Sweet & Spicy Grilled Chicken

Grilling out goes with summer the way peanut butter goes with jelly. When I was a kid though, I hated cook outs. I don’t eat red meat (honestly almost never have), so I was obviously not a fan of blackened hot dogs and hamburgers. Anything else on the grill I didn’t trust because it probably was “contaminated” by beef. Cook out meals for me were usually some potato chips and maybe a piece of corn on the cob. Not very exciting.

Now that I’m no longer a kid and can cook for myself, the grill is no longer the enemy. I make sure burgers have their own designated area because I am still a little weird about it, but most of my loved ones don’t complain about it.

I really like thinking outside of the box when it comes to grilling. Not everything has to be barbecue sauce, ketchup and mustard. The other day I stumbled upon a list of fruits that are great for grilling and I saw pineapple. My gears started turning and I decided to try a dish that sounds more like it comes from a take out menu than a cook out: sweet and spicy grilled chicken!

Yields 2-4 servings

  • 5-6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/8 cup soy sauce
  • 1/8 cup honey
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp sriracha
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut to 1 inch pieces
  • mango, cut to 1 inch pieces
  • pineapple, cut to 1 inch pieces
  1. Cut the chicken into chunks. In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, honey, garlic, sriracha, ginger and sugar. Add chicken and toss to coat completely. Cover and refrigerate for about 2 hours.
  2. Heat your grill (or stove top grill pan) to medium heat. Thread the chicken, bell pepper, pineapple and mango on separate skewers.
  3. Place the chicken and bell pepper skewers on the grill over direct heat and brush both with reserved chicken marinade. Cook for about 5 minutes, turning occasionally. Move the chicken and peppers to indirect heat, and place the pineapple and mango skewers over direct heat. Brush all skewers with marinade and cook for about 5 minutes, turning occasionally.
  4. Once the chicken is cooked through and the peppers and fruit start to char, remove the skewers and serve immediately over white rice.

OK. Confession. I don’t have a grill right now. I used a stove top grill pan. It actually works really well, and it’s a great option if you live in an apartment or don’t have space for a real grill.We’ve all had versions of sweet and sour chicken, mango chicken, pineapple chicken, whatever. This has all the taste of a take out meal, but with this extra boost from grilling. The carmelization on the fruit from cooking it on that direct heat really brings the flavor to another level.

The marinade unifies all the components. The fruits aren’t too sweet, the chicken isn’t too spicy. Just don’t use the reserve marinade as a sauce at the end, since it had raw chicken in it. Only use it for cooking. Trust me, the pineapple and the chicken thighs are juicy enough that you don’t need to drown this in sauce.I used separate skewers for each ingredient because I wanted to make sure it all cooked evenly. Having colorful, mixed kabobs is a more interesting presentation, but I served this up off the skewer. The serving sizes are a little vague in the recipe above, but I had a large skewer of each ingredient and it was more than enough for two servings. Use that rule of thumb if you want to make this for a crowd.

I hope this inspires you to try something different at your next cook out! This recipe is really quick and just as easy as prepping a burger. Cheers to a summer full of fun and food!

Sweet Chili Shrimp & Warm Asian Slaw

This is something I would have never considered eating in my super picky days. I decided to make this because I had some zucchini that were too small, and when I put them through the spiralizer they came out basically julienned. They were too short to use as a pasta, so I came up with this.

Yields 4 servings

  • 3 small zucchini, julienned
  • 2 carrots, julienned (I used a peeler for these)
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cut to thin 1″ pieces
  • 1 cup chopped red cabbage
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1lb jumbo shrimp, cleaned and deveined
  • 1-1.5 cups sweet chili sauce

There are great chili sauces you can buy at the store, but if you want to make your own, just stir these ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat until it thickens, about 2-3 minutes:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch (add this last, after other other ingredients have been thoroughly mixed)
    1. In a bowl or tupperware, coat the shrimp completely with the chili sauce and let it marinade, 1-2 hours.
    2. Combine zucchini, carrots, bell pepper, cabbage and green onions in a wok or large skillet. Pour the rice vinegar over the veggies and sprinkle with salt, pepper and sugar.

  1. Turn the burner on medium low and continually stir the veggies until they become slightly tender, about 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the lime juice, giving one final toss.
  2. Meanwhile, place the shrimp on skewers. Heat your grill or griddle to medium heat and cook 2-3 minutes on each side, basting with the reserved marinade. Don’t crowd the cooking surface, do this in batches if you have to. Shrimp will become pink and opaque when they are done. (If you don’t have access to a grill or griddle, you could always forget the skewers and cook these over the stove top in a skillet)

This is a really beautiful, colorful dish and fast to put together, once the vegetables are all cut. I had my shrimp marinating and my prep done and waiting for me in the fridge, so when my husband said he was on the way home, I started cooking. He walked in and dinner was ready to go!

Some people might prefer the slaw served raw and you can definitely do that. I’m a little picky (wink, wink) and I prefer the veggies to be a little more tender and warm, so consider it my spin on things.

Also these two components can obviously be paired with other things. The slaw could go with a sesame chicken or used on an Asian inspired sandwich, and the shrimp are great to bring to a BBQ or even just on top of some rice. Have fun with it and make it work for you!

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