My husband wanted an easy dinner. That meant he didn’t want a lot of clean up. We both went through our mental Rolodex (do they make those anymore?) of what we had eaten the last few times together as a family, and since we had recently covered the meat and pasta thing pretty well, I suggested kabobs and brown rice. I had also been wanting to sneak shrimp back into meals, after my family had boycotted them for some reason, and felt this was a good opportunity to do so. I got out all my metal grilling sticks, and all the ingredients on the counter and was ready to “throw this together”. The problem with kabobs and “throwing this together”, is when a Type A personality has to make them. Give a controlling, detailed oriented, anal retentive person a stick, and tell them to figure out a pattern using a variety of vegetables, shellfish and chicken – you are not setting yourself up for an “easy dinner”. You are setting yourself up for wondering why it is 8:15, the grill hasn’t been lit yet, and you’re trying to make sure you don’t have an oddball kabob with an uneven amount of zucchini on it. Oh and there are to be NO helpers in making the kabobs, because everyone else does it wrong. This last go-round, my darling husband noticed that my kabobs looked color coded and mentioned something about being hungry, which was totally lost on me in the heat of spacing my chicken on the stick at 1/8″ spacing increments, so that they didn’t touch (so the heat circulated…a Bobby Flay tip gone to my head). I saw my husband trying to put a green bell pepper with a red grape tomato, and it took all I had not to stab his hand. He could sense the rework of the kabob that was about to take place, and so he chose to find another sporting event on television he otherwise would not watch, until my tetris-like kabobs were completed.
I don’t know what it is. I like kabobs, and on the surface, they should be easy. I guess it’s just me. So I make sure I leave plenty of time to assemble, in case I am having one of those days where six grape tomatoes is just right on a stick and seven is too many. Over the years, I have had plenty of experiences with the chicken being too dry, the mushrooms burnt to little nuggets and the squash raw, so at least now I know to put like items on a stick. Armed with this information has made both kabob assembly and grilling a bit smoother, and my man looking at me a bit less like a crazy woman. (Ok that will never change, but he married me!)
chicken and shrimp kabobs:
1 lb. shrimp, shelled (I like the 26-30 ct size)
4 chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2″ chunks
8 oz package cremini mushrooms, halved if large
1 medium yellow squash, halved lengthwise and cut into 3/4″ thick pieces
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 3/4″ thick pieces
1 package grape tomatoes
1 large Vidalia onion, cut into 1″ chunks
1 green bell pepper, cut into 1″ pieces
1 large red, yellow or orange bell pepper, cut into 1″ pieces
1 head radicchio, halved and cut into wedges
1 16 oz. bottle Ken’s Lite Caesar dressing
metal or wooden skewers
Louisiana Hot Sauce
get started on the kabobs:
Place the chicken and shrimp in a medium bowl or in a resealable bag. Add half the bottle of caesar dressing. Toss to coat. Place all the vegetables except for the radicchio in a large bowl and add the remaining dressing. Toss to coat. Let everything marinate for 15 – 30 minutes. If using wooden skewers, you need to pre-soak them so they don’t burn on the grill. Light your grill and oil the grates. Start skewering like items. Skewer all the chicken together – leaving a small bit of space in between so it cooks evenly. Then the skewer the shrimp – I skewer through the tail and then again through the body of the shrimp so they stay more secure. Then skewer the squash together, and so on. Add the radicchio and the onions onto skewers. You can even throw the lemons on a stick or directly on the grill. Use them afterward to juice onto all the grilled meat and veggies.
Place the chicken skewers and squash skewers on the grill first. After a few minutes, add the remaining vegetable skewers. After turning the chicken and veggies, add the shrimp skewers. Do not use leftover marinade from shrimp and chicken to baste anything on the grill – but you can use anything left over from the veggie bowl. Take food off the grill as it reaches its level of doneness. Use a cooking thermometer to check the chicken – 155 degrees it can come off the grill and under some foil to finish cooking.
Cook up some brown rice or couscous and squeeze the lemons and shake on some hot sauce, and you have fed 4 hungry people easy.
note: feeds four with leftovers.