What’s for dinner?

By Jennifer Pysnack, June 24th, 2020


In the northeast we are loving this fabulous summer weather.  Here in the Syracuse area we have enjoyed one of the longest stretches of dry weather in our history according to the local news.

With all that going for us, we have yet to grill outside.

Our backyard is, let us say, a work in progress.  We are close, so very close to having a beautiful outdoor space, but we aren’t there yet.  With this limitation in mind we have been utilizing our indoor grill.  It cooks a little slower, but as long as I remember to turn the exhaust fan on (seriously…) it’s a nice temporary solution.

So, what to make for dinner tonight?  Do you get bored making the same thing over and over, again?  I know I do.  One way that I get us out of a rut is to take my usual dinner ingredients and use them in a slightly different way.  Instead of the usual protein, vegetables, and starch cooked and served separately, how about……kabobs?

My garlic-parmesan chicken kabobs plated with arugula salad, grapes, and strawberries.

There is something about kabobs that elevate the ordinary, but not in a fussy way.  Taking a few extra minutes to cube your protein and slice up some summer vegetables will yield delicious results.

So how do we kabob?  We soak our bamboo skewers a few minutes in water.  While the skewers soak, we prep the protein (protein can be marinated or not) and vegetables.  Next, we string an alternating combination of ingredients onto the skewers and add a little extra marinade or sprinkle a little salt and pepper on them.  Then we can set aside in the fridge for later or get ready to grill.  While grilling, I like to cook some rice or couscous or some other starch that can serve as a bed for the cooked kabobs when plated.  Summer salads or fruit can round out your meal.

Ideas for protein – beef, chicken , pork, turkey, shrimp, scallops, extra-firm tofu – anything that can hold together when cooked.  A meatier fish like tuna or swordfish could also work.  With seafood, I typically do smaller skewers of just seafood and just veggies because I don’t want to overcook the seafood while the veggies finish.

For vegetables – you can start with already bite-sized items like cherry or grape tomatoes and small button mushrooms.  Add to that sliced summer squash, red onion, peppers.  You could also add sliced peaches or plums or pineapple chunks.  Let your imagination and taste buds guide you.

Kabobs are great for casual outdoor dining since the food is already bite-sized.  Using the same ingredients and quantities you would normally cook you can create a dinner that is visually different and kinda fun.

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