Simple Caprese Skewers Recipe

Simple caprese skewers recipe, perfect for summer parties!

A few weekends ago, while on bridesmaid duty for my pal Tessa, I arrived at the rehearsal dinner with a growling stomach. I grabbed a glass of wine and promptly accepted an appetizer offered by a college-age waitress. I was so glad to see this stranger that I almost hugged her.

tomato, peach and basil

She had a whole plate of cute caprese skewers in her arms, complete with a bowl of balsamic dipping sauce that was thick enough not to drip all over my new silk dress. It’s the little things.

Caprese skewers, a simple appetizer for your summer get-togethers!

I grabbed a skewer, then another, and marveled at how simple and perfect these appetizers were. Tomato, basil and mozzarella on a stick. They’re easy to make, easy to hold and easy to eat. You can’t say that for most appetizers, which make mingling and eating at the same time a less-than-pleasant affair. (Like, why do we serve big hunks of broccoli on veggie trays? So we can all walk around with broccoli bits between our teeth? Am I the only person who experiences party broccoli paranoia? Please say no.)

Balsamic dipping sauce

Maybe caprese skewers are old news. Maybe they’ve been overplayed, but if so, I’m coming to their defense. They’re perfect and I had to share them with you all.

Caprese skewers with balsamic dipping sauce, a simple and fun summer appetizer.

I happened across some perfectly ripe peaches at the store, so I decided to thread peach slices onto mine as well. Feel free to do the same, or skip the peach and be traditional with just tomatoes, basil and mozzarella. If you skip the peach, one pint of cherry tomatoes should still be plenty. These skewers deserve a party!

Simple caprese skewers recipe - cookieandkate.com

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    Author: Cookie and Kate

    Recipe type: Appetizer

    Cuisine: Italian

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    Serves: 22 skewers

    Source: Cookie and Kate

  • Grilled Chicken Shawarma with Fennel Spinach Tzatziki Sauce Recipe

    Grilled Chicken Shawarma with Fennel Spinach Tzatziki Sauce - the chicken is marinated with Greek yogurt, allspice, coriander, cumin and cinnamon; and the sauce is a mixture of Greek yogurt, fresh dill, mint, parsley, spinach, fennel and cucumber. Impress your family and friends with this flavorful grilled chicken dish served with a cool topping.

    This Grilled Chicken Shawarma with Fennel Spinach Tzatziki Sauce is full of spices and fresh herbs.

    Grilled Chicken Shawarma with Fennel Spinach Tzatziki Sauce - the chicken is marinated with Greek yogurt, allspice, coriander, cumin and cinnamon; and the sauce is a mixture of Greek yogurt, fresh dill, mint, parsley, spinach, fennel and cucumber. Impress your family and friends with this flavorful grilled chicken dish served with a cool topping.

    We’re at the peak of summer grilling and by this time of year, I’m looking for new grilling ideas. My kids will try just about anything, so I was pleasantly surprised when one of my boys spotted a recipe for Chicken Shawarma and asked if I was going to make it. Apparently, he’d tried it while he was at college this past year.I love the fact that my kids have started to experiment on their own at college and try different foods.

    Grilled Chicken Shawarma with Fennel Spinach Tzatziki Sauce - the chicken is marinated with Greek yogurt, allspice, coriander, cumin and cinnamon; and the sauce is a mixture of Greek yogurt, fresh dill, mint, parsley, spinach, fennel and cucumber. Impress your family and friends with this flavorful grilled chicken dish served with a cool topping.

    This Chicken Shawarma is marinated in Greek yogurt that’s spiced with allspice, coriander, cumin and cinnamon. The yogurt tenderizes the chicken, and marinating the chicken overnight allows the spices to penetrate the meat for maximum flavor.

    Grilled Chicken Shawarma with Fennel Spinach Tzatziki Sauce - the chicken is marinated with Greek yogurt, allspice, coriander, cumin and cinnamon; and the sauce is a mixture of Greek yogurt, fresh dill, mint, parsley, spinach, fennel and cucumber. Impress your family and friends with this flavorful grilled chicken dish served with a cool topping.

    The first time I made chicken shawarma was almost three years ago, from my friend Faith’s cookbook. Her chicken shawarma is spiced with cumin, coriander, cardamon, ginger, allspice, fenugreek, cloves, paprika, turmeric, and cayenne, and is served with a Garlic Mayonnaise Sauce and pickles.

    Grilled Chicken Shawarma with Fennel Spinach Tzatziki Sauce - the chicken is marinated with Greek yogurt, allspice, coriander, cumin and cinnamon; and the sauce is a mixture of Greek yogurt, fresh dill, mint, parsley, spinach, fennel and cucumber. Impress your family and friends with this flavorful grilled chicken dish served with a cool topping.

    This version of chicken shawarma is served with an unusual tzatziki sauce with fresh fennel and spinach, in addition to fresh parsley, mint, dill and cucumbers mixed with Greek yogurt. I loved the hint of licorice from the fennel in the tzatziki sauce, and the addition of some spinachin the sauce.

    Grilled Chicken Shawarma with Fennel Spinach Tzatziki Sauce - the chicken is marinated with Greek yogurt, allspice, coriander, cumin and cinnamon; and the sauce is a mixture of Greek yogurt, fresh dill, mint, parsley, spinach, fennel and cucumber. Impress your family and friends with this flavorful grilled chicken dish served with a cool topping.

    Serve it in a tortilla or pita bread if you like, so enjoy it with just the tzatziki sauce like I did, it’s all good.

    Grilled Chicken Shawarma with Fennel Spinach Tzatziki Sauce - the chicken is marinated with Greek yogurt, allspice, coriander, cumin and cinnamon; and the sauce is a mixture of Greek yogurt, fresh dill, mint, parsley, spinach, fennel and cucumber. Impress your family and friends with this flavorful grilled chicken dish served with a cool topping.

    My husband liked it wrapped up in pita bread – it reminded him of a gyro, a street foodhe fondly remembers from growing up in New York City. If you’re gluten-free, serve with a gluten-free tortilla, wrap in lettuce leaves, or just leave out the wrap.

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    Serves: 6

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    Chicken Shawarma

    Source: Jeanette’s Healthy Living

    Avocado Tabbouleh Recipe

    Avocado tabbouleh recipe, so simple and fresh! cookieandkate.com

    If you had to pick one cuisine to eat for the rest of your life, which would it be? Tough question, I know. I would have to pick Mediterranean food. Fresh herbs, ripe produce, lemons, feta and olive oil? Yes, please. More, please. Pass that salad, please. Mediterranean cooking features all of my favorite ingredients.

    parsley

    Given my predilection for Mediterranean food, I was excited to come across Maureen Abood ’s new (and first!) cookbook, Rose Water and Orange Blossoms . It’s full of fresh and classic recipes from Maureen’s Lebanese-American kitchen. Think hummus, labneh, kibbeh and the more gorgeous tomato salads. It offers quite a few traditional desserts, breads, pickles and teas, too. The book wasn’t designed for vegetarians, so I only skimmed through the meaty entrée section, but that’s just me.

    bulgur and parsley

    I love Maureen’s respect for classic Lebanese dishes and the fun little twists she incorporates in some of her recipes, which stay true to the original but make them a little more unique. Take classic tabbouleh salad, for example—she added diced avocado for some extra richness and served it in lettuce cups as an appetizer. Brilliant. This is the best tabbouleh I’ve ever had, let alone made!

    rosewater and orange blossoms book

    Be forewarned that this salad requires some time at the cutting board, but it’s totally worth it. You can prep both the parsley and the bulgur in advance. Bulgur is not gluten free, so if you need a gluten free alternative, I would substitute about 1/2 cup cooked quinoa (just a little will do, as this classic tabbouleh salad features far more parsley than grains). Feel free to serve it as a salad or as a fresh appetizer in little lettuce cups.

    How to make avocado tabbouleh - cookieandkate.com

  • Avocado tabbouleh appetizer - cookieandkate.com

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    Lebanese tabbouleh recipe (with avocado!) cookieandkate.com

    Author: Cookie and Kate

    Avocado tabbouleh lettuce wraps - cookieandkate.com

    Recipe type: Salad

    Cuisine: Lebanese

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    Source: Cookie and Kate

  • Grilled Asparagus with Balsamic Soy Butter Sauce Recipe

    Grilled Asparagus with Balsamic Soy Butter Sauce - a super easy and delicious recipe with just 4 ingredients

    This Grilled Asparagus with Balsamic Soy Butter Sauce is so easy and delicious – just four ingredients.

    Do you find it challenging coming up with different ways to prepare vegetables for dinner throughout the week? I try to serve a different vegetable each night, but lately, I’ve been getting tired of making vegetables the same old way each week.

    Grilled Asparagus with Balsamic Soy Butter Sauce - a super easy and delicious recipe with just 4 ingredients

    While we were on vacation earlier this summer, we ate mostly French food, and there was butter in almost every dish. I have to admit butter does wonders even in small amounts, so I bought some organic grass-fed butter after we got back from vacation and have been using it to entice my kids to eat their vegetables.

    This Asparagus with Balsamic Soy Butter recipe was given to me by a friend thirteen years ago. It’s hard to believe how long ago that was. But I still remember my friend telling me how good this recipe was. Although you can roast the asparagus in the oven as my friend does, I grilled it since it’s summertime and I’ve been trying to keep the heat out of the kitchen.

    The sauce has almost a meaty quality to it – the butter is lightly browned until toasty, then the soy sauce and balsamic vinegar are added. This is such an easy recipe, but it turns plain old grilled asparagus into something special.

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    Source: Jeanette’s Healthy Living

    Pesto Freekeh with Grilled Pineapple Skewers

    Grilled pineapple and bell pepper with herbed whole grains! This simple meal is packed with flavor. cookieandkate.com

    This post is brought to you by Bob’s Red Mill.

    freekeh and pineapple

    Do you still have bad dreams about forgetting your locker combination on the first day of school? Or your class schedule? I do. Sometimes, in my dreams, the campus turns into a giant maze and I can’t get from one place to another without encountering obstacles everywhere along the way.

    freekeh pesto

    I have similarly bad dreams about waiting tables. I can’t make it to the computer to input my orders and wake up shouting, “SALAD!”

    red bell pepper and pesto

    Such was the case with this recipe. After two semi-successful recipe tests, I made one more trip to the store to stock up for the finale. I ambitiously filled my basket with produce for future photo shoots and headed home to take Cookie on a walk.

    pineapple, red pepper and onion skewers

    Shortly thereafter, my back started aching. An hour later, chills. I dragged myself to bed with an extra blanket and woke up the next morning in a feverish, mummified state. Recipe testing was put on hold for a day while I slept on the couch with my four-legged nurse.

    Pineapple, red bell pepper and red onion skewers - cookieandkate.com

    Strangely, and rather miraculously, I was almost cured by the next day. But, I was out of basil. I hopped into my car to go to the store again. My car wouldn’t start. (I forgot to turn off an interior light after my last grocery store visit, apparently.) No problem, I’ll just hop on my bicycle, I thought. My tires were flat. Foiled once again!

    Freekeh with grilled pineapple - cookieandkate.com

    The universe has been playing tricks on me this week. Thanks to a good immune system and a helpful friend, I’m finally back in business and pleased to say that this final recipe is a success. You just can’t go wrong with warm whole grains tossed with bright, bold pesto, topped with sweet and savory grilled vegetables and fruit.

    Herbed freekeh with pineapple skewers - cookieandkate.com

    I’m slathering pesto on just about everything this summer and for that, I am not sorry. I chose to slather it on freekeh this time. Freekeh is an ancient strain of wheat that is remarkably high in fiber and other goodness. I love freekeh because it cooks up in twenty-five minutes and has a lovely couscous-like texture. I went into more detail about it in this Israel-inspired roasted cauliflower dish last fall, if you’d like to check that out.

    Bob’s Red Mill is my go-to source for freekeh. Their organic freekeh is available online and in some stores. Let’s all start requesting freekeh at our local grocery stores so they stock up! If you can’t find freekeh or need a gluten-free alternative, I think quinoa would be a terrific substitute. Farro would be nice, too, if you don’t need it to be gluten-free. All you have to do is cook your whole grain of choice according to package directions and stir in the pesto. Ta da!

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    Author: Cookie and Kate

    Recipe type: Entree

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    Source: Cookie and Kate

  • Spicy Korean Cucumber Kimchi Refrigerator Pickles Recipe

    Spicy Korean Cucumber Kimchi Refrigerator Pickles - spicy and a little sour, these pickles are easy to make - I leave them out on the counter to ferment for one day, then refrigerate them

    These Spicy Korean Cucumber Kimchi Refrigerator Pickles are a delicious way to enjoy fresh kirby cucumbers this summer.

    Spicy Korean Cucumber Kimchi Refrigerator Pickles - spicy and a little sour, these pickles are easy to make - I leave them out on the counter to ferment for one day, then refrigerate them

    I’ve been seeing lots of kirby cucumbers, fresh garlic and scallions at the farmer’s market the last couple of weeks and keep thinking of making these Spicy Korean Cucumber Kimchi Refrigerator Pickles. I haven’t canned anything in years, so the thought of sterilizing jars just doesn’t appeal to me at this point. Instead, I’m into quick and easy pickles.

    Spicy Korean Cucumber Kimchi Refrigerator Pickles - spicy and a little sour, these pickles are easy to make - I leave them out on the counter to ferment for one day, then refrigerate them

    I was flipping through my mom’s recipe binder and found a recipe for Korean Kimchi made with cucumbers. It was much simpler than the traditional Korean stuffed cucumber kimchi recipes I’d seen. Therecipe called for MSG, so I left that out, and instead of cutting the cucumbers into half moon pieces as the recipe directed, I made pickle spears. I like the idea of grabbing a spear for a snack.

    Spicy Korean Cucumber Kimchi Refrigerator Pickles - spicy and a little sour, these pickles are easy to make - I leave them out on the counter to ferment for one day, then refrigerate them

    Korean kimchi is a fermented pickle – simply leaving the jars of pickles out on the countertop for a day before refrigerating them. I did invert the jars for part of the time to get the brine pickling the other half of the pickles. After one day, they had a little tang, but were much better after another day. The longer they sit, the more sour they’ll get.

    Spicy Korean Cucumber Kimchi Refrigerator Pickles - spicy and a little sour, these pickles are easy to make - I leave them out on the counter to ferment for one day, then refrigerate them

    I made these refrigerator pickles as part of this month’s Recipe Redux where Fresh from the Garden is the theme. “The season of bountiful produce has arrived. Whether your produce comes from the Farmers Market, a CSA share, or a plot of dirt out back, show how you are using fresh July fruits or veggies. And if you have gardening successes – or failures – please share!

    Spicy Korean Cucumber Kimchi Refrigerator Pickles - spicy and a little sour, these pickles are easy to make - I leave them out on the counter to ferment for one day, then refrigerate them

    Many years ago, I planted tomatoes, peppers and more; but, the chipmunks drove me crazy and I couldn’t take it anymore. They’d grab an unripe tomato and take a bite, then just leave it on the ground. So, I had a CSA share until my boys left for college, then I decided just to go to our local farmer’s market weekly. I love the variety of the farmer’s market, and it’s worked out really well.

    Spicy Korean Cucumber Kimchi Refrigerator Pickles - spicy and a little sour, these pickles are easy to make - I leave them out on the counter to ferment for one day, then refrigerate them

    Source: Jeanette’s Healthy Living

    Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce

    Fresh tomato sauce spaghetti recipe - cookieandkate.com

    “What do you do for a living?” they ask. I never know how my response will go over or which questions will follow. Most often, the questions are, “How did you get into that?” and, “where do you get your recipes?” On a recent flight, I got a bold, “How do you make money doing that?!” from my seat mate. All fine questions, mind you.

    fresh tomato sauce ingredients

    I never have a good answer to the recipe source question. Typically, the recipes are a composite of ideas from restaurant meals, magazines, other blogs, cookbooks and suggestions from friends and readers. Sometimes I wake up with ideas; sometimes they pop into my head when I open my refrigerator; sometimes they come to me when I’m deep in conversation during happy hour. I always try my best to give credit where credit is due.

    fresh tomatoes

    Today’s recipe is more straightforward—it’s from an old issue of Gourmet Magazine that I’ve been wanting to try forever, courtesy of a special edition from Bon Appetit… cross-referenced with America’s Test Kitchen’s vegetarian cookbook and fiddled with to meet my expectations. That’s pretty straightforward for me these days.

    Spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce - cookieandkate.com

    I finally got a chance to try it when I came across some big, juicy, local tomatoes at Whole Foods. I knew just what to do with them and flipped open my sources when I got home. America’s Test Kitchen wanted me to chop up the tomatoes and let them marinate for up to three hours, but I was hungry-bordering-on-hangry, and a three-hour wait wouldn’t do.

    Spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce, perfect for those ripe summer tomatoes! cookieandkate.com

    Gourmet’s version suggested grating a portion of the tomatoes to get some nice and juicy pulp, then letting the mixture marinate for 10 minutes. Much better! I mixed up the sauce and let it rest while I brought a pot of water to boil and cooked my pasta. Both sources suggested simply tossing the raw tomato sauce with hot cooked pasta, but I thought it was a little too raw in that state, a little too what’s-pico-de-gallo-doing-in-my-pasta, if you will.

    fresh tomato sauce

    I wasn’t sure the pasta was blog-worthy until I tried my reheated leftovers. They were amazing. I took that as inspiration and tried just barely cooking the fresh tomato sauce while tossing the pasta with a little bit of starchy cooking water. That was just the ticket—the tomatoes benefit from a little warmth, and the starchy cooking water turns the raw tomato runoff into a sauce that lightly coats the spaghetti.

    Granted, this recipe’s flavor will be almost entirely dependent upon the tomatoes you use, so pick some good ones. You want ripe, almost over-ripe tomatoes. You can, of course, skip my suggestion to warm up the sauce and just toss it with warm pasta for Italian-flavored tomato pasta.

    I always use whole grain pasta for more protein and fiber, and DeLallo’s 100 percent whole wheat pastas manage to do so without sacrificing flavor or texture. (That’s why I work with them! They’re the best!) Last but not least, I felt like Parmesan added quite a bit of personality to this dish, but check my notes for substitution suggestions. Let’s hear it for ripe summer tomatoes!

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    Author: Cookie and Kate

    Recipe type: Entree

    Cuisine: Italian

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    Source: Cookie and Kate

  • Chicken Cheese Pasta Casserole with Parmesan Breadcrumb Topping Recipe

    Chicken Pasta Casserole with Parmesan Breadcrumb Topping - chunks of chicken, oregano, fresh basil and a Parmesan breadcrumb topping make this easy pasta dish standout from the crowd

    This Baked Chicken Cheese Pasta Casserole with Parmesan Breadcrumb Topping is an easy and delicious meal to make for your family or make for a friend.

    Chicken Pasta Casserole with Parmesan Breadcrumb Topping - chunks of chicken, oregano, fresh basil and a Parmesan breadcrumb topping make this easy pasta dish standout from the crowd

    Recently, a friend of ours asked me to make dinner for him and his two girls. His daughter had just had spinal surgery and as a single dad, he had more on his plate than he could handle. So, of course I was more than happy to oblige. The only problem was that I got started a little late getting dinner ready and before I knew it, I had only an hour to make dinner for his family and mine.

    Chicken Pasta Casserole with Parmesan Breadcrumb Topping - chunks of chicken, oregano, fresh basil and a Parmesan breadcrumb topping make this easy pasta dish standout from the crowd

    When I had asked our friend what his girls liked, he said chicken and pasta, so I made this one dish Chicken Cheese Pasta Casserole with Parmesan Breadcrumb Topping. Although I had intended to make my own sauce, I was short on time so used a jar of Trader Joe’s organic marinara sauce with mushrooms. This casserole is made mostly on the stovetop, then finished in the oven so the breadcrumb topping can get nicely browned.

    This is not your ordinary baked ziti dish. Sautéed chicken pieces add some extra protein to this dish, and a crumbly breadcrumb and Parmesan cheese topping add a little special touch. This recipe is based on theBaked Pastina Casserole recipe in Giada De Laurentiis’ Everyday Pasta; however, when I first made her recipe a while back, I found it a little too plain for my taste. My version bumps up the flavor by seasoning the chicken before cooking it, using more garlic, adding oregano, and fresh basil. I also think the marinara sauce with mushrooms hadmore flavor than the plain chopped tomatoes the original recipe called for.

    I divided this recipe into two 8-inch square pans, one for our friend, and one for my family. Sure enough, my friend and his girls loved this chicken pasta casserole. He kept asking what I put in it because it was unexpectedly flavorful. He especially liked the special breadcrumb topping.

    This is a great recipe to have in your back pocket. It’s comes together quickly, and is great for making not only for your family but for others. So, make a batch and share it.

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    Source: Jeanette’s Healthy Living

    15 Cold Summer Treats

    15 cold summer treats, from popsicles to cocktails to ice cream! Get the recipes at cookieandkate.com

    First things first! Cookie and Kate is hiring a local kitchen assistant. We’re in Kansas City. After five years of doing it all myself, I’m so excited to bring on some help. Details here! Also on that front, if you’ve noticed the site loading slowly lately, it should be fixed now. Growing pains. 🙂

    As the temperatures near 100, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite cold treats. Cocktails , ice cream , frozen yogurt and popsicles galore! Most are fresh, fruity and naturally sweetened, too. What are you craving?

    No. 1: Skinny Margaritas

    “You have ruined me! I can’t have another margarita….only yours! so good. Life changing.” — Alissa

    No. 2: Blueberry Frozen Yogurt

    “I tried three of your recipes this weekend and loved them all, but this yogurt was amazing! I loved the simplicity of it, the deep purple hue, and the tangy sweetness as it melts in my mouth. Perfect for the last few days of summer!” — Kristen

    No. 3: Beautiful Red Bell Cocktail

    “Every time we make this cocktail it is a hit. It tastes like spring. I once accidentally used rum and it was still great.” — Jake

    No. 4: Cucumber Mint Gimlet

    “Another recipe from Cookie and Kate I can recommend. Thanks for the fantastic website.” — DJA

    No. 5: Peach Raspberry Sorbet

    “This looks amazing and so refreshing! And I love the color.” — Maria

    No. 6: Banana Almond Smoothie

    “Kate, this smoothie just blew my mind! So tasty, especially as a post-workout meal.” — Nicole B.

    No. 7: Rainier Cherry Mojito

    “Thanks so much for this recipe! There aren’t enough out there for Rainier cherries, which are of course, so delicious. This mojito was fantastic. I made it this weekend and blogged it today. So lovely!” — Julie

    No. 8: Fresh Honeydew Margaritas

    “GIRRRL. Made this with Mezcal last night and LOVED IT. Too much, maybe.” — Kelsey

    No. 9: Balsamic Stone Fruit Sundae

    Source: Cookie and Kate

    Cucumber Mojito Cocktail

    Super refreshing cucumber mojitos! Learn how to make them at cookieandkate.com

    Long summer days are the best, aren’t they? Ninety-plus temperatures can be draining, but I never stop riding the summer wavelength. I love it. I love the buzz I feel inside and the echo of the creatures buzzing outside. I love the summer thunderstorms that rattle my little house with thunder. One is rolling through right now, flexing its muscles in distant booms and waves of rain.

    cucumber mojito ingredients

    When the sun is shining down, I love to sit on a patio and sip on an ice cold and clinking, fizzy drink. This cocktail is perfect for that. I thought minty mojitos couldn’t get more refreshing… until I added cucumber, that is. It lends some light, complimentary, fresh flavor without fighting the mint. Break out that muddler, because mojito season is officially here!

    how to make a cucumber mojito

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    Cucumber mojito recipe - cookieandkate.com

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    Author: Cookie and Kate

    Recipe type: Cocktail

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    Source: Cookie and Kate