Add some sizzle to your Fourth of July festivities with Hawaiian sweet and sour chicken kabobs and white chocolate lemon cheesecakes tartlets when a small bite will do.
Hawaiian sweet and sour chicken kabobs
Cook’s notes: Recipe makes 6 large kabobs and was inspired from carlsbadcravings.com
The meal was paired with parmesan risotto but basmati or brown rice would be other options. If using wooden skewers be sure to submerge in water for 30 minutes before threading on meat, fruit and veggies. Grilled fresh pineapple was a shining star in this meal. Fresh grilled corn the perfect side for this meal.
Cooking tips: Partially freeze chicken for easier cutting. I grilled kabobs on foil just in case some of chicken pieces, fruit and veggies might fall through the grate. Do not use fresh pineapple juice for marinade as it contains the enzyme bromelain which could leave chicken mushy. In canned pineapple the bromelain is extracted so juice will infuse your chicken with flavor without becoming mushy.
1 lb. skinless chicken breasts, cut in large chunks
2 cups Roma tomatoes (they are firmer)
2 cups peppers red and yellow cut in large chunks
2 cups red onions cut in large chunks
2 cups fresh pineapple. cut in large chunks
Sweet and tangy marinade/glaze
1/2 cup canned pineapple juice
3 tablespoons each red wine vinegar, brown sugar, ketchup
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon each garlic powder, ginger powder, red pepper flakes
2 tablespoon cornstarch
Prep chicken, veggies and pineapple-set aside.
In a glass measuring cup add pineapple juice, red wine vinegar, brown sugar, ketchup, garlic, ginger powder and pepper flakes. Mix well.
Add 1/3 cup marinade and chicken pieces to a Ziploc bag. Seal bag and place in a bowl. Refrigerate 2 hours.
In a small saucepan add remaining marinade and cornstarch. Whisk and cook on low heat until thick. Use this mixture to glaze kabobs during grilling time.
Thread skewers alternating with chicken pieces, pineapple, onions, peppers and tomatoes. Grill about 12 minutes on a side, turn and grill 12 minutes more.
White chocolate lemon cheesecake tartlets
Cook’s notes: These tartlets are a creamy, no bake dessert filled with your favorite cheesecake filling. Athens mini fillo shells (found in the freezer section) are perfect for these mini bites. You will need two boxes for a total of 24 shells.
5 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup white chocolate chips, melted in microwave-use a high quality chocolate e.g. Ghirardelli
3 tablespoons lite sour cream
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
Pre-made tartlet shells
Fresh berries for garnish
Optional fresh mint for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Crisp shells for 3 minutes and set aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese adding in melted white chocolate, sour cream, lemon juice and zest.
Whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form and fold into cream cheese mixture.
Spoon a heaping tablespoon into tartlet shells. Top with fresh berries and more lemon zest.
Refrigerate until serving.
Twice a month The Seasonal Plate food column will highlight dishes inspired by the changing seasons. My passion for travel, poetry, writing, exploring new cuisines, trying recipes and cooking have been inspiration for the recipes I have published on my blog http://www.sockfairies.blogspot.com.
Questions/comments at: email@example.com
Sue Ready is a writer, poet and former middle school teacher. She is the president of the Northwoods Arts Council in Hackensack.