5 Ingredient Toasted Pearl Couscous

A tasty dish filled with veggies and done in 30 minutes using a whole grain that looks like little pearls. So cute.

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Sorry for those of you who received the teaser email last night with an incomplete post.  My butterfingers hit “Publish” instead of “Save”  and emails automatically went out (a bloggers nightmare) Ahh!  

Today I’m sharing a recipe using pearl couscous.  If you don’t know what this is, it is also known as Israeli couscous and are small balls of wheat or semolina flour.   They have a slightly chewy texture – and when toasted, like I do for this dish, they have a subtle nutty flavor.  It’s a nice alternative to rice or pasta.  It can be found near the rice in most grocery stores.  Or if you’re lucky, you can buy it from the bulk bins.  This dish can be used as a side dish or a light main dish (feel free to toss in beans or your protein of your choice) – perfect for all you Meatless Monday folks!

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Grape Tomatoes were on sale last week. $0.88 a pint!! That’s CRAZY! So, naturally, I went crazy and bought 4 pints of grape tomatoes. After inhaling two pints raw, I wanted to enjoy the others cooked. My favorite way to cook grape tomatoes is to roast them. It makes them even sweeter, and doesn’t require you to do much to them. I just plop some chopped garlic in the baking dish, sprinkle some olive oil, salt and pepper and bake at 425 for 20-30 minutes and TADA!  EVEN SWEETER grape tomatoes. Yum.  This is also a great way to use grape tomatoes that are starting to wrinkle and not look so “salad fresh”.

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While your grape tomatoes are roasting, you can toast and cook the couscous.  Toasting really brings out a nutty flavor and is a small extra step that is totally worth it.  To toast the pearls, simply saute them with olive oil in a saucepan on low-medium heat, while stirring for about 5-10 minutes until the couscous is lightly browned. Then add your liquid and frozen vegetable of choice ( I threw in some frozen spinach) and simmer for 10 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed. Add the roasted grape tomatoes and their juices to the cooked cousous. Then add a little water to the baking dish to deglaze it (which will get all the roasty deliciousness out) and add it to the cooked couscous and dinner’s ready!

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In 30 minutes and 5 ingredients (not including olive oil and salt pepper) you have a delicious vegetable filled side dish that is nutty and full of grape tomato sweetness.

 

Recipe: 5 Ingredient Toasted Pearl Couscous 20140519-065127.jpg

Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4 as a side dish, 2 as a light main dish (this recipe can be easily doubled, tripled, quadrupled…)

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint of grape tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced or roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoon of olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup Pearl Couscous (Israeli Couscous)
  • 1 1/4 cup of chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 1 cup of frozen chopped spinach (or frozen veggie of your choice)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Mozzarella or Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  In a oven safe baking dish, toss grape tomatoes with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, garlic and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Bake for about 20 minutes or until tomatoes start to caramelize.
  2. Add the remaining oil to a medium saucepan.  Over low to medium heat, add the couscous and cook, stirring for about 5-10 minutes, until light golden brown.  Add the broth and frozen spinach and bring to a boil.  Immediately, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook until all the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add cooked grape tomatoes plus their juices to the cooked couscous. You may remove the garlic or smash up and add to the couscous (depending on how much garlic flavor you like) De-glaze the baking dish with a tablespoon or 2 of water and add to the couscous. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm with a sprinkle of cheese.

* Garbanzo or cannellini beans go really well with this dish if you are looking to serve as a main dish and want some extra protein. Just toss in after the couscous is done cooking.

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Want more quick veggie dishes? Click on the Vegetarian Link on the top menu or try one of my favorites below!

Vegetarian Orzo Parsley Salad Orzo Parsley Salad.jpgSpicy Avocado Egg SaladSpicy Avocado Egg Salad.jpgSpanish Tortilla with Baby Spinach and Red Bell PepperSpanish Tortilla.jpg

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Spinach and Broccoli Artichoke Dip

What are you eating on Super Bowl Sunday?  My answer is (usually) a lot.

20140131-194900.jpgLet’s get a little more specific. How about something warm, cheesy and spicy and still have some healthy stuff in it?  Then you will LOVE this Spinach and Broccoli Artichoke dip!

20140131-194828.jpgI’m not the biggest football fan, but I do LOVE an excuse to eat snacks and hang out with friends! Bring on the football!

20140131-194847.jpgThis recipe is a spinoff of your typical spinach artichoke dip, but it has a few extras in it that really make it special.  Lets go over the major players in our game:

  1. Spinach
  2. Broccoli
  3. Canned artichoke hearts
  4. Cream cheese (sounds unusual, but totally delicious)
  5. Greek yogurt (adds that extra creaminess!)
  6. Mozzarella
  7. Parmesan
  8. Garlic (because everything is better with it)

It is easy to assemble (all in one bowl), pop it in the oven and you have your warm and creamy dip in 25 minutes!  I know cream cheese sounds a little unusual but you won’t taste any cream cheese flavor (I promise!); it will just add creaminess.

20140131-231211.jpgThis dip will fit nicely in an 8×8 or 9×9 but I got a really awesome Le Creuset stoneware dish (1.75 qt) for Christmas that I really really really wanted to bake something in. It’s a really pretty blue color so it looks nice (it really does!) and it is heavy so it keeps food hot longer.   It’s amazing and I love it! – thanks Ro and Nancy! 

20140131-194934.jpgSprinkling some extra cheese on top – Mmmmm melty cheese!

20140131-194945.jpgDid I mention I snuck extra veggies in this dip? You get spinach, artichoke AND broccoli!

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What a beaut, right? Most of my kitchen stuff is hand-me-down or picked up at garage sales – so I really wanted to flaunt my fancy new baking dish! 🙂

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But most importantly is the warm, cheesy, creamy and veggie-filled dip that was made in the pretty dish!  Just another delicious way to get more vegetables in your diet!

Happy Snacking!

Recipe: Spinach and Broccoli Artichoke Dip

Yield: About 3 and 1/2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 8oz of cream cheese, softened*
  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt (I used 2%)
  • 1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
  • 1 package (10oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 cup of broccoli, chopped small
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced (optional)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan- reserve a handful to melt on top
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella, divided –  ¼ cup reserved to sprinkle and melt on top
  • salt, to taste
  • sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large bowl stir the softened cream cheese and Greek yogurt together until smooth.  Then add in the remaining ingredients and mix together. Spoon into 8×8 or 9 inch pie plate or oven safe dish. Bake 20-25 minutes until lightly browned.
  3. Remove and sprinkle the reserved cheese on top and bake for another 2-3 minutes just until cheese is melted.

Serve warm with pita chips, pretzels, crackers or veggies.

*If you want to soften the cream cheese quickly, place the fully unwrapped cream cheese in a microwave safe dish and microwave it for ~15 seconds.

Spanish Tortilla with Baby Spinach and Red Bell Pepper

20130523-231516.jpgI’m really excited to share today’s recipe with you! Why? Well, I’m talking about food, so this always makes me excited, woo! But, if I had to pick a favorite vegetable, it would be spinach, which is the star of this recipe. Why spinach? I’m sure many of you have memories growing up being forced to eat spinach. Not me. I would gladly suck spinach down like Popeye. When I started cooking for myself, I started to realize the culinary super power of spinach. It is a super nutritious leafy green vegetable that you can have by itself or add to just about anything: pasta, pizza, casseroles, eggs, soups, and even smoothies! Today I’m pairing my favorite vegetable, spinach, with my favorite protein, eggs.

20130523-231132.jpgInstead of using baby spinach to make a salad, I decided to get a little creative and use it to make one of the most common dishes served in Spain known as the tortilla de patatas, or the Spanish tortilla (Spanish potato omelet) . One of the great things about this dish is that it is perfect for any meal – breakfast, lunch, dinner or as an appetizer and can be served hot or cold. I like mine warm, but it is traditionally served at room temperature.

Keeping with my simple recipe philosophy, this tortilla only has 6 ingredients: Spinach, bell pepper, eggs, potato, milk, and onion. Also, in line with in a DASH, this recipe is adapted to be pretty speedy, and can be made in under 30 minutes!

20130523-231432.jpgYou already know how much I LOVE eggs, especially frittatas. Well, the Tortilla de Patatas is the Spanish cousin to the Italian frittata. The major difference is that the frittata is baked, while the Tortilla is flipped in the pan and only cooked on the stove top – perfect for summertime when you don’t want to heat up your oven! Besides eggs, the other main component of the tortilla is potatoes. Delicious, starchy, thinly sliced, layered potatoes. YUM.

In my version of the Spanish tortilla, I decided to add baby spinach and red bell pepper. This way, you get some extra veggie in and still enjoy this decadent Spanish dish!

Big SPanish tort

The other great thing about what I did here is that I slimmed down the recipe a bit. Most Spanish tortilla recipes use a TON of olive oil. I have minimized the amount of oil needed for this dish, so you can enjoy this Spanish delight and keep your waistline! Less oil makes the tortilla a little thinner, but it still has the texture and taste of a real Spanish Tortilla. I promise.

Let’s make this tortilla in a DASH!

First peel and slice the potato very thin. I don’t have a fancy slicer or food processor, so I just sliced them thin with a knife. Cut and chop about a quarter of an onion and set aside.

20130523-231117.jpgAdd your potatoes to a heated pan with olive oil. Immediately after adding potatoes, reduce the heat. Your potatoes will NOT be in one layer, and this is ok. You want this. There will be a temptation to crisp up and brown your potatoes, but that is not what we’re trying to do here. We are cooking them to be just soft, not crisping them. Stir the potatoes occasionally as you cook them. After about 5 minutes, add the onion and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, until potatoes are soft.

20130523-231143.jpgRemove potatoes and onions and a pinch of salt and set aside. Reduce heat to low and add the red bell pepper and spinach to pan and stir. This is just to warm and soften the veggies. We don’t want to wilt the spinach and we want to keep the peppers crispy for some texture.

20130523-231154.jpgYum! Next scramble up your eggs, milk, salt and pepper. After allowing the potatoes and veggies to cool for about 5 minutes, add them to the eggs and stir. Let this stand for a few minutes. I know it looks like there is not enough egg here for all the stuff, but trust me, the potatoes will make up the bulk of the dish, with the spinach being the STAR, of course.

20130523-231207.jpgHeat up the remainder of the olive oil in the pan and add the egg/veggie mixture. Gently pat the potatoes and veggies down to form even-ish layers and reduce the heat.

20130523-231228.jpgI know you are looking at this saying: “how the HECK is that going to hold together to flip it? That looks like a hot mess” I promise you, it does, and it may look like a hot mess now, but soon it will be fully cooked, and be in your belly.

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This tortilla is ready to be flipped!

When the edges start to pull away, run a rubber spatula along the edges to loosen up the egg. Run it around and around and scrape a little on the bottom all around so you know nothing is sticking and you can easily flip it. When the top is wet, but not runny, lift up the tortilla slightly and take a peak at the bottom – when it is lightly browned, it is ready to be flipped!

To easily flip, carefully place a large plate on top of the pan and flip the pan over so that the tortilla falls out. Next, Slide the tortilla back in the pan so that uncooked side of the tortilla is in the pan and the cooked side is up. Sorry that I didn’t have someone else around to photograph me doing this, but luckily, the internet is a educational place – check out this YouTube video that gives multiple ways to flip a tortilla. Don’t be intimidated by the flip.

YOU CAN DO IT!

Cook on the other side for 2-3 minutes, flip one more time to warm and you’re done!

20130523-231243.jpgAdd some salt and pepper to taste, slice up and ENJOY!

20130523-231331.jpgTender, layered potatoes, crunchy, sweet bell pepper and bold baby spinach. SO INCREDIBLY DELICIOUS!

20130523-231343.jpg I ate this for breakfast and then again for dinner. I was a little disappointed when I finished it and didn’t have any left over for lunch the next day. 🙂

Recipe: Spanish Tortilla with Baby Spinach and Red Bell Pepper

Serves 220130523-231602.jpg

Total time: ~25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 russet potato, peeled and quartered
  • ¼ cup of onion, chopped (I used a sweet onion, but you can use white or yellow)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon of milk
  • 2 oz of Fresh Baby Spinach, rinsed and dried (about 2 cups, not packed)*
  • ½ of red bell pepper, chopped
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Slice potato very thin, about 1/8 inch (I don’t have a fancy slicer so I used a knife. You don’t need to be exact – not cooking for the queen)
  2. Add one tablespoon of olive oil to a non-stick pan and heat until hot on medium high (I used a shallow 8inch pan – you can also you a 6inch as long as it is deep).
  3. Add potato slices to pan and immediately reduce heat to medium-low. Stir potatoes occasionally and cook for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add sliced onion to potatoes and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are soft. Remove potatoes/onion from pan, add a pinch of salt and set aside to cool before adding to eggs.**
  5. Add chopped bell pepper and spinach to the pan on low heat and warm to soften peppers and spinach for about 1 minute. Remove and set aside to cool slightly before adding to the eggs
  6. In a large bowl, combine eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Whip eggs with a fork to scramble. Add relatively cooled potatoes/onion, baby spinach and bell pepper and stir till combined.
  7. Warm the remaining olive oil in the pan on medium high heat until it is hot. Add the egg mixture to the pan and pat down with a rubber spatula to even out the layers. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for about 2-3 minutes. To ensure that the egg doesn’t stick, run a rubber spatula around the edges of the egg and under the egg.
  8. The tortilla is ready to be flipped when the top is wet, but not runny, and the sides are firm (see pic above). To easily flip, carefully place a large plate on top of the pan and flip the pan over so that the tortilla falls out. Next, Slide the tortilla back in the pan so that uncooked side of the tortilla is face down in the pan and the cooked side is up. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  9. Flip the tortilla one more time, and warm the first cooked side for another minute.
  10. Invert the tortilla on a serving dish and add some salt and pepper
  11. ENJOY

*Note that because the tortilla is cooking so quickly in the pan, the baby spinach just wilts slightly. If you wish to substitute mature spinach, be sure to cook and drain first. Mature spinach may release a lot of water that can mess up your tortilla.

**I stress cooling the potatoes and the veggies to prevent premature cooking of the eggs in the bowl.

Recipe Source: Deliciousinadash.wordpress.com

Bacon, Spinach and Sweet Piquante Pepper Frittata

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About a year ago, I become addicted to frittatas. Like, really obsessed. I’d have friends over for brunch once a week and they would bring different things like pancakes, scones or muffins and I would ALWAYS make a frittata. Sure, I love eggs scrambled, fried and poached. But nothing is as versatile and as easy as the amazing frittata. One of my favorite reasons for loving the frittata is that you can put almost ANYTHING in it and it will taste great! Leftover vegetables from last night’s dinner you don’t want? Throw it in the frittata. Have some extra onion you need to use up? Throw it in the frittata. Do you have a little salsa left that is not enough for all those chips? Go ahead, it will taste GREAT in a frittata with some cheese! Ok, I hope I’ve sold you on the versatility and simpleness of a frittata. So keep reading. If I haven’t sold you yet, keep reading anyway. I bet you will be convinced by the end.

One of my best friends from grad school came to visit this past weekend. She was around for my frittata phase – that has clearly persisted – and so I made us a frittata for breakfast, you know, for old times sake. *I promise I won’t post frittata recipes too often, but here is the first one.

One of the best things about this frittata recipe is that 2 of the ingredients I have in the freezer pretty much at all times – bacon and spinach. The sweet piquante peppers (shown below) are jarred and DELICIOUS! They are slightly sweet, a little crunchy (even though they are jarred) and have a spicy kick to them. They are great in eggs, sandwiches and salads or just right out of the jar. I buy Peppadew peppers and keep them stocked in my fridge. Most people have pickles stocked in their fridge. I have peppers.

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*If you don’t have these peppers, you can always substitute jarred jalapenos. They are not as sweet, but have a similar spicy kick.

Oh yeah, and then there are the eggs. Of course I have eggs (well, most of the time). So a BONUS about this recipe is that I always have the ingredients on hand! And you can too!

The bacon I keep in the freezer and cut across the strips.

ImageThis way my eggs get a ton of flavor from the bacon, but not too much fat. You only need a little bacon to flavor your eggs. (I got this frozen tip from one of Melissa d’Arabian’s cooking shows) This tip changed my life with buying bacon.

Usually, I would buy bacon, and only use a few pieces and then it would go bad in my fridge. Now, I buy bacon, and whatever I have leftover that I haven’t cooked, I put in the freezer and save for eggs, chilli or whatever else needs a little bit of bacon. Well, I guess you’re probably saying right now, what couldn’t use a little bit of bacon, or a lot. : )

Ok, I digress, back to the almighty frittata!

First cut up the bacon, I used probably about 1/8 cup. But you can use more or less depending on your love of bacon. Fry up the bacon in a oven safe pan. I used a cast iron pan. While the bacon is frying on medium heat, thaw the spinach in the microwave. Spinach cooks down A LOT. I used about ½ to ¾ cup of thawed and drained spinach. When the bacon is just about crisp (or however you like your bacon). Add the spinach and stir. Next add the jarred piquante peppers – halved. Stir these.

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Your pan size, will dictate the amount of eggs you use in your frittata. My pan was about 6 and ½ inches and I used 4 eggs. If your pan is bigger, you probably need to use more eggs. If you increase your pan size and don’t use more eggs, your frittata will come out thinner (which is fine) but you will need to reduce the cooking time – about 6-10 min in the oven.

Add eggs and cook over medium heat until sides touching pan start to firm.

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At his point, place the pan in the oven at 400F and cook for about 10-15 min. until egg is fully cooked. Your kitchen will smell like bacon and delicious peppers. MmmmMMmm

If you like cheese, this is the point you can sprinkle some cheese on top and put it back in the oven for about 1-2 min. to melt Watch this! You don’t want your cheese to burn! I grated fresh pecorino romano cheese on top, but you can also you cheddar, parmesan or mozzarella – or really any hard cheese that you like!

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Let it cool for a few minutes and cut in 4 slices and enjoy!!

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Besides being super flavorful with bacon and sweet peppers with a spicy kick, did I mention this is actually good for you? Look at all those veggies you’re getting! And it’s only brunch. Now that you’ve had this, you can totally have that doughnut, muffin or scone!

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RecipeImage

Bacon, Spinach and Sweet Piquante Pepper Frittata

Serving size: 2

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/8 cup of bacon, sliced (or more, depending on how much you like bacon!)
  • ½- ¾ cup of frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 6 Sweet piquante peppers, halved (Peppadew Brand peppers) –you can substitute jarred jalapenos
  • ¼ – ½ cup of shredded pecorino romano cheese (you can use really any cheese – cheddar, mozzarella or parmesan. Or even better – all three!)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 400F

2. Cook bacon in a small (around 6-7 inch) oven-safe pan or skillet on med to med-high heat until almost crispy (about 5 min) – if bacon is frozen start at the lower heat setting and slowly warm up to prevent burning bacon.

3. Sauté spinach and peppers with cooked bacon for 1-2 min – just to warm up the components

4. Scramble 4 eggs well and add to pan. Stir so all the ingredients are spread evenly through the eggs

5. Cook on the stove top till eggs cook along the outer edges.

6. Transfer pan to the oven and bake at 400F for 10-15min, until firm in the middle. (gently shake pan and egg should not wiggle)

7. Remove pan, add shredded cheese and place back in the oven, just for 1 or 2 min till cheese in melted.

8. Let frittata cool for about 5 min. Run a knife around the outer edge to loosen egg away from side of the pan. Slice in quarters and serve

If you have any leftovers, store in a sealed container in the fridge. Leftover frittata makes a great lunch!

* If you are only using turkey bacon and/or are using a pan that sticks a lot, you may need to add a tbsp or 2 of oil (olive, canola, or vegetable) to prevent the egg from sticking.

Recipe Source: Deliciousinadash.wordpress.com