Friday, December 4, 2009

Easy does it...

As a parent, there are two chores that I always seem to be doing. Laundry and grocery shopping. Sometimes you don't want to head out to the store just to pick up a couple items for dinner. Mainly because you haven't showered and are still in your pajamas at 4pm. So I am shamelessly admitting to you all that today is that day for me. This is where a well stocked freezer and pantry are vital. I always try to keep some shrimp in the freezer. The 21-25 shrimp per pound size. I get the ones with their shells off, tails on. I also always have lemons, frozen grilled veggies, fresh herbs, Israeli couscous, pine nuts and cheese kicking around. All these ingredients together make the most healthy, tasty and easy meal. I recently found the Israeli couscous and frozen grilled eggplant and zucchini at Trader Joe's. Both are fabulous and what could be easier than veggies that are washed, cut, marinated and grilled for you?! I took the shrimp (however many you think your family will eat) and grilled veggies out of the freezer early in the day; they should thaw out in the sink by dinner time. When the shrimp has thawed, remove the tails and dry them well with some paper towels. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl drizzle the shrimp with olive oil, add a tablespoon of chopped garlic, salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Slice the veggies into more bite size pieces and set them aside. Cook the couscous according to package directions. I substitute the water with chicken broth for more flavor. Then spread out your shrimp onto a baking sheet and roast them in the oven for 6 minutes. Overcooking meat and fish is a sin. Turn down your oven to 350 degrees and toast a couple handfuls of pine nuts on a baking sheet. Keep a careful watch on them. They burn really fast so remove them from the oven as soon as they are light browned. Mince a handful of flat leaf parsley. In a large serving bowl combine the couscous, grilled veggies including the olive oil that they come in, juice from a lemon, feta cheese, parsley, pine nuts and shrimp. Salt and pepper to taste. Try folding the ingredients together gently, over-mixing will make everything clump together and get pasty.

You can use virtually any kind of meat (ie. chicken, steak, scallop, lamb). Grilling it will produce the best results. If you are a vegetarian, this dish is more than satisfying on its own. The feta and pine nuts provide tons of protein. An elegant dinner in under a half hour!

*Israeli couscous is much larger and rounder than regular couscous. If you are having trouble finding it, use orzo pasta instead.

2 comments:

  1. I just made this with no meat and my picky picky baby ate so much my jaw dropped! I ate quite a bit too! Thanks mama, you are truly an inspiration and a lifesaver!

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