribs.  The salads are fresh and tasty; the bread is soft; the honey butter is sweet, creamy and rich; the ranch beans are cooked to perfection with a nice kick to them; the country potatoes...I would kill for a second helping of those potatoes; the dessert is to die for.  That enough description for you? 

Let the photos do the real talking here...

Baby Back Ribs

Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast

New York Strip Steak

A Variety of Fresh, Homemade Salads

Homemade Bread and Honey Butter
Homemade Desserts

Slices of Apple Crumb Pie

Groups and Tour Buses - call in advance with all the information of when you'll be there, how many people and what everyone is going to want for the main entree.  

Don't miss the experience of truly authentic Southwestern style cooking; go to K & A Chuckwagon in Monticello, Utah.  Hurry, the summer will be over before you know it!

Mary Cokenour

K & A Chuckwagon on Urbanspoon