Grilling season is dreams away for many, while we in Southern California – as though the weather gods add insult to injury for the rest of the county – have been blessed with sunny, warm winter dayd.  Remember it all goes with away with a shattering 4.+ on the richter or a swelling mudslide.  The sunshine is why we tolerate traffic and “like” in our statements that sound like questions and know that our value gets determined by proximity to George Clooney and that the Kardashians were invented here and that we live in a place where “work” means plastic surgery not employment.  Someone once told me that life in Colorado is determined by your relationship to the mountain – in Southern California, it’s your relationship to the ‘industry’. Like the Rockies mountain range, there only one industry in Los Angeles . Please let us have our sunshine and warmth and be smitten.

Way over to the Midwest, however, Indiana to be specific, is where my cousins are suffering from frigid blustery days and where we get today’s cooking trick.  Bob, my cousin by marriage – really, he’s my cousin’s ex-wife’s husband – so like a cousin by marriage and divorce, not really a relative at all, but I think of him as Cousin Bob. His step-daughter calls me Aunt Sherri even though I’m her second cousin.  Sometimes people just fit into a role rather than an actual title.  So Bob makes as it is called “Bob’s Chicken.”  What About Bob? that I love is that he’s one of the few guys I know who gets excited to shop for groceries, so you know this is a guy who’s figured out some things about food.  Bob’s Chicken is certifiably juicy, sharply flavored, leftover resilient and criminally, shamefully, woefully easy.  What’s Bob’s secret?

Dressing for success

Italian salad dressing.

Yep, Bob douses chicken in bottled dressing and it’s a winning, crunchtime go-to for so many reasons: you probably have Italian dressing in your fridge now, leftovers are fab and juicy and you know, made in a pinch.

skewered

Here we’ve gone Mediterranean with Italian seasoning from the Indiana-inspired creation. Craving shish kabobs after having a delectable plate at an odd cross-culture restaurant outside of Scottsdale. My friend Anders and I knew something was quirky there with their cowboy meets Med fare.  Hummus nachos, quinoa fritters, veggie & bison burgers – this conflicted menu comes from a Philly-born cowboy and his Greek partner who, on Sundays offer an incredible brunch and then lunch not one minute before 2. Like I said quirky.

With the help of bell peppers, onions, Italian seasonings and Italian dressing, these ka-Bobs are ka-brilliant for weeknight meals. If you can’t find your grill under the snow drift, a stove-top sear or broiler charred method will work too.

italiana shish ka-bob

If you don’t have access to a grill, a broiler, grill pan, fry pan all work great.  By cutting the chicken into 1 1/2″ pieces, it should cook through more quickly.  Test for doneness with a quick-read thermometer (165°) or cut through one piece.  Note on nutrition, bell peppers will lose some of their nutritional value (see left panel) when grilled, yet, I think the flavor of charred peppers is not to be missed.  If you prefer, keep the peppers off the skewers and roast in the oven.

preptime: 15-20 minutes                           4 servings

cooktime:  10 minutes

ingredients:

  • 3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing (an brand, recipe works here)
  • 1 each: red, green, yellow bell peppers
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning* (dry herb blend)
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper

preparation:

  1. Cut the chicken into 1 1/2″ chunks and into bowl.
  2. Pour salad dressing over, making sure all sides are coated and let marinate on counter at least 30 minutes or a few hours in the refrigerator.
  3. Remove the seeds and stem from the peppers and cut into 1 1/2″ squares.
  4. Cut the onions into 1 1/2″ wedges, using 2-3 layers per section. Work with onions gently to keep some of the layering together.
  5. Put onions and peppers into a bowl and drizzle on olive oil, vinegar and sprinkle on seasonings.  Gentle toss to coat.  No need to marinade for any length of time, but it can sit for awhile.
  6. Skewer peppers, chicken and onions onto metal skewers. I like to fasten peppers at both ends and alternate.
  7. Preheat your grill on medium-high and then turn down.  Add skewers onto a oiled grill, close lid.  Turn often to avoid burning.
  8. Serve with tzaziki and hummus.

crunchtimewarp:

  • Use pre-cut chicken.
  • Use the salad dressing on the vegetables (slightly more watery, but works in a pinch)
  • Don’t skewer.  Saute’ at med-high heat on stove or in a grill basket on grill.

recipe inspired by Bob Conner and provided by your friends at crunchtimefood.com

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