Where we live, spring is an incredibly short season. It seems like it’s snowing one day, and then the next day we are rocking flip-flips and turning on the A/C. I’m not mad about it, because I fully and truly LOVE summer (even in all of its ridiculously humid glory). I love days on the lake. I love lightning bugs. I love summer shandies. I love getting my hands dirty in the garden. I love bonfires. I lovvveeeee sundresses. And I sure as sugar love grilling!
I am the chief griller in our family, and it’s a true love affair. I love the flavor of grilling, and I love that cooking on the grill gets me outside after a day sitting at a desk. And maybe above all, I love that grilling means fewer dishes!
Grilled kabobs are one of my favorite nourishing summertime dinners. They are the epitome of simple, whole food. I think a lot of folks feel like eating a nourishing diet has to be complicated, but I argue that eating in a way that makes your body happy is actually the simplest way to eat. No counting, no reading books, no following meal plans. Just listen to your body, feed it want it wants, and keep what’s on your plate simple!
Making a kabob can be as simple as just sticking whatever foods make you happy onto a skewer. But to up your kabob game, here are my tips.
- Invest in metal skewers: Wood skewers may seem like a steal considering you can get a hundred for a few dollars, but metal skewers will last you decades, they hold a lot more food, they don’t catch on fire (eek!), they’re reusable, and my favorite part, because metal is conductive of heat, they actually help cook the food from the inside out—meaning your dinner goes from grill to plate much faster. Meijer has an incredible grill accessory section (it’s near the garden center in my local Meijer store) where I picked up my skewers.
- Keep items with similar cooking times together: This is maybe the #1 key to a great kabob—only skewer foods with similar cooking times together on the same kabob. Avoid putting things like shrimp (cooks in just a few minutes!) and potatoes (can take 20+ minutes to cook!) on the same skewer. Instead, skewer foods based on cooking times. The recipe below has the perfect combo of meat and veggies that cook in the same amount of time.
- Marinade, marinade, marinade: Because kabobs can be so simple, you’ll want to impart some flavor through a great marinade for your protein (chicken, beef, sausage, shrimp, tofu, oh my!). You can even reserve a bit of your marinade and simmer it to thicken to use as a grilling sauce, as I do in the recipe down below. If you’re short on time, you can hit up the sauce section of your local Meijer store to grab your favorite barbecue sauce, wing sauce, or even salad dressing to add flavor to your kebobs. You can’t mess this up!
- Make it customizable: The great thing about kabobs is that everyone in the family can create their own perfect dinner. We had kabobs all the time when I was a kid, but considering I didn’t touch a bell pepper until my mid-twenties (crazy, I was), I always left the peppers off mine. Set up a skewer bar and let everyone assemble their own perfect dinner!
For these Hawaiian-inspired chicken kabobs, I paired one of Hawaii’s most famous fruits—pineapple!—with tender chicken (I like the True Goodness brand chicken from Meijer), and tons of fresh veggies. Since Hawaiian cuisine has lots of Asian influences, I went with an Asian-inspired marinade for the chicken. The marinade also gets boiled and reduced down to become a sauce for brushing on the skewers. The whole vibe has that sweet and spicy thing going on that is oh-so-satisfying, especially when done on the grill. Oh man, it’s just absolutely one of my favorite summertime dinners.
You can serve these grilled chicken kabobs as is—seriously they are so satisfying on their own—with a side of rice. Or, to keep it nice and easy, I tend to grab a bag of Meijer brand kettle chips and a six pack of beer and call it dinner. These Sweet Maui Onion chips are a particularly awesome pairing with these Hawaiian chicken kabobs. I learned while I was visiting the Meijer headquarters last month that they recently reformulated all of their Meijer brand kettle chips. We got to taste test all the new flavors, and HOLY WHOA are they addictive! They also are all naturally flavored (which you know is my jam).
I love the combo of bell peppers, zucchini, red onion, pineapple, and juicy chicken here, but you can feel free to experiment with the combos that would make you happy—this marinade and grill sauce will work on all kinds of goodies! Enjoy.