Now that my baby is 12 weeks old and slightly more predictable, I am finally able to get back into the kitchen at dinner time. Since he goes to bed around 7pm, I am not able to start preparations until then (unless I am super organized early in the day!) so my recent dinners have been pretty basic and need to be able to be thrown together rather quickly so we aren't eating at midnight. We wouldn't want to waste any precious time that could be spent catching up on sleep! I have become very focused on creating one dish dinners, such as this whole wheat couscous with veggies and chicken. I used zucchini, squash and red onions as the vegetables but you could use any variety of produce that suits your taste. You can even omit the chicken and serve this as a meat free side dish. If using chicken, I recommend buying a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and taking the meat off the bones as soon as you get home (I discard the skin too), then you have cooked chicken all ready to throw into your meal. I did use "pearl" or Israeli couscous instead of the regular variety because I find it more substantial for a main meal. This variety of couscous can be found in most Whole Foods, I use a brand called Rice Select that comes in a plastic container. A key part of this recipe is cooking the couscous in chicken or vegetable stock to really boost the flavor of an ingredient that can be somewhat bland when cooked in water.
Whole Wheat Couscous with Summer Squash and Chicken
1 cup whole wheat Israeli couscous
1 1/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon butter or oil
1 tablespoon herbs de provence
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
1 small zucchini, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1 small summer squash, chopped, (about 3/4 cup)
1 cup shredded, cooked rotisserie chicken
parmesan cheese for serving
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Chop the vegetables so they are in approximately a 1/2" dice. Toss vegetables with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the herbs de provence and some salt and pepper. Arrange the veggies in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for about 15 minutes or until the edges are browned and they are fork tender.
Meanwhile, bring the stock or broth of your choice to a boil, add 1 tablespoon of butter and the couscous and cook for about 8 minutes (if using the Israeli variety), stirring occasionally, or according to the directions on the package.
In a large bowl, toss together the couscous, vegetables and chicken. Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese to taste.