This month, Kitchen Play has teamed up with the Ad Council to remind home cooks of safe food practices.
Popsicles are showing up everywhere these days, with intriguing flavor combinations highlighting summer’s flavors. My absolute favorite popsicles come from the local company goodpops, which I first tasted last year at a SXSW event. Although I haven’t yet had a goodpop this summer, I can’t forget the taste of that pineapple basil popsicle.
With this combination on my mind as I sweat through the days, it was only logical that I would translate the popsicle into a marinade for chicken. Marinades are an incredibly easy way to bump up the flavor on everyday dishes, and chicken on the grill is naked and ashamed without it on. With the prep work done in advance, there is plenty of time to get your side dishes ready or relax on the patio with a margarita and congratulate yourself for how smart you are.
One of the most important things to remember when dealing with marinades is that you must discard the marinade once your meat has finished bathing in it. Many people are tempted to use the same marinade for basting, but please don’t make that mistake. Raw chicken can harbor bacteria, such as salmonella, that is only killed with thorough cooking. If you’d like to baste with your marinade, be sure to divide out a portion before adding the raw meat to soak.
Now, even though I have no issues eating meat, I really hate handling the raw stuff. Because of this, I wash my hands about sixteen times during the process of slicing the chicken. You don’t need to be as vigorous as I am, but be sure to wash your hands before and after handling any raw foods, and especially if you get interrupted halfway through prepping by a small child clamoring for a snack. Trust me, he does not want a topping of E. Coli on his fruit.
I like to cut raw meat on a plastic cutting board, saving our wooden boards for fruits and vegetables. Using different materials makes it easy to keep track of what cutting board is for which food, and raw juices don’t soak into the plastic boards.
Don’t forget that when marinating, the meat needs to go back into the refrigerator, especially in the summer. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap to avoid accidental spills. Once you have the meat marinating, make sure to wash your cutting board, knife, hands, and clean the surfaces of where you were prepping the food. Taking care of these tasks immediately will cut down on the potential for germs spreading in your kitchen.
Clean: Clean kitchen surfaces, utensils, and hands with soap and water while preparing food.
Separate: Separate raw meats from other foods by using different cutting boards.
Cook: Cook foods to the right temperature by using a food thermometer.
Chill: Chill raw and prepared foods promptly.
Follow these guidelines when cooking and you’ll have a safe summer!
Although I used the chicken for skewers, the marinade would also work well with whole breasts, cooked and then sliced thinly for tacos. Topped with a pineapple salsa, it’s another versatile way to have a cooled-down meal.
Kitchen Safety with Kitchen Play (Recipe: Pineapple-Basil Chicken Skewers)
- 1 cup loosely packed basil
- 1 20- ounce can pineapple in juice
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Black pepper
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken
- 1 medium white onion
- 1 green pepper
- 24 grape tomatoes
- 10-12 bamboo skewers
Wash basil and pat dry. Drain pineapple juice from can, reserving the chunks for the skewers. (You will only use about half, so go ahead and put the other half in a reusable container, or eat them.)
Put basil, pineapple juice, olive oil, salt, and three cracks of pepper into a food processor or blender. Process until basil is thoroughly chopped and integrated through liquid. Pour into a large bowl. If you want to reserve some of the marinade in a separate bowl for basting, do it now.
Cut chicken into chunks approximately 1 inch by 1 inch. Put into bowl of marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and put in refrigerator for at least an hour.
When ready to cook, put bamboo skewers into a shallow container of water and let soak. Chop onion and pepper into large pieces on a clean cutting board.
Remove skewers from water and thread chicken, onion, pineapple, pepper, and tomato in an alternating pattern. Place finished skewers on a large plate, and repeat until you’re out of chicken.
Grill over a medium-hot flame for 15 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into a piece registers 165.
Be sure to chill any leftovers within two hours of cooking.
Make This Recipe Safer on Facebook!
The campaign sponsors also have some handy-dandy refrigerator magnets to remind you and your family about food safety while cooking. Click here to receive your FREE magnet! Then share photos of your magnet, your personalized safety tips, and/or the dishes you’ve cooked safely on the Kitchen PLAY Facebook page. (Be sure to tag FoodSafety.gov and Ad Council!).
Let’s work together to Make Our Recipes Safer!
For more poultry inspiration, check out my Chicken board on Pinterest!