Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Thursday: Chicken-Grape Skewers with Garden Lentil Pilaf

I saw this recipe in an Ellie Krieger cookbook and happened to have lentils sitting in the freezer (Seriously...who has lentils in their freezer? Me apparently!) waiting to be put into a yummy dish. Also, I bought some wooden skewers about 7 years ago, with good intentions of using them on the BBQ, and NEVER made anything with them. They have been sitting in my utensil drawer all this time... I'm surprised termites haven't gotten to them yet! So, I brushed off the dust from the skewers, defrosted the lentils, and whipped this meal together fairly quickly. 
I found out this week that my kids LOVE green grapes. I used to always buy the red ones, because I heard somewhere that they were better for you, had more vitamins...blah, blah, blah. My kids never really got into them. Bought green ones for this dish, my kids downed them. Guess I'm getting green ones from now on.

Chicken Skewer Recipe
4 servings
2 TB olive oil
1 TB fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon zest
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp salt
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
8 skewers
1 1/2 cups seedless green grapes

1. In a small bowl combine oil, lemon juice and zest, garlic, cumin, coriander and salt. Pour into a large plastic seal able bag, place chicken inside, seal, shake it up a bit and let marinate in fridge for a minimum of 20 minutes, but no longer than 4 hours.While the chicken is marinating, soak the skewers in water if they are wooden (ahem...I somehow missed these instructions, so I just ran them over cold water minutes before sticking them on the BBQ...they came out a little crispy...make sure you soak them :) ! )
2. Alternating between chicken and grapes, thread them on the skewers. Spray your grill with a grilling spray so these baby's won't stick. Turn grill to medium-high heat. Grill for 3-4 minutes per side. Sprinkle with mint and serve with lentil pilaf. 

Garden Lentil Pilaf Recipe
1 cup green lentils
2 cups water
2 TB olive oil
2 TB diced shallots
3 cups baby spinach leaves
1 cup (1/2 pint) grape tomatoes, halved 
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/4 cup mint leaves, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 TB lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper

1. Place lentils in a pot with water, bring to boil and simmer for 30 minutes until lentils are tender but hold their shape. Drain water, and set aside. 
2. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add spinach and cook until wilted about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, lentils, basil, mint and parsley to the pan and stir to combine. Cook for another minute. Take off from heat, and stir in lemon juice, salt and pepper. Serve warm with chicken skewers.


Plan and Prep Ahead

Here are some helpful techniques to make life a little easier once dinner time hits. These tips will especially help those that work full-time and don't have a lot of time to prepare dinner.

~Marinate chicken ahead of time.
~You can even skewer the meat and grapes ahead of time and keep on a plate, covered with saran wrap until you are ready to fire up the grill.
~Make lentil pilaf ahead of time and keep in fridge until time of use. Just reheat.


Who likes to CHANGE IT UP? 

~Instead of chicken try beef or pork. 
~Try lime juice instead of lemon for the marinade.
~Replace green grapes with pineapple chunks, bell pepper, or whatever sounds good to you at the time!
~Use orzo pasta or brown rice instead of lentils for a different kind of pilaf.


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