Island Chicken Drumsticks


The kids are on vacation but, hey, guess what? You’re not!

Big and little people still need to be fed, so why not make something quick and easy that can be thrown on the grill or in the oven like these Island Chicken Drumsticks?

island chicken drumsticks mama's high strung

Here’s what you do:

  1. Buy one of those 12-packs of chicken legs (or more if you’re feeling particularly ambitious).
  2. Prepare the dry rub from spices you probably already have in your pantry. You don’t need to follow my recipe… use what you have!
  3. Heat up the grill or oven and in 20 minutes dinner will be ready.

If you DO make extra drummies, you’ll have something to feed the hungry horde for lunch tomorrow or a picnic dinner the day AFTER tomorrow. Perfect. Easy. Just like summer should be!

How to Make Ceviche


Here’s a great summertime dish you can “cook” without turning on the oven: Ceviche.

Ceviche-Mama's High Strung

Ceviche (also known as cebiche, sebiche or seviche) is a Latin American dish made with raw fish that is marinated in citrus juice, herbs and spices until the translucent flesh turns opaque and becomes firm.

In Peru (where many people believe this dish originated), tangy ceviche is traditionally eaten in the morning as an eye-opener (read that: hangover cure). Its ingredients are pretty simple: bitter orange juice, onions and thinly sliced hot peppers, like aji amarillo.

I prefer to make my ceviche the Mexican way, with lime juice, cilantro, jalapeños and a little garlic. I serve it on top of fresh crunchy greens. The taste is so fresh and healthy it’s one of my feel-good meals. It’s very easy to learn how to make ceviche!

A few ceviche tips:

  • Buy fresh firm-fleshed ocean fish like halibut, grouper, flounder or red snapper that won’t fall apart in the marinade.
  • Marinade until the fish loses its translucency, or for about 4-hours.
  • Soak the onions for a little bit to take the “bite” out, so they don’t step on the other flavors.
  • Remove the seeds and veins from the chili peppers to control the heat.

Funny how the thought of eating raw fish doesn’t sound as absurd as it did a decade ago because, for many of us, sushi and sashimi have become a regular part of our diets!



Herb Rubbed Steaks


When I was growing up in Texas, Papa Daddy used to buy a whole cow and have it butchered… “everything but the moo,” he’d say.

Then they’d deliver it to the house, literally hundreds of white butcher paper-wrapped packages, their contents identified in carefully written grease pencil. Papa Daddy would load the packages into the long white freezer in the garage, ready for outdoor grilling, Sunday night dinners and family barbecues.

Today, my family doesn’t eat enough meat to warrant buying a whole cow, but we still enjoy a great steak. We Texans love our beef big time… but it has to be good (like these Herb Rubbed Steaks).

The beef you buy in grocery stores and butcher shops is sold in three USDA grades: Prime, Choice and Select. Prime is the best, and most expensive, because of the “marbling” or fat content. Fat is what gives a steak its flavor. Choice cuts are next in line, and this is what is usually sold in supermarkets. But quality varies, so look for Choice cuts that have a lot of marbling. Select cuts are the least expensive because of the small amount of marbling. This is not necessarily a bad cut of meat, because it has the least amount of fat and is therefore healthier—but it’s likely to be tough, so make sure you marinate it or use moist-heat cooking methods, like braising or stewing.

Always wondered who ended up with the moo…

Herbed Rubbed Strip Steaks


I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: