If you are like me, you are busy. Really busy. And sometimes you don’t think about a menu until a day before an event. Well Independence Day is right around the corner! If you are looking for an easy menu to serve friends and family on the Fourth of July I have all you need right here.
I teach this menu in my cooking classes and it is featured in my Spring/Summer Cookbook. It’s called ‘Chillin’ and Grillin’ because it’s a laid back and easy menu. The host/hostess should be able to have fun too after all. So each of these recipes has only a few ingredients and some of it can be made ahead!
We start with a healthy main course and a vegetable side: Sesame Apricot Chicken Kabobs with Grilled Asparagus. The sauce for the chicken can be made a day ahead and the asparagus takes 2 minutes to prep and 5 to grill!
Moroccan Couscous only takes minutes to cook and is made in one pot so clean up is a snap! And when that apricot sesame sauce runs onto the couscous…just amazing!
Serve this meal with my Watermelon and Strawberry Salad my Berries in Compote with Vanilla ‘Sour’ Whipped Cream (links) for dessert and you will have a 4th of July feast everyone will love!
The Recipes: Apricot Sesame Chicken Kabobs, Grilled Asparagus and Moroccan Couscous
Apricot Sesame Chicken Kabobs
This is a Spiker family favorite! I use organic low sugar apricot preserves, but the sweeter works well too. If you use more than 3 large chicken breasts be sure to make more sauce, people practically drink this stuff!
- Makes four 7" kabobs
- 3 large chicken breasts, cut into 1 ½” cubes and skewered
- 1 med shallot, minced
- 2 tablespoons toasted Sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp each sea salt and ground pepper
- 1/2 Cup teriyaki sauce
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 tablespoons apricot preserves
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- ¼ teaspoon dried ground ginger
- ¼ tsp- ¾ tsp red pepper flakes (1/4 t for mild,1/2 t for med ¾ t for hot!)
- Cut chicken and skewer, set aside.
- Pour sesame oil in a saucepan on medium heat. Add minced shallot and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook for one more minute. Add salt, pepper, teriyaki and apricot preserves. Whisk till well blended then add orange juice, ginger and red pepper flakes. Simmer for about five minutes to thicken sauce. Let cool.
- After sauce cools separate 1/3 cup sauce and use to brush very lightly on chicken kabobs. Place remaining sauce in a covered dish and put in the fridge. Cover kabobs and refrigerate for 2 hours or more.
- Heat grill to 375 degrees. Place kabobs on grill and cook for 20 minutes, turning every five minutes. Place on platter when done. Remove apricot sauce from fridge and heat in sauce pan, drizzle over cooked kabobs and serve.
Courses Main Course
It doesn’t get any easier than this! Just prepare and add to the grill when whatever you are grilling is almost done.
- Asparagus, trimmed (desired amount)
- Olive Oil
- Sea Salt
- Brush asparagus with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and grill for 3 minutes each side or until ends are slightly browned.
Courses Side Dish
Yield 6 -8
Couscous is a pasta from the Middle East. It is easy to prepare and makes a great side dish to any meat. And the best part is you can add whatever you have on hand! Raisins, cranberries, nuts, greens, mandarin oranges....whatever floats your boat. Couscous is almost impossible to mess up because you take it off heat and let it cook!
- 4 Tablespoons butter
- ½ cup chopped shallots
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 ½ cups couscous
- 3 cups chicken stock
- toasted almond slices, pine nuts, or walnuts,to taste
- Chives or parsley, chopped
- Currants, or raisins, or dried cranberries etc... to taste
- Melt butter in a large sauté pan, add shallots, salt and pepper and cook for 3 minutes. Add stock and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, add couscous, cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Add nuts, parsley and currants etc..... Toss and eat!
Courses Side Dish
We are so fortunate to live in this country. Happy fourth friends. Be safe and eat great food! ~ Linda Spiker
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