Easy summertime entertaining

This summer, make use of the barbecue with some tasty kebabs

For a healthy

As I’m writing this morning, it’s day- three of summer weather — in a row no less — and I am so grateful!

What a weird summer it’s been. Even so, more barbecued meals are eaten in summer, regardless of weather, than in any other season of the year. Hamburgers, hotdogs, steaks, chicken, ribs and even corn all come to mind; but if you’d like something different I’d suggest shish kebabs. Yes, it takes a little more prep time, but they are a delightful way to mix veggies and meat with a nice marinade. Serve them with skewered roasted baby potatoes or a baked spud and any combination of salads, and you have something very special.

Today’s first  recipe came from a gal named Angie and is tangy marinated chicken and mushrooms, wrapped in bacon, and skewered. This shish kebab is perfect for entertaining. If you’d like something different, this a must try. The  second recipe is an all-purpose marinade that is so easy to make and works for chicken, pork, beef or venison. And why not shish kebab your desserts? With all of the fresh fruit in the Okanagan, the roasted fruit recipe below is lovely. If you’d rather have something prepared ahead of time, try the strawberry shortcake kebab; it’s especially nice with a small scoop of ice cream.

Chicken and Bacon Shish Kebabs

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup cider vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 green onions, minced

10 large mushrooms, cut in half

3 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into chunks

1/2 pound sliced thick cut bacon, cut in half (I prefer regular sliced bacon)

1 (8 ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained (you can use fresh if you prefer)

1 each red and yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-1/2 inch squares

4 skewers

In a large bowl, mix the soy sauce, cider vinegar, honey, canola oil and green onions. Place the mushrooms and chicken into the mixture, and stir to coat. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator at least 1 hour. Reheat grill for high heat.

Remove the mushrooms and chicken from the marinade and shake off excess. Pour the marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes; set aside.

Wrap the chicken chunks with bacon, and thread onto skewers so that the bacon is secured. Alternate with mushroom halves, pineapple chunks and peppers. Repeat four times until skewer is filled.

Lightly oil the grill grate. Arrange skewers on the prepared grill. Cook 15 to 20 minutes, brushing occasionally with remaining soy sauce mixture, and rotating until bacon is crisp and chicken juices run clear. Note: They can also be broiled instead of grilled, if you’re low on time.

Shish Kebab Marinade for any Meat

1⁄2 cup soy sauce

1⁄2 cup ketchup

1⁄2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Mix all ingredients together.

Add meat (chicken, pork, beef or venison) and vegetables (cut into bite-sized pieces — I use green pepper, onion, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes). Marinate in refrigerator for at least a couple of hours.  Thread onto skewers and grill.

Grilled Fruit Kebabs

6 peaches, firm, ripe pitted and cut into 8 wedges per peach

5 plums, firm, ripe, pitted and cut into 8 wedges per plum

10 apricots, firm, ripe, halved and pitted

1 (20 ounce) can pineapple chunks in juice, drained OR

1 fresh pineapple, ripe, peeled, cored, cut into 1-inch chunks

36 bamboo skewers, soaked in cold water 30 minutes (or more)

Syrup (caramel, pineapple juice, (heated, and anything of your choice) optional

Ice cream, optional

Brush the grill rack or pan lightly with vegetable oil. Thread 4 assorted pieces of fruit onto each skewer.

Grill the kebabs in batches, turning once, until lightly browned and slightly softened, about 5 minutes.

Transfer to a platter and serve with the sweet syrup on the side and/or your choice of ice cream. Serves 6

Strawberry Shortcake Kebabs

12 medium fresh strawberries, stems removed, if desired

12 doughnut holes

6 (8-inch) wooden skewers

1⁄4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 teaspoons butter or margarine

1⁄4 cup white vanilla chips

2 teaspoons butter or margarine

Whipped cream, optional

Line cookie sheet with waxed paper. Alternately thread 2 strawberries and 2 doughnut holes on each skewer.

Note: You can also use the microwave for the following steps to melt the chocolate/butter (margarine), but use lower heat and watch carefully to avoid burning. Probably only need to microwave about 1 minute or less and check throughout, stopping when just melted.

In small saucepan, combine semi-sweet chocolate chips and 2 teaspoons butter; melt over low heat, stirring until smooth and well-blended. Drizzle chocolate mixture over kebabs.

In another small saucepan, combine vanilla chips and remaining 2 teaspoons butter; melt over low heat, stirring until smooth and well-blended. Drizzle over kebabs and semi-sweet chocolate. Refrigerate 10 minutes or until set. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream if desired.

Cathi Litzenberger is The Morning Star’s longtime food columnist, appearing every other Wednesday and one Sunday per month.



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