Chicken Long Rice

One of my favorite Hawaiian dishes.  Traditionally found on all lu’au plates, Chicken Long Rice, is rich with broth containing four ingredients: the broth, chopped onion, chopped cooked chicken, and broken threads of soaked long rice.  If only I had poi, I would indeed feel I was enjoying a neighbor’s backyard lu’au table!

Even though long rice is one of the main ingredients, and because I don’t have Kalua Pork, Poi, or Lomi Salmon, I made this dish my entree tonight and served it over a bed of short-grain rice.  That means double the rice for this haole girl and so ono and satisfying it is!  I like my long rice served with plenty of broth and two kinds of onion: round onion for flavor in the broth and green onion for garnish on individual servings.

This recipe, found in my “Missouri to Maui” cookbook has a quick prep and since today I used chicken breast tenderloins, prep time was quicker by 30 minutes.  Chicken thighs are listed on my cookbook recipe and they work  well too.  Drain the chicken if using thighs, cool, remove the skin and bones and shred or chop well.

Cook your rice on the side, in your rice cooker if you have one, while the long rice dish sets and mellows for 30 minutes then spoon the long rice mixture over the rice in your bowl, garnish with snipped green onion tops and enjoy!  This dish is hearty with flavor that will remind you of homemade haole-style chicken noodle soup, and you will find that it will please your every taste bud.  Aloha!

Chicken Long Rice


1-(8 oz.) pkg. long rice
8 pieces chicken thighs
2 quarts water
2 T. salt
1-1/2 T. ginger root, grated
1 medium round onion, chopped
5 chicken bouillon cubes
1 tablespoon Hondashi
2 cans chicken broth
3 stalks green onions, chopped

Directions Soak long rice in a bowl of water for 20 minutes then cut 3-4” lengths; set aside. Place chicken in a large pot; add the water, salt, and ginger and bring to a boil. Skim off excess fat, lower heat and simmer for about 40 minutes. Remove from heat and remove chicken, reserving broth. When chicken has cooled enough, remove skin and bones and shred or chop the chicken; set aside.

To the saved broth, add the chopped onion, bouillon cubes, Hondashi and the chicken broth in saucepan. Bring to a boil and add long rice. Lower heat and cook for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and let stand for 30 minutes. Stir in chicken and heat briefly. Before serving, garnish with the green onion.

Cook’s Note: Hondashi is a Japanese seasoning.  If you can’t find it, you can use additional chicken bouillon cubes.

It’s About Love

food and loveIt IS about the love isn’t it?  Whenever I am in the kitchen using an old and treasured recipe, I am reminded of this truism.  When I prepare a recipe handed down to me from older generations, I am caught up in memories of that person, feeling their presence very much with me.  Sharing food is love multiplied and gratitude floods my soul when I see people appreciating a special dish I have made for them for it is then that I remember that  I am nourishing their souls and spirits as much as providing nourishment for their bodies.  I find this especially true with elderly folks; the memories they share about special family foods, the taste of a dish their parents or grandparents made, their own time spent happily cooking for their families when they were younger and stronger remind me of the power of love and how love provides the greatest sustenance of all.

Dell Ward’s Homemade Bread

When my sisters and I were growing up, we loved going to Ward’s Cafe with our parents to enjoy Mrs. Ward’s delectable dinners and wonderous desserts.  Mrs. Ward was well-known in our community for her  homemade dinner rolls, breads, tender flaky doughnuts, and her Wednesday night fried chicken dinners.   Her grandson, Tim Ward, graciously shared with me his Mamaw’s recipe for homemade bread for my “Missouri to Maui” cookbook and I wanted to share it with you today for it is hard to beat the aroma of fresh bread baking while anticipating then savoring that first bite.

Like many old recipes, Mrs. Ward’s recipe doesn’t specify the amount of flour to use but says only to initially “add flour until a spongy dough forms” and I used just under 2 cups at that step  then followed her recipe’s instructions to add “several” cups of flour to the yeast’s “spongy dough” mixture; I used another scant 2 cups of flour. You will have to experiment with the flour amount as you get a feel for adding enough to develop a smooth elastic dough. Today’s total of close to 4 cups produced a dough that was easy to knead and shape into two loaves.

The bread bakes up airy and light with a lightly browned crunchy crust.  You will have plenty of “in between time” while the bread rises; three times in all, and today I spent that time cleaning the yard. Wise then, to choose a day for baking this bread when you can keep yourself occupied productively in between trips to the kitchen; the waiting only increases the pleasure of bread baking! This bread today didn’t rise as high as I remember Mrs. Wards’ so I will let it rise even longer in the loaf pans next time, but, it tasted delicious and was  totally satisfactory “as is” today.  I slathered it with butter after cooling 15 minutes on a wire rack and ate two pieces standing up. =)

Mrs. Wards’s Homemade Bread


1 cup water
1 cup plus 2 tsp. milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 pkgs. rapid-rise yeast
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp. salt

Directions In saucepan, combine the water, milk and sugar. Heat to warm but not hot. Turn off heat and add the two packages of yeast. Stir to blend and let this sit until it bubbles slightly, about 5 minutes. Stir in enough flour so that the batter forms a spongy dough. Stir with a wire whisk to blend the warm mixture with the flour; cover with a paper towel; allow dough to double in size.

When dough has doubled, sift several cups of flour into a separate large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour. Add the dough that has doubled in size to the dry flour mixture. Add the oil and salt. Fold into the flour and mix well. Turn out to a floured surface or Silpat baking mat and knead well. Grease a large bowl and place kneaded dough into it and allow to double in size again. When doubled, separate into loaves and place in greased loaf pans and allow to double in size one more time. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes until nicely browned on top.

Spinach Stuffed Pasta Shells

My cousin prepared this pasta dish using the recipe in my “Missouri to Maui” cookbook and sent me a photo of the results and I wanted to make stuffed shells ever since. Today’s cloudy, cold day was perfect for preparing this rich hearty dish.  Pasta, tomato sauce, and cheese.  No way you can go wrong!

I wanted extra sauce for another use so today I made a homemade tomato sauce using crushed tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, onion, and spices.  You can also use only canned stewed tomatoes as listed in the cookbook’s recipe below.  The sauce I made today is simple  to prepare and doesn’t overwhelm the flavor of the pasta and the mild Ricotta cheese in the filling.  I had ground pork on hand so added meat to my sauce today.  Preparing the sauce and the pasta was the only prep required; i don’t count filling the pasta shells as prep because that is just way too much fun to do! Do thaw the frozen spinach before beginning, squeezing out the liquid, and by all means use blocks of Swiss and Parmesan cheeses, shredding and  grating them yourself for the best flavor.  Today I used manicotti shells and the recipe yielded 11 pieces as one of the shells tore beyond repair while boiling. Using large seashell pasta shells are also perfect for this recipe.

A simple green salad with early tender lettuce and garlic bread on the side complement this dish perfectly.  You’ll have supper ready in no time, a most satisfying and flavorful one, especially for a chilly spring evening.  Go Italian and enjoy these stuffed shells; I am sure that  your family will give you a big thumbs up!

Spinach Stuffed Pasta Shells


1-(10 oz.) box or pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 cup Ricotta cheese
1/2 cup Swiss cheese, shredded
1 T. onion, minced
3 cups canned stewed tomatoes
1-(6 oz.) box jumbo macaroni shells, uncooked
Parmesan cheese, freshly-grated for garnish

Directions Preheat oven to 375. Cook the pasta shells according to package directions; drain and set aside. In large bowl, combine the thawed spinach, Ricotta cheese, Swiss cheese, and the onion; stir until well blended. Pour 1 cup of the stewed tomatoes over bottom of a 9×13″ glass baking dish. Fill the cooked pasta shells by dividing the spinach-cheese mixture into equal parts and pushing into the tube of each the pasta shell. Pour remaining stewed tomatoes around and over the filled shells. Cover dish with foil and bake approximately 25-30 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove from oven and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

White Texas Sheet Cake

Bring your sweet tooth for this one!  This great cake, perfect for winter with its frosty cool look, is also perfect for spring with its delicate almond flavor. The simple frosting only adds to the cake’s allure. this is a sweet creamy frosting, yes indeed, so serve cut into small squares. You can substitute slivered toasted almonds or walnuts for the chopped pecans, but definitely want to add nuts for texture in the frosting. Public Service Announcement: for users of my “Missouri to Maui” cookbook, please note that the recipe, as written in the cookbook, has two typos.  The recipe should say begin with 2 cups of flour and 2 cups of sugar so e kalamai, please excuse that mistake.  The recipe is correct below.

The cake requires just a short prep yet it nets you big results.  Allow your butter-water mixture to cool slightly before adding the dry ingredients; whisk and stir well from this point so that the batter is free of lumps.  The batter is thin so don’t worry that you have made a mistake; the hot liquid thins an otherwise traditional cake batter. The thinness of the batter produces a finished almond-flavored moist cake.   Today I baked it closer to 28 minutes than 22 as my oven runs slow of late; bake it definitely  for 22 minutes, minimum, then give it more time to set and brown slightly on top.  Two great things about this true sheet cake are that what isn’t in a tall cake is definitely made up for in volume and the cake will serve 20 easily so great to take to a potluck or a picnic, and, also this cake tastes even better the next day so any leftovers are always welcome.

Cool at least 20 minutes before frosting.  Almond extract also goes into the frosting; whisk well to remove all lumps before spreading on the still-warm cake. Guaranteed, every sweet bite will remind you of soft breezes and trees ready to burst forth into glorious bloom.  Ahhhh, Happy Spring to You!

White Texas Sheet Cake


2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup water
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp. almond extract

Preheat oven to 350. In large mixing bowl, mix and stir the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Bring butter and water to boil in saucepan on stove. Add to dry ingredients and add beaten eggs, sour cream, and almond extract. Stir all until smooth; batter will be thin. Pour into a greased 15x10x1” pan (jelly roll pan) and bake for 20-22 minutes, until set and browned on top. Cool 20 minutes.

FROSTING Ingredients and Directions Prepare by melting 1/2 cup butter and 1/4 cup milk in saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add  4-1/2 cups powdered sugar and 1/2 tsp almond extract. Mix and whisk well. Fold in 1 cup chopped pecans, thoroughly blending. Spread over the slightly warm cake.