Chef Jarra’s Chicken Kebabs Recipe

Try letting your kids take over in the kitchen once in a while

Photo by Martha Busse

I’ve often felt torn between letting my children choose their own passions and requiring that they pursue certain activities. Just after the new year, in a moment of exhaustion, I told my eleven-year-old son that I wanted him to cook once a week. He’s taken on the challenge with incredible determination. He creates the menu, which has to include a vegetable. His meals have ranged from fried fish and wilted spinach to matambre and chicken noodle soup. He recently grilled chicken and vegetable kebabs, one of my summer favorites. He marinated the chicken in an Asian-inspired sauce and added chunks of pineapple, onion, mushroom, summer squash and red bell pepper to the skewers. Then he said, “Mom, thanks for making me cook dinner. Learning to cook makes me feel capable.” I enjoy having a night off from cooking, but the best gift is his own sense of accomplishment.

RECIPE: Jarra's Chicken Kebabs


2 lb chicken breasts
Marinade (see recipe below)
8 oz mushrooms
2 bell peppers
1 cup cherry tomatoes
2 small summer squash
1 cup melon or pineapple chunks
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil


1/4 cup each white wine, soy sauce and rice vinegar
1/2 cup orange or pineapple juice
1 tsp grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped
3 tbsp brown sugar


Cut chicken into 1 1/2-inch chunks. Prepare marinade. Marinate chicken pieces at least 1–2 hours, or overnight, turning a few times to coat with marinade. Cut vegetables in 1-inch chunks. Toss vegetables and fruit together in bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper.

If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for about 20 minutes. Assemble skewers, alternately threading meat with vegetables and fruit. Set assembled skewers back into marinade while finishing assembly. Heat grill to about 350–400 degrees. Place skewers on hot grill and heat on one side for about 5 minutes, or until vegetables and chicken are browned. Turn skewers and grill other side. Serve hot with rice.

Otehlia Cassidy is a Madison writer and cook with a passion for local foods and culinary adventures. Check out her blog, Local Flavor, and find more recipes here.

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