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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    Broccolini & Mushrooms with Fried Shallots

    Broccolini & Mushrooms with Fried Shallots

    Two words for you: fried shallots.

    They are crispy, salty, savory, and akin to those French’s Crispy Onions, but they’re just fried shallots with a little bit of salt. They can be used just about about any way you’d normally use French’s, but are also used in many Vietnamese recipes (like as a topping on Pho… YUM!). And they can be made ahead — one of two days before you’re going to use them. They add a crispy crunch to whatever you serve with them!

    In this case, broccolini and mushrooms get the special treatment. After being sautéd, They’re topped with a generous amount of crispy shallots. It’s a fun way to make something so simple (sautéd broccolini) feel special — special enough to be a side dish at a holiday meal, or topped with a poached egg for breakfast 😍 …runny yolk and fried shallot is a particularly great combo.

    With Winter Solstice tomorrow, it felt good to eat something earthy and fresh between all of the holiday cookies. 🌎 Happy Solstice! 

    Broccolini & Mushrooms with Fried Shallots
    Broccolini & Mushrooms with Fried Shallots

    So how do you make those little golden rings? It’s not too difficult, and once you’ve done it once you’ll be pro. Here are a few tips:

    • Slice two shallots extra thin.

    • Use an oil with a high smoke point. I used avocado oil, which has a fairly high smoke point — 520°F, far below what we’ll need here. Avoid olive oil.

    • Use an instant read thermometer to monitor the temperature of your oil. In this case, using a thermometer makes it way easier to get timing right!

    • You can drain fried shallots on a plate stacked with paper towels, but we don’t keep paper towels in the house. Imstead, I place a fine mesh sieve over a heat-proof bowl or pot. Works great, less waste!

    • Salt immediately. With all fried food, salting right after frying helps the salt stick to the food, so salt those shallots up! A few sprinkles will do. Toss them gently to coat.

    Broccolini & Mushrooms with Fried Shallots

    Making fried shallots ahead of time: This can be very helpful, especially if you plan to already be at the stove earlier in the week. Plan ahead, and you’ll be glad. Store fried, cooled shallots in an air-tight container in the fridge (let them cool completely, so that no steam is trapped in the container — that will make for soggy shallots). You can store them in the fridge for two days, though the shallots are really best used right after they are fried or the next day. If they feel a little soft when you go to use them, you can toast them in a  oven or toaster oven for 10 minutes at 350°F, and then leave them to cool again (they will at first feel even softer when heated, and then will crisp up again as they cool).

    Broccolini & Mushrooms with Fried Shallots

    Published December 20, 2018 by
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    Yield: 4   |    Active Time: 40 minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 2 shallots, sliced thin
  • 1-inch high-heat oil for frying (such as avocado), plus one tablespoon for sautéing broccolini
  • 1 bunch broccolini
  • 1 cup sliced baby portobello mushrooms
  • Salt & pepper to taste

  • Directions:

    1. Place a fine mesh sieve over a heat-proof bowl or pot. Set aside for later use.
    2. Heat oil in a skillet. Use an instant read thermometer to monitor the temperature of the oil. When the oil reach 275°F, carefully add shallots to the oil. Shallots will slowly turn from pink-white to yellow-brown. Stir occasionally. When the oil temperature reaches 375°F, wait 5 more seconds. Then, use a slotted spoon to transfer shallots from oil to prepared sieve. Sprinkle salt over shallots and toss to coat (1/16 to 1/8 teaspoon). Allow shallots to continue to cool in sieve.
    3. Sauté mushrooms & broccolini: heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once oil glistens, add sliced mushrooms. Cook for about 5 minutes, and stir. Add broccolini, and place lid on pan. After about 5 minutes, stir again, and then return lid to pan, cooking until broccolini is bright green and tender through.
    4. Transfer cooked broccolini and mushrooms to a serving dish, and top with fried shallots. Season to taste with salt & black pepper.
    5. Serving suggestion: Serve this as a dinner side, and top with freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano, or for breakfast, topped with a poached egg.

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    Instant Pot Tom Yum Soup

    Instant Pot Tom Yum Soup

    This is an older recipe from Foraged Dish. I wanted to give it a little update, so here it is! 

    There is a Thai restaurant in Estes Park, which we drive by after visiting Rocky Mountain National Park. After a long day outside, when it's starting to get a bit chilly, nothing is better than a stop at that restaurant for a cozy Thai soup or spicy curry. 

    Tom Yum soup is also the ultimate soup when you're sick. It's brothy, with chicken and veggies, and scented with lemongrass and ginger. This version is an Instant Pot recipe -- easy is key when you're not feeling your best. 

    Instant Pot Tom Yum Soup

    Some typical Thai ingredients can be hard to find here in the states! Here's where to look and what to do if you can't find it: 

    You can find lemongrass in the herb section of some grocery stores, at a local Asian Market, or online. Use it while it's fresh! The Asian Market near me sells it in sets of two stalks. This recipe only calls for one, but I try to use the second one for another batch of soup within a week because I find that as soon as the lemongrass dries out it loses it's flavor. I've had poor success in freezing it, unfortunately. (Anyone have tips?) 

    In this recipe, I call for ginger and not galangal. Most Tom Yum recipes call for both, but galangal is another ingredient that can be hard to get your hands on. If you do go to an Asian Market, look there and use half galangal, half ginger in the recipe. Otherwise, don't worry about it for one minute -- the favor of ginger is very similar to galangal (galangal is just a bit more mild), so using all ginger is just fine!

    Kaffir lime is in a lot of Thai recipes but I don't include it in the instructions below at all because I've found it's nearly impossible to buy in the states! (That said, it has an amazing aroma, so if you can find it, add 3 leaves to the pot before closing it up, and then remove them before serving). It's also very hard to buy kaffir lime seeds in the United States, but I would love to grow one! I have seen a few companies that will ship a grafted plant, so I might try it. 

    Last but not least: fish sauce isn’t for everyone (but you can usually find it in the Asian section of your grocery store). If you're not that into it, use Worcestershire sauce instead (it's ok, I have my own trepidations). It's not quite the same, but it will provide some of that Unami flavor that rounds out the broth. 

    Phew! Thai food is an adventure on it's own! But don't let that stop you -- this soup is delicious, nourishing, and cozy. And this version has been adapted to make it a bit more approachable. Enjoy! 

    Instant Pot Tom Yum Soup

    Instant Pot Tom Yum Soup

    Published December 11, 2018 by
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    Serves: 6   |    Active Time: 15 minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 tablespoons ginger, finely minced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced or quartered
  • 1/2 pound boneless chicken breast
  • 3 green onions, white and dark green parts removed, then sliced
  • 2-5 minced Thai chili peppers, depending on spice preference
  • 8 cups chicken or bone broth
  • 1 cup canned full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 stalk lemongrass
  • 1/8 teaspoon fish sauce
  • Optional for serving: chili oil, cilantro, lime wedges

  • Directions:

    1. Heat coconut oil in the bottom of an Instant Pot on the “Sauté” setting. When oil is melted, add diced onion, and minced garlic and ginger. Sauté until onions are translucent.
    2. Add diced carrots, diced zucchini, sliced mushrooms, chicken breasts, green onions, Thai chili peppers, broth, coconut milk, lime juice, stalk of lemongrass, and fish sauce.
    3. Place lid on Instant Pot and turn to “Soup” setting with timer set to one minute. Turn vent to sealed position.
    4. When timer goes off, release the pressure through the vent. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, pull chicken from soup and use two forks to shred it into bite-sized pieces. Place shredded chicken back in soup and stir. Remove lemongrass stalks (you can use them as garnish, but they are not great for just eating -- they just add flavor to the broth).
    5. Serve hot with additional chili oil, cilantro, lime, or hot sauce (such as Sriracha).

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