Glazed Chicken Skewers

skewers

Perfect for backyard barbeques or parties, these glazed chicken skewers are a little sweet, a little spicy and a little smoky from the grill. The soy gives an Asian flair, while the red pepper flakes provide some kick. Enjoy with other finger foods (like buffalo wings) and a cold beer or other beverage. Have plenty of napkins or wet wipes for sticky fingers, too!

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cloves Garlic, grated with a microplane (or minced)
  • ⅓ cup Honey
  • ½ bottle Negra Modelo (I recommend drinking the rest with the meal!)
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup Soy Sauce
  • ¼ tsp. Pepper
  • 1 tbs. Olive Oil
  • ¼ cup chopped Shallots (about 1 medium shallot)
  • 6 boneless skinless Chicken thigh filets, cut into cubes
  • Oil (for the grill)
  • Cilantro (optional – for garnish)
  • 1 tbs. Balsamic Vinegar (Trade Joe’s – Aceto Balsamico de Modena)

DIRECTIONS—Marinade

In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, honey, Negra Modelo, red pepper flakes, mustard, soy sauce and pepper. Add the chicken cubes and refrigerate for 1 hour. You can leave it to marinade longer, but don’t leave it in the refrigerator longer than overnight.

Remove the chicken from marinade (reserve the marinade) and thread through wooden skewers.

In a pot over medium-high heat, add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and shallots. Sauté until the shallots soften (about 5 minutes) and then add the marinade. Boil your mixture, stirring frequently until it has reduced and thickened (about 8 minutes). 

DIRECTIONS—Grilling

Preheat grill to medium-high heat and brush lightly with oil. Brush your chicken with the glaze and place them on the grill. Brush the chicken with your glaze again and turn every 2-4 minutes until fully cooked (about 10 minutes). Sprinkle with chopped cilantro prior to serving.

DIRECTIONS—Oven

Preheat oven to 400° F and place chicken on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. Brush liberally with glaze and roast for approx. 30-40 minutes, brushing with glaze every 8-10 minutes until cooked through. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro prior to serving.

Restaurant Style Salsa

chipsalsa

This recipe makes a very large batch of salsa. I recommend using a 12-cup food processor, or you can process the ingredients in batches and then mix everything together in a large mixing bowl. Definitely enough for a party or other celebration, and we guarantee the bowl will be empty very soon.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 can (28 ounce) whole tomatoes with juice
  • 2 cans (10 ounce) Rotel diced tomatoes and green chiles
  • ¼ cup chopped yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 whole jalapeno, quartered and sliced thin
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro
  • ½ whole fresh lime juice 

DIRECTIONS

Combine whole tomatoes, Rotel diced tomatoes and chiles, onion, jalapeno, garlic, sugar, salt, cumin, lime juice, and cilantro in a blender or food processor. Pulse until you get the salsa to the consistency you’d like – I do about 10 to 15 pulses. Test seasonings with a tortilla chip and adjust as needed.

Refrigerate salsa for at least an hour so that the flavors can combine. Serve with tortilla chips or cheese nachos. Also great over eggs, in burritos or on taco salad instead of dressing.

Party Food

I was at a function in Dallas and found myself fortunate enough to get the following three recipes from a wonderful lady who ran her own catering business. I had to have them before I got on the plane that night.  They are a little more work than the other dishes, but they are perfect for impressing your guests at any dinner party!

Cucumber Canapés

cucumbercanapes

Buy a loaf of Pepperidge Farm very thin wheat bread (white works, too).  Stack the bread (at least half the loaf) and cut off the crust. Then you’re going to cut the crustless pieces into two triangular pieces (a serrated knife works well for this).  Layer them onto a cookie sheet (only one layer) and bake  300° F for 15 to 20 minutes (it may take longer depending on your oven and elevation).  The goal is for them to be crunchy and golden, similar to Melba toast.  I usually do this step in advance and save them in a baggie to use later.

Lay the toast out on a plate and put a dollop of mayo (not Miracle Whip… too sweet) on each toast piece about the size of a nickel (it’s best to use your own judgment).  In the meantime peel a cucumber and thinly slice it into round pieces. English cucumbers are the best for this because they are slightly slimmer.

Put a slice of cucumber on each toast piece and sprinkle liberally with Jane’s Crazy Mixed Up Seasoning.

Don’t make them too far in advance because the mayo will make the toast soft and you want them to stay crunchy.  The trick is to put a dollop rather than spreading the mayo so it leaves more of the toast unexposed to the mayo.

Endive Boats

endiveboats

Begin by purchasing 4 pods of Belgium endive, washing them and peeling off each leaf.  The outer leaves will probably have a little too much stem still attached so you can cut that off.  There are going to be long leaves on the outer part and shorter ones as you get nearer to the center.

For the next part, you’ll need a carton of Boursin cheese spread. You’ll probably find it where they have the bleu cheese and the more exotic cheeses in your grocery store.  If possible, get the garlic and herbs version of the spread. It will be the consistency of cream cheese.

Fill each ‘boat’ with the cheese.  Get some seedless red grapes, cut them in half lengthwise and place them on top of the cheese.  I use about 1 grape (2 halves) per boat.  Done.  That’s it.  I use regular endive to garnish and put the left over grapes in the center to make it pretty.

I’ve put a lot of verbiage in my recipes but once you make them, you’ll see how easy they are and it will be a snap.

Jalapeno Bacon Wraps 

baconwrappedjalepnos

Buy whole jalapenos (as large and firm as possible), half them lengthwise, and de-seed them.  It’s best to this in a sink full of water because the jalapeno fumes can get intense.

Fill the halves liberally with whipped cream cheese and put them back together as a whole pepper.  Wrap the whole peppers in raw bacon (I use the thicker type and use one half of a piece of bacon per pepper) and secure it with a sturdy toothpick.  Put them in a Pyrex baking dish and set the oven to 400° F.

After the jalapenos start sizzling (typically about 10 minutes) you will want to turn them and possibly reduce the temperature to 375° F. This is not an exact science because it depends on how your oven cooks. The state of the bacon is usually a good indicator.  If you see the bacon getting over-cooked reduce the temperature; if it looks like it’s not cooking, raise it back up. You will definitely need to flip/turn them a few times while cooking.  These are a little more of a project, but your mouth will water and you will have your guests begging for more!