Enjoy a meal inspired in the Caribbean
If you're looking to take your next meal up a notch, try adding a Caribbean flair. This zesty dish is easy to make and you control just how much of the islands you want by adding the jerk seasoning to your specifications.
Caribbean Jerk Chicken and Sweet Potatoes
4 chicken breasts, cubed
4 sweet potatoes
1 cup peas
1⁄2 cup cashews
1⁄2 cup butter
Caribbean jerk flavoring
Here is a simple dish that takes no time at all. Take the medium-sized sweet potatoes, rinse them off well, cut into slices and then brown on both sides in a large skillet over medium heat with a quarter cup of melted butter. When browned, remove from heat and drop the cubed meat from the chicken breasts into the buttery skillet and cook until no longer pink inside.
Add one cup of peas.
Then, return the potatoes to the skillet, along with the cashews. Drizzle the remaining quarter cup of melted butter over top and sprinkle with jerk seasoning. You can use your favorite jerk seasoning, sprinkling it in until it meets your personal liking. A variety of Caribbean jerk seasoning is available in your local grocery store.
Cook for another five minutes until the chicken is golden and the potatoes are glistening.
Then serve with your favorite Caribbean beverage to complete the meal.
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Here's a seafood dish with a southern twist that is guaranteed to make your guests take notice. This is also an easy dish that doesn't take long to prepare. Using precooked shrimp cuts down on the preparation time. You can also use raw shrimp, you just need to cook it through before beginning.
Kentucky Bourbon and Sesame Shrimp
1 pound precooked jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
Marinate the shrimp in a marinade made of half a cup of bourbon, sesame oil and soy sauce for two hours. Remove from the marinade and roll them in sesame seeds until they are sticking generously to the shrimp.
Then grill for three minutes per side or until the sesame seeds are lightly browned, turning once.
If the weather is bad and you don't want to use the grill, these can be cooked inside in the oven, on a slotted cooking dish so the juices can run through.
When the shrimp is done, serve it over a bed of rice.
FOOD FACT: In the late 1700s, a Baptist minister named Elijah Craig founded a distillery called Heaven Hills and is credited for the invention of the first, true Kentucky Bourbon. While many were making alcohol at the time, Craig is credited with improving the technique when he started using barrel-aging in charred oak casks, giving it color and its unique taste.
The name Bourbon comes from a neighboring area in Virginia where people called it Bourbon County whiskey. Although the booze wasn't actually made there, it was popular there, thus ultimately giving the beverage its name.
David Kelly is a Tribune-Review freelance columnist who has been sharing cooking tips and recipes in Culinary Corner for nearly 25 years.