On Your Table: Easy Dishes for Summer’s last hurrah

Make the most of the unofficial end of the summer

By Cathy Branciaroli, Food Correspondent, The Times


Grilled Chicken Skewers are easy and fast to prepare as well as cook (Photo courtesy of Jenn Segal of Once Upon a Chef)

Just because Labor Day marks the official end of summer doesn’t mean we can’t have one last hurrah of outdoor eating before resigning ourselves to casseroles and slow cooked meals this fall. And we can be thankful that Labor Day isn’t just one day but stretches over three. That allows plenty of time to share food with family and friends since when we are saying good-bye to a season as wonderful as summer, we want all the time we can get.

For these last summer meals eaten on the back porch or deck, we look for simple food, prepared with little fuss. Today’s featured recipes offer just that.   Grilled chicken kebabs are marinated and then skewered for quick cooking. The honey in the marinade causes the chicken to caramelize on the grill and turn a beautiful, rich brown color; however, the chicken can burn if the grill is too hot. Lower the heat if the chicken is browning too fast.

Grilled Chicken Skewers


3 tablespoons soy sauce

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon lime zest & 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped

1 tbs grated fresh ginger

2-1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 2-inch chunks

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1-1/4 teaspoon salt

Optional: 1tbs hot sauce



In a blender, combine the soy sauce, honey, oil, lime zest, lime juice, garlic, ginger and salt. Blend until completely smooth. Pour 1/2 cup of the marinade into a small bowl; cover, refrigerate and set aside.

Combine the chicken and remaining marinade in a large Ziplock bag and seal tightly. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and thread onto skewers, folding the pieces in half if they are long and thin.

Preheat grill rubbed with vegetable oil to medium-high heat. Grill the chicken kebabs, covered, until golden brown and cooked through, turning skewers occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the skewers to a platter. Warm up the reserved marinade in the microwave and either drizzle it over top or pass it alongside. Top with the chopped cilantro and serve. Recipe adapted from Jenn Segal of Once Upon a Chef


A great side dish that uses two of our favorite end of summer vegetables is succotash, which is also a snap to prepare. The magic ingredient is our local Doc Martin lima beans. Doc Martins were first grown in our area back in the 1800s and they are only grown in our region.  So, they are not your normal freezer case Fordhook lima beans and are well worth getting from farm stands in the area. They are more delicate and smaller size in comparison.  Using them in succotash makes for a perfect blend with fresh corn.




1 cup butter, divided

2 cups fresh lima beans

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon white sugar

4 ears fresh corn kernels, cut from the cob


Melt 1/2 cup of the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in lima beans and salt, and cook covered until tender, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle the sugar over the lima beans lima beans, add corn and remaining butter. Cook 10 minutes more and serve. Optional additions include zucchini slices, red or green pepper slices and tomatoes. Each of these additions should be sautéed before adding to the dish.

Cathy Branciaroli also writes about her adventures in the kitchen on her blog Delaware Girl Eats

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