Thursday, September 19, 2013

Chicken Skewers and Grilled Veggies

This is an old post! But I think it's worth posting for the marinade alone, though the summer is dying fast.

We had Brian's family over for dinner on Friday night. Normally, when we eat together, we eat at his parents', but we hosted for a change of pace (and, no doubt, relief for his mother).

I decided to serve what has become a common meal in one form or another around our house this summer. In fact, my sister-in-law has gotten to have it twice. I'm that kind of creative hostess.

Basically, it's chicken thighs (Costco!), chopped into pieces, marinated, and grilled on skewers, and whatever seasonal veggies I have on hand grilled in our grill basket. It's a great make-ahead meal. I do most all the work in advance, and then Brian does the grilling after the guests have arrived.

The griller extraordinaire separates veggies and meat for the vegetarian. And celebrates science.

As for marinades, I've gone with different combos: basil and lime, cilantro and lime, rosemary and lemon, etc. I try to stick to the general rule of three parts base to two parts acid (not sure where I picked this up or whether it's the ratio espoused by the best--and I always eyeball it so who knows what ratio I actually get), and the base is always olive oil. The acid is usually a lemon or lime, but it could be vinegar. Depending on how much marinating time I have, I marinate the chicken in whole thighs or already cut up (already cut up if I have less time).

For Brian's family, I made a marinade from an actual recipe (called "Garlic Chicken" from Cooking Light years and years ago) that we've had and liked. I half it for five chicken thighs.

1 cup plain low-fat yogurt (I always use full-fat)
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 6 cloves)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

It's sort of Middle-Eastern-tasting with the spice combo, and the yogurt keeps the chicken super moist. We really love it around here. And I'm lazy: I toss the ingredients and the chicken in a plastic bag and then massage it until it looks mixed up well-enough. Then I toss it in the fridge until it's time to start skewering.

As for veggies, I like tomatoes, peppers, onion, and eggplant best of all. (I've had to supplement our tomato crop this year because of the damn squirrels, but we produce the peppers and eggplants (mini eggplants are the best ever).) Sometimes I've mixed in squash, and once we grilled corn on the cob to go with it. I chop up the veggies and toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper and then have Brian grill them in a basket. I also like to toss in some fresh basil (especially with this marinade) and then a bit more after they're done. I think the basil complements the marinade well. Feta is a nice touch, also.

I've served it with quinoa and with pitas (as I did for Brian's family) to flesh it out a bit. When Brian's sister (vegetarian) is over, I make hummus. I know I can buy good hummus, but I kind of like the control of making it myself (meaning: lots of garlic). And, don't roll your eyes, but I have taken to removing the chickpea skins as Deb from Smitten Kitchen suggests. It does make the hummus smoother, and it doesn't take that long.

So, I planned to make this dinner party simple with this meal I was used to making, but we ended up with feta-stuffed grilled figs for an appetizer, basil-lime vodka tonics, and almond-crisped peaches and plums for dessert. And...that was why I was so exhausted last weekend.


  1. Replies
    1. Oh, come one, that's the kind of thing you love!

  2. Wow, those feta figs sound amazing!

  3. I hate figs but I love the rest of your post. And these other commenters. Why is Beth rolling her eyes? There must be a story there...also, my hubs is great on the grill if I give him everything he needs. If not? He just puts it on fire.


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