Couscous, Two Ways.

Do you ever have those days where you have no idea what you're going to make for dinner? All the time? Me, too.

In fact, it happened on Tuesday night when I got home from subbing. I had no idea what to make, and what makes matters worse is when I need to go grocery shopping, but have no desire.

If you're like me, you scrounge the cupboards, the deep freezer, the garden even (!), looking for something that resembles a meal.

I managed to find a small bag of medium couscous, a pound of Italian pork sausage, some random spices, and a handful of fresh veggies from the garden. With these ingredients I managed to crank out TWO totally different meals on two different nights (one on Tuesday and one last night), plus enough leftovers for lunches the next day.

On Tuesday night I made vegetable couscous, which can be eaten hot or cold (we prefer hot), and as a main dish or side dish. We, of course, ate it as a main dish since we were low on groceries.



Vegetable Couscous
You'll need: 
1 c. medium couscous
1 1/4 c. chicken stock (you can use vegetable stock if you're a vegetarian)
1 'can' of tomatoes (I used a big, fresh tomato from the garden)
1 c. corn (I cut the corn from two ears)
1/2 c. diced bell pepper (also garden fresh)
4 T. fresh cilantro (garden fresh, baby)
3 T. minced onion
2 T. lime juice
1 T. olive oil
1 t. cumin
1/4 t. garlic powder (next time I'll add a bit more)
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions: 
Bring the stock to a boil and add the couscous. Turn off the heat and let the couscous sit, covered, without stirring for about 5 minutes, or until all of the stock is absorbed.

Next, add all of the other ingredients and mix well. At this point, you can scarf it down, like we did, or chill the dish and eat it cold.

{I know I'm breaking a cardinal rule of blogging. I didn't take any photos of either dish. My kitchen is a disaster with our bathroom remodel taking place just a few feet away, and while it's clean, it's totally cluttered and I couldn't bring myself to stage a few nice shots. But just chill. When I make these recipes again, I'll totally update this post with some photos.}

Last night I made a few changes to the vegetable couscous recipe, most notably adding meat. This dish is best served hot, and can easily be eaten as a main dish, like we did.

Italian Sausage Couscous
You'll need: 
1 lb. of Italian sausage
1 c. of medium couscous
1 1/2 c. chicken stock (use stock you've made yourself, if possible)
3 T. of minced onion
1 c. diced bell peppers (from the garden, if you have one!)
1 T. red pepper flakes (add more if you like the heat - the Italian sausage adds enough heat for us)
2 t. rosemary
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 T. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 
Start this recipe by cooking the sausage, onion, garlic and bell pepper in a skillet. Put your stock on the heat now to get it to a boil.

Again, cook the couscous by bringing the stock to a boil, adding the couscous and turning off the heat. Let it sit, covered, for about 5 minutes, then fluff it with a fork.

When the sausage mixture and the couscous are done, mix them together and add in all of the other ingredients. Serve this dish hot, baby!

What are some of your go-to meals when the cupboards are bare? Did you create something from random ingredients? Share it in the comments below.

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