I can’t believe I’m finally writing my first blog post! I’ve been thinking about starting a food blog for a while and after several months of preparing and testing recipes, I’m finally ready to debut my little passion project to the world!
And, it just so happens that the launch somewhat coincides with Brad’s birthday. We had only been dating a few weeks last year when it was his birthday, so we were in the awkward stage of what to get someone you just started dating. Having discovered he loves milk chocolate, I baked him chocolate cupcakes from one of my favorite cookbooks, The Cake Mix Doctor, and took him to the Jimmy Buffett concert the next day. Now, a whole year later, we are still keeping it low key but I can indulge a bit more.
I love entertaining and having friends and family over for a delicious meal and Brad’s birthday is a perfect excuse to have a party. Since I’ll be in control of the menu, I can make sure everything on the menu is free of diary, gluten, and eggs – and most of the time, no one knows these ingredients are missing.
We have a Webber kettle grill that works great but we have been talking about purchasing a gas grill for a while; unfortunately something always seems to jump in front of the line of purchase priority. So, I decided to give Brad a Broil-Mate™ One Tough Grill for his birthday. It’s going to be great to have the option of cooking over charcoal or gas. During the week, it’s just easier to turn on the gas grill than preparing and waiting 30 minutes for the charcoal grill to heat. I convinced Brad to open his gift a day early so we could use it during the birthday barbecue. We tested it out the night before by grilling chicken – delish!
Brad loves kebabs, so I’m making chicken and steak kebabs, dairy-free potato salad, and fruit salad. Most everything on the menu can be prepped ahead of time, leaving me time to mix and mingle with his family. And for the vegetarians and vegans out there, you can use the marinade on veggies – just swap the honey for Agave nectar.
Balsamic-Honey Chicken Kebabs
Author: The Food Allergy Foodie
Prep Time: 1-1.5 hours
Serves: 8-10 people
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, brined and cubed
1 container of grape or cherry tomatoes
2 zucchini, sliced into ½” pieces
1 container, Crimini mushrooms
1 red onion, cut into large pieces
1 red bell pepper, cut into large pieces
1 green bell pepper, cut into large pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into large pieces
8-10 metal or wooden skewers
- One hour before you are ready to assemble the kebabs, brine the chicken breasts in a salt water bath. In a large mixing bowl, measure ¼ cup of Kosher or sea salt with cold water. Whisk until the salt is dissolved. Add the chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. The longer you brine the chicken, the juicer it will be.
- While the chicken is brining, prepare the marinade. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the marinade. Whisk well to combine the oil and vinegar.
- After the chicken is done brining, rinse well under cold water. Make sure to really rinse the chicken because you don’t want to taste the salt from the brine. Pat dry the chicken.
- Cube the chicken into 1-1/2” pieces. You want to make sure the pieces are large enough so they won’t fall off the skewer while cooking. Place the cubed chicken into a Ziplock bag and pour half the marinade over the chicken. Close the bag and shake to cover the chicken. Marinate for 30 minutes. You will need the remaining marinade to baste the vegetables.
- If you are using wooden skewers, now is the time to soak them so they don’t burn during grilling. I use a baking sheet and fill it with water and soak the skewers for at least 30 minutes.
- While the chicken is marinating, prepare the vegetables for the kebabs. I like to make “stations” for each of the vegetables so I get out all of my mixing bowls, one for each vegetable. As I cut each vegetable, I add them to a bowl for easy assembly.
- After the chicken is done marinating, it’s time to assemble the kebabs. You can build the kebabs any way you like – you can do chicken – vegetable – chicken, or vegetable – vegetable – chicken – it’s up to you! As I build each kebab, I placed the filled skewers on a baking sheet. Once all the kebabs are assembled, brush each with the remaining marinade.
- Heat the grill to 375 degrees. Once heated, place the skewers on the grill and let cook about 30 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the chicken registers 165 degrees.
- Plate and enjoy!
If you are vegetarian or vegan, you can substitute the honey in the marinade with agave nectar and create delicious veggie kebabs.