So You Didn’t Get to the Tropics This Year?- Hawaiian Chicken

This summer did not go as planned at all. My husband was forced out of his job by Obamacare, but found a new and better job before the old one ended. That in itself is a pretty big thing. But we were also supposed to be able to get out of my in-laws house by moving to where my husband’s old job had been. That didn’t happen- which was a blessing because not only would we have moved for a job that wasn’t to be, but we also would have been trapped in Estes Park when the recent devastating flooding occurred. So it was a disappointment to not get to move, but it was also a major instance of God watching over our family. So then we were supposed to be able to move out of my in-laws house because of this great new job. Well that didn’t happen either. Our minivan ate every penny of our money that wasn’t earmarked for necessary bills (like rent, phone, etc) over the entire summer. Also, the oven broke at the beginning of the summer and the in-laws refused (and continue to refuse) to fix it or let us fix it & take it out of our rent. Then there’s the whole issue of the flooding of my home town as well as parts of the city we live in now. That was very stressful and disrupted many lives in our area. I’m thinking my Summer Sucks series was a pretty good idea at this point; it’s one of the only things that gave me something fun to occupy my time when not doing what needed to be done.

I said all of that to say this: If your summer didn’t go as planned and/or wasn’t the fun time you imagined, I completely understand and sympathize with you. I was trying to come up with something to post this week and was coming up rather empty since it’s still fairly warm for now. I didn’t want to do a soup or stew quite yet, and casseroles or baked goods are out until I have an oven once again. But we had Hawaiian chicken a few nights ago and I thought that would be a great one for those who want a new idea for grilling out (which we do year round here in Colorado- rain, snow, or shine. We just set things up in a somewhat protected spot if conditions aren’t ideal) and maybe want to have one last “summer” hurrah. Maybe there’s someone out there who had a trip to the tropics planned that fell through during this very disrupted summer. If so, maybe this will make you feel a little better 🙂

The recipe came from this blog and is pretty good as is. But I knew it wasn’t as good as it could be so I played with it a bit. The changes I made turned this into an AWESOME chicken marinade! I halved the coconut milk, used pineapple juice instead of water (apple juice works really well too), I use regular soy sauce- but only one cup instead of 2, and I add several whole, smashed garlic cloves instead of a couple of minced cloves. One of the things I stuck with from the original recipe though is using chicken thighs. I don’t normally use boneless, skinless thighs because of all the fatty and sinewy bits- yuck! But I tried this recipe with boneless, skinless breasts and it was truly lackluster. But with the thighs it’s an incredible chicken dish! I just work around the bits I don’t like 🙂

As I didn’t decide to post this until we were getting ready to cook it, I don’t have an ingredient picture. I am bad about that, aren’t I? I do apologize. Life happens. Often. So please bear with me. I like to think I make it up with wonderful food, clear instruction, and a little snark for good measure. But I do have to admit; aside from the individual liquid ingredients, you do get a pretty clear picture of what goes in…


You can see the two kinds of onions, the garlic, and the chicken. And let me tell you that this smells fantastic! Don’t let the amount of onions deter you if you aren’t terribly keen on them. Use the full amount anyway. The onion flavor is not over powering and leaving them out ruins the marinade. I know- I tried to leave them out once when I had no green onions and only a tiny bit of white onion left and a grocery trip was still days away. I regretted it and so did my hungry family!

As I mentioned here, you should never try to cook super cold meat in a pan or on the grill (such as right out of the fridge). So about half an hour before you plan on cooking this chicken you should set it out- covered- on the counter.

I was all set to show you a beautiful picture of the chicken cooking over the fire… then the wind picked up and brought rain. Yes- I realize I just said that here in Colorado we grill RAIN or shine. But if you will notice, I left out the word WIND. Grilling in the wind in an exercise in futility. So only the first few ended up being cooked over the fire. They are the ones in the back in this picture of a beautiful; plate of incredibly tasty meat…


A note on pan-frying this chicken: Because of the sugar in the marinade, these will make a mess of whatever pan you cook them in. They only need about 4 minutes on each side on medium high (for my stove- yours may vary) but the pan looked awful! I do have a trick to take care of the pan in such an event though! Remove the food to a plate or serving dish, turn off the burner, and, while the pan is still VERY hot, pour water into it. You can take it to the sink & use the faucet or you can have water standing by the stove. Doesn’t matter. The water will “deglaze” the pan. Only in this instance you aren’t getting the tasty bits off the bottom to put into a sauce. Instead you are getting the cooked on nastiness to come off without using a scrubby and damaging your elbow! After you put the water in the pan scrape the bottom with a spatula. If the gunk lifts easily you can wash the pan whenever you like. If not, just let the pan sit & soak for awhile then try again.

So if- like me- your summer brought none of the things you expected but lots of things you didn’t, maybe this chicken served with some fried rice and a tiki drink will transport you to someplace a little more fun!

The Recipe:

2 Lbs. Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs, frozen OR thawed (Fresh)

1 Bunch Green Onions, roughly chopped (a “bunch” at the stores I shop at is usually about 6-8)

1/2 Large Onion, any color, sliced

8 Cloves Garlic, smashed

3/4 C Brown Sugar

1 C Soy Sauce

1 C Pineapple Juice (apple juice or water will work fine too)

1/2 of a Can Of Coconut Milk (I use half of a 13.5 ounce can and just freeze the other half for later. Usually I make more Hawaiian marinade out of it but it’s good for lots of other things too!)

The Method:

*Layer the chicken & vegetables into an adequate pan or a ziptop bag. Make sure the chicken has lots of contact with the vegetables.

*Mix the remaining ingredients and pour into the pan or bag.

*Let marinate in the fridge for AT LEAST 24 hours. I usually let mine sit for 2-3 days.

*If using frozen chicken, start timing marination from when the chicken is about half thawed.

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