Thursday, June 11, 2015

Grilling Season - Shrimp and Veggie Skewers

When I think of Spring and Summer, I think of patios, cold beers, outdoor concerts, pools and most of all GRILLING. You can cook pretty much anything on a grill if you want to. In this particular case, I wanted to grill things on sticks. Worked out in my favor pretty well if I do say... 

The main trick to grilling things on skewers or sticks, is that if you are grilling with wooden skewers, SOAK THEM IN WATER first. I found some bamboo skewers at Kroger. Mine were soaking for about an hour or so. If you are able to, just plug up the sink and let them swim around in there for a bit. Otherwise, you'll have some pretty charred up sticks.

I went for the basic veggie skewer: zucchini, yellow squash, red onion, red pepper, mushrooms, and tomatoes. If it can be skewered, try it out! The world is your oyster.

I skewered them in no particular order, but just made sure there was a variety on each stick.  Coat or spray with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

The shrimp should be peeled and deveined - doused heavily with Old Bay (praise hands emoji for some Old Bay!) and about 5 fit on each skewer but it really depends on the size of your shrimp or your skewer. Say shrimp skewer five times fast...

A little secret for grilling shrimp: After putting all the seasoning on I gave them a quick spray with an olive oil spray to help them not stick too much to the grates on the grill.

Now for the fun part. Joey is the grill master here, so he cooked the veggies first over high heat, flipping occasionally with lid on until the veggies softened, around 10 minutes. You want the squash and zucchini to get tender and everything should be done by the time those are nice and charred.

The shrimp took about 3-4 minutes on each side, being very careful when you flip. Joey used tongs to grab end of skewer and rotated them over. When the shrimp are an opaque pink, you are good to go.

Serve it up!

It was a really quick dinner, pretty healthy and delicious! This will be a repeater all summer and into the fall!

Serves 3-4
1 lb shrimp peeled and deveined
2 red bell pepper, 1 inch cuts
1 red onion (really only need about a quarter) quartered
2 zucchini sliced into discs about 1/2 in
2 yellow squash sliced into discs about 1/2 in
10-15 baby bella mushrooms halved
Olive oil and salt and pepper
Old Bay ~ 1 tbsp

Pre-soak skewers in water for 1-2 hours
Carefully push veggies onto skewers - varying type of veggie. coat with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper set aside
Carefully push shrimp onto skewers and season with salt, pepper, and lots of old bay

Grill on high heat - veggies first, for about 10-15 minutes rotating occasionally
On med-high heat - grill shrimp for about 3-4 minutes per side, rotating once or twice.

Note: our grill is really small. If you have a bigger propane grill you can do both at the same time!

That's it. Seriously. Now make that this weekend!! Easy and a lot better than the plain old chicken and veggies you have been making lately (true story!).

Monday, June 8, 2015

Garlic and Chive Mashed Cauliflower

Going way on trend here and making use of the most uneaten vegetable on the veggie tray at a party. You know that it's true. Everyone is all yum, broccoli, tomatoes, cucumbers...then they see the white stuff (not the ranch dip) and pass.

It makes crusts, steaks, roasts, filling for tacos, and has recently has made headlines for its excellent substitution for potatoes in the ever classic mash. Without further ado (had to google that because I have only ever said it, not written it!), I give you.....Mashed Cauliflower.

Here's the set up. 1 head of cauliflower, 1/4 c chives/green onions, 2 cloves garlic minced (if you aren't using the frozen Trader Joe's, why not?), 1 tbsp chicken or veggie stock, and 1/4 c cream cheese. In the picture I have the fake cream cheese but use real if you have it! Although I will say the vegan cream cheese was really great in them and Joey didn't even notice. 

 Chop cauliflower into similar sized pieces. They can be big, small whatever you prefer, but they will cook all the same if they are close to each other in size.

 Bring pot of SALTED water to boil and throw the cauliflower in. It will take about 10-15 minutes to cook.  To know that they are done, you should be able to stick a fork right into the pot and easily pierce the cauliflower - a.k.a. fork tender.

The fun begins. Break out the gadgets! Use a hand blender, or a real blender if you don't have this guy.
 I put the chives, garlic, stock, and cream cheese (not pictured sorry!) right in the bowl.  Drain cauliflower when done and put directly into the bowl. Fire up the blender and blend to your desired consistency.

Voila! You have mashed cauliflower. Pat yourself on the back for being trendy and kind to the lonely white veggie.

Recipe Recap:

1 Head Cauliflower
1/4 c green onions
2 cloves garlic, chopped or minced 
1/4 c cream cheese
2 tbsp chicken or veggie stock

Bring pot of salted water to boil
Put cauliflower in boiling water for 10-15 minutes until fork tender
Drain and combine with rest of ingredients in a bowl
Hand blend or use a stand blender until your desired consistency.


Make these and come back here and tell me how you liked them. :-)