All Things Yum: Chicken Skewers, by Mary Waserstein
As we begin hurtling towards bikini season thoughts of less clothing makes me think of some more slimming dishes. I hate diets and I’ve never thought cutting whole food groups out was the way to go. A dear friend of mine would stop eating carbs before heading off to St Bart’s in preparation for a week at the beach. The irony was that as soon as she arrived should would spend the week eating baguettes and would return full circle.
My theory on healthy eating is that whatever you make at home will just be better for you. Even the naughty treats we all love – desserts, cream sauces etc are just healthier when drummed up in your own kitchen. You control the amount of fat used and the quality of the ingredients. I swear that take out in NYC has cost me a couple of dress sizes. Anyway, the point is if you want to begin feeling a bit more fit the best place to start is your kitchen.
Focusing on more healthy dishes does not mean that one is reduced to rabbit food. I love a well made green salad , but as a pre cursor to a good meal. When I think of dinner or lunch salads I think of a beautiful composed salad. One of the great things about composed salads is that the sky is the limit. You can use either greens or grains as the foundation. They are also a great place to use leftover protein from the night before. The perfectly cooked steak from the night before is just as yummy when served on a bed of veggies tossed with a vinaigrette.
This recipe focuses on grilled chicken which is always a crowd favorite. The skewers make grilling more manageable and look wonderful on the presentation end. Using wild rice and quinoa as as the bed for the chicken creates a filling yet fresh meal. I used dried cherries since they lend a certain piquancy to the dish, but you can replace with your dried fruit of choice. The salad part can be made ahead and brought up to room temperature before serving. Place the chicken skewers directly on top of the salad and serve in a large bowl. This really is a complete meal unto itself so all that is needed is your beverage of choice. Enjoy!
Grilled Chicken on Wild Rice & Quinoa Salad
1 Package Chicken Breasts
1 1/2 cups greek yogurt (I use fat free)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tspn cumin
1 tspn salt
1 tspn ground black pepper
1 cup Wild Rice Blend
1 cup Quinoa
1/3 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup feta crumbled
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 scallions chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
In a medium mixing bowl add yogurt, 1/4 cup olive oil, cumin, salt & pepper. Mix well and set aside. Slice chicken breasts length wise into 1/2 inch pieces (they will be long and skinny). Add chicken to yogurt and marinate for up to 1 hour.
In a medium sauce pan cook rice according to directions adding an additional cup and 1/2 of water. When the Rice has cooked for 25 mins add the Quinoa stir well and cover. When the Rice and Quinoa mixture is finished let cool for about 30 mins. Add Rice mixture to a medium mixing bowl, add olive oil, lemon juice, feta, cherries, scallions, salt and pepper and combine well. Taste for salt and pepper. Transfer to your serving bowl or platter and cover.
Heat grill. Now comes the fun part which a heads up is messy. You are going to skewer the chicken on length wise and push it together so that it resembles ribbon candy. Use 3 strips per skewer. When your grill is hot turn down to medium high and cook for about 6 mins per side( If the skewers burn, just cut them off before plating). When the skewers are ready place on top of the salad and serve.
** Guest Post written by Mary Waserstein. Mary is a lifelong New Yorker and East Hamptonite. All Things Yum was born from Mary’s love of cooking and entertaining as well as interior design. The featured recipes vary from the mid-week quickie to the more involved recipes for the leisurely weekend. Mary’s recipes focus on homestyle meals that work equally well for the casual family dinner or a more upscale evening. Throw in a dash of design and you have All Things Yum! http://www.allthingsyum.com **