all green: grilled pesto shrimp with cucumber relish and roasted vegetables

It’s been so hot in New York. I’ve been getting a lot of use out of the George Foreman grill this summer. It’s small, doesn’t need greasing, and all I do is plug it in. Best of all, it doesn’t heat up the kitchen. I made this pesto shrimp in batches, about 6 per batch. They cooked up tender and juicy in just 3 minutes.

Grilled Pesto Shrimp (adapted from Skinnytaste)

Ingredients

1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
1-2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil (may be less)
1 1/2 pounds jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
Skewers

Preparation

In a food processor, put the basil, garlic, Parmigiano Reggiano, salt and pepper. Process until the basil and cheese are combined. The basil mixture will stick to the sides of the food processor bowl. While the machine is running, pour the oil in a gradual stream down the side of the tube. Stop pouring the olive oil immediately when the basil mixture begins to come together in a paste. Scrape down the side and pulse a few times to mix.

In a small bowl, add the shrimp. Pour the basil-olive oil mixture on the shrimp. Mix to coat thoroughly. Let sit about 30 minutes while you do the vegetable sides.

When I make kabobs, I usually use metal skewers. I decided to grill these in the George Foreman grill without the skewers. It took 3 minutes for the shrimp to become just pink. If you use an outdoor grill, the shrimp will be done in 3-4 minutes on one side. Turn and repeat on the other side.

Serve with roasted vegetables and a simple cucumber relish that’s also great with grilled chicken.

grilled chicken with cucumber relish

That red sauce is  a little dollop of harissa that I cannot do without whenever I grill chicken. Plus a couple of twists of Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning. The chicken is yummy and juicy, lightly spiced. I loved the cucumber relish with this; it was slightly spicy, crunchy, and fresh tasting. I high recommend it as an accompaniment with other grilled meats and sandwiches. In fact, I made it again the other night for a light supper as an accompaniment for a grilled-mozzarella-cheese-and-turkey-pastrami-basil-pesto sandwich! (What a mouthful. It was delicious too!) I couldn’t call this quick and easy since the chicken had to marinate overnight. But with a little planning ahead, it can be done, because this chicken cooks up quick and easy in the George Foreman grill. And on a hot summer night, the Foreman grill does not heat up an already hot, non-air conditioned, New York kitchen!

Grilled Chicken with Cucumber Relish (adapted from allrecipes.com)

INGREDIENTS:

For the relish:
1 cucumber – peeled, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/8 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional

For the chicken seasoning:
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (or substitute 2 skinless boneless chicken thighs for 2 chicken breasts)

Mixed greens to serve

DIRECTIONS:
1. Split the chicken breast in half horizontally. Cut the larger piece in half. In a small bowl, mix the cumin and chili powder with the olive oil. Rub the mixture onto the chicken, and place in a shallow dish. Marinate in the refrigerator at least 1 hour.

Cook’s Note: Defrost the chicken in the refrigerator the night before. The next day, prep the chicken and refrigerate all day! Come home and do the grill…

2. In a medium bowl, prepare the relish by mixing together the cucumber, parsley, chopped onion, bell pepper, and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
3. Prepare the grill for medium heat.
4. Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill chicken 8 minutes per side, or until juices run clear. The chicken should register an internal temperature of 165˚F on an instant read thermometer.

Cook’s Note: I used the George Foreman grill, which requires no preparation. Grill the chicken pieces in the Foreman grill for 4-5 minutes for thighs, 3-4 minutes for breasts, or until they register an internal temperature of 165˚F on an instant read thermometer.

Serve chicken on a bed of mixed greens with cucumber relish and harissa on the side. Give a couple twists of Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning all over the plate.