Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What's Cooking? Spiced Couscous and Chicken

I've been blown away by the response to my last blog.  It's amazing to see that something that I wrote resounds so much with other people.  I was going to continue today with a post about the insane week I had, but my post mysteriously disappeared so I'm moving up a cooking entry.  

I love experimenting with new recipes, and things like potlucks are an excellent audience to try new recipes on. If people don't like it, they will still have other food options.  I found this recipe in Food Network magazine, and was able to also find it on their website. My friend Juli scored an entire box of cooking magazines, and I was able to snag a few recipes the last time I was at her house. It's hard to read recipes and carry a conversation though, so I found myself flipping through the same magazine multiple times.  

When getting looking for recipes, I try to look recipe with whole foods that are either grain free, or had gluten free grains.  I was also trying to find recipes that used what I had in the pantry! This recipe calls for whole wheat couscous which obviously has gluten in it, but I have two boxes to get rid of, and the recipe turned out wonderfully.


  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 medium carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup couscous, preferably whole wheat
  • 2 cups coarsely shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 4 scallions, white and light green parts only, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for topping
  • Greek yogurt and/or harissa or other hot sauce, for topping


Bring 2 1/2 cups water to a boil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, the ginger, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the carrots and cook until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain the carrots, reserving the cooking liquid.
Put the couscous and chicken in a medium bowl; pour 1 cup of the hot cooking liquid on top. Stir, then cover tightly with plastic wrap and let sit 5 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the almonds, raisins, scallions and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Cook, stirring, until the nuts are toasted, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the cilantro.
Divide the couscous and chicken among bowls. Top with the carrots and more of the cooking liquid. Sprinkle with the almond mixture and more cilantro. Top with yogurt and/or harissa.
Per serving: Calories 441; Fat 20 g (Saturated 7 g); Cholesterol 91 mg; Sodium 853 mg; Carbohydrate 42 g; Fiber 8 g; Protein 28 g

This recipe does NOT have a strong spice flavor at all.  I actually ended up added lots more cinnamon to mine when I reheated it.  I also used the used the cooking fluid to moisten up the couscous, and the fact that the chicken I snagged was wayyyy too dry.  I learned that you do not buy rotisserie chicken on a Sunday at the regular grocery store. Costco for now on. The almond mix is amazing, and because of the butter, the raisins don't 'burn' but rather just get a nice brown to them. They taste amazing. I actually made more of the almond mixture the next day to use up my cilantro/onions because people used it all up the night before! I guess I wasn't the only person that loved it.  
I've managed to lose 5 lbs in the last week or so by cutting down on my portions, trying to cut out a lot of gluten and sugar but most of all, only eating when I'm hungry.  I'm a little worried about this cough that I still have, which gets a lot worse whenever I have dairy or gluten so cutting most of it out was an attempt to lower the inflammation in my body and get rid of this cold sans antibiotics.  The side effect was losing some weight, and realizing that if I eat lots of carbs (oh like the waffles I ate last night before bed) I wake up feeling hung over.  It's still amazing me how much I'm learning about my body and the effects that different foods are having on me. 

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