Fruity Avocado & Chicken Couscous Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette


Hello all–  How is your summer rolling along??  We’re trying to keep cool and our ice cream consumption is definitely on the rise!  And if we can manage dinner without turning on the oven, all the better.

So here’s a cool, fresh, filling salad that’s just right for a hot summer evening. Add something cold to drink and a bit of crusty bread.  Perfect. I think you’d like it.

FRUITY AVOCADO & CHICKEN COUSCOUS SALAD WITH HONEY MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE

Salad:
1 cup couscous
14 oz. can chicken broth
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
1 skinless, boneless chicken breast
1 avocado, peeled & cut to chunks
1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/3 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup green onion, chopped

Dressing:
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tab. cider vinegar
2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. seedy mustard
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Bring the chicken broth to a boil on the stovetop.  Pour in the cup of couscous. Turn off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes.  Scoop the couscous into an ample bowl and let it cool to room temperature.  Drop all the salad ingredients into the bowl and stir them up.

To make the dressing, put all the dressing ingredients into a container with a tight fitting lid.  Shake the container until the ingredients are thoroughly blended.  Mix it into the salad and refrigerate it until you are ready to eat.  Enjoy!

 

Chicken and Couscous with Dates & Almonds

IMG_4354Hello there– This flavorful couscous dish takes me back to a little trip we took across the straights of Gibraltar during our years living in Spain.  We were unapologetic tourists– rode camels, wandered through the souks and ate in a beautiful Moroccan villa– couscous and  lamb– followed by glasses of tea, boiling water poured into glasses filled with mint.  It was a marvelous, memorable trip.

So here are a few of those flavors in a meal that’s easy and just the right amount of exotic (meaning picky eaters will still enjoy it!).  It puts me to wishing for another trip to some intriguing far away place!

CHICKEN AND COUSCOUS WITH DATES & ALMONDS

Chicken:
1 pound chicken thigh meat (off the bone)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 tab. olive oil

Couscous:
1 cup couscous*
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 medium white onion, cut in chunks
1/2 cup cilantro
1 tab. olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup sliced almonds
6 dates, pitted and chopped to nice little bits

Cut the chicken thigh meat into strips.  In a deep bowl mix together the garlic, 1 tsp. cumin, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper and olive oil.  Stir the meat into the mixture and let it marinate while you prepare the couscous ingredients.

Bring 1 cup water and 1/2 tsp. salt to a boil. When it is boiling, take it off the heat and stir in the couscous.  Let it sit at least 5 minutes with the lid on the pan.

With a stick blender (or food processor or blender), grind together the white onion, cilantro, 1 tab. olive oil, cumin, 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper until they are a paste.

Put the chicken on a broiler proof pan sprayed with cooking spray.  Broil on medium, 3 minutes and turn it over for 3 minutes more.

Remove the chicken to a plate and pour the broiler pan juices over the couscous.  Stir the cilantro mixture, dates and almonds into the couscous.  Spoon it out onto a pretty plate and top it with the chicken.  Makes 3 or 4 dinner servings.  Enjoy!

*I like the Trader Joes whole wheat couscous–hearty good.