Skewered to Perfection

There are so many great things about grilling! It keeps (most) of the mess out of the kitchen, gets everyone outside, and you can cook up so many different things at once to please the entire crowd. 

Story and Photography by Kerry Guice

Skewered to Perfection
 

It's finally grilling season, and Memorial Day weekend (May 30) will be here before you know it. That means pools are opening, we'll all have the day off, and the smell of everyone's backyard grill will be in the air. There's no more appropriate way to honor the men and women who've given the ultimate sacrifice for our country than to spend time with your family and friends, appreciating the freedoms given to us by our fellow Americans.

When hosting a cookout, the main question is what to cook! It's hard to know what everyone likes, especially when kids are involved! That's why I love the idea of a skewer bar, so everyone can choose what they want. Have a little of everything and let them create their own skewer. Kids are more likely to eat what's on their plate if they've had a hand in what goes on it. Get creative and think outside the hot dog!

Combine all that with lemonade for the kids and margaritas for the grown-ups, and you have yourself a perfect Memorial Day Cookout! Now if only the weather will cooperate. 

GRILLED SKEWER BAR

Set up seasoned veggies and meat on a tray and let everyone create their own skewers to grill. Kids who have control over what goes on their plate will be more likely to eat what's on their plate!

Veggies
Mushrooms
Onion
Zucchini slices
Yellow squash slices
Jalapeño
Mini sweet peppers
Corn cob slices (Boil for 5 minutes before skewering to soften the cob)
Cherry tomatoes
Brussels sprouts
Chunks of cabbage
Cauliflower

Veggie Seasoning
Drizzle of olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon dry mustard

Fruits
Pineapple
Peaches
(Lightly season with a pinch of salt and chili powder)

Salmon
2 thick, 8-ounce skinless filets cut into ½-inch bites
Juice from ½ lemon
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon honey
½ teaspoon dijon mustard
½ teaspoon olive oil

Whisk marinade ingredients together, then carefully and evenly coat salmon bites.

Meatballs
1 pound 80/20 ground beef
1 tablespoon mayo
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon parsley
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon dry mustard

Mix mayo with seasoning, then gently mix the seasoned mayo into the meat with your fingers or a fork, being careful not to overwork the meat or the meatballs will be tough.

Chicken
2 8-ounce boneless, skinless breasts cut into ½-inch bites
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon parsley
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon sugar
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil

Marinate the chicken bites overnight for the best flavor.

Meaty Alternatives
Shrimp
Any firm fish (mahi-mahi, tuna, etc.)
Steak bites
Bratwurst/hot dog/sausage bites
Pork tenderloin bites
Crab cake balls

NOTES:
*Soak skewers in water for at least 2 hours before grilling to prevent burning.
*Be sure to keep the meat separate from the veggies, and have the adult who's grilling actually assemble the skewers, wearing food safe gloves and washing hands after handling the meat.  

 
Marinated Watermelon Recipe
 

MARINATED WATERMELON

1 seedless watermelon, quartered and then sliced into ½-inch triangles
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon each of chopped fresh basil, mint and cilantro
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese

 
Grilled Potato Salad Recipe
 

GRILLED POTATO SALAD

4 large russet potatoes (roughly the length of your hand)
1 thick round slice from a red onion (kept intact)
10 cups water
1 cup vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 hardboiled eggs
5 green onions
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
¾ cup sour cream
1 tablespoon milk
Salt and pepper, to taste

Clean potatoes and peel if desired (I peel half of them). Slice into ½-inch rounds. Bring water, vinegar and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil. Boil potato rounds for about 10 minutes, or just until a knife goes through without a crunch. Do not let them get too soft or they'll fall apart on the grill. Drain, then season with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill potatoes, the red onion slice, and 4 of the 5 green onions over hot coals on either side until browned. Quarter the potato rounds and add to a large bowl. Chop the red and green onions and the boiled eggs, and add those to the potatoes. In small bowl, combine the sour cream, dijon mustard and milk and carefully fold everything until combined. Add salt and pepper to your liking, and top with the remaining fresh green onion, sliced. Serve warm.