I cook a lot. Food-related tasks probably take more of my time than anything else I do. From planning and shopping, to cooking, it’s a big job. I’m always looking for ways to streamline the process. (More on how I streamline the menu planning, shopping and meal prep in a later post.)
Seeking recipes that are quick and easy to put together is an ongoing process for me. Finding recipes that are budget friendly — without sacrificing taste or resorting to using sub-par ingredients or methods — adds to the challenge. I especially seek prep-ahead crowd-pleasers that facilitate hospitality, rather than stifle it. This is a lesson I learned early on…. It’s no fun for anyone when the hostess spends the entire time in the kitchen, cooking, and barely has time to interact with guests. I want meals that can be mostly ready before guests arrive.
This is one such meal. We can make it year-round here in sunny Southern California. It’s ideal for a hot summer day, because it keeps the heat of cooking out of the house. If I’m serving this to guests, I usually make a big green salad to accompany it, simply because I can make that ahead and it holds up well. I regularly serve it with broccoli or zucchini if it’s just our family.
[recipe title=”Hawaiian Grilled Chicken” servings=12 difficulty=”easy”]
- 3 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs (This is very important! Do NOT use chicken breasts. They will not yield the same moist, tender result.)
- 2 cups low sodium soy sauce
- 2 cups water
- 1½ cups brown sugar
- 1 bunch of green onions, chopped
- ¼ cup chopped white onion
- ½ tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 (13.5oz) can coconut milk
Remove visible fat from chicken thighs. Mix the rest of the ingredients together and combine with chicken thighs in a large bowl. Marinate chicken for at least 8 hours or overnight.
Grill chicken for 5-7 minutes per side (or until done) at a low heat so that the marinade does not burn.
Garnish with chopped green onion, if desired.
Serve with Coconut Rice.
[recipe title=”Coconut Rice” difficulty=”easy”]
- 1 (13.5) oz can coconut milk
- 1¼ cups water
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 1½ cups uncooked rice (I use Calrose rice. The original recipe called for Jasmine rice.)
In a saucepan, combine first four ingredients. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in rice. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 18-20 minutes, until rice is tender.
When I make this for our family, I use 6 pounds of chicken, but use the same amount of marinade. From my experience, I think you could halve the marinade and still use 3 pounds of chicken.
Everyone loves this, so there aren’t usually any leftovers. The few times that there were, I found that the chicken reheated well, whether refrigerated or frozen.
For the rice: I have a wonderful rice cooker. I usually just adjust the amounts to fit the volume of my rice cooker and walk away. I have made it on the stove top a few times, and it works well that way too.