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Don’t Be Afraid of the Couscous

by Permanent Posies on August 22, 2011

Welcome to Tuesday’s Tasty Tidbits and guest blogging with Grocery Shop for Free.  I have the instructions listed below but first, let’s talk about couscous.

Until a few years ago, I had no idea what couscous was.  Then I discovered it and it is now my “go to” dish when I am in too big of a hurry to get dinner on the table and need what I call a “stretcher”.  A “stretcher” isn’t always that necessary any more, since my kids are grown, but when they were young, I had to have a “stretcher” at every meal.  A “stretcher” is something that fills tummies and allows mommy to buy an economical amount of meat.  Rice was one of these….and so was potatoes.    I hadn’t found couscous when the kids were little, but if I had, I would have jumped on it.

I think today’s moms are still needing stretchers but are choosing whole grains….. or quinoa.   Whole grains were often not available out in the middle of nowhere West Texas when my children were young, nor were they affordable.  We grew all the vegetables and that included potatoes and corn.  White rice was SO cheap that I served it probably 3 times a week, alternating with potatoes and pasta……for the stretcher.

Now,I serve whole grains too but sometimes it is more about easy and there is nothing easier than couscous.  It takes about as long as instant mashed potatoes…..unless you soup it up…..which I normally do.  But is also less calories than rice and each serving does have 6 grams of protein.  I’ll take it in a hurry.

According to Wikipedia…..”Couscous is a staple food throughout West Africa, Morocco, the Sahel, France, Spain, the Canary Islands, Portugal, Madeira, Brazil, Sicily, as well as in Turkey, Greece, Malta, Cyprus, and the Middle East.”  It is made of durham wheat and water….so it is a very tiny little pasta, in my estimation.  Also, in the Western markets (as in America), we generally buy couscous that has been pre-steamed and dried so that it is sort of like “instant” couscous.  Adding it to boiling water and turning off the burner gives it plenty of heat to make a nice fluffy little dish. 

Couscous is generally served with a meat and sauce or gravy.  Also, it is great served with stew.  But for our family, I always sauté some veggies in olive oil and butter and add it to the already cooked couscous.  That is just how we like it.  We also like it with Cajun seasoning

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RED PEPPER AND MUSHROOM COUSCOUS

4 large button mushrooms
1/3 red bell pepper, chopped
1/3 onion, chopped
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning (Tony Chacheres)
2 cloves garlic

1 cup couscous
1 1/4 water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Sauté the top seven ingredients, withholding the garlic until the last couple of minutes.  Saute until the veggies are at  your desired tenderness.  For added flavor, caramelize the onions before you add the mushrooms and peppers by slowly cooking them for about 20 minutes in the oil and butter until they are a nice caramel color.  For me…..too much trouble when I am in a hurry!

After veggies are cooked, pour the water over them along with the salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Add the couscous and turn off the burner (if it is gas) and move off the burner (it it is electric).  Let is sit about 5 minutes without opening the lid.  This should make it nice and fluffy.

This is my recipe for TUESDAY’S TASTY TIDBITS and guest blogging with GROCERY SHOP FOR FREE. 

PermanetPosies.com Permanent Posies

I invite you to join in the blog party by adding a link to your recipe post.  Here are some rules:

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Just to let you know, the following blogs tied for the most “linked on” from last week’s Tuesday’s Tasty Tidbits. Congratulations!

Chinese Bird’s Nest Soup @ Sakura Haruka
Light Carrot Cake @ Passionate Perseverance
Western Foil Pack Potatoes @ Art+Food+Life
Baked Zucchini Sticks and Sweet Onion Dip @ Comfy Cuisine

Here are some blog parties that I may enter this week.  It is a great list and is growing every week.  If you have a blog party, please let me know in a comment and I will try to join in.  You might have to remind me, if I don’t the first time. 
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Every Day Sisters Sharing Sundays
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Tuesday Night Supper Club
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What’s Cooking Wednesday @ Tales From the Fairy Blogmother
Recipes I Can’t Wait To Try
What’s Cooking Wednesday @ Not So Homemade
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What’s On the Menu Wednesday
We Did It Wednesday
Penny Pinching Party
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Cast Party Wednesday
This Chick Cooks
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Recipe Swap Thursday
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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Beth August 23, 2011 at 12:24 AM

I’ve just started making couscous in the last few years too, and I think it’s terrific.  A nice alternative for a side dish!

Miz Helen August 23, 2011 at 2:32 AM

I love Couscous, and your recipe looks delicious. I am sharing my Apricot Chicken today. Hope you are having a great week and thanks for hosting!
Miz helen

SillySimple August 24, 2011 at 1:58 PM

I love couscous.  Before I had a rice cooker couscous was my go-to side dish since it is so difficult to burn it (just remember to turn the stove burner off).   I really liked it with garlic powder, olive oil, chicken stock and basil as a side dish–though mixed with veggies is delicious too!

Little Mommy, Big Appetite August 24, 2011 at 8:24 PM

We LOVE couscous.  It is one of the “sure-fire” things that my one-year-old will eat.  I’ll try your recipe next – I’m sure she will love it – and I will too!!

'Becca August 25, 2011 at 4:47 PM

I couldn’t resist linking a main-dish recipe that’s delicious over couscous!  We love couscous’s flavor, texture, and easy cooking.  We can get it in bulk at our food co-op.  I’ve made it with red peppers and mushrooms, too–delicious!

Joy of Desserts August 26, 2011 at 7:19 AM

We love couscous and quinoa too at our house, and you are so right that mothers still need some frugal “stretchers” today. This economy keeps getting worse. More and more people are getting laid off or getting demotions in our area. Thank you for sharing this great recipe at Joy of Desserts. Have a great day. :-)

Sandra August 26, 2011 at 3:31 PM

Couscous is delicious, great recipe :)

Sheryl August 26, 2011 at 8:07 PM

Thank You for sharing at Cast Party Wednesday.  I hope you come back next week and join me for another yummy party filled with awesome recipes!

Miranda @ Mangoes and Chutney August 29, 2011 at 4:45 AM

Thanks for the great recipe! Thanks for linking up to Fat Camp Friday. Hope you enjoyed your weekend, see you next time!

Anonymous September 5, 2011 at 3:12 AM

Thanks so much for linking up to What’s On the Menu Wednesday.  This looks really good.  I can’t wait to give it a try. We love couscous at our house.

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