Grilled Chicken Skewers and a Raw Spice Bar Giveaway

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I don’t know what it’s like where you live, but around here the weather has been amazing. Spring has sprung! I love this time of year for a lot of reasons, fresh produce, longer days, warm yet breezy days, and it’s the time of year we start firing up the grill with more frequency. I mentioned last week that we’re building a patio in our backyard for the ultimate lounge/grilling area, but this work-in-progress isn’t stopping me from grilling our dinners outdoors. I love grilling because it tastes great, it’s usually quick, and EASY. I love easy.

Even though I love dinner to be easy, I also love to experiment and try new things…which can be daunting at times, you know? I’ll read a recipe and sometimes shy away from it simply because it calls for a lot of ingredients and spices that I don’t want to commit to or just because I am hesitant to stuff one, or five, more bottles into my already cramped spice cabinet. Enter the genius people at Raw Spice Bar. They offer a subscription service for a mere $6 a month…chump change when you consider sometimes a bottle of a single spice can cost even more than that and will probably end up just expiring in your pantry (no, just me?). In the subscription you get 3-5 freshly ground spice blends from a single geographical region–enough to make about 3 dishes and serve several people–plus recipe cards, and possibly my favorite thing next to the spices, a little note on the spice blends, origins, and history. It feeds the nerd in me.

I really love the idea behind Raw Spice Bar–it satisfies my desire to try new things without the commitment of purchasing lots of stuff that will further clutter the cluster that is my pantry, PLUS it’s totally affordable. I also see this being a great gift and can already think of a few people in my life who would appreciate it.

I collaborated with Raw Spice Bar to bring you a little giveaway, a 3-month trial subscription of their spice boxes, in addition to this recipe using the Advieh Koresht from their Persian Spice Box from March.  I came to love Middle Eastern flavors when I was living in Michigan and these blends did not disappoint. They are so fragrant and flavorful. The Advieh Koresht contains a number of spices–including ROSE PETALS! plus, cinnamon, cardamom, angelica, persian lime powder, coriander, cumin, and black pepper. I paired it with creamy-tangy yogurt, lemon, and garlic in a marinade for chicken skewers that I then grilled. These were so easy to make and absolutely delicious. April’s box was a Japanese theme and I am so excited to try a few recipes with the spice blends.

To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment below about whatever–springtime, grilling, favorite spices, spice cabinet organizing. Easy, breezy. This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only (apologies to my international friends!) and will end Thursday, April 30th.

Raw Spice Bar did provide me with a complimentary sampling of their spices, however I was not further compensated for this post. I just really think it’s a cool concept and wanted to share the giveaway with you all. As always, words and opinions are my own. Thanks, always, for visiting. 

[recipe]

Print Recipe

Grilled Chicken Skewers

2-4 servings

2 chicken breasts, cut into chunks

1/2 cup plain yogurt

2 cloves minced garlic

1 1/2 tablespoons of Advieh Khoresht spice blend (or other spice blend)

kosher salt

1 lemon

5 bamboo skewers soaked for 1 hour (or use metal skewers)

Place the chicken pieces in a bowl and sprinkle lightly with salt.

In another bowl, combine the  yogurt, garlic, Advieh Khoresht, a pinch of salt, and the juice of half of the lemon. Reserve the other half. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the yogurt mixture in a small dish and set aside. Pour the remaining yogurt over the chicken and mix to coat the chicken pieces. Let the chicken marinate in the yogurt mixture for at 20 minutes.

Cut the remaining half lemon into think half moons. Thread the chicken pieces onto the skewers, alternating with some slices of lemon. Prepare your grill and cook the chicken skewers directly over high heat, 2-3 minutes on all sides, or until the chicken in cooked through. Remove from the grill and allow to rest under a foil tent for 5 minutes before serving. Serve drizzled with the reserved yogurt mixture. [/recipe]

 

 

Roasted Sausages with Red Grapes, Polenta, & Gorgonzola

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Guys. I made this recipe for Roasted Sausages with Red Grapes, Polenta, & Gorgonzola and realized a few things about myself.

1. I have a really difficult time photographing sausages. I mean, it’s just not the easiest thing to take a pretty picture of.

2. I have the maturity of a tween. I had a tough time not writing “hard” and “sausage” in the same sentence up there. And, there, I did it anyway. There’s also a bit in the recipe below about pricking the sausages and I just can’t even…I’m so sorry. Now you know, I’m secretly twelve.

Anyway, innuendo and (lack of) maturity aside, this dinner was one of my favorites as of late! I mean, it’s SO EASY. I really love and appreciate that these days. Few dishes, few ingredients, little hands-on time, and tons of flavor. WIN. Also, I’ve been super intrigued/terrified of all the cooked grape dishes I’ve seen around the internets. I’m super picky about my grapes, I like them firm (heh). I like a taught grape, okay? The thing is, when you roast them, there’s no worry about having grapes in their prime. They can be going south and it’s all good. I first delved into the cooked-grape-territory a few weekends ago with this number from Smitten Kitchen. So amazingly good as part of a cheese spread. After I learned how amazing a warm grape could be, I totally bookmarked this recipe from Molly of Dunk and Crumble’s book Sheet Pan Suppers. It’s a cookbook I will certainly be referring to often. It’s such a clever concept and I am totally in love with this recipe. I mean it’s so simple, savory, sweet, spicy, and delicious. Perfect for weeknight dinners, a little different, a little fancy, and great for pretending to be a mature-adult-person who doesn’t crack-up at sausage jokes and stuff.

[recipe]

Print Recipe

Roasted Sausages with Red Grapes, Polenta, & Gorgonzola

Serves 4

From the book Sheet Pan Suppers

Olive oil cooking spray

1, 18 ounce, tube prepared polenta

1 small red onion cut into 1/4-inch thick half moons

2 cups, stemmed, red seedless grapes

2 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

6 links hot Italian sausages (or mild if you prefer)

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

2 tablespoons crumbled gorgonzola cheese, plus an additional 2 tablespoons for serving

Preheat the oven to 425ºF with one rack about 4 inches from the broiler and the other in the center. Mist a sheet pan with cooking spray, or lightly brush some olive oil over the entire surface (this is what I did).

Remove the polenta from it’s packaging and slice into 1/4-1/2 inch rounds. Place in a single layer on the prepared sheet pan.

Toss the red onion and grapes with the olive oil and salt in a medium bowl. Scatter over the polenta and arrange the sausages evenly around the grapes and onions. Prick each sausage once or twice with a fork. Sprinkle with the fresh thyme leaves.

Bake until the sausages are cooked though and the grapes start to wrinkle, about 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and heat the broiler. Scatter 2 tablespoons of the gorgonzola over the sausages. Broil to melt the cheese and brown the sausages. About 3 minutes.

Serve the sausages over the polenta with the grapes and onions. Sprinkle with the additional gorgonzola to serve, if you like.

[/recipe]

Slow Cooker Hard Cider Braised Pork with Sour Cherries and Cheesy Polenta

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So, this braised pork situation is a total dream. It has tons of fall-time flavor, a little tartness from sour cherries, a bit of boozy twang, plus it’s nestled atop a warm, creamy puddle of cheesy polenta. It’s celebratory, even, and what do you know? I made it to celebrate the wonderful Jessica in honor of her and her sweet little babe who is due in just weeks! I am SO excited for Jessica, I can barely handle it. Bev and Ashley so kindly organized this mega-virtual-baby-shower deal and there are a TON of bloggers making all kinds of “trashed-up” fare all in the name of one of our favorite bloggers around. I mean, Jessica is a recipe-making-machine and an endless inspiration…plus she is so sweet and fun…that it’s only natural that so many of her imaginary internet friends would want to celebrate her upcoming mama-hood together.

I’ve had this recipe idea swimming around in my brains since well before the crispy fall leaves started to hit the ground and I knew it’d be the perfect dish to make for this event. I mean, it has booze, but it’s cooked booze and mama-friendly. Plus it contains sour cherries–the pride and joy of Michigan, which if you read Jessica’s blog you know that she has a special place in here heart for the mitten-state. And, there’s a cheesy polenta bed for it to rest on…because, I mean…cheese ya’ll. AND, it’s a slow cooker recipe, so the hands-on time is minimal.

Anyway, huge-mega-watt CONGRATS to Jessica and Eddie and that sweet little baby!! I cannot wait to see and hear and read all about this new little person and see where motherhood takes you, Jessica. It’s truly amazing and wonderful and amazing and life-changing and awesome…did I say amazing? Well, it is.

Be sure to check out the massive amount of crazy-delicious recipes contributed by so many other amazing bloggers in Baby How Sweet’s honor! Seriously, this is my kind of party.

How Sweet Final Graphic

trashed up salads

  1. Gimme Some Oven – Asian Broccoli Salad with Peanut Sauce
  2. The Lemon Bowl – Brussels Slaw with Tahini Dressing and Za’atar Crostini
  3. With Style & Grace – Kale Salad with Apple, Hazelnuts & Bacon

trashed up cocktails

  1. Dine & Dish – Hot Buttered Rum Cocktail
  2. Food For My Family – Cranberry Orange Dark and Stormy Cocktail
  3. Minimalist Baker – Bourbon Pumpkin Milkshakes
  4. Stylish, Stealthy & (sometimes) Healthy – Apple Cider Shandy
  5. A Spicy Perspective – Preggy Punch Mocktail
  6. Girl vs. Dough – Boozy Maple Peanut Butter Cup Milkshake
  7. Honestly Yum – Maple Bacon Pisco Sour
  8. Cookin Canuck – Pink Grapefruit Margaritas
  9. A Thought For Food – Mezcal Citrico Cocktail
  10. A House in the Hills – Pomegranate Rosemary Spritzer
  11. The Novice Chef – Ginger Bourbon Apple Cider
  12. Bran Appetit – Citrus Cider Punch Floats

trashed up burgers

  1. Edible Perspective – Meatloaf Veggie Burgers with Mashed Potatoes + Gravy
  2. The Little Kitchen – Salmon BLT Sliders with an Avocado Aioli & Brie
  3. Daisy At Home – Balsamic Beef Burger with Mac and Cheese
  4. Cookies & Cups – Candied Bacon Maple Cheddar Burger
  5. Climbing Grier Mountain – Trashed-Up Steak Burger with Chicken Fried Bacon & Dijon Gravy
  6. Dessert For Two – Bleu Cheese Burgers + Sweet Potato Fries
  7. Country Clever – Fig Rosemary Roast Chicken Brie Brussels Sprout Panini
  8. Foodie Crush – The Best Cheeseburger Soup
  9. Lady and Pups – Spicy Sambal Chicken Meatball Sub with Eggs
  10. Two Peas & Their Pod – Sweet Potato and Kale Grilled Cheese
  11. Bake Your Day – Ultimate Breakfast Sandwich

trashed up tacos

  1. Spoon Fork Bacon – Crunchy Ground Beef and Cheesy Tacos
  2. The Fauxmartha – Boozy Beef and Butternut Tacos
  3. With Food + Love – Harvest Hash Breakfast Tacos
  4. Mountain Mama Cooks – Crispy Kale and Brussels Sprout Tacos with Bacon
  5. Heather Christo – Bahn Mi Tacos with Spicy Sriracha Honey Sauce
  6. A Couple Cooks – Loaded Huevos Rancheros Tacos
  7. Fitnessista – San Diego Lobster Street Tacos

trashed up desserts

  1. Table for Two – Salted Caramel, Dark Chocolate, and Brown Butter Shortbread Bars with Sprinkles
  2. My Name is Yeh – Mini Vanilla Loaf Cakes, All Trashed Up
  3. Picky Palate – Pumpkin Spice Butterscotch Sprinkle Cupcakes
  4. Sprinkle Bakes – Cake Batter Confetti Cupcakes
  5. Averie Cooks – Easy Homemade Funfetti Cake with Vanilla Buttercream
  6. Sweet Phi – Trashed Up Shortbread Cookie Bars
  7. Love & Olive Oil – Loaded Junk Food Brownies
  8. Lauren’s Latest – Bakery Sugar Cookies
  9. Cookie + Kate – Peanut Butter, Banana, Honey and Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies
  10. Flourishing Foodie – Triple Layer Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting
  11. The Sugar Hit – Salted Caramel Popcorn Ice Cream Cake
  12. Hummingbird High – Breakfast Cereal Cake Donuts
  13. Top With Cinnamon – Triple Chocolate Vanilla Swirl Crumb Cake
  14. Bake at 350 – Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sundaes
  15. Simple Bites – Lemon Layer Cake
  16. Bakerella – Baby Block Cake Pops
  17. She Wears Many Hats –  Chocolate Covered Grapefruit

trashed up pizza

  1. Bev Cooks – Beer Battered Fried Calamari Pizza
  2. Rachel Cooks – Apple and Chicken Sausage Pizza with Macaroni and Cheese Stuffed Crust
  3. Foodie With Family – Trashed Up Barbecue Turkey Pizza
  4. Shutterbean – Pesto Potato Bacon Pizza
  5. i am a food blog – Grilled Cheese Pizza
  6. My Life as a Mrs – Chili Cheese Dog Pizza
  7. Simply Scratch – Steak + Blue Cheese Pizza with Crispy Fried Shallots and Honey Balsamic Drizzle
  8. The Beeroness – Beer Cheese Tater Tot Pizza
  9. Yes I Want Cake – Roasted Pumpkin Pizza
  10. Two Red Bowls – Bacon Mashed Potato Pizza
  11. Dula Notes – Pork Bahn Mi Pizza
  12. Weelicious – Trashed Up Mexican Pizza Pockets
  13. Take a Megabite – Roasted Beet Pizza
  14. Hungry Girl Por Vida – Hard Cider Braised Pork with Sour Cherries and Cheesy Polenta
  15. Bakers Royale – Trash’d Street Tacos

Cheers!!

[recipe]

Print Recipe

Slow Cooker Hard Cider Braised Pork with Sour Cherries and Cheesy Polenta

Makes 6-8 hearty servings

3 to 3 1/2 pounds boneless country style pork ribs, cut into large chunks

salt

2 cups hard apple cider

2 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into wedges (I used honeycrisp)

1 onion, cut into wedges

1/2 heaping cup dried sour cherries

1 tablespoon finely minced rosemary

chives, optional, for garnish

1 cup polenta

5 cups water

salt

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar

Heat a large skillet over high heat, sprinkle the pork liberally with salt and brown each piece in all sides (this step is optional, but recommended for maximum deliciousness), remove the pork from the pan and add about 1/4 cup of the hard cider, scraping up the browned bits as it bubbles. Pour the cider and browned bits, along with the browned pork pieces into a slow cooker, and add the remaining hard cider, apples, onion, sour cherries, and minced rosemary. Cover and set the slow cooker to high for 6 hours. Serve over cheesy polenta with lots of the pan juices and sprinkle with chopped chives.

Before serving, bring the 5 cups of water to a boil with a big pinch of salt. Slowly stir in the polenta with a whisk and turn down to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes until the polenta is soft and creamy. Stir in the butter and cheese, add additional salt to taste. [/recipe]