It’s a quandary. How do we avoid spending Labor Day laboring in the kitchen, but also celebrate the last hurrah of summer with a delicious meal? Here’s how!
We’re going to employ the grill and concoct a Mediterranean inspired feast that is very inexpensive, easy and fast to prepare. Everything can be prepared in advance then grilled in 20 minutes to be served at your leisure during your gathering. Bonus — cooking outside keeps the house cooler, too.
On the menu this weekend is an easy Mediterranean Chicken and Veggie Kabob, filled with tender chicken and sweet summer vegetables made even sweeter by the smoke from the grill. We’re using chicken thighs for easy grilling and low-cost.
To accompany this, we have refreshing homemade tzatziki sauce. If this is new to you, tzatziki is a cold yogurt sauce with cucumbers, garlic, dill and lemon juice. It’s incredibly popular in Greece, where it’s slathered on top of nearly everything. To enhance the salty tang of this sauce we’re adding feta cheese.
To finish this off, we’ll have pillowy pita bread, warmed on the grill. This delicious combination is seasonal, festive and affordable.
MEDITERRANEAN CHICKEN AND VEGGIE KABOBS
Total Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 4 kabobs
What You’ll Need:
4 long metal skewers or bamboo skewers
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 large red bell peppers, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
1 medium summer squash, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
1 medium red onion, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup bottled Italian dressing
Pita bread for serving
If you’re using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes prior to use.
Thread the chicken and vegetables onto the skewers. Place the kabobs into a 9-inch-by-13-inch casserole dish and pour the Italian dressing on top. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for a least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
When you’re ready to cook, preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Make your tzatziki sauce if you haven’t already. Place the chicken kabobs on the grill and close the lid. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes per side, or until the chicken is cooked through. Let the kabobs rest for 5 minutes before serving. While you wait, warm the pita bread on the grill.
Serve the kabobs with pita bread and tzatziki sauce for dipping or schmearing on the pitas.
EASY TZATZIKI SAUCE WITH FETA
Yield: 4 (1/3 cup) servings
Time: 10 minutes
What You’ll Need:
1 (approximately 10 ounce) cucumber
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
Juice and zest of one lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or 2 teaspoons dried dill
1/4 cup (2 ounces) feta cheese, crumbled
Black pepper, to taste
Using a box grater, grate the cucumber on the largest grating side, then squeeze it in a clean kitchen towel to remove most (but not all) of the liquid. Place the cucumber in a medium bowl and add the yogurt, lemon, garlic, dill and feta. Stir to combine and set aside so the flavors can marry. This can be made in advance and refrigerated, if desired. Before serving, add black pepper to taste and squeeze a lemon wedge over the bowl and stir once more. This recipe easily doubles, and any leftovers can be refrigerated for three to four days.
I hope the holiday weekend finds you relaxing with full tummies and fuller hearts. Happy Labor Day, my friends.
Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is the penny-pinching, party-planning, recipe developer and content creator of the website ‘Divas On A Dime — Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!’ Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at firstname.lastname@example.org
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