Easy Island-Inspired Recipes

Easy Island-inspired Recipes

Are you missing those warm summer days? The cooler weather makes many of us long for the summertime sun – and all the fresh fruit and wonderful food that goes with it – but these Caribbean-inspired dishes are an easy way to bring a little bit of summer back into your chilly winter day. These dishes are easy and inexpensive to make and I make them quite often myself. If fresh fruit is not available, use canned or frozen.

Caribbean fruit salad with coconut

  • 1 papaya
  • 1 mango
  • 1 orange
  • 1 kiwi
  • 1 cup of strawberries
  • 1/2 cup of coconut flakes
  • Juice of 1 lime

Peel fruit, except strawberries. Break orange into wedges, slice strawberries and cut papaya, mango and kiwi into bite-sized pieces. (Here’s some awesome spiralizers to use!)

Place fruit in salad bowl, squirt liberally with lime and toss. Sprinkle coconut flakes on top and serve.

Boiled-in-beer rice

Saute carrots, onion and celery in olive oil in skillet until soft. Add rice, salt and pepper and continue sauteing until rice turns opaque – about three minutes. Slowly add water and beer and stir. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes until all liquid is absorbed.

Orange-Pineapple chicken

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 orange, cut in half
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh pineapple (canned or fresh.. open with can opener or use pineapple corer)
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic (Here are some great garlic presses for you!)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Place chicken in roasting pan (or use the best roaster oven). Rub oil over chicken then gently massage crushed garlic over skin. Salt and pepper inside and out of chicken. Stuff cavity of chicken with one half of the orange and as much pineapple as will fit. Remaining fruit can be arranged around chicken. Extract juice from other half of orange and blend the juice with 1/2 cup of pineapple juice. Pour over chicken and into roasting pan. Tent aluminum foil over chicken, being careful not to let foil touch skin. Cook covered in 350-degree oven for at least one and a half hours. Remove foil and allow skin to brown for about another 20 minutes to 1/2 an hour. Make sure chicken registers 180-degrees with a meat thermometer before removing from oven. This chicken may also be cooked on the grill, but omit roasting pan and use foil instead.

Recommended reading: 25 gadgets that make healthy cooking easy.

Papaya shake

Cool and refreshing, this easy drink is the perfect end to a hot summer’s day. Papaya is full of vitamins A, B and C and also contains a healthy dose of fiber, calcium and phosphorous. So sip this shake knowing your body will thank you for it.

  • 2 cups of fresh, chopped papaya
  • 1/2 cup of sugar dissolved in 1/2 cup of boiling water
  • 1 cups of cold, whole milk**
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of crushed ice from your ice maker

Mix all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth and creamy. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint if desired. Serves about six.

* Canned papaya in syrup may be used, but additional sugar should be omitted.
** Traditionally, evaporated canned milk, with its uniquely rich flavor, is used in this recipe, but fresh whole milk may be used in its place.

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