Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Garlic Lemon Chicken Kabobs

We've been in our house for two years now, but I still get giddy every time I use our grill. Growing up, summer dinners were almost always grilled. I think a few years of third floor apartment living made me realize just how fortunate it is to have outdoor space to cook. Poor Dave will sometimes try and man the grill, but I often politely push him out of the way and take charge. In my opinion, almost any vegetable tastes better when it is chopped and grilled on a stick. I always prefer to do my vegetable and meat kabobs separately so that I can cook them properly. This simple chicken marinade provides a great flavor. You can marinate the meat in the morning and then grill it quickly after work. Or, if you are like me, you will probably forget to do that and give it only about 1-2 hours of time to marinate. Don't worry if that happens to you, it will still be tasty! This great grilling recipe was discovered on Annie's Eats. I altered it to include a bit less oil and to be made on a gas grill.

You will need:

*1.5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
*zest of 1 lemon
*3 cloves garlic, minced
*1 tablespoon fresh parsley (I used 1 teaspoon dried)
*1 teaspoon kosher salt
*1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper
*1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into pieces (about 3/4 inch-1 inch)
*skewers (if wooden, soak in water for 20 minutes or more before grilling)

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper.  Add the chicken pieces to the bowl and toss to coat with the marinade.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours.

2. Lightly oil the grill grates. Preheat the grill burners to the medium settings. 

3. While the grill is heating, place the chicken pieces onto skewers, discarding the extra marinade.  Place the kabobs on the grill, cover, and cook until the chicken is cooked throughout. This will probably take about about 10-12 minutes. Rotate the skewers at least once during cooking.  Serve immediately.

These skewers can be served as a salad topping, a main dish with vegetables, or over a rice dish. In the photo above, I made a simple dinner of chicken and veggies. I used green and red peppers, mushrooms, and vidalia onions on my vegetable skewer.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Strawberry Caprese Salad

I clearly forgot to take a picture of this salad before we began eating it on Father's Day. This is a light recipe that works well as an appetizer or side. I served it without the balsamic topping, but I imagine it will be even better next time when I remember to put it on! With this season's fresh strawberries and tomatoes, this is a must try recipe for an upcoming barbeque. It was easy to double this recipe, and I made an extra small batch for lunch one day with some leftovers. This is a recipe from Pink Parsley.

You will need:
*1 cup halved grape tomatoes
*1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
*pinch of sugar
*1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
*1 tablespoon olive oil
*1 tablespoon honey
*squeeze of fresh lemon juice
*1 cup hulled and quartered strawberries
*1/2 cup diced fresh mozzarella
*4-5 basil leaves, sliced into ribbons

1. Gently mix the tomatoes with the salt and sugar in a colander; let the tomato mixture sit and drain for 10-15 minutes to remove excess water.

2. Meanwhile, bring the vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan.  Cook until it is thick and syrupy, about 5-10 minutes, when only a few tablespoons remain.  Remove from heat and pour into a small bowl to cool.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey, and lemon juice. Add a pinch of salt. Add the tomatoes, strawberries, mozzarella, and basil to the bowl and mix.  '

4. Before serving, drizzle with some of the balsamic vinegar. (A little goes a long way!)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Addictive Fruit Dip

This is like frosting in a bowl. I was caught a few times just using fruit as a spoon to get this deliciousness into my mouth. I like to think that this is healthy because of the use of yogurt. This dip was popular at our Father's Day cookout and the 4th of July party. I think I have another go to summer appetizer! This truly pairs well with almost anything. I found this recipe at Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life.

You will need:
*1 (8oz.) package reduced fat cream cheese, softened
*3/4 cup packed brown sugar
*1/4 tsp vanilla extract
*6 oz non-fat Greek yogurt
*1 cup cold skim milk
*1 package sugar-Free instant vanilla pudding mix
*items for dipping: watermelon, cantaloupe, graham crackers, strawberries

1. Use a mixer to beat the cream cheese smooth, then add the brown sugar. Add the milk, yogurt, and pudding mix; mix until well combined. Stir in vanilla.

2. Chill at least two hours before serving.