Turkey Hawaiian (BH&G Calorie Counter's Cook Book, 1970)

It isn't Fiji, but of course, I've got islands on my mind. Islands, and all things tropical.

My son and I went to Hawaii for Christmas a few years ago, and it was amazing - the clear water, the soft sand, and of course, all the amazingly delicious fruit, even in winter. We visited Dole and got to see where the pineapples are grown, which was really awesome - there's a Dole processing plant not too far from where we live in California, so it was kind of funny also, to see things that will end up in the same county as us!

For this week's recipe test, I wanted to use mostly what we had on hand again, which meant a couple of minor substitutions (vegetable broth for chicken broth, fresh mushrooms for canned) and perhaps a medium to major one (I had chicken breast, not turkey breast). Other than that, though, the only thing I didn't have in the fridge, freezer, or pantry was water chestnuts - and interestingly enough, those were tough to find! I knew they would be in the Asian/international section of the store, but most of the ones I checked didn't have any. I finally located some at Raley's, a middle-of-the-road type of market, but if I hadn't, the next step would have been to look at a specifically Asian market - I know there are some in town or nearby, we used to visit once in a while for their homemade raw noodles that I would make stir frys or lo mein.

Notice something missing from the recipe? Yeah, it's herbs and spices. I guess the fruit and soy sauce flavors were meant to carry the whole thing? In any case, when I baked the chicken breasts, I sprinkled them first with black pepper - next time, I'd add a little ginger also.

With the chicken in the oven, I got to cooking the rest of it - which turned out to be pretty good for timing. The rest of the veggie mix was done at the same time as the baked chicken, so all I had to do was chop the meat, mix in, and serve.

I didn't slice the pineapple any more than it was already chunked in the can, and I'm glad - it made for a nice juicy bite and didn't just disappear in the dish.

Man, this is such a classic 60s/70s meal. The look of it is so midcentury even - the medium browns, the avocado greens, a bit of yellow for pep ... it perfectly matched my Pyrex/Corelle dishware. Most surprisingly, though, was that it was a hit with the whole family - even my son ate it up without complaint, which is some sort of miracle considering the mix of veggies and the presence of meat, which he is always hit-or-miss on. It really wasn't bad - there was something sort of familiar about the taste of it, I can't quite place it though. School lunch? One of Mom or Nana's dinners from when I was a kid? I'm not sure.

(Not including rice, which I tracked separately so I can eat the leftovers with or without the rice. It might be good over lettuce for a lazy salad, too.)


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