Looking for a way to make summer meals simple yet special? Kabobs are not only quick to fix, they're festive, fun to make and tasty, too.
Plus the combinations are endless, from appetizer and fruity dessert kabobs to main dish skewers loaded with good-for-you veggies and meat or seafood. Taste of Home readers pulled out some of their best recipes for our recent "Stick to Kabobs" contest.
Our Test Kitchen judges sampled savory bites of grilled shrimp, kielbasa, pork, steak and chicken as well as succulent chunks of pineapple, broccoli, sweet potato, squash and tomatoes. Some recipes relied on well-seasoned marinades; others enhanced the tidbits with a sauce or glaze. When the grilling was done and the skewers emptied, our judges chose the top 12.
Leading the pack was Kelly Townsend from Syracuse, Nebraska, who won the $500.00 Grand Prize for her flavorful Chicken and Asparagus Kabobs.
Spicy Salmon Kabobs from Terri Mach of Homer, Alaska took second place. Terri won dinner for four at the restaurant of her choice.
More about the Grand-Prize winner
A trip to California inspired Kelly Townsend to experiment in the kitchen ... with winning results!
Our panel of judges awarded the $500.00 Grand Prize in our "Stick to Kabobs" contest to Kelly's Oriental-style Chicken and Asparagus Kabobs. Kelly, who lives in Syracuse, Nebraska, dreamed up the recipe after visiting her aunt and uncle on the West Coast last summer.
"While living in Hawaii, they received a recipe for sesame sauce. One night for dinner, my aunt served us grilled asparagus with the sauce and grilled salmon.
"I wanted to see if the sesame sauce would go well with marinated, grilled chicken. So I combined the asparagus and chicken on skewers, using the sauce for dipping."
Taste of Home's judges savored the well-seasoned chicken and flavorful sesame sauce. The asparagus, meanwhile, proved a refreshing change from typical kabob vegetables.
"It's a great recipe to use whenever asparagus is in season ... and throughout the summer," Kelly notes. "You could substitute salmon or shrimp for the chicken and add more veggies. Broccoli tastes especially good with this sauce."
A knack for grilling
Kelly grills year-round, even during cold Nebraska winters. "I like to prepare kabobs or wrap up meat and vegetables in foil packets for an easy meal-in-one. I even prepare fajitas, meat loaf, pizza and stir-fry on the grill as well as traditional burgers and steaks."
As a child, Kelly often made the weekly menus for her mother and helped with grocery shopping. "I used to read cookbooks as a kid," says Kelly, "and they're still my favorite things to read."
It's only natural, then, that she earned a degree in family consumer science education (home economics). Although Kelly works in retail, she hopes to teach food and nutrition someday.
In the meantime, she's heading back to California. "I'm going to San Diego in July, and now I'll have some extra money to use there," Kelly says of her big $500.00 prize.
Maybe she'll even return with yet another award-winning recipe.
More grilled kabob recipes»