Monday, August 23, 2010

Fun with Skewers

Isn't food on a stick more fun? Isn't the word "shish kebab" just fun to even SAY? It's one of the oldest ways to serve food, but in our American culture it's very seldom used. Still, it's one of the BEST ways to get kids to eat something they might not normally eat, especially if you let them put it on the stick! In any case, here are some fun ideas for foods to "skewer" and eat. From fridge to grilling to fun, if you have any ideas that haven't been mentioned (and I'm sure there are a lot of ideas out there!) PLEASE feel free to share them.

First off, and by popular request, are "Dan's Chicken Sticks". Our girls aren't big steak fans, and we (Dan and I) aren't very fond of chicken, so these "Chicken Sticks" often make their appearance when we're grilling steaks (or salmon...the girls don't like THAT either). We take boneless, skinless chicken breasts and cut them into strips about 1 to 1 1/2 inch wide. Season them with salt, pepper, garlic powder and Dan's favorite seasoning, "Everglades" (you can find it in the spice aisle, alongside the "Mrs. Dash, salt, pepper, etc. It's a spice mixture and it's awesome on meat). We thread the chicken onto the skewers and place them on an area of the grill with medium heat. Melt about 1 stick of butter and to that add 1-2 cloves of garlic; crushed. As the chicken is grilling, baste often with the melted garlic butter. Keep the skewers moving often (rotating and moving) so as not to burn.

One of my favorite "stick foods" is prosciutto and melon. Had some last night in fact. Ask your deli attendant to slice prosciutto nice and thin. Cut honeydew and cantaloupe melon into cubes (you can also use watermelon if you'd like). Cut the prosciutto into small squares and stack them. Alternate melon cubes with prosciutto onto the skewers. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Works great as a lunch, a snack, or an appetizer. You can also use small "party picks" and just use one cube of melon and a couple squares of prosciutto. You can even add small cubes of mozzarella cheese if you'd like.

For vegetarian friends (or just as a side dish) you can skewer small onions, cherry tomatoes (grape tomatoes are a bit too small) cubes of pineapple, slices of green pepper, lemon wedges (grilled lemon tastes AWESOME!!) and even small slices of corn on the cob. Grill these slices and baste them with the same garlic butter mentioned above for the chicken skewers and they are great!! We've added shrimp and also cubes of kielbasa to these and they become a main meal.

A good idea for a "dessert on a stick" (and kids LOVE making these themselves) is cubes of pound cake, pieces of their favorite fruit, berries, and cubes of Rice Krispie marshmallow treats. Serve with vanilla yogurt for "dipping"--and maybe even some chocolate sauce! :)

Cubes of different types of cheeses, on a stick make a great snack and, once again, are fun for the kids to do all by themselves.

Also remember that all time favorite "stick food", fondue. It's making a comeback with restaurants like "The Melting Pot" and is a lot of funs for kids (if supervised), couples, and parties. We did fondue for dinner once when the power was out and it was fun and convenient. Also, fondue is a great way to rid the fridge of leftovers. You can "deep fry" the fondue food in hot oil, and then dip it into sauces...or you can just melt some cheese (always add gruyere, it's the base for all really GREAT cheese fondues) and dip cubes of food like bread, vegetables, apples, etc, into that. Chocolate fondue is awesome as well, but then what ISN'T good when you add chocolate!!

so go ahead, "stick it to 'em" and have some fun. Like I said, if you have other ideas not mentioned here...share them with us!!

Today's food quote: "Food, like a loving touch or a glimpse of divine power, has that ability to comfort" Norman Kolpas

Today's recommended cooking tool: for basting (both inside the home and on the grill, I highly recommend the new silicone basting brushes. Easy to clean (they are completely dishwasher safe) and to MY mind much more sanitary than the old style hair brushes, they make basting a breeze. They are heat resistant usually up to about 500 degrees so are completely comfortable both in the oven, on the grill or wherever you may need them.

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