Easy dinner recipes: Keep it fun with food on a stick

Easy dinner recipes: Keep it fun with food on a stick
Marinated in coconut milk and herbs, these skewers pack a lot of flavor.
Recipe: Coconut chicken skewers
(Los Angeles Times)
Can't decide what to fix for dinner tonight? Try skewers. Thread something -- almost anything -- on a stick and all of a sudden the food just seems fun.

Coconut chicken skewers: Coconut milk, garlic, curry powder, fresh mint, cilantro, lemongrass and fish sauce combine in a bright and lively marinade for these chicken skewers. Marinate the chicken first thing in the morning, or the night before (it will need several hours for the flavor to soak in properly), then thread the chicken onto skewers that grill quickly. The recipe is from Donna Deane, who suggests serving them "alongside fresh vegetable sticks such as jicama, or a colorful array of pepper strips."

Grilled shrimp with charmoula: Take advantage of warmer weather and head outdoors to cook dinner on the grill. Whip up a quick batch of charmoula (a North African spice blend combining bright, fresh flavors including lemon, garlic, ginger, cilantro, paprika and a little olive oil), then marinate some jumbo shrimp to infuse the flavor (the recipe calls for a couple of hours' marinating time, but the flavor infuses in as little as 30 minutes). Skewer the shrimp and grill them a couple of minutes on each side, and you're good to go. Serve the rest of the charmoula tableside if you want to add a little extra flavor.

Strawberry shortcake: How fun is this? Thread fresh strawberries and cubes of tender pound cake on skewers and serve alongside fresh whipped cream. It's the perfect way to finish the meal, and comes together in minutes. You can find the recipe below.


Total time: 20 minutes | Makes 16 skewers

Note: Adapted from "On a Stick!" by Matt Armendariz. He recommends using small bamboo skewers for this dish.

    2 cups pound cake cut into 1-inch cubes
    2 cups strawberries, hulled
    1 cup heavy cream
    2 tablespoons sugar
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Thread alternating pieces of pound cake and strawberries onto skewers.

2. Make the whipped cream: Combine the cream and sugar in a large bowl. Using a hand mixer or whisk, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the vanilla.

3. Serve the whipped cream with the shortcake skewers.

Each skewer: 120 calories; 1 gram protein; 11 grams carbohydrates; 0.5 gram fiber; 8 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 29 mg cholesterol; 3 grams sugar; 63 mg sodium

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