Hello friends! It’s hump day! We are getting so close to the weekend. Yay!
This upcoming weekend is busy and exciting one for me with a wedding up in Cape Cod (my first time there!), but in general I loooove weekends with no plans. I don’t love the weekend becauseΒ it’s time that I get toΒ go out to bars late at night, but because it’s time thatΒ I get to SLEEP.
IfΒ I’m not hosting a dinner party (which is my all-time favorite thing to do), my next favorite thing to doΒ is to curl into bed with a good book or cookbook, go to bed super early, and head to an early workout in the morning. Ahh….bliss.
Going out to an early dinner reservation, going home, and hitting the hay earlyΒ is fun too — this I can handle. I wish I could but I just cannot survive going outΒ late at night.
Call me an old lady, but I cannot stay out at a restaurant or bar past 10:00 without hitting a wall.
Literally, it gets to the point where I don’t care if Michael Jackson is RESURRECTED FROM THE DEAD, I cannot stay out any longer or else my eyes will start to droop and I turn into a crabby apple.
This is why I love hosting and attending dinner parties over going out to restaurants and bars. It costs so much less, the setting is so more intimate, my family and friends and I can call the shots on the timing of the night, and I’m not keeling over into my cocktail ready to pass out. Plus it’s so much moreΒ fun! Do you agree?
I made these broiled beef and veggie skewers for a little senior dinner (aka 5pm cook time!) for my brother, good friend, and hubby a few weeks back and boy did it make me happy.
Our bellies were full at the end of the night, providing us the fuel we needed to head to our jobs, the gym, and school in the wee hours of the morning. I love the idea of food as both fun and fuel. Win for all!
Speaking of dinner parties, I am now available for hire!Β That’s right, if you or anyone you know in the Chicago area and surrounding suburbs is interested in hosting a dinner party at home for as few as 4 or as many as 30 people, I am available for servicesΒ including meal planning, grocery shopping, on-site cooking and meal prep, dining and buffet tableΒ set-up, and clean-up. I’ll even bring a playlist of good tunes, wipe down your bathroom, and set out tea towels! This service is perfect for busy moms and dads who need to focus their time on running errands and taking care ofΒ their kids, graduate school students who need to focus on studying,Β as well asΒ young and mid-career professionals with full-time jobs who have little time to meal plan and cook but want to enjoy a fun evening with their friends or colleagues, without dropping a chunk of change for a private chef (or on the flipside, are tiredΒ of hosting keggers with chips and salsa).Β No kitchen is too small for me. Oh and did I mention? I will make GOOD, crowd-pleasing food (stuff your guests will actually be excited about and want to eat).Β Stay tuned for more details and an official launch. In the meantime,Β please contactΒ firstname.lastname@example.orgΒ for availability and pricing.
Broiled Spicy Beef and Veggie Skewers with Avocado Dipping Sauce
Makes 4 large servings, ~9Β skewers
- 1 Β½ lbs. boneless sirloin or strip steak, preferably grass-fed, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 tsp. cumin
- 2 tsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. chipotle chile powder (omit if you don’t like spicy)
- 1 tsp. Kosher salt
- 1 red bell pepper, cored and sliced into 1-inch squares
- 1 orange bell pepper, cored and sliced into 1-inch squares
- 1 yellow bell pepper, cored and sliced into 1-inch squares
- 1 red onion, cored and sliced into 1-inch squares
- 1 cup red grape or cherry tomatoes, seasoned with a little olive oil
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 11-12 wooden skewers
For avocado dipping sauce:
- 2 large avocados, cored and peeled
- Juice of 2 limes and 1 lemon (about 1/3 cup citrus juice)
- Handful of fresh cilantro leaves (about Β½ cup)
- 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of garlic powder
- Fresh ground pepper, to taste
To prepare avocado dipping sauce: Place avocado, lime juice, cilantro, olive oil, pinch of salt, pinch of garlic powder, and a few grinds of fresh ground pepper in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Pulse until well blended and smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl, cover with plastic, and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
To prepare skewers: First, cover wooden skewers with water and let soak for at least 30 minutes. Β PreheatΒ oven to 400 degrees F. Place bell peppers and onions in a bowl. Add 1 Tbsp. olive oil, dash of Kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, and toss. Transfer to a foil-lined baking sheet and roast for about 10 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven and set aside.
Meanwhile, mix cumin, paprika, garlic powder, chipotle chile powder, and Kosher salt in a small bowl. Place meat in a Tupperware container or bowl. Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil and toss. Add spice mixture and toss to cover all sides of meat cubes. Place in refrigerator and let marinate for at least 30 minutes or longer if possible.
Turn oven to broiler setting on HIGH and set rack to upper ΒΎ position of oven.
Skewer onions, peppers, tomatoes, and beef onto skewers, using 3 beef cubes per skewer. (I skewered the tomatoes on their own sticks because I had one guest who did not like tomatoes.) Season the skewers again with a little salt and pepper.
Place skewers on the foil-lined baking sheet. Place on rack set on upper ΒΎ of oven and broil for about 6 minutes or until meat is cooked through. Every oven is different, be careful not to overcook!
Transfer skewers to a serving plate and cover tightly with foil until ready to serve. Serve with avocado dipping sauce.