Friday, January 7, 2011

Chicken, pepper, onion & mushroom kabobs

Look at that, it's Friday!  And a snowy one at that.  Though I really love snow, not everyone around here feels the same way.  Moods are starting to shift in this lull after the holidays, or what some will call the dog days of winter.  You know, that time of year when phrases like "seasonal affective disorder" start popping up in conversation.  (What?  That's just me?  Oh, right... the perks of working in the medical field.)  The days are shorter, nights are longer, and the small supply of sunshine is in high demand.  To you who are feeling a little blue, I say head to the tropics for a nice warm weather vacation!

Still here?  For you who aren't quite so lucky to jet off to a place of sun and sand and have made it this far, I have an inexpensive alternative to lift your otherwise dreary winter spirits-- make summer food in your own home!  In the colder months, we tend to cozy up to dishes like casseroles, delivery or (even better) homemade pizza, and the ever-popular chicken noodle soup.  They warm you from top to bottom and lull you into deep sleeps from which you never want to be awakened... especially when you walk to work.

These same foods also tend to give you the feeling of being wrapped in layer upon layer of sweaters and turtlenecks and sweatpants.  It's great for a while until you start craving vegetables.  Literally, scouring your pantry for any sign of a carrot or Brussel sprout or a shred of lettuce.  After a fantastic holiday break, filled with lots of fudge and cookies, I feel like my blood vessels have started to look like those pirouette cookies.  Delicious but a wee bit alarming.

So, to combat the feeling that your insides are becoming Willy Wonka's candy factory, I present you with a healthy and warm weather-esque dinner option -- kabobs!  Didn't think you could make kabobs without a grill or grill pan?  Think again!  After a little experimenting with kitchen hardware, I came up with a solution:

Genius, right!?  It totally worked, too!  So little cleanup, since the cut meat and vegetables went from the cutting board into the pan and, from there, I dressed the skewers.  A little olive oil and salt and pepper and a very grill-tastic feast was mine for dinner.  Fresh mushrooms... oh that depth of flavor from the woody portobellos catches me by surprise every time.  Why don't I eat these things more often?!  And the chicken gets an instant upgrade from the onions and peppers and simple seasoning.  Out of this world delicious and so simple... and not one bit of processed food in sight!  You may not be able to picnic outside just yet, but you can sure eat like it!

Chicken, Pepper, Onion, and Portobello Kabobs
-serves 2

A few notes: Feel free to sub the vegetables or meat to your liking.  Beef, even salmon would work well.  Potatoes, carrots, your choice!  Basically, do as you would do on your traditional outdoor grill.

1 red bell pepper
4 small (or 2 rather large) portobello mushrooms, brushed clean, stems discarded
8 ounces (about 1 large or 2 small) boneless chicken breasts
1/2 medium sweet onion
Ground black pepper
Olive oil

How to cook kabobs indoors and without a grill pan

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Soak skewers in water for at least 10 minutes before using.  Line 9x13-inch baking dish with foil.

2. Prep meat and vegetables.  Place into foil-lined pan.

3. One skewer at a time, pierce and line up meat and vegetables.  Leave roughly 2 inches free on both ends of each skewer and position so that meat and vegetables are over the foil-lined bottom of the pan.

4. Drizzle skewers with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Rotate skewers 180 degrees and repeat.

5. Carefully place pan in oven and cook kabobs for 15 to 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked thoroughly.

6. Serve and enjoy!  Perhaps with some lemonade?  No?  Try sparkling then :)

7. Easy breezy clean-up: fold in foil and discard.  Clean pan!

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