Goodbye-Summer Couscous

The last official day of summer is Monday. 😦 Tear. I really can’t believe it. Where did you go, summer? Come back … I’m still pale!

I’m not prepared for it to start getting dark at 6 p.m. And I’m really not ready to say goodbye to my loves: strawberries, peaches and, oh it breaks my heart, ….tomatoes. I know I’ll get over you when I have a sweet potato or some winter squash. But for now I’m sad. It’s like realizing Christmas is over, or knowing you have to wait a whole year for the next season of “Lost.”

So here’s one last tomato fix. When I followed the recipe for this lemon-basil couscous it had way too much onion and lemon. So here’s a scaled back version. I also swapped in cherry tomatoes because I love the red and yellow mix. And they’re just cute.

lemmonbasil couscous

Here’s what you need:

1 cup (or package) whole wheat couscous
1 cup water (1-1 ratio to couscous)
1 can garbanzo beans (chick peas)
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup lemon juice
1-1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Here’s what you do:

To prepare the couscous, boil 1 cup of water with 1 tsp salt in a medium pot. When the water comes to a boil add 1 cup (if making more, adjust water to 1:1 ratio) couscous, remove the pot from heat, cover, and let stand 5-10 minutes. When the couscous is done all the water will be absorbed and you can fluff it with a fork. Stir in a few drops of olive oil to prevent the grains from clumping.

Transfer couscous to a large bowl and mix in all the other ingredients: garbanzo beans, red onion, tomatoes, basil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Put it in the refrigerator to chill at least 1 hour before serving.

This yields a big bowl’s worth so you can make a lot, store it in the fridge and have it for a few days.

So long summer, until next year….


No-Pasta Pasta

The big question: What to do for dinner? It’s been a long day – work’s a beating, traffic is bumper to bumper, the house is a mess, the dog’s going crazy, and if you have kids… oh. my. god. You need something quick and easy and satisfying… NOW. And possibly a drink.

This faux pasta dish is a perfect meal for one. On the time to prep/cook scale I’d put it between a Lean Cuisine and spaghetti. It swaps noodles for veggies so you can majorly cut down the carb count while adding a lot more vitamins. And it has about 100X less sodium than a Lean Cuisine. Win. Win. Win.

no-pasta pasta

What you need:

  • 1 zucchini, peeled
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • parmesan cheese

What you do:

With a peeler, shave the zucchini into long pasta-like ribbons. Heat olive oil in a skillet. Toss in zucchini and coat with oil. Cook 3-4 minutes. Add tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, if you like. Continue cooking 1-2 minutes. When the zucchini is tender, it’s done! Put it in a bowl. Sprinkle some parm on top. And there’s dinner!

You can also…
Use pasta sauce as a topping instead of tomatoes.
Add garlic or fresh herbs like basil and oregano while cooking.

It’s colorful, fresh and delicious. And the no-noodles twirl like spaghetti so it’s fun to eat too. Enjoy!


Shrimp Thanksgiving

I picked out this recipe because it had a short cook time (read 5 min.) completely overlooking the chopping … and that I had bought unpeeled shrimp. Oops. It’s a lot of chopping, I’m not gonna lie – especially because I added extra zucchini and squash. And I was trying to throw it together before heading out at 8 p.m.; so I had to move fast. Chopping, peeling, halving – all over the kitchen – I felt like amateur Iron Chef, but without the people who clean up after you. Cooking it was really pretty easy though. And it was delicious! Definitely worth all that peeling…

Here’s what you need:
(recipe serves 6)

¼ cup olive oil
Garlic, finely chopped (about 6 large cloves)
3 tbsp. oregano, finely chopped
2 pounds shrimp – uncooked, peeled
¾ pound zucchini, chopped
¾ pound red and yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup basil, chopped
salt & pepper

Here’s what you do:

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat
Add garlic and oregano and cook for 30 seconds
Add shrimp, zucchini (and any other veggies you want) and cook 3-5 minutes
Add tomato, chopped basil, salt and pepper
Cook until shrimp are opaque in the center – about 1 minute more

I put it over pasta (whole grain spaghetti noodles) … just cooked and strained the noodles, then squeezed half a lemon over them, added a little olive oil, threw in some basil, and sprinkled on parmesan cheese. I bet couscous or orzo would be good with it too.

Tastes like summer. 🙂

I need to start cooking with a camera. Next time…