1 package Near East regular or whole grain couscous
1⁄2 pound fresh green beans
2 carrots, cut diagonally into half-inch pieces
6 new potatoes, quartered
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, finely minced (optional)
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄2 teaspoon ground coriander
1⁄4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped
Pine nuts, toasted
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cook couscous according to package directions. Set aside.
Combine green beans, carrots, potatoes and tomatoes in a large bowl. Drizzle liberally with olive oil, and sprinkle generously with kosher salt and ground black pepper. Transfer vegetables to a large baking sheet, and spread evenly. Roast for 20 to 40 minutes, until vegetables are fork tender, tossing once or twice. Remove from oven, and return veggies to bowl. Add minced garlic and toss.
Add cinnamon, coriander, and red pepper flakes to cooked couscous, and fluff with fork. Spread couscous on a large platter, and top with roasted vegetables. Garnish with fresh cilantro or parsley, lemon zest, and pine nuts if desired.
Sautéed Brussels Sprouts
1 stick butter*
1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
Freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh rosemary
Grated good-quality Swiss cheese
Good quality balsamic vinegar (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat butter in a large oven-proof skillet over medium heat. When the butter is hot and smells nutty, add the sprouts, cut side down, and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 15 minutes until browned. Transfer skillet to the oven. When sprouts roast to desired tenderness, sprinkle with sliced almonds, rosemary and cheese. Return to oven to melt cheese. Before serving, drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
* Note: You may substitute 4 tablespoons butter and 4 tablespoons olive oil.
(Rice Casserole with Chicken and Beef)
2 cups water
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 clove minced garlic
1 cup rice
1 cup cooked, shredded chicken
1 cup cooked ground beef
1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon
1⁄4 cup sliced almonds
1⁄4 cup pine nuts
Bring water, butter, salt and garlic to a boil. Add rice and cook according to rice package directions.
When rice is done, fluff, and add more butter if desired. Add chicken and beef, pepper, cinnamon, almonds and pine nuts. Fold together with fork, and serve with hummus, warm whole-grain pita triangles, fava or dark red kidney beans, tabouli, and/or Greek salad.
Tangy Tomato Soup with Fresh Herbs
2 ribs celery
1 small onion
4 tablespoons butter
3 (15-ounce) cans good tomato sauce
2 (28-ounce) cans good plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1⁄2 cup water
4 cans chicken broth
21⁄2 tablespoons agave nectar or honey
1⁄2 cup chopped parsley
1⁄2 cup chopped basil
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
7 to 10 shakes hot sauce
1⁄2 cup half-and-half
Cut up carrot, celery and onion; puree in a food processor. Melt butter in a large stock pot. Add pureed vegetables and sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add tomato sauce, tomatoes, water, chicken broth and agave nectar. Season to taste with salt, and add herbs.
Cook for 45 minutes. Add hot sauce to taste. Remove from heat and stir in half-and-half. Serve with crunchy garlic bread. This makes a lot of soup, but leftovers freeze well.
Zesty Chipotle Beans with Sweet Peppers and Onions
1 bag of dried beans, any kind
4 cups beef or chicken stock
1 cup chopped bell pepper, any color
1⁄2 cup chopped onion
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1⁄2 of a chipotle en adobo, seeded and minced
1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
11⁄2 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon butter (optional)
Prepare beans according to quick soak instructions on the back of the bag. After soaking, draining, and rinsing beans, return them to the pot. Cover beans with stock, and add bell pepper, onion, garlic, chipotle, black pepper and oil. Bring to boil, cover, reduce heat, and cook for 11⁄2 hours, checking the pot, and stirring them occasionally (if liquid reduces too much during cooking, add more stock). Add salt. Cover once again, and simmer beans for an additional 30 minutes.
Add butter, if desired, and adjust seasoning. These beans will thicken as they cool; seasonings and flavors will continue to blend, making them even yummier. Spoon over cooked stone-ground grits or ladle them into a big bowl and enjoy with your favorite bread.