Thursday, March 25, 2010

CEIMB: Marinated Chicken and Grape Skewers

For this week's Craving Ellie in My Belly pick, we made Marinated Chicken and Grape Skewers, found in Ellie Krieger's book, So Easy. It was chosen by Elina, over at Healthy and Sane. Up until now, I think I'd only made maybe one or two recipes from Ellie's newer book. But after making these skewers, I think I'll be digging into that book a lot more often now!

This couldn't be easier to make. Just take some cubed, boneless, skinless chicken breast, marinate it in a simple mixture of lemon juice and zest, olive oil, garlic, cumin, salt, and coriander, and pop it onto some skewers with some green grapes. The chicken can sit in the marinade for anywhere from 20 minutes to 4 hours. In the cookbook, this is paired with a garden lentil pilaf, although it wasn't necessary to make that alongside for the CEIMB group.

We didn't have lentils on hand, but we did have some Israeli couscous. If you've never tried it, I highly suggest you do. It's a larger grain than your average couscous, probably the size of a peppercorn. The method of cooking is similar to that of rice: bring it to a boil in a pot of water, turn down the heat to a simmer, and let it go for about 10 minutes. You can do so much with it, too. We discovered it about 2 years ago and have been hooked ever since. So I made the pilaf recipe listed in the cookbook, but I substituted the Israeli couscous for the lentils.

It turned out to be absolutely delicious. When served with the chicken skewers on top, the couscous absorbed the yummy juices and just paired up so well with the plump grapes and tender chicken. The skewers themselves were amazing. Andy was actually mmm-ing and ohh-ing his way through the meal, and he rarely ever gets that excited about food. Normally, I'm the one freaking out over food!

To top off the meal, I made a simple roasted green bean dish that was also very yummy. The beans are tossed with some olive oil, peeled garlic cloves, salt, and pepper. It couldn't be easier, and it's a nice change from the normal, everyday green bean side dish. All in all, this meal was one of the best we've had in a while. The only disappointment was that we couldn't grill the skewers, like the recipe recommends. It was raining all day when we made it. But we used our electric griddle, and it worked out just fine. Still delicious, but without grill marks. Thanks to Elina for choosing this recipe. It's going to become a staple in our house!

The recipe for the skewers can be found here.
The recipe for the green beans can be found here.

Here's my version of the pilaf:

Israeli Couscous Pilaf
adapted from Ellie Krieger's So Easy
serves 4

1 cup dry Israeli couscous
1 1/4 cups water
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 red onion (Ellie used 2 Tbsp. shallots), diced
3 cups arugula (Ellie used baby spinach)
1 cup halved grape tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves (Ellie used a combination of basil, parsley, and mint)
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1. Place water in a pot, bring to a boil, and add couscous. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes, until couscous is done.
2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the arugula and cook until just wilted, about 2 minutes.
3. Add the tomatoes, cooked couscous, and basil to the pan and stir to combine. Cook until warmed through, about 1 minute. Stir in the lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and serve.


  1. The green beans and couscous salad look great! I love your take on the lentil salad. I didn't see that recipe in time to make it, but it's going on my to-make list. We loved the chicken too - easy and delicious!

  2. Wish I had made this. It was the grapes that kept me away. But it looks like a great meal with the beans, etc.