Cooking for Two: Spicy Thai chicken kebabs and quinoa salad with cumin lime dressing (recipe)
Cooking for Two
Summer inspires me to cook colorful meals. The gorgeous palate of farm fresh vegetables encourages me to create meals where vegetables are the stars of the show, and meat, if present at all, plays a secondary role.
Today’s dinner is a prime example. I’ve used just two chicken breast halves to create four kebabs. I was able to do this because I punched up the chicken with a spicy Thai marinade and used a large and colorful variety of vegetables. This marinade would also be wonderful for creating kebabs using a firm white fish, shrimp or scallops (but marinade the seafood for only 30 minutes) or even tofu or beef.
By the way, this column has a new name. I’ll still be cooking from scratch, but I’m going to feature recipes for two people.
Quite honestly, I’m tired of leftovers. Cooking for two means a couple can enjoy this meal, or a single person will have enough for lunch tomorrow — instead of endless leftovers that end up in freezer purgatory.
On the other hand, this recipe could also feed a crowd at your next cook-out. Adjust the amounts for the marinade and quinoa salad to suit the number of guests. The kebabs and salad can be made one day ahead, so that you can enjoy your guests. Cook the kebabs, once the guests arrive.
Note: I’ve created this recipe as if I was cooking the meal, so that you can see the order in which each step will take place in the cooking timeline.
Spicy Thai chicken kebabs and quinoa salad with cumin lime dressing
Marinade for Meat
1 tablespoon red curry paste
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
½ teaspoon turmeric
Combine and marinate 2 chicken breast halves (cut into 12 pieces) for 1 hour or overnight
While the chicken marinates, make the quinoa salad:
Bring to a boil 1 cup of quinoa and two cups of water. Once it has reached a boil, turn down to a simmer, and let it cook until the water has evaporated and the quinoa is tender. Put the quinoa in a bowl, and refrigerate to cool it down.
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
3 tablespoons lime juice
¼ neutral oil such as sunflower, canola, grapeseed
2-3 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
1 teaspoon salt
Combine and pour over the chilled quinoa and toss with 1 cup of diced cucumber, 1 cup of shredded carrot, ½ cup chopped parsley or cilantro. Return the salad to the ’fridge and let the flavors combine while you assemble and cook your chicken kebabs.
Assemble your kebabs:
Pre-heat oven to 450 F, if using an oven instead of a grill
Create your kebabs using the following ingredients:
4 bamboo kebab skewers that have been soaked in water to prevent burning.
12 chunks of marinated chicken
A variety of your favorite vegetables, for instance I used:
½ each red and yellow bell pepper
1 small onion, red or sweet white
1 small zucchini
10 cherry tomatoes
** Use any variety of veggies that catch your eye at the grocer’s or farmers’ market. Kebabs are a wonderful opportunity to play with new flavor combinations.
To cook the kebabs:
1. Ideally, cook over a grill to get that wonderful charred flavor
2. Cook in an oven at 450F for 20 minutes, turning once
Serve the kebabs with the quinoa salad. Enjoy!
This week’s cookbook recommendation:
Since we’re focused on eating healthy and delicious meals, I’m going to give you two cookbooks to investigate, this week.
“Super Natural Every Day — Well-Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen” by Heidi Swanson
This is a great place to start if you want to cook more vegetable-based meals but still crave comfort food. Earthy flavors and hearty soups will expand your horizons and you won’t miss meat. Meusil, Multi-Grain Pancakes, White Bean Spread with Toasted Garlic Pita Chips, Summer Linguine, Weeknight Curry, Wild Rice Casserole, Buttermilk Cake with Plums are some of the recipes.
“The Healthy Mind Cookbook — Big-Flavor Recipes to Enhance Brain Function, Mood, Memory, and Mental Clarity” by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson
Meals that are good for your brain and taste good, too, like Mediterranean roast chicken, Thai steak salad, wild salmon kebabs with Asian pesto. Finish your meal with slow-roasted peaches or chocolate cherry walnut truffles.
Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson writes weekly food and religion columns for the Summit Daily News and is the author of 10 books. You can find her at http://www.suzanneelizabeths.com.
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