Moroccan Spiced Chicken with Couscous


Hello everyone– This recipe started with a cookbook from the library shelves and a big bundle of cilantro.  I picked up Half Baked Harvest from the new book shelves at the library.  It’s beautiful.  I started to bookmark things I’d like to make and it’s pretty much every recipe!

And then my dear buddy Janet showed up at my door with a huge bouquet of cilantro from her garden and this recipe from the book came to mind.

It’s spicy and so flavorful.  Easy–since Larry is the one who cooks it on the grill!  And the couscous is moist and crunchy and a little sweet from the apricots.  I think you’d really like it…

MOROCCAN SPICED CHICKEN WITH COUSCOUS

Chicken:
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. powdered ginger
2 tab. cilantro, chopped fine
1 tsp. smoked paprika
2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. red pepper (cayenne)
1/2 tsp. chili powder
2 tab. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

Couscous:
14 oz. can chicken broth
1 cup couscous
2 tab. olive oil
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped to bits
1/2 cup whole almonds, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped fine
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Garnish:
cilantro sprigs
lemon slices

In a zip loc bag, combine the garlic, ginger, 2 tab. chopped cilantro, smoked paprika, cumin, red pepper, chili powder, sugar, salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon zest and juice.  Squish the bag until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Cut the chicken to skewer size pieces and add to the bag.  Zip it and squish the bag until the chicken is all coated.  Let the chicken marinate in the spices at least an hour up to 10 hours.

Thread the chicken onto 2 or 3 skewers.

Just before you grill the chicken, make the couscous.  Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a sauce pan.  Remove from the heat and add the couscous.  Let it sit for 5 minutes.  Fluff the couscous with a fork and stir in the oil, apricots, almonds and 1/4 cup cilantro.  Cover to keep warm while you grill the chicken.

Grill the chicken 10 to 12 minutes until the outside is charred and the chicken is cooked through.

On a pretty platter spread the couscous and top with the chicken skewers.  Garnish with cilantro pirgs and lemon slices.

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Honey Cilantro Lime Salmon

Hi friends– End of the weekend here.  How was yours??   Friday night the young moms from our table at MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) came over and we cooked dinner together.  So fun!!  And we sat and talked til after 11:00.  Love those girls.

Besides that we had a couple quiet days–lots of reading and long walks.  And here is a good dinner idea for a lazy Saturday supper.  With a big salad and some rice, it’s ready in less than 30 minutes.

HONEY CILANTRO LIME SALMON
1 pound filet of salmon
salt
freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup butter, melted
juice of 1 lime
3 tab. honey
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped

Line a baking dish with foil and spray it with cooking spray.  then set your salmon filet in the center of the foil, liberally sprinkling on salt and pepper.

In a bowl, mix the melted butter, lime juice, honey and minced garlic.  Spoon it over the salmon and fold the sides of the foil up over the salmon.

Bake it up at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes (depending on the thickness of the salmon).  Then turn on the broiler and cook 2 or 3 minutes more to crisp the stop.

Put it on a pretty plate and sprinkle the cilantro on top to serve it up nice and hot.

Salmon with Coconut Milk Cilantro Sauce

Hello friends– We’ve hit deep summer here.  Those blazing days when the flowers are drooping in the front yard and our ice tea consumption takes a steep rise.  So we are sitting down to easy meals that take a minimal amount of stove time and are satisfyingly light.  Here’s our dinner this evening…

SALMON WITH COCONUT MILK CILANTRO SAUCE
4 salmon filets
2 tab. olive oil
garlic salt & freshly ground pepper

sauce:
1 cup loosely packed cilantro
1/2 cup sliced green onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. cumin
1 lime, juiced
1/2 cup coconut milk
A dash of salt to taste

garnish: lime wedges

Heat a nonstick skillet with the olive oil. Liberally sprinkle garlic salt & freshly ground pepper on both sides of the salmon. Then lay them into the hot skillet.  Cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side (depending on how thick the filet is).

While that is cooking, combine the cilantro, green onion, garlic, cumin, lime juice and coconut milk in a blender (or use a stick blender)– until it makes a smooth sauce.   Taste and add a dash of salt if needed.

Place the hot salmon on a plate and spoon over the sauce.  Serve it with a chunk of sturdy bread and a bright salad for a quick summer supper.

Lime Cilantro Chicken Tacos

Hi there friends– Truth be told, we eat Mexican-ish food 2 or 3 times a week around here.  I’ve never met a food I didn’t like folded into a tortilla.  How about you?? I have a feeling we’re not the only ones.

So when I found this super easy way to come up with a potful of spicy chicken (thank you Pinterest)– that could top a tortilla any number of ways, I couldn’t wait to try it.  And it was delish!

LIME CILANTRO CHICKEN TACOS

Chicken:
2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 small yellow onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup chicken broth
to finish it off: 2 limes, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Taco ingredients:
street size corn tortillas (or whatever is your favorite!)
chopped lettuce
chopped cilantro
grated cheddar jack
avocado

Drop everything into a pot and bring to lowest simmer on your stove top. Cook for an hour (maybe a little more depending on how big you cut up the chicken chunks).

With a slotted spoon remove the chicken to a plate and shred it with 2 forks.  Scrape it all back into the sauce in the bottom on the pot and let the chicken soak up all the juicy sauce.

Serve with warm tortillas, lettuce, tomato, cheese, salsa, jalapeños, sour cream, salsa, avocado…  The list is pretty endless– just pick the taco ingredients you have on hand!

P.S –The recipe I worked from said to dump it all in crock pot and let it cook– 3 to 4 hours on high– or 6 to 7 hours on low.  Alas, I don’t own a crock pot, so you get my stove top version–or you can crock pot it yourself!

Roast Sweet Potatoes with Feta, Cilantro & Walnuts

 

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Hello there– Is there anything homier than a piping hot sweet potato?  One winter when we were visiting our son in China, there was a man on the street roasting hot fragrant sweet potatoes– the perfect street food to counter the winter chill.

So this is my not so Chinese version of a hot from the oven sweet potato–salty feta, flavorful cilantro and a little walnut crunch against the sweet flesh of the potato– pretty perfect.  We had them them for dinner with just a salad, but they’d be a nice side dish with ham or even chicken.  Good fall/winter food.

ROAST SWEET POTATOES WITH FETA, CILANTRO & WALNUTS
2 medium sweet potatoes
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup canned garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
1/2 cup cup feta, crumbled
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
drizzle of olive oil

Cut the sweet potatoes horizontally and brush the cut sides and the skin sides all with olive oil.  Set them cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment.  Pop them into a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes (until the sweet potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork).

Take the sweet potatoes from the oven and turn them over, cut side up. Scrape the flesh with a fork to expose the interior of the potato.  Salt & pepper the potato.  Top them with the garbanzos, feta & walnuts and return them to the oven for 10 minutes.

Take them out of the oven and transfer the sweet potatoes to a pretty serving dish.  Drizzle with old oil and garnish with the cilantro.  Eat them piping hot from the oven.  Enjoy!!

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Avocado Green Sauce

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Hi all– If you love Mexican food as much as we do, I think you will love love this green sauce!  It’s the best all purpose sauce– on tacos, enchiladas, nachos, chicken, fish and just for chip dipping…  And so delicious. I couldn’t stop eating it!!

Got this scrumptious green sauce from Melody on her friendly Texan blog– Meals with Mel. She’s a pro when it comes to Mexican dishes.  And this is one our favorites!!

AVOCADO GREEN SAUCE
7 oz. can salsa verde (I like Hedrez brand)
1/3 cup chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 avocados, peeled & pitted
juice of 1 lime
salt & pepper to taste

Put all the ingredients into a blender and whip until it’s smooth.  Refrigerate until you’re ready to use it.

P.S.  The recipe I worked from called for 2 cans of salsa verde and optional jalpeno or serano pepper– You might want to spice it up, but this version is just spicy enough for me.

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Thai Peanut Chicken

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Hey all– Did you grow up on a regimen of lunchtime peanut butter sandwiches? They were pretty standard around our busy house for us 4 little kids.  (thanks Mom) I think that must be why I pretty much love an recipe involving peanuts, peanut butter, peanut sauce…  So when I saw a version of this recipe, I knew I wanted to give it a try.  And I wasn’t disappointed–so rich and peanutty with a just little spice!

THAI PEANUT CHICKEN
2 chicken breasts (no bones,no skin)
3 tab. olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper
1 tab. Thai sweet chili sauce*
2 tab. soy sauce
2 tab. peanut butter
1 tsp. ground ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup peanuts
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped fine

Cut the chicken breasts horizontally the flat way, to produce 4 chicken fillets.  Heat the oil in skillet and then add in the chicken breasts.  Salt and pepper them a bit and cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side until they are nicely browned and cooked through. Remove them from the pan.

Into that same skillet, mix in the Thai sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, peanut butter, ginger and garlic.  Stir it together on low heat.  Add in the water and bring it to a low simmer.  Stir in the peanuts and cilantro.  Then add the chicken back to the skillet to warm it and coat it with sauce.

Serve the chicken on a platter with brown rice (that’s what I did tonight), white rice, any whole grain or rice noodles…
We added a quick spinach, peach & pecan salad on the side.  Dinner!

*The recipe I worked from called for about five times that much Thai sweet chili sauce, so adjust it to your own heat preferences!!

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