Dirigo Dish: Jerk Chicken with Grilled Hasselback Zucchini

Sun’s out, grill’s out! Try this zesty take on grilled chicken and zucchini from the American Heart Association. Find even more heart healthy recipes at www.heart.org!


4 Servings

Chicken Ingredients

8 large green onions (coarsely chopped)

2 medium fresh jalapeño peppers (seeds and ribs discarded, optional)

4 medium garlic cloves

4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 tablespoons honey

4 tablespoons fresh lime juice (divided use)

1 tablespoon ground allspice

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 to 2 tablespoons water, as needed, and 1 to 2 tablespoons water, as needed, divided use

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4 ounces each), all visible fat discarded

Cooking spray

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon salt

Zucchini Ingredients

4 medium zucchini

1/2 cup plain or whole-wheat panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon canola or corn oil

1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning (crumbled)

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 medium avocado (halved, pitted, coarsely chopped)

1/4 cup fat-free sour cream

Cooking Tip: You can make this recipe using the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the chicken on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake on the top rack for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the chicken registers 165°F on an instant-read thermometer. Broil for 2 minutes to brown, if desired. Meanwhile, pack the zucchini tightly in a baking dish. Bake on the bottom oven rack for 35 minutes, or until tender. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the panko mixture. Bake for 5 minutes.


In a food processor or blender, process the green onions, jalapeños, and garlic for 30 seconds, or until finely chopped. Add the thyme, honey, 2 tablespoons lime juice, allspice, vinegar, cinnamon, and ginger. Process until smooth. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water if the marinade is too chunky and process until smooth.

Put the chicken in a large shallow dish. Add the marinade, turning to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 24 hours, turning occasionally.

When the chicken has marinated, lightly spray the grill with cooking spray. Preheat on medium high.

Drain the chicken, discarding the marinade and wiping most of it off the chicken. Sprinkle the pepper and salt over the chicken. Grill for 6 to 8 minutes on each side, or until it registers 165°F on an instant-read thermometer. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Cover with aluminum foil.

Cut each zucchini crosswise into 1/4-inch slices without cutting all the way through in a hasselback cut. (It’s okay if you cut all the way through and break the zucchini. Just proceed as directed.) Gently fan the zucchini to open.

Place a double layer of aluminum foil on the grill. Make a large “boat” of foil to snugly hold the zucchini so they don’t move around. Grill the zucchini without turning for 15 minutes, or until golden brown and almost tender.

In a small bowl, stir together the remaining zucchini ingredients. Sprinkle the panko mixture over the zucchini. Grill for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the grill.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, using an immersion, or handheld, blender, purée the avocado, sour cream, and the remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice until smooth. Add the remaining 1 to 2 tablespoons of water if the sauce is too thick. (You can also process the sauce in a food processor or blender until smooth.)

Serve the zucchini and sauce with the chicken.

The American Heart Association’s website is a great place for seniors and people of all ages to find delicious heart healthy recipes. Click here for more AHA recipes!

Gardening is Good for You

Those April showers are bringing plenty of May flowers — and our gardens have started in a hurry. Gardening is an activity enjoyed by all age groups, but did you know it’s also good for you? From fighting depression to helping you eat right, here are just a few of the ways your garden helps you grow…

Fresh Produce

If you have a vegetable garden, you can grow healthy organic fruits and veggies and know exactly where they came from. Fresh produce is great for heart health and fighting obesity. And it’s better for the environment — since veggies from your background or patio don’t have to be packaged or trucked anywhere, but simply walked straight to your kitchen to enjoy!

Stress Reducer

If you’ve gardened in the past, you probably understand the sensory experience of connecting with nature, watching things grow and enjoying the literal fruits of your labor. Disconnecting from screens, digging in the earth, being outside and enjoying the sounds and sights of nature can help reduce your stress levels, improve your mental health and fight depression. Add colorful flowers with nice smelling blooms to your garden for an extra mood-booster.

Staying Active 

The bending, kneeling, digging and stretching required to garden not only burns calories, but helps keep you limber and strong. The physical activity involved in gardening help prevent heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other diseases.

A Social Event

At Dirigo Pines, gardening is a great way to connect with neighbors and find common interests. Our cottage residents have grown incredible gardens throughout the campus for all to enjoy. And Dirigo offers raised bed plots to all Inn residents in a community space that comes to life in the summer with fantastic color and fruit. It’s a fun spot for residents to gather and share their work, as well as share the delicious fruits of their labors with other residents.

Because gardening is a goal-oriented activity, you’re even more likely to stick with it than a regular exercise routine like hitting the treadmill at the gym. With the prospect of beautiful blooms and fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the summer and fall, gardening is an easy routine to stick with.

4 Fun Ways to Spend Time with Mom

Celebrate mom and the women you love this month with a fun outing. There’s lots going on all around Dirigo Pines in May — here are just a few ideas to make a new memory with mom and those you love…

Color Bangor 5K

Mom’s used to a little mess now and then — and there’s no better way to get messy than the Color Bangor 5K! You can register now for the Saturday, May 12 event! You can walk, run, jump, skip, or dance the 5K route with friends and family all while supporting the American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront. Click here for more info.


Looking for something fun and different? How about a showing of “Cabaret” at the Collins Center for the Arts at UMaine in Orono on Tuesday, May 15 at 7 p.m.? Come hear some of the most memorable songs in theatre history, including “Cabaret,” “Willkommen”and “Maybe This Time.” Please note, Cabaret is for mature audiences. Click for details.

The Spitfire Grill

Take mom to the Penobscot Theatre’s production of The Spitfire Grill, with shows from April 26-May 13. It’s the story of a feisty parolee who follows her dreams to sleepy Gilead, Wisconsin, and finds a place for herself working at Hannah’s Spitfire Grill. The diner is for sale but with no offers on the table, Hannah decides to raffle it off. Whoever submits $100 and the most compelling essay will win the grill. Soon, mail is arriving by the barrel and things are definitely cookin’ at the Spitfire Grill. Get tickets at penobscottheatre.org/show/the-spitfire-grill.

Sea Dogs’ Mother’s Day 5K

Take mom on a road trip to Portland for the Portland Sea Dogs’ 18th Annual Mother’s Day 5k Road Race on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 13 from 9:15-11:15 a.m. Proceeds from the race go towards Maine breast cancer patients and research. There will also be a Kid’s Run that is free of charge. Slugger The Sea Dog and his Mom lead the way on the flat 5K course which begins in front of the Portland Expo building, travels down Congress Street, turning down Stevens Avenue, and making a right onto Brighton Avenue back down Deering Avenue into Fitzpatrick Stadium. The race culminates inside Hadlock Field in front of the third base dugout. Click for details.

Have your own great idea for Mother’s Day fun? Share it with us!

Coffee with the Contractor

Ready to discover retirement living in a 55+ community? Come find out what it’s all about! Join Dirigo Pines for Coffee with the Contractor on Wednesday, May 9 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. We will provide information on cooperative ownership and you can see how easy it is to customize your maintenance-free dream home.

Get a head start and check out our floor plans here.

You can learn more about our cottage community by clicking here, and what our homes really look like. Then join us May 9 to have all your questions answered!

RSVP appreciated but not necessary, to 207-866-3400. Attendees will be eligible for a $10,000 allowance toward custom upgrades!

Tuesdays at Two

Join us for a new educational, community presentation series called Tuesdays at Two. On the second Tuesday of the month at 2 p.m., we’ll be presenting topics relevant for seniors, caregivers, and adult children supporting seniors. The presentations are free to attend and light refreshments will be served.

This Month – May 8 at 2 p.m.

Gina Bennett from Advanced Modifications will share information about devices designed to support independence, from putting on your socks, to getting in and out of the car safely. She will have some items to demonstrate. You might just find one you can’t believe you were living without!

Next Month – June 12 at 2 p.m.

John Byrne, financial advisor with Edward Jones, will share information about Standing Guard: Protect What You’ve Worked For. If you are approaching retirement or have recently retired, your focus may be shifting from building your financial safety net to protecting the resources you have earned. Come learn about key risks and strategies to prepare for the unexpected.

We welcome all seniors, caregivers, and other interested community members. We do encourage folks to call ahead at 207-866-3400 just in case of weather or other unexpected schedule changes. Watch for future events listed on the events page of our Facebook page.

Retirement Living Options at Dirigo

Retirement living at Dirigo Pines means freedom from cleaning up snow in the winter and mowing the grass in the summer. It means delicious dining options and no more housekeeping chores or home maintenance. Whether you purchase a home in our cottage community or enjoy a comfortable apartment in our Inn, there are retirement living options suited for everyone at Dirigo Pines.

Here’s a quick look at your living options at Dirigo. For a complete list and more information, click here or call 1-866-344-3400 or email info@dirigopines.com.

Cottage Community  

Join our cottage community residents in a duplex style, one-story or two-story cottage home. Every cottage offers a living room, dining area, kitchen with all appliances, master bedroom with walk-in closet, guest bedroom, two baths, screened-in porch, and attached garage. There are many interior finish options and upgrades available. Your investment in a share of common stock in the cooperative is equal to the value of your cottage. You’ll enjoy the privacy of your own home and have added peace of mind knowing that the cooperative covers your home maintenance. From routine mowing and snow removal to prompt service when it is time to clean your furnace or replace an appliance, the Dirigo Pines onsite maintenance staff are available to maintain your cottage inside and out.

Independent Living Apartments – Penobscot Commons

The heart of Dirigo Pines is our warm and welcoming Inn. Here you will find a beautiful gathering room, large dining rooms, library, hair salon, media/game room, fitness studio, and arts and crafts studio. One monthly fee covers rent and utilities, daily dinner, weekly housekeeping, 24-hour emergency response system and scheduled transportation.

Assisted Living – Kenduskeag Commons

When life’s daily tasks begin to be a burden, Assisted Living can give the you freedom you’re looking for. Tailored to meet your individual requirements, Dirigo Pines Assisted Living provides help with personal care and medications whenever needed. In addition, three meals are served daily. Housekeeping and laundry service are provided on a weekly basis and staff is available around the clock.

Specialized Care – Meadowbrook Commons

Looking for extra help with personal care? Our Specialized Care services might be just the thing. Residents receive therapeutic assistance with activities of daily living such as eating, ambulation, transferring, bathing, and dressing. Medications are administered and monitored under the guidance of our medical director or the resident’s preferred physician. Professional care planning is done with the resident and family to enhance health and safety. Guided social, recreational, and cultural programs are also provided.

Memory Care – The Arbor

For loved ones struggling with dementia and memory problems, individual attention and special care is needed. Residents of The Arbor are surrounded by a beautifully warm and inviting environment. There is a high level of activity and involvement by our staff as well as volunteers and family members. Medications are administered and monitored under the guidance of our medical director or the resident’s assigned physician. Residents have access to their own garden/courtyard, sun porch, exercise programs, outings, and special events.

Click here to learn more all the options at Dirigo Pines.

Come see for yourself what retirement at Dirigo Pines looks like. Call 1-866-344-3400 or email info@dirigopines.com for more information or to schedule a tour.

Dirigo Dish: White Bean and Avocado Wrap

Great for a meal or a snack, this tasty wrap feels like spring with crunchy veggies and a touch of honey. Find even more heart healthy recipes at www.heart.org!



  • 15 oz. canned, reduced-sodium white beans (navy, cannellini or Great Northern), drained, rinsed
  • 1 ripe avocado (pit removed)
  • 3 Tbsp. vinegar (red wine, white, apple cider)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1 carrot (shredded)
  • 2 cups green or purple cabbage, washed, cored, shredded
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes (quartered)
  • 2 Tbsp. cilantro (coarsely chopped, divided)
  • 4, 100% whole-wheat 8-inch, wraps or tortillas

  • In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, honey and pepper to create the dressing (marinade).
  • Add the carrots, cabbage, cherry tomatoes and 1 tablespoon of the cilantro to the bowl. Toss gently to coat the vegetables with the dressing. Set aside and allow to marinate for 15 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, combine the white beans and avocado. Mash with the back of a fork and mix until thoroughly blended and spreadable.
  • Place four wraps/tortillas on a flat surface. In the center of each wrap/tortilla, place 2 heaping tablespoons of the mixture. Using a knife or spatula, spread the mixture out until it is two inches away from the edges of the wrap (to allow for easier assembly).
  • Stir the cabbage mixture again, and place 2 heaping tablespoons on top of the bean/avocado mixture.
  • Add cilantro as a garnish on top, if desired.
  • Begin folding the two sides inward. Hold with fingers and lift the bottom portion of the wrap up with our thumbs to create an “envelope.” Once the bottom of the wrap is touching the two sides, begin rolling the wrap until it’s completely closed. Place on a flat surface with the smooth side up.

The American Heart Association’s website is a great place for seniors and people of all ages to find delicious heart healthy recipes. Click here for more AHA recipes!

Growing Fun with Grandkids

April vacation is coming up April 16-20 for most local students — and if you’ve got grandchildren coming to visit during that time, here’s a great way to keep little hands busy and get your garden started! Our Dirigo Pines residents have created some amazing gardens, and everyone at the Inn has the opportunity each spring to claim a raised bed of their own. Planting seeds, watching them grow and harvesting yummy fruits and vegetables is a great hobby for all ages. Here are a few tips for gardening with kids…

  • Plant the seed. Let kids choose their own seeds to grow. Sure, they might pick some strange vegetables to try, but why not give it a shot? And throw in a few old stand-bys — tomatoes, zucchinis and cucumbers all appreciate an inside start — or try radishes if kids are eager to see the seeds start quickly.
  • Watch the process. Starting seeds from the very beginning is a fascinating thing to watch. Try sprouting a few seeds in a wet paper towel or cotton ball so kids can watch what happens. Simple spread the seeds out evenly on a damp paper towel, then sandwich with another moist towel and tuck them inside a plastic baggie and set in a warm, sunny window. You can even transfer them to soil after they sprout.
  • Plan your garden. Many Dirigo residents in our cottage community enjoy large flower and vegetable gardens in their yards, but even with limited space, you can enjoy gardening. Lots of vegetables, from tomatoes to cucumbers to beans, come in varieties perfect for small spaces and container gardens. Have children map out the garden on paper with colored pencils or crayons to decide where things will get planted. A gardening journal is another fun way to track your progress.
  • Plant in pots or raised beds. Pots and raised beds not only help keep weeds to a minimum, they also help bring the garden a little closer to you to reduce the bending and kneeling related to gardening directing in the ground. Raised beds can be built tall enough to eliminate any bending at all – saving your back! Pots can be placed on patios and porches and even on rollers, so those with limited mobility can keep their thumbs green.
  • Crafty decor. While you’re waiting for things to sprout, make a project out of garden markers. Painted rocks or sticks make great garden row markers. Wind chimes from recycled materials and simple stepping stones are great garden additions as well.
  • Go big! Consider some fun giants like sunflowers and pumpkins for your garden, and let a zucchini or two just keep growing. Kids will love watching them get bigger and bigger each day.
  • Reap the rewards. Gardening is a great way to get kids eating healthy. Be sure to involve them in the harvest!
  • Bring it in. Bring the outside in for those who can’t make the trip to the yard or have limited outdoor gardening space. Create a garden in indoor pots or create a low-maintenance terrarium.

Events to Celebrate Spring

Does it feel like we had to wait extra long for spring to finally spring up this year? I blame Dirigo Dug for making us hopeful for an early spring. (Watch his prediction here. I just don’t know about that guy sometimes.) But springtime in Maine is nothing if unpredictable — then again, it’s always worth the wait. Check out these harbingers of warmer weather and plan to get outside!

  • Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race: In nearby Bangor, every April we celebrate the arrival of spring by canoeing the Kenduskeag Stream in bizarre costumes — or simply watching from banks with the rest of the river vultures (even the spectators have their own special lingo at this annual spectacle on water). Six Mile Falls (click here for directions from Dirigo Pines) is a good spot to watch some wicked wipe outs or head to the finish line in downtown Bangor. Remember to dress warm and bring snacks. This year’s race is scheduled for Saturday, April 21. Check out kenduskeagstreamcanoerace.com for more info.
  • Orono Bog Walk: Set to open May 1, this incredible natural resource is just minutes from Dirigo Pines and a great place to take a springtime walk. Learn more about the Bog Walk here. The boardwalk is a wheelchair-friendly facility, and benches for rest and contemplation are provided at least every 200 feet. Please note that dogs are not permitted on the Bog Walk.
  • Sea Dogs Opening Day: Opening day at Hadlock Field is set for April 13, versus the Rumble Ponies. Hadlock is home to the Portland Sea Dogs — Maine’s minor league baseball team that’s affiliated with the Boston Red Sox. Fun fact: 13 of 25 former Sea Dogs are slated for the Red Sox opening day roster. The Sea Dogs season consists of 140 games (70 home and 70 away) against 11 opponents. Sea Dogs tickets are reasonably priced and the city of Portland makes a fun day or weekend trip from Dirigo Pines! You might even meet Slugger the Sea Dog if you’re lucky! Click here for more: www.seadogs.com.
  • National Park Week: Combine great scenery and history with great savings and visit a national park for free. Get into Acadia National Park for free on April 21, the first day of National Park Week. Take advantage and beat the crowds to Acadia, one of the nation’s most popular parks. Can’t make it this April? No problem. Everyone age 62 and over can get a lifetime pass to America’s National Park for $80; annual senior passes are just $20!

Your New Home is Ready

Is 2018 the year you’re retiring? Ready to downsize, meet new people, and find time to truly enjoy your retirement? Dirigo Pines Cottage Community has homes available now! Every cottage has a spacious living room, dining area, large kitchen including all appliances, beautiful master bedroom with walk-in closet, guest bedroom, two baths, screened-in porch and attached garage. Some of our cottage include a den and other upgrades. Tired of home maintenance expenses and wasting time clearing snow and cutting grass? From routine mowing and snow removal to prompt service when it is time to clean your furnace or replace an appliance, the Dirigo Pines onsite maintenance staff are available to maintain your cottage inside and out.

Available Now: 20 Dirigo Drive 

This cottage offers convenient one-floor living, a charming heated porch and private patio among lush perennial beds. Thoughtful extras include cathedral ceilings in master bedroom and additional windows for more natural light. Enjoy central AC in the summer and a heated porch in winter. Enjoy a walk along the nearby nature trails, go fishing in the pond or just take a stroll along the paved sidewalk. This home is ready to move-in — or you can work with our contractor to customize it perfectly to your taste.

Learn more here.

Come see for yourself what retirement at Dirigo Pines looks like. Call 1-866-344-3400 or email info@dirigopines.com for more information or to schedule a tour.