Marinated Chicken Shish Kabobs with Grilled Veggies and Pineapple

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This dish is the ultimate summer meal, it’s light, easy, and has all of the best flavors of summer including grilled meat, summer veggies and pineapple. So delish! I like to make this when I don’t have a ton of time for prepping because it only takes a few minutes to pull everything together. You can prep the ingredients in the morning (or even the night before) and it’ll be ready to toss right on the grill at dinnertime. This meal is as delicious as it is healthy and I like being able to serve up something to my family that is good for them. Granted my kids pick at the veggies but they do devour the chicken, pineapple, and rice!

Traditionally shish kabobs are prepared by skewering both the meat and the veggies together however, I find that when you do that inevitably the meat cooks before the veggies and gets dry and as the veggies become tender they have a tendency to fall off of the sticks. So to solve these issues I’ve stopped putting the two together and instead, I skewer the chicken separately and I use a grill basket for the veggies and fruit. Doing this allows me to start the vegetables earlier on the grill so that they have more time to cook and then I’m able to put the chicken on later so it stays nice and juicy. Both come out perfect every time and your prepping is significantly less since you don’t have skewer the veggies.

Whenever you’re making shish kabobs and using wood skewers, always allow the wood skewers to soak in water for about 10-15 minutes before you use them. Doing this will prevent the skewers from charring and disintegrating during the grilling process. To avoid this step, you can use metal skewers however, it’s just more thing to clean after dinner. For that reason I always have wood skewers on hand, they are dirt cheap and they are an easy cleanup.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs of chicken breast cut into strips
  • herb marinade (you can use your own mix of oil and spices OR a packaged mix such as McCormick Grill Mates Zesty Herb Marinade, 1.06 oz (Case of 12))
  • 1 red bell pepper, largely diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, largely diced
  • 2 sweet or red onions, largely diced
  • 1 can of pineapple chunks in their own juice or half of a fresh pineapple cut into chunks
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • seasoned rice (recipe listed below)

Instructions

Marinate the chicken strips in a bowl and the prepared veggies and pineapple in another bowl for at least 30 minutes, the longer the better. Skewer the chicken strips making sure to place enough chicken on each shish kabob to fill up the entire stick but without crowding it. Set aside in the fridge.

Heat up your grill to a medium heat. Place the grill basket on the grates and allow it to warm up for a few minutes. Pour the marinated veggies and pineapple into the basket, close the lid, and allow them to cook until tender. Stir every few minutes during cooking. The veggies should be tender and nicely grilled within about 40-45 minutes.

About 10-15 minutes before the veggies and pineapple are done, add the chicken kabobs to the grill. Turn them every so often so that they cook evenly. The chicken is ready to turn when it releases easily from the grill, don’t force it or the chicken will tear. The chicken will be ready in about 10 minutes or when the juices run clear. Depending on thickness of the chicken and placement on the grill the cooking time might vary slightly.

To make the seasoned rice, sauté a finely diced onion in 2 tbs of butter until softened. Then follow the cooking instructions on the long grain rice bag substituting chicken stock (I like the Kitchen Basics brand) for the water. Season with salt, pepper, and parsley. Cook until light and fluffy.

 

 

 

Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Grilled Summer Veggies

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Pasta salads are the perfect light, easy, summer meal. They come together quickly, make a nice dinner or side dish, and they are a great way to use up all of the delicious vegetables that are growing in your garden. For this recipe I used a mix of zucchini, red bell peppers, corn on the cob, and green onions but you can substitute any or all of these with whatever favorite vegetables you have on hand. Pasta salads are extremely versatile in that you can add in whatever meat, cheese, dressing, and veggie that you like and it will always turn out delicious.

Because I had a nice amount of basil growing in my yard I decided to make a quick and easy fresh basil pesto¬†. It takes only minutes to pull together and it’s the perfect “sauce” for both the pasta and to season the chicken that I added into the salad. The fresh grilled vegetables are really what amps up this salad to awesome, they impart such a nice, sweet element to the dish. I happen to love fresh mozzarella, preferably from my local Italian deli, but in a pinch I do use pre-packaged “fresh mozzarella” from BJ’s. For this recipe I threw in some of the fresh mozzarella pearls, teeny tiny little balls, from Bel Gioioso. They aren’t as amazing as true fresh mozzarella but in this dish where they are tossed together with pesto, chicken, pasta, and fresh veggies they work just fine.

If you don’t have time to make everything for this dish all at once you easily make much of it in advance. The pesto will keep for 5-7 days in the fridge, the vegetables can be grilled and diced ahead of time as well as the chicken. When you’re ready for dinner just boil the pasta and toss everything together. Super easy!

Ingredients

  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1″ thick slices
  • 2 ears of fresh corn on the cob
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into sixths
  • 4 green onions, trimmed and sliced thin
  • 4 tbs olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup fresh mozzarella pearls (or torn up fresh mozzarella)
  • 1 lb penne pasta
  • 1 lb chicken breast, cubed and cooked
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • fresh parsley, for garnish
  • 3/4 cup pesto

Instructions

Heat the grill to medium-high. Toss vegetables in the olive oil with a little bit of salt and pepper. Grill corn, turning periodically, for about 10 minutes or until slightly charred in spots. Grill the pepper and zucchini slices for about 4-6 minutes, turning once. Remove from the grill and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. In a skillet, heat the remaining 2 tbs of olive oil over medium heat. Add in the cubed chicken and season lightly with salt and pepper. Saute until slightly browned and cooked through. Towards the end of the cooking, add in 2-3 tbs of the pesto sauce and stir to combine. Set the chicken aside on a plate and cover to keep warm.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions. Drain and run under cold water to cool off the pasta just a bit, you don’t want it steaming hot.

Combine the cooked pasta, chicken, mozzarella balls, green onion, and grilled veggies. Toss gently with the pesto until well combined. Season with salt and pepper as needed and garnish with fresh parsley. Serve warm, at room temp, or cold.

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