#homemade Spicy chipotle chicken and a green bean salad w/pickled red onions & fried almonds. || recipe on www.ellekae.com 🍴 

Brussels Sprouts, Radicchio and Chorizo Sautéed Salad

If you think you don’t like brussels sprouts, let me just say once again that you don’t know better.


3 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 onion, sliced

1 lb brussels sprouts, cleaned, ends trimmed, quartered

6 oz chorizo, thinly sliced or out of casing depending on brand

1 head radicchio, trimmed and sliced

salt & pepper

1/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

-Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium- high heat.  Cook the onion until it starts to soften, about 2 minutes.  Add chorizo and saute 2 minutes or until browned.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.

-Add brussels sprouts and stir to mix all the ingredients together.  Cook until brussels sprouts start to wilt, 2 to 3 minutes.  Stir again and add radicchio, cook for 2 minutes.  Stir in 1/4 cup broth.  Cover and cook 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally and adding more broth if salad dries out.  When the brussels sprouts are soft, remove from heat. 

-Season salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar.  Serve as a side, or over grilled bread.


Spicy Tahini Chicken


1/2 lb chicken breast tenders

canola oil

salt & pepper

1/2 cup tahini

1 tbsp greek yogurt

1 1/2 tsp sambal chile paste

1/2 tsp honey

1/2 tsp shoyu (soy sauce)

1 tbsp lime juice

-Liberally season both sides of the chicken with salt & pepper.  Heat canola oil in a skillet on high.  Brown each side— approx 3 minutes each.

-Turn heat to low and cover until chicken is fully cooked— depends on thickness.

-Stir tahini, yogurt, chile paste, honey, shoyu and lime juice.  After allowing the chicken to rest after cooking, chop and toss with tahini mixture.

Grilled Balsamic Chicken

Sweet and moist…. pause.


4 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup balsamic vinegar

dash dried rosemary

2 tbsp agave nectar or honey

2 tbsp evoo

salt & pepper

2-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, depending on size

-Stir it up stir it up, place marinade in a ziploc bag.

-Slice a few tiny incisions in chicken breasts so they absorb the marinate to full potential, then place in marinade bag.  Allow to marinate in fridge overnight.

-Grill the chicken until done (again, depending on size) trying to only flip once.  Baste with marinade once or twice as you see fit.

-After grilling, allow chicken to rest before cutting and serving to maintain juices.


Soba Noodle Vegetable Salad with Sesame Ginger Vinaigrette

Soba noodles are healthy noodles made of buckwheat flour, served cold usually with dipping sauce.  Soba noodles have twice the amount of proteins found in rice and are made of complex carbs, so they will help to sustain your bodies energy throughout the day.  This soba vegetable salad comes together quickly and is a really good make-ahead dish for meal prep.


2 bundles soba noodles

1 lb asparagus spears, cut diagonally into 1 inch pieces

1 cup matchstick carrots

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1 tbsp oil

dash furikake

*Sesame Ginger Vinaigrette:

1 tbsp hot chili sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp grated fresh ginger

3/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1/2 cup shoyu (soy sauce)

2 tbsp agave nectar or honey

1/4 cup water

-Whisk together all vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl and set aside

-Bring a pot of water to boil, then add noodles according to package instructions.  Drain, rinse with cold water to stop cooking, and drain again.

-Heat oil in a pan and sautee asparagus and carrots until crisp yet tender, about 5 minutes.  Bowl the noodles, mix in asparagus and carrots, toss with vinaigrette and top with chopped cilantro and furikake.

Sherry Vinaigrette

Super versatile and easy homemade dressing.  It’s very fresh tasting— toss with kale, arugula, radicchio, spinach, roasted vegetables etc.  Most recently, I used this sherry vinaigrette with arugula topped with hazelnuts and goat cheese, as well as a kale salad with jicama and carrots.  It stores for a week; to add freshness after a few days just squeeze some more fresh lemon juice.


1 medium shallot, minced

2 tbsp sherry vinegar

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp dijon mustard

9 tbsp evoo

sea salt & black pepper to taste

-Stir shallot, vinegar, lemon juice and mustard in a small bowl and allow to macerate for at least 15 minutes.

-Gradually whisk in oil (or shake in a jar), then season with salt and pepper.

-Store in airtight container.

Bigoli Alle Acciughe

Pasta with Anchovies

Simple recipe with bigoli pasta, anchovies, garlic, olive oil and parsley. Maybe not your first date Italian dish, but delicious none the less.

400g pasta, bigoli or similar
1 can anchovies fillets in olive oil
4 cloves garlic
A bunch of parsley, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil

-In a pan heat the oil, add garlic and anchovies and cook fillets until completely dissolved.
-Cook pasta al dente in salted water, drain it reserving 1/2 glass of pasta water, and put noodles in the pan with the anchovies.
-Add a little pasta water and cook for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.


Ginger Marinade for Chicken, Flank or Skirt Steak, Firm Fish or Pork

Another episode of “HOW TO:  Marinade your boneless skinless chicken breasts so they maintain moisture and adapt flavor.”  I’m a ginger fanatic.   


1/2 cup shoyu (soy sauce)

1/2 cup dry sherry

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 tbsp sugar

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 generous tbsp ginger, peeled & grated

-In a small bowl, whisk together shoyu, sherry, vegetable oil, sugar, garlic and ginger.  Allow to sit at room temperature for one hour before using, to allow flavors to blend.

-Fish can marinate for 1-2 hours, while poultry and meat can marinate from 2 hours to 2 days.

-Leftover marinade can be boiled, then simmered and reduced to create a thick sauce.

**Makes about 1 1/3 cups, enough for about 3 lbs of meat, fish, or poultry**

Honey Soy Chicken Breasts

Honey Shoyu (Soy) Chicken Breats, adventure #3 in maintaining chicken breast moisture. Golden, sticky and easy. You already know that any marinade including honey, ginger and garlic is automatically going to be delicious.


1/4 cup honey

1/3 cup light shoyu (soy sauce)

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp freshly grated ginger root

4 large chicken breasts ( I used boneless, skinless but skin on would be even better bc the marinade would get under the skin..albeit very slightly less healthy)

-Mix marinade ingredients and pour into a ziplocc bag, over chicken breasts. Store in fridge overnight.

-Place marinaded chicken breasts on a foil lined cookie sheet and bake at 375*F, uncovered, for about 45 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked

-For boneless, skinless chicken breasts please reduce cooking time to 30 minutes, flipping at the 15 minute mark, and place under broiler for additional 5 minutes to achieve golden crispy exterior.

-With excess marinade, simmer over low heat and brush on chicken every few minutes while it cooks.

Kale & Brussels Sprouts Salad

Don’t run away, it tastes good I swear!  Brussels sprouts and kale are not necessarily on most peoples list of “most delicious foods,” but paired with some salty toasted almonds and a dijon lemon dressing this salad is fresh and crunchy.  Great for a light main or side dish, and super easy to throw together.


1/4 cup lemon juice

2 tbsp dijon mustard

1 tbsp minced shallot

1 small garlic clove, finely grated

1/4 tsp kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

2 large bunches kale, center stem discarded & leaves thinly sliced

12 oz (usually 1 package) brussels sprouts, trimmed & finely grated or shredded with a knife

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup almonds with skins, coarsely chopped

1 cup shaved pecorino or parmesan 

-Combine lemon juice, dijon mustard, shallot, garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, and pinch of pepper in a bowl.  Stir to blend and set aside.  Mix thinly sliced kale and shredded brussels sprouts into a large bowl.

-Measure 1/2 cup oil into a cup.  Spoon 1 tbsp oil from bup into a small skillet; heat on medium- high then add almonds stirring frequently until golden brown in spots (about 2 minutes).  Transfer nuts to a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with salt.

-Whisk remaining olive oil into lemon-juice mixture.  Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper, then plate the greens with almonds, cheese and dressing to serve.

Bok Choy Chicken

All right, truth be told I played the glutton during my mini-vacation.  Time to get back on track and be healthy!  Here I brined some chicken breast (more adventures in maintaining moisture with chicken breasts), and cooked it up with a sweet and salty sauce and baby bok choy.  I paired it with roasted sweet potato and beets, and a side of quinoa.


6 oz boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into pieces

2 tbsp oil

8 oz + baby bok choy, sliced into pieces

1-inch piece ginger, peeled and sliced into pieces


1/2 heaping tbsp oyster sauce

2 tbsp water

1/4 tsp sesame oil

3 dashes white pepper

1 tsp rice wine

1/2 tsp sugar


2 cups water

2 tbsp salt


-Cut off extra tendons from chicken breasts then slice a few shallow incisions.  Place chicken breasts into a plastic bag with the salt and water, and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes.  I let it sit about an hour and it was super tender and moist, so you don’t need to go overboard and let it sit overnight.

-Combine sauce ingredients in a bowl and combine well.

-Heat 1/2 tbsp in your pan on medium high heat then add chicken.  Cook for about 3-4 minutes each side, just until white and smooth looking.  Doesn’t need to be cooked all the way through yet.

-Remove chicken from pan to rest and seal juices, and add remaining oil to stir-fry ginger until aromatic.  Add chicken back in for a few stirs.  Add bok choy, and sauce.  Stir-fry until bok choy is tender but still slightly crunchy.  Enjoy

(For the roasted vegetables, view previous posted recipes)

Easy Garlic Cayenne Grilled Chicken

Dilemma: How to maintain moisture while cooking boneless skinless chicken breasts?  Nothing worse than sawdust chicken.  I’ll be posting various methods because I sort of went HAM at costco and I’m hoarding breasts in my freezer.

This is an easy chicken to grill up for a salad or a weeknight main dish.  All methods revolve around marinating; this recipe simply features olive oil, soy sauce, garlic, cayenne and dried herbs over chicken to be grilled.  PS: I looove my matte black Cuisinart Compact Griddler!!


2 Boneless skinless chicken breasts

4 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp soy sauce

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp dried oregano

dash salt & pepper

lots of cayenne

-Wash chicken breasts, and make a few shallow cuts to better absorb the marinade.  Place into a large resealable plastic bag.

-In a bowl, combine olive oil, oregano, garlic, salt, pepper, cayenne, and soy sauce then pour mixture into chicken bag.

-Seal the bag and shake gently to ensure that all of the chicken is in contact with marinade.  Allow to sit for at least an hour.

-Heat grill (or skillet) and cook your chicken for approx 4 minutes each side.  Allow to rest for a few minutes before cutting into it- this allows the juices to lock in.


Healthy grilled salad! Grilled spicy tofu, okra, onions, beets, tomatoes and carrots on a bed of mixed greens.

My quickie vine "how to" for the okra, stir fry and tofu recipe I just posted.

Okra, Beef & Tofu Stir Fry

I was eating at dinner at Gaku (this really amazing Japanese restaurant you have to go there) last time I was home on Oahu and I saw the chef creating this dish for his employee family meal.  This dish exactly?  No, but something similar- okra, beef, broth and tofu all simmered together.  Don’t be scared away by the slimy texture of okra, if you cook it the right way the sliminess goes away!  Here is my interpretation, pardon the eyeballed quantities…


2 blocks tofu, firm

1 package okra, quartered

1 cup+ low sodium beef broth

1 package of beef, salt & pepper seasoned

1/2 onion, sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 tbsp+ oyster sauce

1/8 cup+ low sodium soy sauce

1 tbsp+ sesame oil

1 tbsp+ cornstarch (dependent on amount of broth used & desired consistency)

cooking oil

-Heat cooking oil in a medium skillet on high heat and add garlic and onions.  Saute for 3 minutes, until garlic is fragrant and onions sweat.

-Add okra for another 3 minutes, or until slime is no longer being produced.  A dash more of cooking oil may be required.

-Push veggies to the side of the skillet and add in sliced beef, browning each side.  Then add in beef broth, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil and stir.  Turn the heat to low-medium heat.

-Cube tofu and add to mixture.  Allow to simmer.  Taste broth and add oyster sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil to taste.  Simmer for… a long time, until you feel that the tofu has absorbed the flavors of the dish.

-Push the veggies, beef and tofu to one side of the skillet so you have a puddle of sauce.  Add cornstarch and stir well, to thicken the sauce.  Keep adding until satisfied with the consistency.  Mix the sauce back with the goods and serve.