Chicken, Mushroom, Red Bell Pepper, and Pineapple Kebabs
Dijon mustard, white wine, fresh basil, garlic, and Italian seasoning can make any chicken dish taste great. Add mushrooms, onions, red bell peppers, and sweet pineapple, and you have a spectacular kebab. Vary the amounts of the ingredients as you wish. This marinade is also delicious with grilled seafood or roasted chicken (see Cooking Note below). Don’t grill over a high flame, as that could singe the vegetables and fruit.
Makes about 12 skewers; serves 6
1/3 cup (80 ml) white wine
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon cayenne, or to taste, optional
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1½ pounds (720 g) skinless, boneless chicken breasts or tenders, cut into 1½-inch (4 cm) pieces
2 to 3 small onions, cut into cubes
About 10 ounces (300 g) fresh pineapple, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces
About 8 ounces (240 g) cremini or button mushrooms, rinsed, stems trimmed, and cut in half if large
Canola oil cooking spray
- To make the marinade, in a medium bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients. Add the chicken, stir until well coated, and then, using a fork, prick the chicken to allow the marinade to seep in. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, and up to 12 hours.
- To make the skewers, thread the chicken, onions, pineapple, red bell peppers, and mushrooms, alternating them, onto twelve 12-inch (30 cm) metal or soaked bamboo skewers. Leave enough room at the ends of the skewers so you can hold them comfortably during grilling. Keep the extra marinade for basting the skewers as they cook.
- For a charcoal grill: Light a chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes. When the coals are hot, spread them evenly over the bottom of the grill and set the cooking grate in place. Cover and heat until hot, about 5 minutes. For a gas grill: Turn all the burners to high, cover, and heat until hot, about 10 minutes.
- Have a serving platter ready for the cooked kebabs. Oil the grill grate with the cooking spray, then reduce the heat to medium. Grill the kebabs, uncovered, basting them occasionally in the first few minutes of cooking with the reserved marinade. Turn and move the pieces and adjust the heat as needed, until the vegetables and chicken are nicely browned and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes. Cut a piece of chicken in half to check for doneness. Transfer the kebabs to the platter and serve promptly.
Cooking Note: This marinade is wonderful on roasted bone-in chicken parts. To serve 4, use about 2½ pounds (1.25 kg) of chicken parts and marinate, covered and refrigerated, for at least 6 hours, and up to 24 hours. Be sure to score the chicken and prick it with a fork before marinating; see How to Score Bone-In Chicken Parts, page 000.
224 Calories In
Protein: 26 g; Carbohydrates: 15 g; Fat: 5 g; Fiber: 2 g; Sodium: 394 mg; Carb Choices: 1; Diabetic Exchange: 4 Very Lean Meat, 1 Fruit, 1 Vegetable
224 Calories Out
Women: Walk: 55 minutes | Jog: 26 minutes
Men: Walk: 46 minutes | Jog: 22 minutes
How to Grill Skewered Food Evenly
One advantage of skewered chicken (and other meats) is that the proportion of meat to marinade is much higher than with whole chicken parts, where only the outer portion of the bigger pieces of meat comes in contact with the marinade. But one downside is that because the meat is cut into cubes, it can quickly get overcooked, so you need to keep a close eye on it. Here are three tips to remember when grilling skewered foods:
- Don’t jam the items on the skewers. Leave a tiny bit of space between the pieces of food so they can cook evenly and you don’t end up with uncooked spots. Some people put the meat and vegetables on different skewers, but I like one to flavor the other, even if the veggies risk getting a little overcooked.
- Maintain the heat at medium, not high. Parts of the meat can easily overcook and burn over high heat.
- Metal skewers cook foods faster than bamboo ones, so pay attention to the cooking time and, more important, periodically test the meat for doneness.
Great Green Couscous
Couscous is great because it takes literally about 10 minutes to cook from start to finish, and it goes with everything. For even more color and vitamins, add thinly sliced or diced vegetables, such as green beans, corn, asparagus, zucchini, or red bell peppers. Grilled vegetables are a fantastic addition. You can substitute just about any cooked grain for the couscous: think quinoa, tabbouleh, or barley.
1 cup (180 g) uncooked couscous
2 cups (80 g) loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
½ cup (20 g) loosely packed fresh mint leaves
1 garlic clove, halved
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
¼ cup (60 g) fat-free sour cream
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
- Cook the couscous according to the package directions. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
- Combine the remaining ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix the dressing into the couscous, adjust the seasoning, and transfer to a serving bowl. Serve promptly. (The bright green color will fade after a couple of hours, but the taste will not be affected.)
152 Calories In
Protein: 5 g; Carbohydrates: 31 g; Fat: 0 g; Fiber: 2 g; Sodium: 258 mg; Carb Choices: 2; Diabetic Exchange: 2 Starch
152 Calories Out
Women: Walk: 37 minutes; Jog: 17 minutes
Men: Walk: 31 minutes; Jog: 15 minutes