home cooking recipes                                            home cooking recipes

Stick 'em Up!

Story by Angie Sutton


They say you can cook just about anything on a stick. I’ll leave the weird stuff like candy bars and butter to the folks at the state fair and “stick” with the good stuff—kabobs and screwers.

Can you hear the skewered meat, veggies and fruit sizzling over the hot flame? The tantalizing combination of marinades and rubs drift through the neighborhood air as the grill slowly cooks the threaded meat.

Most kabobs are done in 30 minutes or less so it’s a quick-to-the-table dinner that includes a healthy offering of meat and vegetables laced together. Perhaps you want to go with steaks-on-a-stick, like teriyaki beef, and serve it with a leafy green salad and fresh fruit. Mouthwatering seafood skewers can easily be served on a bed of rice to make a complete meal.

Around our home, we like kabobs because we can personalize them to each family member’s taste. The adults like a kick of red pepper and onions and the kids tend to keep their version ready for dipping in barbecue or ranch dressing. Prep-ahead skewers are easy to grill at the last minute which makes them handy for time-pressed days.

We like to experiment with flavorful ingredients like tomatoes, pineapple, zucchini, mushrooms, peppers and sweet potatoes. This summer we’ll take advantage of fresh sweet corn and eggplant from the garden to thread between pork or beef. We also mix up our meal by offering two or three kinds of meat like beef, pork and shrimp (cooked on separate skewers).

Top 10 handy hints for serving a successful grilled kabob:

Leave a bit of space between items on your kabob so the heat can circulate.

To prevent wooden skewers from burning, soak them in lukewarm tap water for 30 minutes before threading ingredients.

When choosing metal skewers, select the square-shaped rod with a sharp tip. This makes threading easier and keeps the ingredients from falling off.

When using wooden or bamboo skewers, use two per kabob, about 1/4-inch apart. This makes turning a heavily-loaded skewer easier.

Moisten a paper-towel with cooking oil; use long-handled tongs to rub on grill rack to coat lightly before resting kabobs on rack.

If you do not have a grill, you can prepare most recipes in your oven on broil. Place the kabobs 3 to 4 inches from the broiler and adjust time as needed.

Keep meat cubes uniform in size when you cut them. This ensures your pieces are done at the same time.

If you choose lean meats, you will want to cook them low and slow. Be sure the vegetables you select can handle the amount of grill time.

Baby new potatoes are a great addition, but you’ll want to parboil or microwave them so they are fully done when the other items on your kabob are done.

Marinate your meat for at least 30 minutes for optimum flavor but be cautious as over-marinating can cause tough or mushy meat. Discard marinade after draining.

Chicken & Vegetable Kabobs

This recipe serves four people and is on the table in less than 30 minutes.

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
1 medium sweet red pepper, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1 1/2-inch slices
1 medium red onion, cut into thick wedges
2/3 c. sun-dried tomato dressing, divided

In a large bowl, combine chicken and vegetables. Add 1/3 cup dressing and stir to coat. Thread chicken and vegetables on four skewers, alternating order. Grill kabobs, covered, over medium heat about 10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Turn occasionally and baste with remaining dressing during the last 3 minutes.

Balsamic-Glazed Beef and Tomato Skewers

You can refrigerate the meat and marinade combination in a plastic storage bag for a few hours. Then just thread and grill.

1/4 c. balsamic vinaigrette
1/4 c. barbecue sauce
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 lb. beef top sirloin steak, 1 1/2-inch cubes
2 c. cherry tomatoes

In a large bowl, whisk vinaigrette, barbecue sauce and mustard until combined. Set aside 1/4 cup of the marinade for basting. Add beef cubes to the mixture and stir to coat. Thread beef and tomatoes on four skewers, alternating order. Grill skewers, covered, over medium heat for 10 minutes or until beef reaches desired doneness. Turn occasionally and baste with reserved marinade during the last three minutes.

Shrimp and Veggie Kabobs

We don’t have fresh shrimp readily available so we utilize frozen, bagged shrimp. It comes peeled and deveined and thaws quickly.

3/4 c. olive oil
1/3 c. lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. grated lemon peel
16 uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 medium red onion, cut into thick wedges
8 large fresh mushrooms, halved
8 grape or cherry tomatoes
Hot, cooked rice
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients. Transfer 2/3 cup into a large resealable plastic bag and then add shrimp. Seal and turn to coat all shrimp; refrigerate for 30 minutes. Cover and refrigerate remaining marinade. Drain shrimp and discard used marinade. Alternately thread shrimp and vegetables on eight skewers, leaving 1/4-inch between ingredients. Grill skewers, covered, on medium heat for 3 minutes on each side or until shrimp turn pink. Baste frequently with reserved marinade. Serve with rice and sprinkle with cheese.

Kick-Off Kabobs

Provided by www.porkandhealth.org. This recipe makes 24 kabobs and is the perfect appetizer

2 lbs. boneless pork chops, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 c. Italian dressing
2 Tbsp. red pepper flakes, crushed
1 Tbsp. fennel seed
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
24 6-inch wooden skewers

Place pork cubes in resealable plastic bag; add salad dressing, red pepper flakes and fennel seed. Seal bag; refrigerate for at least 1 hour to overnight to marinate pork. When ready to cook, thread pork, peppers and onion on skewers. Discard marinade. Place kabobs on greased broiler pan and broil 5 inches from heat, or grill over medium-hot coals, for about 5 minutes per side.

Fruit Kabobs with Chocolate Fondue

Yes, this is my kid’s favorite part of grilling kabobs. It’s especially fun if you have a fondue pot. Double or triple the recipe as needed.

2 bananas
2 kiwi fruit
12 strawberries
1 Tbsp. melted butter
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

For the fondue:

8 oz. semisweet chocolate pieces
1/2 c. light cream
8 marshmallows
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Peel the bananas and cut into 1 1/2-inch slices. Peel the kiwi and cut into quarters. Thread the bananas, kiwi and strawberries alternately onto four skewers. Mix together the butter, lemon juice and ground cinnamon and brush the mixture generously over the fruit. For the fondue, place the chocolate, cream and marshmallows in a small pan and heat gently, stirring constantly. Do not boil. Mixture will be smooth when melted. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Keep warm while kabobs grill. Grill the kabobs, covered, on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes; turning once. The fruit will be golden. Serve immediately with fondue.


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