Lazy Sunday Skewers

salmonskewers

You work all week looking forward to the two long lazy days off, but how often do you just get to relax and do absolutely nothing on Saturday and Sunday?  If you’re like most people, there’s errands to run, kids to shuttle to one sporting or social event or another, family gatherings, and maybe even date night on one or both nights so that by Sunday you’re exhausted.

The last thing you want to do on your one day off is spend it in the kitchen.  Skewers are the perfect solution to that cooking dilemma.  Skewers are also great for grilling at picnics, parties, & tailgates.

No matter which recipe you are making there are some simple kebab tips:

  1. Cut the ingredients into similar-size pieces and prepare as the recipe directs.
  2. If marinating, refrigerate 1 hour for fish and up to overnight for meat and poultry.
  3. Preheat a grill to high.
  4. If using wood skewers, soak skewers in water for at least 20 minutes.
  5. Thread the ingredients onto skewers.
  6. Use 2 skewers per kebab, side-by-side, to keep the food from spinning and make flipping on the grill easier.
  7. Grill the kebabs, turning, until the ingredients are charred and cooked to desired doneness, 3 to 15 minutes.

Rosemary Lamb: rosemarylambskewers

  • Marinate 1 pound cubed lamb leg in 1/2 cup olive oil, the juice of 1 lemon, 4-6 stems fresh rosemary (leaves stripped), 3 smashed garlic cloves, and salt & pepper.
  • Skewer with 1 to 1+1/2  inch chunks of zucchini & grill.

Garlic-Dijon Salmon:

  • Marinate 1 to 1+1/2 pounds de-boned, skinned, chunks wild-caught salmon in 1/4 cup olive oil, the juice of 1/2 a lemon, 3 minced garlic cloves, 2 TBLS chopped fresh parsley, freshly ground sea salt and pepper.
  • Skewer with slices of lemon between the salmon. Grill for 3 to 4 minutes per side.
  • Serve on top of grilled asparagus spears.

caesarskewer

Chicken Caesar:

  • Mix 1 pound ground chicken2 tablespoons Caesar dressing1/2 cup Parmesan1/4 cup breadcrumbs and 1 teaspoon lemon zest.
  • Form into mini burgers, skewer and grill.
  • Serve on whole romaine leaves with grilled crusty garlic bread and more dressing.

bucaneerporkskewerBuccaneer Pork:

Boil 1 cup water, 3 TBLS each salt and brown sugar, 2 tsp pickling spices & 4 garlic cloves. Add 1 cup rum, then cool. Add 1 pound cubed pork tenderloin and marinate. Skewer with pineapple chunks. Grill, basting with bottled jerk sauce.  Serve over steamed white rice#ThisGirlLovesToEat

Chicken Saltimbocca with White Wine Sauce

chickensaltimbocaVery reluctantly, I’m back from my week of culinary indulgence. I gorged myself while sipping on every delectable wine I could in Napa and Paso Robles, so it’s back to the kitchen (& the gym) I go.

I adore veal saltimbocca, but have greatly cut back my intake of red meat, even the lighter pink/milky white young beef that is veal.  With this recipe, I’ve kept the flavors, cut some of the fat by using a lean chicken breast, and even snuck in some vegetables.

Some saltimbocca ([saltimˈbokka]; Italian for jumps in the mouth) recipes are fried in olive oil and rely only on pan drippings for their sauce, which I find to be too dry, while others are covered in a heavy creamy – lemony sauce.  I like to use a combination of the preparation methods and a make a lighter wine based sauce with just a kiss of  lemon and cream to make the whole dish a little less guilt-inducing. #GirlsGoneWine

Chicken Saltimbocca with White Wine Sauce

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (4 oz each)
  • 4-8 thin slices of Prosciutto ham
  • 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach
  • 16 whole leaves fresh sage
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 3 TBLS olive oil
  • 1 TBLS all-purpose flour
  • 5 ounces artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 1/2 ounce capers
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine like Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 TBLS butter
  • 2 TBLS fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • freshly ground salt and pepper
  1. Pound the chicken breasts to flatten so they are all roughly the same thickness (3/8 to 1/2 inch).  Lightly salt and pepper.
  2. Squeeze the thawed, frozen spinach to remove the excess water.  In a small bowl, toss the spinach with salt & pepper and 1 tablespoon of oil to coat.
  3. Sprinkle flour on one side of first chicken breast and place flat on your work surface.
  4. On one half of the unfloured side of the chicken, spread 1/4 of the spinach in an even, thin layer. Sprinkle 1/4 of the Parmesan cheese over the spinach and fold the empty side of the chicken over the filled side. chickensamb
  5. Wrap the sliced Prosciutto around the floured side of the chicken, placing leaves of sage between the chicken and the ham as shown.
  6. Follow same steps with remaining chicken breasts until all 4 are ready to cook.
  7. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy large skillet over high heat. Add the chicken and cook just until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.
  8. Add the butter. When it melts add the wine and lemon juice and scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
  9. Add the cream, chicken broth, artichoke hearts and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium. Cover and simmer until the chicken is just cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  10. Prepare your Angel Hair pasta while the chicken is simmering.
  11. Remove the chicken & artichoke heart pieces from the pan and cover to keep warm.
  12. Simmer the cooking liquid over high heat until it is reduced to about 2/3 cup, about 5 minutes. Season the cooking liquid with salt and pepper, to taste.
  13. Serve the chicken breasts on a bed of Angel Hair pasta topped with the reduced sauce and garnish with capers if desired.

Enjoy with a chilled glass of the wine you used to make the sauce. #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms & Wine

New-turkeysWe all know that the turkey and sides are the stars of Thanksgiving, but there needs to be a little something to nibble on before the feast so people don’t knock each other over like ravenous fiends when the buffet is ready.

Inevitably I end up making too many snacks, but my excuse is that I never know if I’ll have a few people “helping out in the kitchen” for the hours leading up to dinner, or if the entire crowd will be at the house hanging out for drinks and watching football.

I like to assign Thanksgiving appetizers to someone else when I can and ask them to keepturkey-cheese-ball-8 them fairly simple: some type of tray with fruit, veggies, crackers and sliced cheese or a cheese ball.  This year I am not hosting, we get to be the guests, but I’ll be taking a few dishes to add to the spread.

My main goal was to find something that wouldn’t appeal to the kids so they’d be less likely to eat so much that they ruin their dinner.  I’d rather they eat fruit, if that’s there to snack on.  An added bonus: just by saying the word mushroom the kids will come nowhere near them, so their grubby little hands won’t be picking them up and down!

Crab Stuffed Mushroom Caps

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 – 8oz package softened cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 24 – 30 fresh whole white mushrooms
  • 1/8 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 can lump crab meat
  • fresh arugula (if desired)
  • fresh rosemary (if desired)

Preheat oven to 375°F

  • Line a baking sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper
  • Using a fine mesh colander or a regular colander lined with cheesecloth, break up the crab to make sure no shell remains and leave it to drain
  • Clean and dry mushrooms
  • Remove stems, trim rough edges, then chop stems and set aside
  • Place caps (empty cavity up) on the baking sheet
  • Heat oil in a small pan.  Stir in chopped stems, celery, garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook until moisture disappears.  Remove from heat
  • Stir in crab, cayenne pepper, onion powder, black pepper, parmesan cheese, and cream cheese.
  • Use a spoon to fill each of the mushroom caps and return them to baking sheet
  • Bake in pre-heated oven 20 minutes

crabstuffedmushroomsServe immediately on a platter lined with fresh arugula and sprigs of rosemary if desired.

Another great thing about this crab stuffed mushroom recipe is that it is easily matched with the wines you are already likely to be serving with your Thanksgiving feast:

  • Pinot Grigio
  • Champagne
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Soave
  • Pinot Noir

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