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Video: Impress the in-laws with a healthy kebab meal

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    >> this morning in today's kitchen, just got married and want to impress the in-laws? how about inviting them over for dinner.

    >> before we do that, natalie is in for the long hall.

    >> yes.

    >> look at that.

    >> covering waiting for the birth of the royal baby.

    >> is that tea or is that coffee.

    >> it's tea. i'm overcaffeinated on tea.

    >> that's fantastic.

    >> camped outside the hospital.

    >> we'll get back to you later nat but in the meantime robin miller is here with recipes from her new book, the newlywed cook book .

    >> what's different cooking for your in-laws than in general.

    >> people get stressed out. it is any one that comes over and you want to impress them and you make mistakes because you try to do something hard. i did a chapter just for newlywed and did them because they're sure fire and never fail.

    >> i started one of the tips about making something extra special, you can get these anywhere. use fancy things. you don't have to change the food. just change the presentation.

    >> okay.

    >> i already did a whole skewer. al, will you top that off with a mushroom? and we'll add it to this pan right here. everybody knows how to skewer right.

    >> you should soak them for 10 minutes or so.

    >> then a quick marinade of soy sauce, brown sugar which is great because it helps caramelize, dijon mustard and garlic powder and once that is whisked together, another thing i like to do is prep ahead so you're not cooking while the inlaws are there and you're stuck in the kitchen. i'm busy. so you pour this over and you can marinate that up to -- you know, overnight you could even marinate it. good job.

    >> yeah.

    >> so then you roll it around in there. we've already got two on. this is what they look like. beautiful nice pieces of sirloin.

    >> how do you make sure that meat cooks as the same time as the vegetables.

    >> cooking things in uniform shaped and sizes. vegetables are cut in two inch pieces.

    >> throw that on the grill for how long.

    >> depends how you like the meat cooked but keep rolling it around every two to three minutes, when you can feel it's firm.

    >> that's a great summer recipe. throw these on the grill.

    >> exactly. could be for anyone. another tip is the presentation. so i've got some rice that's already cooked there. it's rice, corn, green chilies.

    >> it looks colorful.

    >> but here's the cool thing, push a bunch of that rice into this. this basically means like a drum but you can put -- you could press this down into a tuna can and it would look really neat.

    >> just going for the shape.

    >> just making a mold.

    >> flip it over.

    >> that looks professional. al roker .

    >> and the flowers are still standing.

    >> and now here's another technique that's super cool . come on over. it's a regular cheesecake but jazz it up. you got your cheesecake and you're ready to let it set, okay? we're just going to get some -- i made a mess. you do this in the advance. just put chocolate there and then you're going to swirl it in.

    >> then you end up with something that looks very much like this.

    >> it's all you need to do. it's just the technique. we didn't change anything. just the way it looks.

    >> that's the secret. robin miller .

TODAY recipes
updated 7/15/2013 1:46:12 PM ET 2013-07-15T17:46:12

Recipe: Sure-fire shish kebabs

  • Shallow dish
  • Skewers
  • Plastic wrap
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound sirloin steak, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 large red onion, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 green bell peppers, seeded and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 yellow bell peppers, seeded and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 pound small button mushrooms, stems trimmed

1. In a shallow dish, combine soy sauce, mustard, brown sugar, garlic powder, and pepper. Add steak, onion, bell peppers, and mush­rooms and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 15 minutes (or up to 24 hours).

2. Preheat grill or broiler.

3. Remove meat and vegetables from marinade (discard marinade) and skewer alternating pieces onto metal or wooden skewers (when us­ing wooden skewers, soak them in water first to prevent burning).

4. Grill skewers 8 minutes, turning frequently, or until meat is cooked through and vegetables are tender-crisp.

Serving Size

Makes 4 servings

Recipe: Rice, corn and green chile timbales

  • Large saucepan
  • 4 6-ounce custard cups or any small cups
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup basmati or long grain white rice
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1 4-ounce can chopped green chiles
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chicken broth or water
  • Non-stick cooking spray

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add rice and cook until translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add corn, chiles, cumin, salt, and pepper and mix well. Add chicken broth and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 20 minutes, or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.

2. Coat four 6-ounce custard cups (or any small cups, empty tuna cans, etc.) with non-stick spray. Spoon rice mixture into prepared cups and pack down with the back of a spoon. Invert cups onto dinner plates, tap the bottom with your hand and remove cup.


Note: You can prepare the timbales in advance and refrigerate overnight (in the molds). Reheat in the microwave or set them in a large shallow baking dish (in ¼-inch of water) and bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Unmold as directed.

Serving Size

Makes 4 servings

Recipe: Chocolate-swirled cheesecake

  • Equipment:
  • Medium bowl
  • 9-inch springform pan
  • Double boiler or medium bowl and medium saucepan
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Mixer
  • Toothpick or knitting needle
  • Wire rack
  • Plastic wrap
  • For the crust:
  • 1 cup chocolate graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • For the filling:
  • 1 6-ounce package semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese (regular or nonfat), softened
  • 1 1/4 cups sour cream (regular or nonfat)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

2. To make the crust, combine graham cracker crumbs, melted but­ter and sugar in a medium bowl. Mix well with a fork to combine. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan that has been coated with non-stick spray. Set aside.

3. To make the filling, melt chocolate in a double boiler or medium bowl over simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly.

4. In a large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, egg, and vanilla. Mix on low speed until smooth and creamy. Fold in sugar and flour. Pour filling into prepared pan.

5. Drizzle melted chocolate over surface of cheesecake. Using a toothpick (or knitting needle) swirl the chocolate into the filling, just until decorative swirls form (don’t over-swirl, or you’ll lose the effect!).

6. Bake 1 hour, or until center is set. Turn off oven, prop open the oven door (not all the way, just slightly), and allow the cake to cool 15 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serving Size

Makes 12 servings

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