Middle Eastern Chicken Couscous Wrap

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Middle Eastern Chicken Couscous Wrap

Middle Eastern Chicken Couscous Wrap

We had company this past Sunday. Our niece Linzy brought her beautiful daughter Lily to meet us. She is a sweet and precious little girl. We had a great time with her and look forward to seeing her again.They will be here all summer and her brother Jayden will be joining them soon…….the lucky ducks live in Hawaii, but are here for the summer.

Tim-Marty-Lily

 

We invited them for lunch, so it was an opportune time to try out a new recipe. I have been wanting to make a Middle Eastern dish for some time. Since it was lunch, I thought a sandwich or a wrap would be nice. I decided on a wrap. I used Naan bread, if you haven’t tried it you really should, it’s like pita bread, but It has a softer texture and it’s a bit bigger than a pita. Being softer allows you to fold it much easier, and of course you can add a bit more filling.

Middle Eastern Chicken Couscous Wrap 1

Chicken is always a safe bet, because after all who doesn’t like chicken? Marinating the chicken in a spicy yogurt mixture made it flavorful and juicy. The couscous was an added flavor layer using olives, pistachios, sun dried tomatoes, a bit of spinach, some cilantro and pomegranate. I did cheat with the couscous, it comes frozen at my local grocery store, so all I had to do was heat it up in the microwave and add it to the other ingredients. Also it is the pearl couscous which I happen to like better………it’s something about the texture.

Tahini………I have never used or tasted it before, but in all my research about Middle Eastern cuisine it gets mentioned…….a lot. I added lemon juice, garlic,olive oil, and a bit of yogurt, I thought it would add a creamy texture…….not so much, but it still had a really good flavor.

The best thing was, that I was able to prepare it all ahead of time, and just reheat everything and warm the Naan bread, and lunch was served. I let everyone assemble their own, having extra, cilantro, pistachios, and pomegranate to top, and goat cheese if you wished. Truth is I forgot the goat cheese,being so excited about baby Lily. Next time I will remember as I think it would add one more great tasting element.

We all enjoyed the Middle Eastern Chicken Couscous Wrap and I was glad my test subjects enjoyed the visit and the meal!

I will plan another get together soon and see what other ethnic meal I can try……….hmmmmm.

Middle Eastern Chicken Couscous Wrap Collage

Middle Eastern Chicken Couscous Wrap
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • Chicken
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken, sliced into strips
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ½ cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Couscous
  • 1 bag frozen pearl couscous, cooked
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ⅓ cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and sliced, reserve 1-2 tablespoons of the oil
  • ⅓ cup kalamata olives, sliced
  • ⅓ cup roasted shelled pistachios, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons pomegranate arils
  • Tahini Spread
  • ½ cup tahini
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoon greek yogurt
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4-8 pieces of Naan bread for serving
  • Goat cheese, chopped cilantro, chopped pistachios and pomegranate arils for garnish
Instructions
  1. To marinate the chicken. In a medium bowl combine the olive oil, greek, yogurt, ginger, garlic, pepper, cumin, crushed red pepper, cayenne and cinnamon. Add the chicken and toss well. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. To make the couscous. Cook according to package directions. Stir in the spinach, honey, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and sundries tomato oil, pistachios, cilantro salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm. Just before serving stir in the pomegranate arils.
  3. To make the Tahini Sauce. In a small bowl whisk together the tahini, olive oil, garlic, greek yogurt, lemon and a pinch of salt and pepper until smooth. Set aside until ready to use.
  4. Heat a large skillet over high heat and add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. When hot remove the chicken from the marinade and shake off just a little of the excess. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook for 4-6 minutes or until cooked through.
  5. To assemble the wraps, warm the Naan bread,spread a little of the tahini sauce down the center of the warmed naan. Add the couscous and chicken and then top with crumbled goat cheese. Garnish with chopped cilantro, more pistachios and pomegranate arils.
Notes
Everything can be prepared ahead of time and warmed just prior to serving.

 

Cream of Asparagus Soup

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Cream of Asparagus Soup

Cream of Asparagus Soup

Cream of Asparagus Soup……….even the name sounds silky and elegant. That is just what this soup is, and it has no cream in it………What you say no cream?????

I know I was amazed too! I have made plenty of cream soup, but they have all got their creaminess from heavy cream. But heavy cream has a lot of calories, and a lot of fat so, what to do to reduce that??

I have seen recipes what have used instant potatoes to thicken soups, so I wondered if a regular potato would work. Low and behold it did! Adding some onion and garlic to the asparagus gave it just the right underlying taste. The only other thing it needed was salt and pepper.

Cream of Asparagus Soup 1

Now, I have have one of those handy immersion blenders, and next to my Kitchen Aide stand mixer, it is one of the best gadgets I own. It works like a blender but with NO, I repeat, No big mess to cleanup after, just plug it in, stick it in your pan, and blend away. There are many versions on the market, do yourself a favor and get one…….. you won’t be sorry.

Now, I did want to add just a touch of cream with out using cream, so sour cream (low-fat) is a great substitute. You just need a small amount to make a big impact.

I garnished the soup with some beautiful reserved asparagus tips that I blanched until just tender crisp, and just a few slivers of parmesan cheese.

Serve it with a rustic loaf of French bread, and it’s a great light lunch or dinner.

Of course, as always if you have your own asparagus …………….Yum! I am still gushing over ours, it is fabulous!

Cream of Asparagus Soup Collage

Cream of Asparagus Soup
Author: 
Serves: 4
 
Cream Soup with out the cream!
Ingredients
  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium russet potato, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons low fat sour cream
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, melt butter over low heat. Add onion and garlic, sauté on low for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Trim asparagus, removing tough ends, and cut into 2 inch pieces, reserving the tips for garnish
  3. Add diced potato and asparagus pieces to onion and garlic in the pot. Add chicken stock and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 20-25 minutes or until asparagus is very tender. While asparagus is cooking, blanch tips until tender crisp, cool under running water and set aside for garnish.
  4. Remove from heat and using an immersion blender puree until smooth (alternately you can puree mixture in a regular blender in batches, then return to pot). Stir in sour cream until well blended.
  5. Ladle into serving bowls, garnishing with asparagus tips and parmesan cheese.

 

 

 

 

Gluten Free Brownies

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Gluten Free Brownies

Gluten Free Brownie

Sometimes in life you meet someone, who through unforeseen circumstances, life throws a curve ball.

I know a young woman at school who is having such an experience. Angela is the daughter of one of my staff at school, she is in her Senior year of High School and has been ill for much of that time. She has gone through a lot this year and has managed to do so with grace and a sense of humor, that I am not sure I would have had at her age…….she is beautiful inside and out. Although she is getting better, she has learned that a gluten free diet may help. As anyone who is trying gluten free knows substitutes,  especially for sweets can be a challenge.

I talk about my blog at work, and my staff has listened to me go on and on about whatever it is that I am doing for my blog.  They have been my guinea pigs, official taste testers, and sounding boards. I was talking about a request from a friend of mine for gluten free recipes and Angela made a comment that she had tried gluten free brownies and they were awful.

Perusing Pinterest one day, I came across a recipe for a gluten free brownie using of all things, black beans. The original recipe is from Skinnytaste, a food blog that I follow. I wondered if they would taste like a real brownie and how they would turn out. With Angela in mind I made them.

Now, I must admit I was a little scared to taste them, as I have never had much luck with substitutions in baking. I was sooooo very surprised! They were gooey, chocolatey, fudgy, and quite frankly, I don’t know anyone who would be able to tell that they were not regular brownies.

But the real test would be having Angela taste them. Now, I am sure that she was just as leery as I was to eat them, but she did and the look on her face was priceless. She loved them!!!

So, this recipe is for Angela and all of those who are looking for a yummy gluten free brownie 🙂

They are so good you may have to hide them………..

Gluten Free Brownies Collage

Gluten Free Brownies
Author: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16
 
Ingredients
  • 1 (14 oz) canned low-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
  • • 2 large eggs
  • • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • • ¾ cup sugar
  • • ½ teaspoon oil
  • • 1 tablespoon unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • • ½ teaspoon of freshly ground coffee or instant coffee
  • • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Grease a nonstick 9 x 9-inch square baking pan with baking spray and line with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides.
  2. Blend the black beans, eggs, cocoa powder, sugar, oil, almond milk, balsamic, baking soda, baking powder and coffee in the blender until smooth and pour into a bowl. Fold in ½ cup chocolate chips until combined.  Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan.  Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips evenly over the top of the brownies.
  3. Bake the brownies until a toothpick comes out clean, about 30 to 32 minutes.  Allow the brownies to cool completely before slicing them into squares.