Tag Archives: side dish

Fun With Couscous! (revisited)

(This post was previously published several years ago but I thought it was worth repeating…Enjoy!)

Yes I said “fun with couscous”. Recently I discovered Israeli Couscous or Pearl Couscous. I had seen it in a recipe some time ago and had a hard time locating it so I gave up. Then I was in my favorite Italian grocery and came across it. It was also a BOGO so I bought it! Of course by now I couldn’t remember or find the recipe I originally wanted it for! But it didn’t matter, I was all about finding a new recipe or recipes. For those of you who say you don’t like couscous, this is a great variety to try. It’s much larger than normal couscous and had a wonderful silky texture. It’s not grainy like the regular variety.

First time I made it I served it cold! I had some leftover tomatoes and cucumbers and made a Mediterranean style cold salad with it. It was a huge hit! I served it at a barbecue at my house and people were asking for 2nd and 3rd helpings! So of course I’ve made it several times since!

Not to get into a rut with my new-found side dish I decided to make a hot side dish last week. This time it came out like a creamy cheesy risotto! OMG it was incredible! And it only took about 10 minutes to make! Did I mention this couscous only takes 8-10 minutes! No constant stirring, no long drawn out process, just a quick and easy side dish that you can add ANYTHING to. I’ve even added it to a soup instead of noodles! I am all about the couscous these days!!

It’s possibilities are endless! So today I am going to include both my cold recipe and my hot risotto style recipe. Enjoy and go buy some couscous!

Recipe #1:

Mediterranean Couscous Salad

1 cup uncooked Israeli/Pearl couscous

1 ¼ cup liquid (water, chicken broth, veggie broth, etc)

Chopped tomato, about ¼ cup(remove seeds and insides, gets too watery)

Chopped cucumber, about ½ cup

1 cloves garlic, minced (or you can use garlic powder)

¼ cup finely chopped red onion

t teaspoon dill (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

1: Boil liquid and add couscous. Cover and simmer 8-10 minutes. Watch it carefully so it doesn’t overflow. Stir occasionally.

2. When the liquid is all gone, drain and rinse well under cold water.

3. Add rest of ingredients, mix well and add a little olive oil (1-2 tablespoons). Mix again and chill.

4. When ready to serve place in serving bowl and drizzle a little more EVOO over the top and mix.

Makes 2-4 servings

Recipe #2

Couscous Risotto

*This recipe I used what I had leftover in the fridge to add to the couscous. I had made broccoli rabe the night before so I chopped it up and used that. You can also add chopped mushrooms or anything else you wish. Even change the cooking crème variety. Make it yours!

1 cup uncooked Israeli/Pearl couscous

1¼ cup liquid (water, broth, etc.)

leftover veggies, chopped well

Few tablespoons Savory Lemon & Herbs Cooking Creme (Philadelphia brand)

¼-½ grated parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Boil liquid and add couscous. Cover and simmer 8-10 minutes. Stir occasionally.

2. When liquid is gone, keep heat on low and add the veggies, cooking crème and parmesan cheese. Stir well till heated through.

3. Serve immediately.

Makes 2-4 servings

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Fun With Couscous!

 

Yes I said “fun with couscous”. Recently I discovered Israeli Couscous or Pearl Couscous. I had seen it in a recipe some time ago and had a hard time locating it so I gave up. Then I was in my favorite Italian grocery and came across it. It was also a BOGO so I bought it! Of course by now I couldn’t remember or find the recipe I originally wanted it for! But it didn’t matter, I was all about finding a new recipe or recipes. For those of you who say you don’t like couscous, this is a great variety to try. It’s much larger than normal couscous and had a wonderful silky texture. It’s not grainy like the regular variety.

First time I made it I served it cold! I had some leftover tomatoes and cucumbers and made a Mediterranean style cold salad with it. It was a huge hit! I served it at a barbecue at my house and people were asking for 2nd and 3rd helpings! So of course I’ve made it several times since!

Not to get into a rut with my new-found side dish I decided to make a hot side dish last week. This time it came out like a creamy cheesy risotto! OMG it was incredible! And it only took about 10 minutes to make! Did I mention this couscous only takes 8-10 minutes! No constant stirring, no long drawn out process, just a quick and easy side dish that you can add ANYTHING to. I’ve even added it to a soup instead of noodles! I am all about the couscous these days!!

It’s possibilities are endless! So today I am going to include both my cold recipe and my hot risotto style recipe. Enjoy and go buy some couscous!

Recipe #1:

Mediterranean Couscous Salad

1 cup uncooked Israeli/Pearl couscous

1 ¼ cup liquid (water, chicken broth, veggie broth, etc)

Chopped tomato, about ¼ cup(remove seeds and insides, gets too watery)

Chopped cucumber, about ½ cup

1 cloves garlic, minced (or you can use garlic powder)

¼ cup finely chopped red onion

t teaspoon dill (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

1: Boil liquid and add couscous. Cover and simmer 8-10 minutes. Watch it carefully so it doesn’t overflow. Stir occasionally.

2. When the liquid is all gone, drain and rinse well under cold water.

3. Add rest of ingredients, mix well and add a little olive oil (1-2 tablespoons). Mix again and chill.

4. When ready to serve place in serving bowl and drizzle a little more EVOO over the top and mix.

Makes 2-4 servings

Recipe #2

Couscous Risotto

*This recipe I used what I had leftover in the fridge to add to the couscous. I had made broccoli rabe the night before so I chopped it up and used that. You can also add chopped mushrooms or anything else you wish. Even change the cooking crème variety. Make it yours!

1 cup uncooked Israeli/Pearl couscous

1¼ cup liquid (water, broth, etc.)

leftover veggies, chopped well

Few tablespoons Savory Lemon & Herbs Cooking Creme (Philadelphia brand)

¼-½ grated parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Boil liquid and add couscous. Cover and simmer 8-10 minutes. Stir occasionally.

2. When liquid is gone, keep heat on low and add the veggies, cooking crème and parmesan cheese. Stir well till heated through.

3. Serve immediately.

Makes 2-4 servings

Best Garlic Smashed Cauliflower, Ever!

So I have been totally slacking in my blogging duties. I apologize. I have many recipes to add and I’m going to start with this one. I love mashed potatoes. My favorite veggie of all time. But what I don’t love is the calories that go with it. For a while I have seen a few recipes from different sources that combine a potato and cauliflower. I know I’ve posted a recipe for my smashed cauliflower before but this one blows it away! I’m not kidding. The majority of the recipe is cauliflower which is low-calorie and good for you. But you will swear there is no cauliflower in this when you taste it. OMG! Oh and it has a bunch of garlic in it too! I made this last night as a side for our pork chops. I was so excited that I forgot to take a picture of it before we demolished it. The recipe makes 4 servings and the picture I have here is what was left. Needless to say I will most definitely be making this again, soon! One of the recipes I found used buttermilk but I didn’t have any so I used fat-free half-and-half. You can definitely use buttermilk or regular half-and-half, whatever you wish. But the great thing about this is that there is about 100 calories per serving! I know! So without further ado here is the recipe I came up with.

(See I told you there wasn’t much left!)

INGREDIENTS:

1 large potato, peeled and cut into small cubes

4 cups cauliflower florets, washed (a small head is probably fine)

¼ cup milk of your choice (buttermilk, half-and-half, regular milk…)

2 tablespoons butter substitute (I use I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter, light)

 6 cloves garlic, peeled

salt and pepper to taste (I did find that it does need salt so you may even want to add some to the water)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place the cauliflower, potato and garlic into a pot large enough to hold it all. Cover with water and bring to a boil.
  2. When it boils, lower the heat to a simmer and continue cooking for about 15-20 minutes. Making sure the cauliflower is very tender and soft.
  3. Drain and return to pot. Add the milk and butter. 
  4. Using a hand mixer or potato masher, mash till smooth! Add salt and pepper as needed.

Serve and be ready to be amazed! Makes 4 servings or 2 very large ones! 

Red Quinoa with Feta & Sundried Tomatoes

Here it is again everyone! QUINOA!!! Woo Hoo!! While in Whole Foods last weekend I wanted to get some more quinoa. Looking in the bulk aisle for it I came across the regular white/beige quinoa. And sitting right next to it was this beautiful red quinoa! Didn’t even know it existed. Then again I didn’t know quinoa existed until a few months ago. I checked the nutritional information and it had almost double the fiber of the regular kind! Sold! I bought a half pound of the stuff,  just in case we didn’t like it. I should have bought more! It is so much tastier than the regular. It had a little crunch to it and a nutty taste as well. I then searched online for a different recipe than I made last time.  I found a great one on the Cooking Books blog. She had gotten it from a cookbook called The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook by Tosca Reno and adapted it to her taste. I again adapted it to my taste.  It called for cilantro and I left it out (My husband isn’t a fan unless it’s in salsa or guacamole) and vegetable broth. I had chicken broth and used that. The recipe called for 8 sun-dried tomatoes, cut up. I found it needed more. So next time I will add more. I think about ¼ cup will do it. I liked how much feta cheese she said to put in, “as much as you’d like”. Ok, sounds good to me! Sounds good to my husband! I think it was about ½ cup in total, could be more though. I didn’t measure. But one thing I should have done was cut the recipe in half. It made a lot of quinoa for two people. We do have leftovers!

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon olive oil

¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

2 minced shallots (you can use a small onion or even a few green onions if you don’t have shallots)

1 large clove garlic, minced

2 cups vegetable broth (or any broth you have), or water

1 cup dried red quinoa

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (you can adjust to your taste)

1 teaspoon salt

fresh ground black pepper

½ cup (or so) of crumbled low-fat feta cheese (adjust to your taste)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the tomatoes, shallots and garlic. Saute for 3-5 minutes until the shallots are soft.

2. Add the broth/stock and bring to a boil. Add the red quinoa and cayenne pepper. Stir and bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Or until all the liquid is fully absorbed. (It took longer than 30 minutes on my stove, so keep an eye on it after 30 minutes)

3. Stir in salt and pepper and feta cheese. Serve hot or cold. Make sure you mix in the feta good so it melts a bit! Yum…

Makes 4-6 servings as a side dish.

Tabouli with Quinoa

Usually I am not a big fan of mint. No mojitos for me.  And definitely none of that flourescent green mint jelly when I have lamb! That is wrong to my taste buds on so many levels. Luckily my husband is not a fan either. So many recipes have mint in them and most of the time, to me anyway, it’s too much. So when I tried Tabouli years ago I was surprised to find that there was mint in it! Imagine that! I liked it in spite of that! And now with my new favorite food, quinoa, I can have that delicious tabouli salad with a more healthy twist! It’s a refreshing and filling salad for lunch or a side dish or just for snacking in the afternoon. I will also add crumbled feta cheese to mine for a little extra zip. You can use goat cheese if you want too, anything you like really. Just don’t go crazy and kill all the good with too much cheese. Moderation! This recipe is also one time where you should have the fresh parsley rather than dried.

INGREDIENTS:

½ cup uncooked quinoa

2 cups water

¼ cup fresh parsley, without stems

2/3 cup green onions (scallions), cut into ¼” pieces

1½ cups peeled cucumbers, cut into ¼” pieces

1½ cups chopped tomatoes, cut into ¼” pieces

1 garlic clove, minced (no garlic powder on this)

½ teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

¾ teaspoon dried mint (optional)

½ cup crumbled light or fat-free feta cheese (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Put quinoa in a fine strainer and rinse under running water until water runs clear. Drain well. Bring quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan. Cover pan, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes until water is absorbed. Quinoa will be fluffy. Chill in the refrigerator or rinse cooked quinoa in a fine-meshed strainer under COLD running water. Drain well.

2. Toss remaining ingredients with quinoa and serve!

Makes 5 cups (1 cup per serving)

Apple & Celery Slaw w/Blue Cheese Dressing

I am always looking for variations on the usual cole slaw recipes. This recipe is a light and refreshing one that is not your “usual” slaw. Using lighter versions of the ingredients lowers the calories and makes a great addition to the summer barbecue! The recipe calls for granny smith apples but feel free to change them to your favorite. Fuji apples are a great apple for this recipe as well. Not as tart as granny smith apples but just as tasty!

INGREDIENTS:

4 ounces regular or light blue cheese, crumbled

½ cup light or regular mayonnaise

½ cup light buttermilk

½ teaspoon sugar or sugar substitute (Splenda or even Agave nectar is good)

4 granny smith or fuji apples

2 stalks celery, thinly sliced

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a small bowl, using a fork, combine the blue cheese, mayonnaise and ¼ cup of the buttermilk until thick and lumpy. Stir in the remaining ¼ cup buttermilk and the sugar/sweetener. Refrigerate.

2. Quarter, core and coarsely grate the apples. In a medium bowl, combine the apples with the dressing. Stir in the celery; cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serves 6

Collard Greens Gone Wild

Ok, I know, how can collard greens go wild? And I’m not talking fresh collard greens either. Frozen. Yes frozen. I never had collard greens growing up and of course just figured I didn’t like them. My husband suggested I try them so one day at the supermarket I went “wild” and bought a bag of frozen greens. Also since I had no idea how to serve them the Italian in me took over. I prepared them according to the package but when I served them I added butter and a parmesan/garlic seasoning. They came out really good. I was hooked. Then recently I tried them from a menu at a restaurant specializing in “southern/cowboy” type barbecue. I HATED them! They had no flavor, the color was so washed out they did not look very appetizing. Definitely not enough to even eat! Well I tried them. Yuck! I tried adding butter, salt, hot sauce…Still yuck! I was so disappointed! I knew I should have gotten the fried green tomatoes that night! So last night I kicked them up a notch so to say. They came out really good! The only thing is the bag of frozen greens is big that I now have lots left over. I will be using them tonight as my side for the Veal Scaloppini recipe I posted yesterday.  They actually look like escarole and beans a little bit. I originally served it with a Lemon Lime Marinated Chicken recipe from a great food blog called Dana’s Food For Thought. Check it out! (Thanks Dana!)

INGREDIENTS:

1 16-19 ounce bag frozen chopped collard greens

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic chopped

3 cloves garlic thinly sliced

2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon basil

1 teaspoon oregano

2 cups chicken broth

1 -15 ounce can canellini beans, drained and rinsed

parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a dutch oven or large pot sauté olive oil and chopped garlic. Saute till garlic is lightly browned. Add the basil and oregano and stir for a minute or so.

2. Add the frozen collard greens and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and add the beans, red pepper flakes and sliced garlic. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

3. Serve greens with parmesan cheese if you like.

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