Dinners

Recipe—Grilled Hawaiian Sticky Chicken & Pineapple

Grilled Hawaiian Chicken & Pineapple

Aloha! Summer is coming to a close and most vacations are currently on hold. So if you can’t get to a tropical island, then let’s bring the island life to you!

Back in April when we were about a month into sheltering in place at home, my family and I came up with an idea to do a weekly family theme night. We were doing them every Friday just so we had something fun to look forward to at the end of the week. The first one we did was a Tropical Beach Party. The primary focus of our theme nights was our menu but we found lots of other fun details to incorporate. We ended up watching Lilo and Stitch while sprawled out on beach towels on our living room floor.

For this specific dinner I made my Grilled Hawaiian Sticky Chicken and Pineapple. It was so good! The key is definitely marinating the chicken for the entire day to really let all those flavors soak into the meat. You get this delicious combination of salty, sweet, and smoky. Cooking it low and slow on the grill gives the chicken and pineapple a nice caramelized exterior and then you brush them with honey at the end so you end up with this sweet sticky exterior that brings out so much flavor. The pineapple manages to get even sweeter and even picks up a bit of a smoky flavor from the grill. My mouth is literally watering just thinking about it. I served it up with some of my Tropical Macadamia Nut Ricewhich is packed with island flavors of toasted coconut and macadamia nuts. If you really want to take this meal to the next level then break out the blender and try my Best Ever Piña Coladas. So, for now, home may not be as good as Hawaii but at least with this meal, the only thing you will be missing is the sand between your toes.

Grilled Hawaiian Chicken & Pineapple

Note: The trick with grilling this recipe to is to do it over a lower indirect heat and making sure not to have it directly over the heat source. The glaze can easily burn if you try and cook it hot and fast. If you are not the grilling type then you can absolutely cook it in a pan on the stove top.

INGREDIENTS
4 chicken breasts
1/4 c pineapple juice
1/4 c soy sauce
1/4 c brown sugar
3 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
fresh pineapple, cut into long spears
1/4 c honey
green onions, chopped

STEPS

  • In a small bowl whisk together the pineapple juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, ketchup, garlic, and olive oil.
  • Place the chicken and marinade in a large Ziploc bag and mix to ensure all the chicken breasts get covered with the marinade.
  • Marinade in the refrigerator for 2–24 hours.
    About 30 minutes before cooking, remove the marinated chicken from the bag and place in a shallow dish. Allow the chicken to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes before grilling.
  • Preheat the grill to 350º.
  • Add the chicken to the grill making sure you cook it over indirect heat. (See above note.)
  • Cook the chicken for 7–10 minutes per side or until the internal temperature reaches 160º.
  • During the last 10 minutes of the chicken cooking, add the pineapple spears to the grill also making sure to cook it over indirect heat.
  • Turn the pineapple every 2–3 minutes making sure to get some nice grill marks on them.
  • When the chicken and pineapple are done, transfer them to a serving dish and lightly brush with the honey, and sprinkle with the green onions.
Beverages

Recipe—Strawberry Sangria

Recipe—Strawberry Sangria

We have had a hot streak out here in California with every day last week being over 100º and being that it is strawberry season I figured it was time to whip up a batch of refreshing sangria using some of my favorite seasonal fruit! This sangria is so perfect for sipping on in this summer sun. It is light, refreshing, and ridiculously easy to make! You just stir together a bottle of wine, some silver rum, a little sugar, and a splash seltzer. You can certainly make it and drink it right away but I like to let mine sit in the fridge for about an hour so that the wine really takes on those strawberry flavors. Mmmm…mmm… tastes like summer in a glass!Recipe—Strawberry Sangria

And if you like this recipe then be sure to also check out my Red Wine Sangria or Summertime White Sangria.

Notes: 

  • If you are watching your carbs or don’t like drinks that are too sweet, feel free to leave out the sugar all together. I made it that way the other day and it was still delicious! You get lots of natural sweetness from the fruity wine and fresh strawberries.
  • For the white wine I used Pomelo’s sauvignon blanc (one of my favorite summer wines). It has a nice refreshing grapefruit flavor. Anything with citrus notes will give you wonderful results. I recommend using a pinot grigio, rosé, or sauvignon blanc for this recipe. Something fruity and light.

INGREDIENTS
750 ml bottle of sauvignon blanc (see above note)
1/3 c silver rum
1/4 c sugar
1 lemon, sliced
2 c fresh strawberries, sliced
1 1/2 c seltzer

STEPS

  • Pour the wine, rum, and sugar into a large pitcher.
  • Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Add the sliced lemons and strawberries to the pitcher and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • Add the seltzer right before serving.
  • Pour over ice and enjoy!

 

Sweet Treats

Recipe—Peach Mousse

Peach Mousse
A couple of weeks ago, I did my first ever live cooking demo on Instagram. I shared my recipes for a delicious Italian Chicken Dinner and easy Cannoli Dip. This cooking demo was part of a summer event series hosted by Sac State UNIQUE Programs. They typically host local bands for their Nooners (noon-time events), so I was really excited to share a couple of recipes! UNIQUE Programs also had Carly Preston of Adventures In Yum do a live cooking demo at the beginning of July. Carly and I thought it would be fun to partner up as guest bloggers for a little recipe swap since we both have so many amazing recipes to share with our followers. She has been posting recipes since summer of 2019 and she has a lot of great posts on her site, especially desserts! Seriously, she is the dessert queen! Make sure you go check out Adventures In Yum!

Today she is sharing with you all her recipe for Peach Mousse. Look at how beautiful and fluffy it looks! And you know I am all about using seasonal produce and since it is stone fruit season this seems perfect! Just add a refreshing drink like my Summertime White Sangria and enjoy the refreshing flavors of summer.

I present to you, a recipe for Peach Mousse from Adventures In Yum!

Peach Mousse

Happy Stone Fruit Season! With peaches, nectarines, and plums being plentiful during this time of year, I love to create at least a couple of fun desserts every year with these flavorful summer fruits.

Peaches are one of my go-to summer fruits when making desserts. When I think about them, I always think of peach cobbler. Last year I made a couple of yummy treats inspired by this classic dessert, so if you love peach cobbler, I highly recommend checking out my Peach Cobbler Cupcakes and my Boozy Peach Cobbler Milkshakes. Both will give you the flavors of peach cobbler, but in fun and different ways.

When thinking about what peach dessert to make this year, I wanted to make something that was very light. An airy, no-bake dessert is the perfect treat for this time of year! The result? My peach mousse! I first tested this recipe last year when I decided to make a peach cobbler inspired dessert in the shape of a peach. The mousse was the outermost layer of the peach, and it offered a lighter texture compared to the “peach pit” made of peach curd and peach compote. All three layers of peach plus the streusel topping “gravel” gave all the flavor of a peach cobbler, but in a light and refreshing take on the traditional dessert.

Finishing this yummy mousse with a dollop of whipped cream and/or some crunchy streusel topping is a great way to add a delicious depth of flavor and a great textural component. The flavors will remind you of peach cobbler, but the components will result in a lovely, light treat.

Peach Mousse

INGREDIENTS
1/2 c cool water
2 packets of unflavored gelatin
1 c heavy whipping cream
1/4 c granulated sugar
2 c peach purée
4 egg whites
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

OPTIONAL GARNISHES
Whipped cream
Streusel Topping (Found in my Peach Cobbler Cupcakes post)

STEPS

  • To a small microwave-safe bowl, add a 1/2 cup water and then sprinkle the 2 packets of powdered gelatin over the top.
  • Briefly mix together and set aside for 5 minutes to allow the gelatin to bloom, and prep the rest of your ingredients and equipment.
  • Next, place the gelatin in the microwave and heat for 15–30 seconds, until all the gelatin has melted. Set aside to work on the rest of the components.
  • To a stand mixer bowl, add the 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and 4 egg whites.
  • Using a wire whisk, whisk these ingredients by hand and then place the bowl over a medium saucepan containing simmering water.
  • Constantly whip this mixture until all of the sugar dissolves and reaches a temperature of 140°F on a thermometer. (This will pasteurize the egg whites so that they are safe for consumption.)
  • Remove the bowl from the stove, place it in the stand mixer, and whip on medium until it achieves medium peaks.
  • While the meringue whips, add the remaining 1/4 cup of granulated sugar and 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream to a medium mixing bowl whisk either by hand or with a hand mixer until you reach medium peaks.
  • In a large mixing bowl, stir together the peach puree and melted gelatin.
  • Next, fold the whipped cream into the mixture.
  • And finally, gently fold the meringue into the mixture. Fill your favorite serving glasses with the peach mousse and let it set for at least an hour.
  • The peach mousse is set and ready to serve!
  • Optional toppings include a nice dollop of whipped cream and/or a sprinkle of crunchy streusel topping.

Thank you so much for checking out this recipe! I hope you enjoy it as much as my taste-testers and I did!

Dinners, Sweet Treats, Uncategorized

The Diva is Going Live!

I have some very exciting news to share with all of you! Coming up on Wednesday, August 5 at 12:00 pm PST I will be doing my first ever cooking demo on Instagram Live as part of Sacramento State UNIQUE Programs’ summer virtual programming series. I would love for you to join me! This will be a completely FREE virtual event where you can tune in on Instagram and learn how to make an Italian Chicken Dinner and Cannoli Dip. That’s right, essentially a completely free one-hour cooking class! First thing is first though, go follow me on Instagram so you don’t miss out!

Diva di Cucina Cooking Demo

When UNIQUE Programs approached me about doing a cooking demo earlier this summer it was a no brainier. This is something I have always wanted to do so this offer was the push I needed to finally commit to a live cooking demonstration. Not gonna lie, I am pretty nervous but I am super excited to share a couple of my favorite recipes with everyone.

UNIQUE Programs is all about bringing innovative quality entertainment to the campus community at Sacramento State but with their events now being virtual they are able to expand their audience to a global level. How awesome is that!? Speaking of awesome, what do you think of these digital graphics their design team created to market the event? I love them! It was so funny to see me and my dishes illustrated.

The Italian Chicken dinner I will be making is one of my favorite go to recipes. It is super quick, easy, healthy, delicious and also so importantly, affordable! I am talking a delicious gourmet meal that can feed four for under $20! (That is assuming you have the pantry essentials such as olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and seasonings.) I know dinner parties are on hold but this is a great dish to make for guests once we are back to socializing or even for yourself if you want to meal prep for the week. You literally throw it all in the pan and bake it leaving you free to entertain guests, or in my case, make a dessert!

Italian Chicken Dinner

When selecting what dessert to make for you, I knew I wanted to stick with the Italian theme so I am taking my love for cannolis and my love for dessert dips and we will be making a Cannoli Dip! That’s right, a delicious creamy sweet dip with waffle cones for dipping! You know I had to put my own twist on things. This will literally take a couple of minutes to make and is so fun to eat.

Cannoli Dip

There will be no cooking show foolery here, I will be cooking in real time so you can make both these dishes right along with me! Below you can find ingredient lists for the Italian Chicken Dinner and Cannoli Dip in case you want to get all the ingredients ahead of time. If you are at work or unable to cook live with me that is absolutely okay too! Just tune in and be entertained and get some tips for when you want to make these awesome dishes another time!

I really want to connect with my followers in a more personal way so I truly hope you will tune in on Wednesday to join me in my first ever Instagram Live Cooking Demo. At the very least pop in and say hello! Make sure you go follow me on Instagram if you don’t already so you get a notification reminder that day when I go live. I look forward to chatting with you all and answering any questions you may have as we spend an hour together! See you then! Ciao!

Diva di Cucina Cooking Demo

Diva di Cucina Cooking Demo

 

Beverages

Recipe—Best Ever Piña Coladas

Recipe—Best Ever Piña Coladas

Back in April I posted some ideas for a family theme night to help liven up life at home during the quarantine. One of the first theme nights that we did was a Tropical Beach Party. Of course, no beach party is complete without a tropical drink of some sort. I made these amazing piña coladas and they were so easy! (A virgin one for the kiddo of course!) For a brief moment I was able to kick up my feet, close my eyes, sip my piña colada, and pretend I was on an island far far away.

What sets these apart from a lot of other piña colada recipes is, in lieu of some of the ice, I used frozen pineapple chunks. This keeps them thick and frosty while giving them a nice creamy texture and keeps them from getting as watered down as they melt. With only a couple of months left of summer, it is time for you to get out the blender, and whip yourself up a batch of these delicious piña coladas!

Notes: This recipe makes 3–4 drinks. For a little extra kick, pour a floater of Malibu Rum over the top. For a virgin/nonalcoholic option, just replace the alcohol with extra pineapple juice. You can find bags of frozen pineapple chunks in the frozen fruit section of your grocery store.

INGREDIENTS
3 c ice
1 cup pineapple chunks, frozen
4 oz pineapple juice
4 oz coconut cream
3 oz white rum
2 oz dark rum

GARNISHES (OPTIONAL)
shredded coconut
pineapple slices
maraschino cherries

STEPS

  • Put all the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. Add extra pineapple juice if needed.
  • Pour into a glass and garnish with the shredded coconut, a pineapple slice, and maraschino cherry.
Salads, Side Dishes

Recipe—Summertime Marinated Tomatoes

Summertime Marinated Tomatoes

Summertime means my garden is going nuts and producing more tomatoes than we can get through in a day. No joke. I am sometimes getting 4–5 huge ripe tomatoes a day! I love it! You just can’t beat the smell and flavor of a tomato that has been able to fully ripen on the vine. Even if you go to the grocery store or farmers market, the smell of fresh tomatoes wafts through the air. That is the smell of summer!

The other day I was looking at a pile of 10–12 tomatoes on the counter that needed to be eaten within the day and I knew just what to do with them. Marinade them! The marinade for this recipe is out of this world! The red wine vinegar really brings out the flavors of the tomatoes and then you get all these great flavors from the fresh herbs and garlic. I mean seriously, just look at that layer of herbs over the top of the tomatoes!

Summertime Marinated Tomatoes

These make for a great side dish with some grilled meat or even as a salad. I served it with some garlic bread and it was so good to soak up all those yummy tomato juices, olive oil, and vinegar with the bread. This recipe is for sure a summertime staple as it is so easy to make and I am all about cooking with what is in season.

Notes:

  • The key to this recipe is making sure to marinade the tomatoes at room temperature for at the very least 2 hours. You MUST let them marinade! The tomatoes need time to soak up all the red wine and herb flavors.
  • Do not refrigerate as the texture and natural flavor of the tomatoes will change.
  • Consume within 6–8 hours of marinating.
  • If you want to prepare in advance, just make the marinade ahead of time and store in a jar in your refrigerator until 3 hours before you plan to serve. Then pour the chilled marinade over the tomatoes.

INGREDIENTS
5 or 6 extra-large tomatoes, cut into 1/2″ slices
2/3 c extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 c red wine vinegar
4 tbsp red onion, minced
2 tbsp garlic, minced
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
2 tbsp basil, chopped
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

STEPS

  • Arrange the sliced tomatoes in a shallow serving dish.
  • Combine all the remaining ingredients and mix to combine.
  • Pour the marinade over the tomatoes.
  • Cover the dish with a lid or saran wrap.
  • Allow the tomatoes to rest/marinade at room temperature for 2–3 hours.
  • Enjoy!
Beverages

Recipe— Knock You Off Your Saddle Lemonade

Knock You Off Your Saddle LemonadeA couple of weeks ago for my Family Theme Night—Country Hoedown I mentioned that I made a big pitcher of Knock You Off Your Saddle Lemonade. It was exactly what I needed at the end of the week. This grown-up version of lemonade has a little hint of ginger, the perfect amount of bubbles, and then of course a nice vodka kick. It was so refreshing! It makes a generous amount so I actually ended up delivering mason jars to the doorsteps of some of my favorite local moms on that Friday night. Pretty sure we all needed it and I may or may not have had a few glasses myself that night as well.

Since the recipe makes a whole pitcher, it is perfect to sip on throughout a warm summer day in the garden or by the pool, or to serve up at your next BBQ.

Note: If you want to make this ahead of time, combine the ginger water, lemonade, and vodka in advance but hold off on adding the ginger ale, sliced lemons, and ice to the pitcher until right before serving. You don’t want it getting watered down or for your ginger ale to go flat.

INGREDIENTS
small piece of fresh ginger (about 2″ in length), peeled and thinly sliced
2 c water
1 can (12 oz) of frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
4 1/2 c ginger ale
1 1/2 c vodka
lemon slices
ice

STEPS

  • Put the sliced ginger and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Cover the saucepan and remove from heat.
  • Allow the water and ginger to steep for 30–45 minutes.
  • Remove the ginger and set the ginger flavored water aside.
  • In a large pitcher, combine the ginger water, lemonade concentrate, ginger ale, and vodka and stir well.
  • Add in the lemon slices and a generous amount of ice.
  • Serve and enjoy!
Beverages

Recipe—Dalgona Coffee

Dalgona Coffee

Unless you have been living under a rock these past few weeks, you may have seen posts about Dalgona Coffee, the viral coffee drink popping up all over the internet. Dalgona Coffee is a whipped coffee drink that started in Korea and has taken the internet by storm. After seeing the beautiful drink posted to my friend’s social media I knew I had to give it a try. After all, it has been about 5 weeks since my last Starbucks drink so I have just been drinking the good ol’ drip and this looked like something I could pull off at home relatively quickly and easily.

You essentially just whip together instant coffee, sugar, and hot water until it becomes a beautiful fluffy little cloud of sweetened coffee and put that over some iced milk. While most of the recipes call for instant coffee I am a girl who likes REALLY dark and bold coffee so I went with instant espresso instead. It’s the Italian in me! Let me just say, it gave me perfect little mid-day jolt I needed.

Note: The total time to prepare is about 3 minutes. Way quicker than if I got my espresso machine out and fired it up.

Instant Coffee

INGREDIENTS
2 tbsp instant coffee or espresso
1–2 tbsp sugar (depends how sweet you like it)
2 tbsp hot water
milk (or milk substitute of choice)
ice
cinnamon or sweetened cocoa to sprinkle on top (optional)

STEPS

  • In a mixing bowl, combine the instant coffee or espresso, sugar, and water.
  • Using a stand-up mixer or hand mixer on medium speed, beat together until it is nice and fluffy and holds some shape. (Took me about 3 minutes.)
  • Fill a glass about half way up with ice and milk.
  • Add the whipped coffee to the glass and finish with some cinnamon or sweetened cocoa.
  • Sip and recharge.

 

 

Salads

Recipe—Panzanella Salad

Panzanella Salad

Panzanella salad is essentially just an Italian tomato and bread salad. This is one of my all-time favorite summertime dishes. It is so easy and comes together in minutes. You can make this with pretty much any tomatoes, just make sure they are juicy and ripe. Heirloom are always a good safe bet. Traditional panzanella salads don’t have mozzarella but I am a girl who LOVES her cheese. Call me a rebel. This salad is all about taking simple ingredients and bringing them together to create a fresh and flavorful dish perfect for those warm spring and summer nights out on the patio.

Note: This salad pairs perfectly with grilled steak and some red wine. My favorite is the Rombauer Vineyards Barbera. 

INGREDIENTS

4 c tomatoes, chopped
1/2 c fresh basil, chopped
1/4 c shallots, thinly sliced
8 oz mini mozzarella balls
4 tbsp butter
1 tsp garlic, minced
4 c sour dough bread, cut into cubes
1 tbsp olive oil
balsamic glaze
salt and pepper

STEPS

  • Place your chopped tomatoes, basil, shallots, and mozzarella balls in a large bowl.
  • Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat and add garlic cooking until the garlic is nice and fragrant.
  • Add the bread cubes to the skillet and toss to coat in the melted garlic butter.
  • Toast the bread cubes on all sides until they are golden and crispy on the outside.
  • Add the toasted bread cubes to the bowl.
  • Toss the “salad” and season with salt and pepper.
  • Drizzle with a little extra olive oil and finish with some balsamic glaze.
  • Serve and enjoy!
Dinners

Recipe—Ground Pork Tacos with Corn Salsa & Cilantro Lime Crema

Okay, here we go, first recipe post of 2020! I feel like it should be something super extreme and mind blowing since you have all been waiting for so long but here we are in the middle of a pandemic and that just seems unrealistic. How are you all doing? Are you cooking at home more than ever? I know I am. I’m trying to use this as an opportunity to eat at home more and save some moolah.

These pork tacos were one of the first meals I made when we went into official “lock down” a couple of weeks ago. When all this really started I did an inventory of what we had in our box freezer and noticed we had TONS of ground pork so I wanted to do something different with that. Ground pork is just not a typical protein to cook with since it has such a different flavor compared to ground beef or ground turkey.

Not to go tooting my own horn or anything, buuuuuut these turned out so freaking good! There are so many great flavors wrapped up in the tortilla. You have the sweet corn salsa, the tangy cilantro lime crema, and then the savory pork cooked in a tomato sauce that has a nice little kick to it thanks to the jalapeño. Nothing too crazy heat wise, my ten-year-old chowed down on them. If you are looking to spice up your typical “Taco Tuesday” give these a try.

Hang in there folks! We are all in this together! Huge virtual hugs (and more recipes) coming your way! xoxox—Diva di Cucina

INGREDIENTS FOR THE CORN SALSA
1 tbsp olive oil
15.25 oz canned corn
2 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
1/3 c cilantro, chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tbsp lime juice
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

INGREDIENTS FOR THE CILANTRO LIME CREMA
1/3 c sour cream
2 tsp lime juice
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp water

INGREDIENTS FOR THE PORK
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground pork
1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
1/4 c red onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp garlic, minced
6 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp cumin
1/3 c water
salt and pepper

OTHER INGREDIENTS
tortillas (I loved these with white corn tortillas)
cotija cheese
cilantro, chopped

STEPS FOR CORN SALSA

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in large skillet over medium high heat and add the corn.
  • Cook the corn for about 5 minutes stirring every minute or so.
  • Transfer the corn to a medium sized bowl and add the remaining corn salsa ingredients.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Stir and set aside.

STEPS FOR THE CILANTRO LIME CREMA

  • In a small bowl, whisk together all the cilantro lime crema ingredients and set aside.

STEPS FOR THE PORK

  • Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan the corn was cooked in and turn up to medium-high heat.
  • Add the pork to the skillet and break apart using a spatula.
  • Once the pork has started to brown, add in the jalapeño, red onion, and garlic.
  • Continue to cook until the pork is all brown and cooked through and the onion and peppers are tender.
  • Mix in the tomato paste, cumin, and water and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cook for another 2–3 minutes allowing the sauce to thicken up.

TACO ASSEMBLY

  • Warm up your tortillas and top each one with a scoop of the meat, a scoop of the corn salsa, a drizzle of the cream, some cotija cheese crumbles on top, and finish it off with a sprinkling of cilantro.

Enjoy!