Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Yogurt-marinated Chicken Kebabs with Israeli couscous

I'm a vegetarian craving protein and so I've been adding a little more chicken to my diet. But since I don't actually like meat, I'm very particular. When I found Israeli couscous at Trader Joe's I had to try this recipe I found online (originally from Sunset magazine). The one correction I would make is to add 1 teaspoon of salt to the couscous instead of 1 tablespoon. It was way too salty.

Yogurt-marinated Chicken Kebabs with Israeli Couscous

* 1 1/2 cups plain low-fat yogurt, divided
* 2 teaspoons garam masala (see Notes)
* 1 teaspoon Madras curry powder
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp. salt, divided
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1 1/2 pounds boned, skinned chicken breast, cut into 1 1/2-in. pieces
* 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
* 3 tablespoons minced red onion
* 1 teaspoon finely shredded fresh lemon zest
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, divided
* 1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous (see Notes)
* 2 teaspoons olive oil
* 2 medium red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1 1/2-in. pieces
* Four 8-in. skewers

1. Combine 1 cup yogurt, garam masala, curry powder, garlic, 1 tsp. salt, and pepper in a large resealable plastic bag. Add chicken, seal bag, and shake to coat. Let marinate 20 minutes at room temperature.

2. In a small bowl, stir together remaining 1/2 cup yogurt, the feta, onion, lemon zest, and 1 tbsp. mint; set aside.

3. Bring 2 qts. water to a boil and add 1 tbsp. salt. Add couscous and cook until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain, return to pot, and add olive oil. Cover to keep warm.

4. Thread chicken and bell pepper onto metal skewers and discard marinade. Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high (you can hold your hand 1 to 2 in. above cooking grate only 3 to 4 seconds). Grill kebabs, turning once, until chicken is browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Pile couscous on a platter, sprinkle with remaining 1 tbsp. mint, and arrange kebabs around it. Serve with yogurt-feta sauce.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Cooking with Orzo

Orzo is one of my favorite things to keep on hand. It comes in handy for so many things. I make myself a quick lunch of orzo, a little cheese (feta or goat is my favorite), tomatoes, parsley (fresh or dried), a dab of olive oil and a squirt of lemon juice (if I have a lemon).

This month I made these two quick and easy recipes and used a small amount of orzo. They both serve our family of four with enough leftovers for a lunch the next day.

Red Pepper Frittata

Cook a small amount or orzo following package directions. You want about 1 Cup cooked orzo. Preheat oven to 350.
Then combine in a medium bowl:
* 1 tablespoon water
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
* 4 large egg whites
* 3 large eggs
Stir with a whisk. Prepare a baking dish (8 X 8 works well) by coating with cooking spray.

Heat a larger skillet (on medium) coated with cooking spray and add in:
* 1-1/2 cups diced red bell pepper
* 1 cup sliced onion
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
Saute for 5 minutes. Stir in orzo and egg mixture and stir for 2-3 minutes.

Transfer everything to the baking dish and sprinkle about 1/3 cup cheese (I like cheddar or jack or a combination) and bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes. The dish will look set to you. It is best if you let it stand for 3-4 minutes before serving.

Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo

My kids love this soup and it has a really unique flavor.

* 6 cups broth (chicken is best but I have substituted vegetable and even used part water before)
* 1/4 teaspoon dill
* 1/2 cup uncooked orzo
* 4 large eggs
* 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (1 good sized juicy lemon squeezed is about the right amount)
* 1 cup shredded carrot
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon pepper
* 8 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces

Bring broth and dill to a boil in a large saucepan. Add orzo. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until orzo is slightly tender. Remove from heat.

Place eggs and juice in a blender; process until smooth. Remove 1 cup broth from pan with a ladle, making sure to leave out orzo. With blender on, slowly add broth; process until smooth.

Add carrot, salt, pepper, and chicken to pan. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, and cook 5 minutes or until chicken and orzo are done. Reduce heat to low. Slowly stir in egg mixture; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly (do not boil).

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Easy Fast Yummy Lasagna

I stole this from here but made some alterations to suit little tummies.

1 (26-ounce) jar pasta sauce
Cooking spray
1 (15-ounce) carton part-skim ricotta cheese
1 - 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 no-boil lasagna noodles
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 450°.

Spread 1/2 cup pasta sauce in bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Combine ricotta, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper, and salt. Arrange 2 noodles over sauce; top with 1 cup ricotta mixture and 3/4 cup sauce. Repeat layers, ending with noodles. Spread remaining sauce over noodles. Cover and bake at 450° for 25 minutes or until noodles are tender and sauce is bubbly. Uncover lasagna, and top with Parmesan. Bake lasagna an additional 5 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. It feeds 4-6.