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Kabobs: 5 Easy, Healthy and Fun Recipes

If your kids are helping you prepare kabobs, watch them so they don't poke themselves with the skewers.
If your kids are helping you prepare kabobs, watch them so they don't poke themselves with the skewers.
iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Kabobs, once the humble street food of the Mediterranean and Middle East, have become common throughout the world. Easily adaptable, they're one dish that even the most inexperienced chef can have in his or her back pocket -- just chop, skewer, marinate, grill and voila! Instant meal. Mix and match meats and marinades for the flavors of any sort of cuisine -- have Indian curry kabobs one night, Thai satay skewers the next and Cajun seafood sticks later in the week.

Kabobs are great for groups, too -- the thought of preparing a sit-down dinner for 10 might be nerve-racking, but kabobs? No sweat. You can make it even easier on yourself by offering a build-your-own bar with different ingredients, meats and sauces. And while everyone's chowing down on the main course, throw some skewered fruit on the grill and treat your guests to an unexpected dessert.

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Here's another notch in the plus column for kabobs: They're healthy. No processed or packaged food here -- just fresh meats, fruits and vegetables with simple yet delicious flavors. And they're fun to eat! You can't get much better than that.

To get you started on the road to kabob deliciousness, here are five recipes -- from the traditional (lamb) to the newfangled (ever tried grilling a banana?).

Although lamb is the classic pairing with tzatziki, you could substitute beef or pork.
Although lamb is the classic pairing with tzatziki, you could substitute beef or pork.
iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Kabobs come in all kind of forms these days, but if you're shooting for authenticity, you have to go for the original: lamb. You can't go wrong with spicy seasoned lamb chunks paired with tzatziki, a cool sauce made of yogurt, garlic, cucumber and dill. Round out the meal by serving couscous, hummus and pita bread. And if you want to make things even easier, buy prepared tzatziki and hummus and precut lamb. We won't tell.

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It doesn't get much easier -- or tastier -- than skewers of grilled fish and tomatoes. Buy the freshest fish you can find (firm choices like swordfish and salmon work well together), and skewer the fish chunks with cherry tomatoes. Brush them with basil oil, grill for 10 minutes, and the flavors will speak for themselves.

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For a deliciously simple take on satay (the Thai version of kabobs), whip up a quick sauce with peanut butter, soy sauce, brown sugar, lime zest and crushed red pepper. Throw in some chunked chicken, marinate for a few hours, skewer with onions, peppers and snow peas, and serve with jasmine rice. Here's another tasty version of satay to try.

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You don't need meat for a satisfying kabob, and we can't name any vegetable that doesn't taste better grilled. Mushrooms, peppers, onions, zucchini, squash and tomatoes are all scrumptious when they're a bit charred, and they don't need much in the way of fancy marinades and sauces. Balsamic vinaigrette goes well with everything, but pretty much any olive oil-based dressing will do. You can make your own or use whatever bottled flavor you already have in the fridge.

And don't throw out the leftover dressing from marinating the veggies. Unlike with raw meat or fish marinades, you can pour the extra liquid over the vegetables after they've come off the grill and have no fear of contamination.

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A drizzle of honey is a simple yet delicious topping for grilled fruit.
A drizzle of honey is a simple yet delicious topping for grilled fruit.
©iStockphoto.com/Chris Williams

Kabobs aren't just for dinner -- you can skewer and grill your dessert, too! Stone fruits like peaches and nectarines turn out particularly well on the barbie, but most any fruit except berries will work. Pair the grilled goodies with ice cream or a rich caramel or chocolate sauce (or all of them!). We don't know why grilled fruit hasn't totally caught on yet, but we guarantee you'll be a convert once you try it.

For more information on kabobs, check out the links on the next page.

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Sources

  • All Recipes. "How to Grill Steak, Chicken and Kabobs." (Nov. 28, 2011) http://allrecipes.com/HowTo/Grilling-101-Steak-Chicken-and-Kabobs/Detail.aspx
  • Better Homes & Gardens. "Chocolate-Sauced Dessert Kabobs." (Nov. 28, 2011) http://www.bhg.com/recipe/chocolate/chocolate-sauced-dessert-kabobs/
  • Food Network. "Lamb Kabobs with Tzatziki Sauce." (Nov. 28, 2011) http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/sunny-anderson/lamb-kabobs-with-tzatziki-sauce-recipe/index.html
  • Martha Stewart. "Grilled Fish Kabobs with Cherry Tomatoes." Everyday Food. July/August 2003. (Nov. 28, 2011) http://www.marthastewart.com/341317/grilled-fish-kabobs-with-cherry-tomatoes
  • Moore, Natalie Y. "Grilling Your Dessert." NPR. June 21, 2006. (Dec. 1, 2011) http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5496987
  • My Recipes. "Spicy Thai Chicken Kabobs." Southern Living. (Nov. 28, 2011) http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/spicy-thai-chicken-kabobs-10000001842454/

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