Summer Skewers (Summer Grillin’!)

One of my favorite memories growing up: when my parents  led a group for single people in our church that wanted to get together, have fun, grow in God, and serve the community.  They would meet at our house often, and there was always lots of fun, lots of people that would pass me around cause I was so cute (hehe!), and LOTS OF FOOD!  The best was our shish kabob parties!!!  Everyone would gather around, grab a skewer, stab what they want, and dad would grill all day long!  I could never wait for our shish kabob parties!!!

So I have decided…to try and give you some inspiration for your own shish kabob party!!!  Obviously shish kabobs are the kind of thing that you can make up as you go…the possibilities are literally endless…if it can be stuck on a stick and grilled, then its fair game.  But just in case you don’t wanna think too hard…or just want a combo that someone else has tried and enjoyed…then read on!  It was real tasty, and one thing I loved about it was how far it stretched…I prepped everything I thought I would need for Jay and I to eat, then we ended up with two of our friends at our house!  I was so nervous that we wouldn’t have enough….and then we ended up with too much haha!

So, here’s what you need:

Steak:

  • 1 lb steak, cubed
  • 1/3 C Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Amino Acids (our soy sauce substitute)
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbsp Parsley, minced
  • 2 Leaves Basil, minced
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • Pepper to taste
  • A pinch of pepper flakes

Chicken:

  • 1-2 Large Chicken Breasts, Cubed
  • 1/2 C Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Cilantro, minced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp lemon
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2-1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano

Additional Goodies:

  • 1 Onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 Red Pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1 Green Pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 Fresh Pineapple, cut into chunks
  • Bamboo Skewers

Now I know that sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t complicated or scary I promise!!  And if you are a foodie, you will probably have most of those things in your kitchen any ways!  It’s so worth it!!

So, here’s how you do it!

  1. To get the full affect, start prep somewhere between 3 hours to the night before.
  2. Chop your steak into bite size pieces.
  3. Whisk the rest of the “steak” ingredients together in a bowl.
  4. Pour about 2/3 of the marinade over the meat in a ziploc bag or bowl.  Seal and put it into the fridge until ready.  Save that remaining marinade!
  5. Chop your chicken into bite size pieces.
  6. Whisk the rest of the “chicken” ingredients together in a bowl.
  7. Pour about 2/3 of the marinade over the meat in a ziploc bag or bowl.  I’m sure you can see where this is going .  Seal and put it until the fridge until ready.  Save that remaining marinade!
  8. About an hour before grilling, soak your skewers in water so they will not burn.
  9. Next, when you are ready to start assembling, prep your veggies.  Put your onions in one bowl and your peppers in another.  Now it’s time for the remaining marinades!
  10. Take the reserved steak marinade and toss it with the bell peppers.
  11. Take the reserved chicken marinade and toss it with the onions.
  12. Now…gather the family!  Place everything out in bowls and let everyone build their own custom skewers!  Treasure a fun moment together in the kitchen!  A nice break from being alone in the kichen until everyone sits down to eat.
  13. You’re good to go, grill away!  I would say medium heat, about 10 minutes…until the chicken is cooked through and there are little bits of char throughout.  Feel free to baste with something…barbecue sauce, maybe more marinade if you have more left over…but it works just how it is as well!

Yummm!  How fun is that?!

Pictures! Pictures! Pictures yaaaay!

First, the night before (or at least a few hours in advance) prep your meats!  Cut both meats into bite sized pieces.

Summer Skewers 1

Mix up your steak marinade, toss 2/3 of it with the meat, and put it in the fridge until ready.

Summer Skewers 2Repeat with the chicken marinade…

Summer Skewers 3When ready to get things rolling, get your skewers soaking, then prep your veggies!  Toss the bell peppers with the reserved steak marinade…

Summer Skewers 4And your onions with the reserved chicken marinade…Summer Skewers 6

Now put everything out in bowls and gather the people you love most to have a skewer party!  He’s so cute.  Though I don’t necessarily recommend his method hehe.  This is one of his favorite meals ever.  🙂

Summer Skewers 5

Make sure to enjoy the moment.  Heheheee.  Laugh a little.  I love that there Mr. Rodgers.

Summer Skewers 7

Now take them out to your grill and toss them on, I’m thinking medium heat for 10-15 minutes.  Just make sure the chicken is done and you have a little char! 😉

Summer Skewers 8

Like so!  Yummmmyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!  I boiled some quinoa with ours and it was all we needed!

Summer Skewers 9

Pile o’deliciousness.  Fantastic.  Enjoy!!  Be inspired!!  What is your favorite shish kabob combo?!

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Maker’s Diet Tomato Basil Soup

Tomatoes and I…are not best friends.  In fact, growing up we were more like enemies.  But I decided to be brave and try this soup.  And it caused me to decide that I should give tomatoes another chance, cause it was real tasty!  It’s pretty simple too, and creamy even though there is no dairy!  You know any soup that causes you to reconsider your entire view on a vegetable (or fruit?  I get so confused when people argue if its a fruit or veggie)…has to be something pretty special. 🙂  If you like tomato soup…you should try this.  Even the smell is worlds better than the stuff from a can!

I made this the first potentially summery day this year.  There was still a chill in the air, so the warmness of the soup was a wonderful touch to the day.  However, the freshness of the soup also made it feel summery and added to the celebration that was happening inside of me because “the winter is over and the time of singing has come!”  Yaaaaay.  When you live in Northern New York, you appreciate the coming of the sun much much more .

Adapted from perfectweightamerica.com…only because, as always, I had double the amount of garlic, haha!

So, here’s what you need:

  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Onion, minced
  • 1 C Basil leaves, julienned
  • 2 Large Cans Diced Tomatoes
  • 2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 6 C Chicken Stock

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Heat the coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add onions and saute until beginning to soften.  Add garlic and saute another minute or so.
  3. Add tomatoes and cook 5 minutes.
  4. Add chicken stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  5. Add basil and vinegar.  Blend with an immersion blender or in a normal blender, in batches if necessary.

Melt coconut oil.  Saute onions.  Add garlic and saute another couple of minutes.  Add tomatoes and cook 5 minutes, then add stock and simmer 10 minutes.

Add basil and vinegar.

Tomato Basil Soup 1

Bleeeeeeeend to make it nice and creamy!

Tomato Basil Soup 2

Pour yourself a cup, put on a sweatshirt, and go play outside!!

Tomato Basil Soup 3See my pure glee at the sunshine?!

Tomato Basil Soup 5Such a good day, I actually did my hair, got to play outside with the baby (GOSH I MISS HER), made a healthy lunch, and got to soak in some vitamin D from its original source instead of a supplement, yaaaay!!!

Tomato Basil Soup 6Wouldn’t this face make your day a good day too?  SO stinking precious.  All morning she was almost in tears begging me “ouside? ouside? ousiddddeee!!?”  Sweet girl.  Do you like my scary chalk T-Rex?  😉

Tomato Basil Soup 4Beautiful day.  Beautiful baby.  Beautiful soup.  I feel like this is a soup you could play with too…a good base for artistic license 🙂  I topped it with shredded parmesan at one point…that was delicious.  I bet it would be good with croutons too.  But that would take away the whole “Maker’s Diet” super healthy aspect.  🙂  Let me know how you like it!

Marinated Garlic Herb Chicken Breast

You may have noticed that in my salads and other vegetables I make…I have a sort of “vinaigrette” that I just LOVE to use.  It may not be exactly the same every time, but it is often similar.  Because I just love it so much.  Anyways.  Up till this point I had only tried it on veggies.

Well.

I tried something different, and I am so glad that I did.  It’s not often that I make a entree entirely original without getting inspiration from an existing recipe.  But it was a weeknight, I was at the end of the grocery supplies…and I didn’t want to take a ton of time prepping for dinner because I wanted to go on a walk at my favorite nature trail.  I whisked this marinade up in minutes and was on my way, and only had to toss it in the oven when I returned a few hours later.

A version of my favorite vinaigrette as a chicken marinade!  Yeahhhhh!

So, here’s what you need:

  • 3 lbs Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp hot sauce (I used Franks, but prefer Sriracha)
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 5 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1/2 Tbsp dried Rosemary
  • 4 Sprigs Thyme, leaves stripped and minced

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Get your chicken marinating anywhere from 2 hours to all night.  I tend to believe that the longer the better 🙂
  2. Whisk together everything but the chicken.  Dump it over the chicken in a large bowl or Ziploc baggie and let sit for however long you have.
  3. About 40 minutes before you want to eat, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Cook chicken for 30-40 minutes, until juices run clear 🙂
  4. Enjoy this super simple weeknight recipe that will make everyone super happy!!!

Whisk together the marinade and dump it over the chicken and let marinate, preferably over night, but even a couple of hours will infuse some good flavor.

Garlic Herb Chicken 1

40 minutes prior to eating, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Cook chicken until juices run clear 30-40 minutes. 🙂

Garlic and Herb Chicken 2Sooooo good.  And probably the easiest chicken you will ever make 🙂

Just A Little Weekend Note :)

I just wanted to let you all know…that I’ve been working hard doing research for you!!!  🙂  Does it make me a weirdo that this is how I spend my days off?

Just a Note

If so…then I don’t want to be a…not-weirdo!!!  🙂  I already have a 3 page list of recipes that I want to try!  Can’t wait to continue my reading, for the sake of my dinner table, my family’s health…and you, my faithful followers!!!

 

Chicken and Pepper Skillet

If you have followed me, you will probably remember me mentioning my belief that if it starts with bell peppers and onions…it’s going to be a good meal!  And I am going to LOVE it 🙂  There is just something about those flavors together, warm and satisfying.  You don’t even have to season it that much if you so choose, because the peppers and onions bring so much flavor of their own, which is the sort of recipe this is!  So delicious, and so classic!!  Check it out!!!  It looked so pretty in my cast iron skillet 🙂  Which I have been trying to use more and more to avoid the controversy surrounding non-stick and it’s potential harms.  I have also heard that cast iron will actually add iron to your food!  Can you believe that?!  And I love the brown it gives to meat!

Chicken and Peppers 6

Don’t you want to eat that?  I’ll tell you how you can!

 

Here’s what you need:

  • 2-3 Chicken Breasts, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, minced. I love me some garlic.
  • 3 Tbsp Coconut Oil, Divided
  • 1 Onion, Sliced
  • 2 Red Bell Peppers, Julienned
  • 2 Green Bell Peppers, Julienned
  • 1 C Dry White Wine, or Chicken Stock
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

And here’s how you do it!!  It’s pretty simple, great weeknight meal!

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Salt and pepper the chicken breasts.  If you want to shake it up a bit, use Herbamare seasoning instead of salt, or add some paprika!
  3. Get 2 T of your coconut oil nice and hot in a skillet over medium high heat; preferably a cast iron skillet, but at least an oven safe pan.
  4. Add the breasts and cook about 2 minutes per side, getting a nice brown color.  Take out and set aside.
  5. Heat remaining coconut oil in your pan, and saute all your veggies for about 5 minutes; until tender-crisp.
  6. Add the wine or chicken stock, simmer down for a minute or two.  If you like more seasoning, add some extra salt and pepper to the veggies.
  7. Add the chicken breasts back on top of the veggies, and transfer to the oven.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, until your chicken is done.
  8. Take out.  Admire how precious and old fashioned it looks.  Taste.  Admire how comforting it tastes.  Enjoy :O)

 

Some pictures for you!

Chicken and Peppers 1Veggies julienned and minced 🙂

Chicken and Peppers 2Heat 2 T of coconut oil over medium high heat, and get a nice brown on both sides.  About 2 minutes per side.

Chicken and Peppers 3Isn’t it pretty?  That’s the best little sear I’ve ever gotten on chicken!!  Thank you cast iron skillet 😀

Chicken and Peppers 4Remove chicken from skillet, and add back in the rest of the coconut oil and your veggies.  Saute for about 5 minutes!

Chicken and Peppers 5Add your white wine or chicken stock and cook another minute or so.  Feel free to sprinkle with extra salt and pepper if you desire 🙂

Chicken and Peppers 6Put the chicken back on top, pop it in the oven and cook for 8-10 minutes, until the chicken is done.  Yummmmmyyyyyyy!!!