Greek Chicken Kabobs

Greek Chicken Kabobs

For the last two years, any time I’ve shot photos for blog posts I’ve done so by occupying this little 4 foot by 2-1/2 foot corner in the kitchen. It is wedged between the door to our garage, the side of a kitchen cabinet and the sliding glass door to the back yard. Other than completely blocking anyone access to the garage (or access to the house from the garage), the spot was perfect because it had good light between the hours of 8am and 3pm virtually all year ‘round, and it was conveniently located in the kitchen.

But then I started shooting videos. And oh did I learn so much! Natural light for photography is one thing — a beautiful thing - but you start shooting videos and suddenly you notice how the tiniest cloud can render one scene completely blueish. (EX: You can watch the colors of the background on this sheet pan fajitas video change throughout the whole scene. Yikes!).

So I dove in an purchased a set of “YouTuber” lights. So far I’m still learning how to use the ones I purchased (affiliate link). The light from the bulbs that came with them are a little pinker than I expected. BUT owning lights has opened up a whole new world for me — a world where I can shoot recipes outside of the hours of 9am and 3pm! And since I’m usually at work from 9-5pm, this is a BIG FREAKIN’ DEAL.

Remember that tiny corner of the kitchen I mentioned? Yes well, me and my three lights don’t fit there. At least, not with a plate of food, too. So, a few weeks ago, I made it my mission to take over our under-used office/spare bedroom and turn it into a studio. (!!!)

With the walls painted with a fresh coat of white and the closet rearranged to accommodate my photography gear, these Greek Chicken Kabobs were one of the first dishes to “test run” the new studio. All of this has given me a whole new level of motivation for house projects (I was running out of steam).

And now you’re thinking, OKAY WE GET IT but what about the kabobs? Let’s do it:

Greek Chicken Kabobs
Greek Chicken Kabobs

There are two ways to cook this mix of chicken and veggies in a lemon-oregano marinade: grilled, or baked.

Grilled, string everything onto skewers for kabobs. Roast on high until the juices run clear — about 12 minutes total, 6 on each side. You’ll get that fire-touched smokey flavor on the chicken and the onions and the tomatoes. This option is wonderful in the middle of summer, when you are out exploring (camping, at a park, at a potluck, etc), or when you just want to avoid turning on the oven.

Baked, you can skip the skewers and spread everything out on a sheet pan. Roast it all at 450°F for 15-20 minutes, until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. On a sheet pan, the juices from the tomatoes, mushrooms, and chicken swirl together in the pan, creating a flavorful pan sauce. It makes the dish juicy which is delicious over rice. This version is best for weeknights or wintertime — when lighting the grill (or even going outside) is off the table.

In both versions, the chicken turns out super tender, thanks to the lemony marinade. That same marinade is what gives the whole dish it’s Greek-inspired flavor. They are a little spot of sunshine in the middle of a wintery week, but also perfect for summer grilling season (once that finally arrives!).

Greek Chicken Kabobs

Published January 29, 2018 by
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Serves: 6   |    Active Time: 30 minutes



Ingredients:

For the chicken:
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • Sprinkle of red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound chicken breast, cubed

  • For the kabobs:
  • 1 red onion, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup mushrooms (crimini, baby bella, or white)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Garnish: 2 tablespoons minced parsley

  • Directions:

    1. Marinate the chicken: in an airtight container, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, oregano, thyme, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and salt. Add chicken, and stir to combine. Close container and place in fridge for at least 4 hours (up to 24).
    2. For grilling: Light and preheat grill to high.
    3. For oven: Preheat oven to 450°F.
    4. Place chopped veggies and olives in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, and stir so everything is coated.
    5. Assemble kabobs: Working with one kabob stick at a time, skewer chicken, vegetables and olives in an alternating pattern. (If you plan to roast in the oven, you can skip this step, and simply spread everything out on a sheet pan).
    6. For grilling: Place kabobs on preheated grill and reduce heat to medium-high. Grill, with the lid closed, for 6 minutes, and then turn kabobs and grill on second side for another 6 minutes. Juices should run clear and chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165°F. Remove from grill and serve hot over a bed of rice. Garnish with parsley. For oven: Place sheet pan in pre-heated oven and roast for 15-20 minutes, until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. Remove from oven and use a spatula to serve over rice. Spoon juices from pan over top. Garnish with parsley.

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    One Pan Paleo Chicken Cacciatore

    Camera Update: I got my new camera in mail yesterday! I’m over the moon. I’ll be returning to the regular posting scheduling shortly, now what I can shoot! 

    Now... on to this delicious dish! 

    I’ve been on a re-working streak: revisiting old favorites from the blog and taking new pictures (like this Chicken & Sweet Potato Curry, or this Lemony Garden Vegetable & Chicken Soup). It takes some of the mind-work out of the equation, leaving me to only do the creative pieces: photography, a bit of writing, quite a lot of eating. 

    This one-pan chicken cacciatore is one of those revisited recipes. I originally made this recipe when I was in the middle of finals for grad school. It feels like a lifetime ago. At the time, exams, essays, and textbooks took up such a large part of my life it was hard to believe it could be any other way. In retrospect that was a short lived moment in my journey, one that I even forget about most of the time. All the better, as my experience with grad school was unremarkable. 

    One Pan Paleo Chicken Cacciatore

    When I first published this recipe I had said, "I need meals that are simple, quick, and take a minimal amount of brain work.” But I was also looking for ways to express myself creatively, something multiple choice tests didn’t allow. It's that creative need that comes through in this recipe, inspired by a single night out at Pasta Jay’s on Pearl Street. 

    I remember—not the exact dish I had eaten at Pasta Jay’s- but the thoughts that ran through my head when I ate the leftovers out of a cardboard to-go box the next day. The dish awed me, to be honest. I had never had anything but pasta-laden dishes from Italian restaurants before (to be expected), but this dish had no pasta, and was the best thing I’d eaten that month. 

    I ate that meal in 2011 and originally wrote up this recipe in 2015. It’s now been 7 years, and that first introduction to cacciatore stays with me.

    Making cacciatore is a bit of a production: if you really want to impress people, you’ll need to get fresh basil, and there are a few things you’ll need to chop. Oh, but it’s worth it. Since I’m usually making this on a weeknight, after running errands or getting a workout in, I try to chop everything ahead of time (in the morning, or the night before). I’ll even measure out the spices and put them in a bowl, so that when evening rolls around I don’t even have to think. Just put things in the pot (I use a blue Le Creuset Braiser for meals like this (affiliate link!)) and remember to stir occasionally! 

    One Pan Paleo Chicken Cacciatore

    One Pan Paleo Chicken Cacciatore

    Published February 27, 2018 by
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    Serves: 4   |    Total Time: 60 minutes



    Ingredients:

    • 1 pound bone-in chicken thighs (boneless and skinless is fine too, just reduce cooking time - cook thighs until internal temperature reaches 185°F)
    • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
    • 1/2 medium white onion, sliced
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 bell peppers, sliced in strips (choose a variety of colors: yellow, red, or green)
    • 1/4 cup red wine, such a Pinot Noir or Sirah
    • 2 14.5-ounce cans of crushed tomatoes
    • 1/2 cup canned artichoke hearts, drained and quartered 
    • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
    • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced chiffonade style style, plus more for garnish
    • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • Optional for serving: grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese, red pepper flakes, extra basil leaves

    Directions:

    1. Heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet (I use my 5-qt Le Creuset Braiser (affiliate link!), though a 13 to 15 inch skillet would work as well). Once the oil glistens, place chicken thighs skin-side down in the pan. Sear the chicken for 3 minutes, then flip them over and continue to cook chicken for 5 more minutes.
    2. After 5 minutes, place the onions, garlic, and peppers in pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent. Add the wine, and scrape the pan with a wooden spoon. Bring to a simmer.
    3. Pour in the tomatoes, and stir in the artichoke hearts, balsamic vinegar, basil, thyme, red pepper flakes, oregano, salt and pepper.
    4. Bring back up to simmer, and place lid on pan. Cook, for 20-30 more minutes, until an instant read thermometer reads 185°F when inserted into the center of the thickest thigh.
    5. Remove from heat, and serve on plates or in bowls. Garnish with grated parmesan, red pepper flakes, and/or extra basil.
    6. Tip: try serving this over spiralized zucchini or spaghetti squash for a grain-free pasta option.

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    Zoodle Pad Thai with Chicken

    Zoodle Pad Thai

    If I were to dream about Pad Thai (you know, just hypothetically...), I think it would look like this. A rainbow mess of veggie noodles and hot, savory steam rising from the pan.

    I mentioned it in my Thai Basil Chicken Recipe, but I love when Thai food is overloaded with veggies. Zoodles are the perfect way to do that! Regular Pad Thai calls for rice noodles, and I’ve made it that way, but what I love more is this combo of zoodles with caramelized red pepper strips and bright carrots. Hello, rainbow in a skillet!

    Zoodle Pad Thai

    This dish is also a “throw it all in the pan” sort of meal, which is just my style. If I know we’re going to be home late, I’ll spiralize the zucchini and chop the peppers and carrots in the morning, so that in the evening all I have to do is put things in a pan before eating. First the chicken, then the carrots and peppers, and finally the zoodles—they cook virtually instantly, so you barely have to wait before digging in!

    Remember to sprinkle with crushed peanuts or cashews and a drizzle of Sriracha before you take the first bite. The crunch and zing is worth it. And if you want to really flex you culinary muscles, crack and egg into the pan in the last few minutes, scrambling it a bit. 

    Zoodle Pad Thai

    If you like this recipe, you'll also love this Zoodle Chicken Chow Mein, with cabbage and green beans.

    Zoodle Pad Thai with Chicken

    Published January 18, 2018 by
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    Serves: 4   |    Total Time: 30 minutes



    Ingredients:

    • 2 medium zucchini
    • 1 cup carrot, julienned
    • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
    • 8 ounces chicken, cubed
    • 1/4 cup scallions, minced 
    • 1/4 cup cilantro, minced 
    • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

    • For sauce:
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
    • 1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce 
    • 3 tablespoons maple syrup 
    • 2 tablespoons lime juice
    • 2 tablespoons Sriracha (your favorite brand or homemade)
    • 2 tablespoon tahini 
    • 1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
    • 1 tablespoon fish sauce OR if you prefer, Worcestershire sauce for a more mild fish flavor

    • For serving:
    • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, crushed 
    • 1 lime, slided in wedges

    Directions:

    1. First, use a Spiralizer (affiliate link) to turn the zucchini into zoodles. Set zoodles aside.
    2. Heat coconut oil in a skillet or wok over medium heat. Once oil glistens, add cubed chicken, browning for about 3 minutes on each side. Check to make sure the chicken is cooked through by slicing a piece in half— meat should be white all the way through, with no visible pink. If it is cooked through, use a slotted spoon to move chicken to a plate and set aside. (If any pink is left, cook in the skillet for a few extra minutes).
    3. Add julienned carrot and sliced bell pepper to skillet, sautéing until tender. Once the carrots are tender and the peppers are starting to brown on the edges, add the chicken back into the pan, along with the zoodles, minced cilantro, and scallions.
    4. Make the sauce: add all ingredients for the sauce to a small jar. Secure lid on jar, and shake until all ingredients are combined.
    5. Pour sauce into skillet, and use tongs to move zoodles and chicken around in the pan so that everything is coated. Allow sauce to come to a simmer, and cook for 1 minute (just long enough for the zoodles to cook. I like them al dente—soft with a tiny bit of bite left- but you can cook them another minute if you prefer them extra soft).
    6. Divide amongst serving bowls and top with crushed peanuts and lime wedges.

    Zoodle Pad Thai
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