Variations on Teriyaki Chicken

I have always loved teriyaki chicken. It was one of my favorite meals growing up served with broccoli and brown rice and a little pineapple in the summer time. But I fell in love with it even more when moving to Seattle; where everyone has their favorite teriyaki place, which they claim has the best rice, sides, or sauce.

As I have mentioned before I have learned  to adapt some of my favorites from the West coast into my home cooking challenges here on the East coast. Teriyaki chicken is no acceptation to this.



I am lucky to have gotten a basic marinade from a good friend and past tutoree from Japan. I won’t give out specific portions (because it’s mostly up to personal preference) but I use mayo, honey, soy sauce (and a little ginger) mixed together.

Here are some recent summer variations off of one of my favorite meals:


1. Teriyaki chicken burgers

I took two boneless, skinless chicken breasts and cut both into patty shapes. Then I took the time to pound down the meat with a tenderizer to make sure that they are as even as possible for grilling. If the “patties” are too thick the outside could crisp up before the meat inside is cooked. Then I placed them in a gallon size bag with the marinade. I placed the sealed bag in a bowl in the fridge until grill-day (the longer it marinades the better it tastes).


The day- of I defrosted our hamburger buns gluten free for me and regular for Luke. When the chicken and corn on the cob goes to the grill I cut up the pineapple and prep the table. We chose to eat them simple: with fresh pineapple chunks , chicken, and provolone cheese. But you can add typical hamburger fixings such as lettuce, tomatoes, onions and/or more teriyaki sauce.

It was wonderful!!


2. Teriyaki chicken kebabs

I took the cut off pieces from the burgers and combined them with two more boneless, skinless, chicken breasts cut into kebab size pieces. Then stuck the chunks in a gallon size bag and added the marinade then placed the sealed bag in a bowl in the fridge.


The Kebab assembly is very similar to how I made my steak/beef kebabs for memorial day weekend. (See To review; I cover baking sheets with tin foil take the chicken meat out of the fridge and cut up fresh pineapple, green peppers, and onions. Then combined them on the kebab skewers and they were off to the grill!

These kebabs are great on their own but are also good with BBQ’ed corn on the cob, a light salad, or some fresh fruit.

Do you have a favorite marinade? A favorite grilled meal?

Shrimp and Avocado Salad: a light summer meal

In looking forward to warmer weather and summer activities I realized it was time to change up our dinner menu. With more sunshine and exercise it is high time to exchange the heavier oven and crock-pot meals for BBQs and salads; high in protein and veggies and low in carbs. My husband had mentioned recently that a couple times a week he wouldn’t mind getting a salad instead of a sandwich for lunch. As we talked about our favorite salad combinations I realized it was time to try out some new salads for dinner.

Which led to this: Shrimp and Avocado Salad



3-4 medium tomatoes

3 bell peppers

3 medium yellow onions

1/4 C lemon/lime juice

1/4 C olive oil

salt, pepper, garlic to taste

1 bag of precooked and shelled medium shrimp (about 24 oz)

2/3 small/medium ripe avocados

2 Cs raw baby spinach

Balsamic vinaigrette or your favorite salad dressing


1. I started with my basic pico de gallo recipe (see homemade pico de gallo).


2.  While cutting the veggies for the pico de gallo, I put the frozen bag of precooked shrimp in a medium pan with a little olive oil, butter, (about 1 TBs each) and garlic powder (about 1/2tsp).


3. Once the shrimp were defrosted and had soaked up  the oils I took them off the heat. After they cooled down (still a little warm) I carefully pulled out the tails. This didn’t take too long to do and the more I pulled the easier and quicker it became. But if you are opposed to this you can find smaller shrimp frozen where this is done for you. Then I placed the shrimp in the pico de gallo mixture and combined.



4. Next I took the ripe avocados and cut them into square slices placing all in the bowl. With avocado if you want chunks make sure that your avocado is not overripe or is may be mushy and cutting slices/chunks will be difficult. Or if you want a creamy avocado dressing to form you can stir the salad up with over ripe/mushy avocados.


Note: You can make the salad creamier to help cut the citrus by adding sour cream or greek yogurt (about 1/4 or 1/8 C) or combining overripe avocado with the cream.

5. Then I added a little more seasoning, lemon juice, and olive oil and covered the mixture with tin foil putting the bowl in the fridge to chill until dinner.

7. This combination in and of itself is a great salad, appetizer with tortilla chips, or filler for quesadillas or tacos. We chose for dinner to lay-down a bed of baby spinach, then some balsamic vinaigrette (although you can use any of your favorite dressings) and some mozzarella cheese (because we didn’t put cream in the shrimp salad mixture) then place the shrimp and avocado salad on top.


It tasted great! It was the perfect combination of sweet, savory, and creamy, with enough protein for a light but filling dinner.

So what’s your favorite salad combination?

Crock-pot Chicken Enchilada Soup

Adding to my fall favorite recipes (see fall food round up) is a new crock-pot soup recipe I’ve been working on. Much like our Lime Chili Chicken Soup (crock-pot lime chicken chili soup ) this one is inspired off of a Chili’s restaurant soup. I have always like the Chicken Enchilada soup. After awhile I start to crave the cheddary, mexican flavors. So I finally decide I’d take the challenge of creating my own, hopefully healthier version. Here are the results!


The first time I made it we were beyond excited with how it turned out. A few weeks ago we did the soup and salad deal at Chili’s and after having the Chicken Enchilada soup my husband tells me my soup is a lot better. Now I know you may think my husband has to say this, but believe it or not he is a pretty good cook himself and is more than willing to critique mine or anyone else’s food. So I will take the full complement.


3 fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 large onion, diced
2 cans green chili
1-2 small jalapeno pepper chopped

1-2 green pepper diced
2+ tablespoons cumin
2+ teaspoons chili powder

2 or more teaspoons garlic powder

1.5-2 boxes chicken broth (32 oz each)

2 small cans tomato paste (or one large one)

1 can black beans
1 cup greek yogurt
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
2 chopped chicken breasts


1. Place chicken broth, tomato paste, greek yogurt, green chili, and shredded cheese in the crock pot on high for 1 hour and add seasoning: garlic powder, chili powder, cumin and little salt. (You can use plan tomato sauce for a less thick texture.)


2. Meanwhile cut up tomatoes, onion, and green peppers (for advice on chopping veggies see homemade pico de gallo).


3. Then cut chicken breast into strips. Pan-fry them with seasoning: garlic powder, salt, and chili powder.


4. After hour on high, add the rest of the ingredients: tomato, onion, green pepper, chicken, and black beans


5. Set the crock-pot on low for 3 hours or longer


6. Add cut jalapeños depending on desired heat. I usually put them in an hour to half hour before serving. The longer the jalapenos are in the hotter the soup will be.

It is a filling and flavorful soup. One bowl usually will fill me up! You can also top it off with:  sour cream, more cheddar cheese, tortilla chips, avocado, or lime. So it’s your turn make this soup and decide for yourself it is is equal or better to the restaurant version.

And enjoy!!

Racefever and local BBQ


Last Thursday Luke and I decided instead of hitting the treadmill at the Y we would go on a walk downtown  to check out Racefever. We weren’t completely sure what Racefever was exactly celebrating.   But we know we live very close to Wakins Glen, a city on the waterfront of Seneca lake that is know for it’s racetrack. As we  walked downtown we found the source for celebration: a poster in a local storefront advertised NASCAR races being held at The Glen August 8-11.  Friday was the NASCAR Nationwide Series Qualifying and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Final Practice, Saturday was the Qualifying and Zippo 200 then Sunday was the main event: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 355.


Luke and I are not huge race-fans but in the spirit of celebrating our local community events we joined the locals crowding on the closed off Bridge St.


Starting down the street you could hear live rock music from a stage next to a rock climbing wall.  Several NASCAR cars were on display drivers sitting at booths next to them signing posters and selling t-shirts.


Alongside these racecars were vendors selling license plates, t-shirts and memorbillia from this year’s NASCAR races, as well as hot wheels and other car themed goods. At the old fashion gas station and car wash by the bridge a small classic car show was also on display. IMG_1105IMG_1111

All the usual food trucks were boasting fried everything, hamburgers, hot dogs, and sausages. Making a Racefever debut was the new BBQ joint Luke and I have been meaning to check out: Slammin’ Jammin’ Southern Smoked BBQ.


Luke and I stopped at their BBQ booth and got a sample of their meat and sauces.  Luke was satisfied with the sauce so we decided to walk a block or two over to their main storefront to get dinner.


The front windows advertise a Friday Catfish dinner, Brisket, and Ribs. We walk into the small store front and try to pick out what we want for dinner. They have all the standard sides: baked beans, coleslaw, mac n’ cheese, potato salad, pasta salad, fried, sweet potato fries and more. I ended up ordering a chop dinner ( beef brisket) with a side of coleslaw and baked beans. Luke got ribs with mac n’ cheese and potato salad.


As we waited for our food we took the chance to look around. This small restaurant boasts a simple country, casual,  but clean environment the indicates they are proud of their food and their new establishment. Newspaper articles announcing the opening of their BBQ joint are framed on both main walls. Next to the pick up window they keep piles of local business cards and a small gum-ball jar.


When our food arrived we were happily surprised the sides are portioned to indicate they are sides-not compensations for a lack of meat.  And trust me the meat portions were generous and tender. The meat  fell right off the rib bones and the spicy BBQ sauce was tangy and had a perfect kick. And I don’t want to  down play the sides: they were great on their own and definitely not a side note when prepared in the kitchen.


When we realized I had been given texas toast  Luke offered to walk to the front and asked for a corn muffin, fully prepared to pay for it. Instead he was given two warm ones right from the oven free of charge.  As we left feeling full and very happy with money well spent we said thank you to our host, who obviously is one of the owners. She asked us if it was our first time and after we said yes she voiced her disappointment that we hadn’t tried her peach cobbler.


We love to support local family-run restaurants especially when it is obvious they are passionate and proud about their food and its quality. So if you are a Corning local or just passing through and craving a great BBQ joint: please support a local business and go  or order-in from Slammin’ Jammin’ Southern Smoked BBQ joint on Pultney St.

Have you check out any local events or restaurants recently?

Crock-Pot Chicken Lime Chile Soup


Back in California, Luke and I would take daytime date-breaks from studying for our Masters (or just from life) and go to Chili’s. We loved their all-you-can-eat soup, salad, and tortilla chips. Our favorite soup was chicken lime chile. Unfortunately they stopped selling it. 😦 By that time, we were addicted to this light zesty soup.

Since then we’ve been working on our own recipe. So here is my attempt at a gluten-free crock-pot Chicken Lime Chile soup!


You will need:

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

3/4 limes

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons or more of garlic (minced, fresh or powder)

3 teaspoons or more of salt

48 oz chicken broth

8 oz canned green chilies

2 small onions

1/2 cups brown/white rice

1 cup fresh cilantro

2/3 jalapeños

1 medium avocado



1. Cut the chicken breasts into kebab size chunks or long strips.

2. Put ¼ cup olive oil and 2 to 3tbs lime juice (about 1/2 limes) in a medium unheated pan.

3. Add the chicken to the pan and season with 1tbs or more of garlic and ½ tsp salt.

4. Turn the stove to medium/ high heat and let the chicken pan-fry until brown. When brown, cut into the thickest piece to double check it that it is done.


5. While the chicken pan-fries, place the 48 oz container of chicken broth, 8 oz canned green chilies, and ¼ cup olive oil into the crock-pot.

6. Cut up the onion and 1 to 2 limes into quarters. Squeeze the juice from the lime(s) into the crockpot and drop the lime rind(s), onion, 1tbs garlic, and 2tps salt, into the crock-pot and turn on low.


7. Cut or tear the cooked chicken into small pieces. Add the chicken and any oil left in the pan into the crock-pot turning it to  high heat for an hour.



9. In the mean time, if you haven’t already, you can clean and chop up fresh cilantro -amount is up to you (I would suggest 1 cup)

10. After the hour on high, add 1 to 2 cups rice and the cilantro to the crock-pot and cook on low for another hour. Also taste the broth to see if you want to add more lime or remove the lime rinds so the soup does not become too acidic.


11. Next, after the hour on low, check to see if the rice has cooked (if not put the crock-pot on high for another half hour) then add a ½ cup of cut jalapenos and keep on low for another hour.  How long you keep jalapenos in will determine how spicy you soup is.( So you can add the jalapenos as late as 30 min. before serving.)

12. After this hour on low the soup should be done. You can keep it on low or keep warm until ready to serve. Just remember the longer it cooks after the jalapenos are in the spicier it will get.

13. When you are ready to serve, add freshly cut avocado, more lime juice, and fresh cilantro to taste for each bowl. Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!

Do you have a favorite soup or dish at a local restaurant?


A good Spring Quiche

With Easter less than a week away, I thought you might appreciate a good spring brunch recipe. This quiche requires a little prep time but it can be done hours or even a day ahead of time and left overs are great for lunches.


You will need: 

3 small onions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 cup chopped mushrooms (or more)

1 cup chopped fresh asparagus


1 (8 inch) unbaked pie shell (or make it yourself)

3/4 cup mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup parmesan

4 eggs

1/4 cup heavy cream

(you can use sour cream or cottage cheese instead-but be aware this may change the baking time)

½ cup 1% milk (or skim)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1- ½ teaspoons pepper

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1-2 tablespoons oregano

olive oil and /or cooking sherry

Preheat oven to 400 degrees then start with the crust:


*Whether you are using a pre-made/homemade crust or no crust at all (gluten-free) make sure you butter the pie pan.

Tip if you are making your own crust: Stick your pie crust dough between two pieces of parchment or wax paper then use a roller. Once it is rolled out, take the top paper off, flip the crust over the pan, peel off the other piece of paper ,and line the pan with the crust. This way you do not have to use a floured surface, your rolling pin never has to be washed, and best of all-you can reuse the parchment paper!!!


Now for the veggies:

-Heat olive oil and/or little cooking sherry in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add chopped onions; cook and stir until onions begin to brown (with sherry) or translucent (only olive oil). (The cooking sherry caramelizes the onions/mushrooms adding a sweet taste to your savory dish). Reduce the heat to medium and add the mushrooms. Continue cooking until the mushrooms are tender.


-Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Wash and trim asparagus then place them in the boiling water. Let them cook for about a minute and a half .  (If the whole stock is not submerged in the water then flip them over and repeat.)  Immediately after, drain the hot water and run under cold water to cool-let it sit on stove unheated.


-When cool, chop the asparagus into ½ to ¼ inch pieces.

After veggies are done:

– In a small bowl, whisk together the 3 eggs, heavy cream, milk, salt, pepper, garlic powder and oregano until smooth.

-Then place the onion/ mushroom mixture, and asparagus, into the bottom of the pie shell.


– Next sprinkle cheeses over the vegetables.

-After pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and cheese.


– Sprinkle the top  with more oregano and parmesan cheese.

And last of all:

-Bake uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes, or until firm and lightly browned on top.

Let cool before serving.

Want a slice?
Want a slice?

Although I am posting this right before a very typical brunch holiday- I myself make this quiche about once every 2/3 weeks (yea it’s that good).

Do you have a favorite spring dish?

I’m Stuffed!: Homemade Stuffed Bell Peppers

Stuffed Bell Peppers make for a great barley/gluten-free dinner!  I am not giving you a recipe (partly because I like to change things up and expect you would like your own variation and portions anyways). But here is how it works:

Stage one:

Cook up a pound of ground beef (I usually use 90/10 some fat= flavor) and spice it up with crushed-red peppers, minced garlic, salt and pepper.


When the ground beef needs about 5 minutes more add coarsely chopped onions adding texture and flavor.


At the same time:

Boil a combo. of vegetable stock and water (2/3 stock 1/3 water). When the mixture is boiling put in the Brown Minute Rice. After lowering the heat add some minced garlic, and let it simmer so that the flavor seeps in (risotto style).


Stage two:

Clean out the peppers (kind of like pumpkin gutting.) I usually leave some of the seeds (again for texture). Try to pick peppers that have a sturdy and wide bottom so they can stand on their own.


Stage three:

Then it’s time to mix the rice, and onion/beef mixture into a bowl and season (again). This time I usually add a little more red pepper, garlic, and oregano. The great thing about this meal versus meatloaf is that it’s all cooked before it goes in the oven. So you can taste-test your filling to see what savory seasoning you want!

Stage four:

Next is stuffing the peppers. How much of the rice/beef mixture you have and how big your peppers are determine how many stuffed peppers you get. If you have any stuffing leftover: just get a spoon out and you have a pre-dinner snack!


Stage five

Stick the peppers in the oven for 30 min. at 350. With 10 minutes left pull the peppers out and put a little parmesan and mozzarella on top. Then they quickly are back in the oven.


And . .  .


I can only eat one Luke will eat at least two and debate whether to leave the next (if there are more) for lunch the next day.

Not only is this gluten/barley free but it can also be vegetarian! Just replace the ground beef with diced mushrooms and/or lentils!

Or if you want a more Italian variety throw in some zucchini and Italian seasoning into the mixture and top it off with some tomato sauce .

If you want a different carb. how about quinoa, or polenta?

The variations are limitless.