Everyone loves these moist, super delicious grilled chicken skewers. They’re great for entertaining, as all of the prep can be done ahead!
A few weeks ago, I was asked to come up with a party menu that would be popular with both kids and adults alike. It didn’t take me long to come up with a decision for the main entree.
It seems that most everyone likes chicken; and when it’s moist, juicy and full of bright flavor, it’s a pleaser at any party, picnic or family get-together.
I’ve been working on a recipe for grilled boneless chicken breasts that would have a similar flavor profile to my Roasted Chicken Breasts with Lemon Garlic and Rosemary, a super popular Café recipe with bone-in, skin-on breasts, roasted in the oven. I decided to skewer my chicken for a fun presentation and an easy way to serve them.
An opportunity came to test my idea a few days ago. We were planning to spend a day with my daughter and her family, and I texted her early in the day to ask what she wanted me to bring for dinner. My daughter is a wonderful cook, but with four little ones, I know she appreciates a break.
“Something the kids will like.” It seemed the children had had too many meals-on-the-go and needed some “real” food and a sit-down dinner. I had been thinking about bringing a summery salmon salad (another new recipe I’m working on – coming soon!) but quickly changed my mind, knowing the little ones wouldn’t be thrilled about that.
I texted back, “How about chicken skewers with pitas and hummus?”. She loved the idea and I loved having willing (and extremely honest) volunteers to try out my recipe. She had chicken and hummus. I knew there was a beautiful rosemary bush growing right out her back door, so I just threw pitas and lemons in a sack. I also pulled a tray of my Chocolate Cherry Zucchini Cakes out of the freezer for a sweet dessert treat. We were good to go.
I love that the prep work on these Lemon, Garlic and Rosemary Chicken Skewers can be done early in the day, and that it’s really not much prep at all! Simply cut up boneless chicken breasts and place them in a ziplock bag. Mix up a simple marinade of olive oil, minced garlic, lemon zest, rosemary, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place both the chicken and the marinade in the refrigerator and combine them about an hour before grilling time. Then all you have left to do is thread the chicken on skewers. This can be done just before guests arrive, if you’re entertaining.
I really love these stainless steel barbecue skewers. There’s no soaking, no burning and they can be thrown in the dishwasher for super easy cleanup. They’re inexpensive and yet nicely made. It doesn’t show up really great in the picture, but I love that they have a flat surface to thread the meat or veggies onto, which holds everything really well. The little ring on the end makes them easy to turn on the grill.
So what was the verdict on the chicken? Everyone, adults and kids, were crazy over the moist, delicious skewers. The kids ate them on warm pitas with a bit of hummus. We ate ours with hummus, sliced tomatoes, slivered cucumbers, fresh corn, Feta cheese and a drizzle of the Café’s copycat Zoey’s dressing. We all said “schmakalaka” (so… good)!
The chicken would also be fantastic with a simple salad and a loaf of warm, crusty bread. It would also be great on a Greek salad or any green salad with seasonal veggies. Zoey’s dressing and this Lemon Herb Vinaigrette both pair nicely with the flavorful chicken.
I actually have another fabulous menu planned to go along with these skewers. A menu to celebrate a special occasion – but I’m sworn to secrecy right now. Don’t worry, I’ll be sharing it soon in a really fun post we have planned. I’m super excited about it and think you’re going to love this new adventure The Café’s got in the making!
Don’t wait till then to whip up a batch of these yummy chicken skewers. Just be sure to make enough, as they’ll be gobbled up by the youngsters, the oldsters and everyone in between!
P.S. One word of caution, be careful not to overcook these chicken skewers. I like to use a medium grill setting versus a high temp which is more appropriate for steaks and cuts of meat that need to be seared.
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- For the marinade:
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium cloves garlic finely minced
- 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh rosemary
- finely grated lemon zest from 1 medium size lemon
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- For the chicken:
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast cut in 3/4-inch pieces
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil for basting
- Combine olive oil, garlic, rosemary, lemon zest, salt and pepper in a medium size bowl. Stir well to combine.
- Cut up chicken and place in a ziplock bag. Add the marinade and massage bag with your hand to work the marinade into the chicken. Refrigerate for one hour. (If prepping in advance, cut the chicken and place in a ziplock bag. Make the marinade and keep in a separate bowl, covered in refrigerator. Combine one hour before grilling and proceed with directions.)
- If using wooden skewers, soak them in water while the chicken is marinating. I prefer stainless steel skewers, but if I'm using the wooden ones, I like to put them in a large zippered bag and add enough water to cover.
- Remove chicken from refrigerator after one hour. Thread the chicken onto 6-8 10-inch skewers, leaving space for holding at the ends of each skewer. Discard the marinade. Sprinkle the chicken lightly with kosher salt and a bit of freshly ground black pepper.
- Preheat the grill to medium, about 350˚F.
- Oil the grill grates well. Grill skewers for 15 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees, or until chicken is firm to the touch, no longer pink in the center and beginning to turn golden and have grill marks. The internal temperature should be 160˚F. Turn skewers occasionally and baste lightly with olive oil. If chicken seems to be sticking when you try to turn it, it's not ready to turn yet. Just wait a little longer and it should release freely.
- Garnish with more finely chopped fresh rosemary and parsley, if desired.
Be careful not to overcook chicken as it will get dry and tough. A digital instant thermometer is very helpful. You can buy a decent one for a reasonable price. You can also get a super deluxe thermometer if you want to splurge a bit. We got Scott this one for Christmas this past year and he's crazy about it.