April 10, 2013

Guest Post: Roasted Vegetable Couscous

I've been searching for a new guest blogger for a while now, and I finally found a willing participant!

Okaaaaaaaaay.... She may not have been willing at first, but I nagged her into it. Whatever works, people. (Also, if you'd like to guest blog without me nagging you, feel free to email me anytime with your ideas).

So, who is this person, you wonder? Well, she is a new addition to my army family, a fellow spouse. We met late last year as our husbands prepared for a deployment together. I love her approach to life (and the ups and downs of deployment), and I bet you will too.

Several wives in our circle decided to form a weekly dinner group. Each week, one wife will cook a meal and have all of the other wives over to eat, drink, and have fun. The next week is someone else's turn. And so on and so forth.

Hence (love that word!), you prepare dinner only once a month or so, but you enjoy a home-cooked meal every week.

This is totally working out for us. Not only do we enjoy each other's company, but we're all trying new food that we didn't have to cook ourselves. It's a pretty sweet deal.

On Michele's week to cook (our guest blogger), she made us a variation on a pasta salad recipe she discovered. It turned out so good, I snapped a picture with my cell phone before I dug in for seconds:

Later that week, I made the recipe at home, because I couldn't stop thinking about it.

And so did another wife!

Now that you know you can't live without this recipe, here is Michele with her first ever guest post (yay!):

OK, so since my husband left on deployment, I’ve taken the opportunity to make myself useful in the kitchen.  See, around our house, he was the cook.  With him gone, it was either spend a lot of money eating takeout all the time or cook for myself.  

Now, I’m not going to misrepresent myself as a master chef, but I can follow a recipe like a pro!  In fact, scouring the web for recipes is one of my favorite pastimes.  

The hubby is your typical meat and potatoes kind of guy.  

Don’t get me wrong...  The smell of his rib eye steak on the grill always gets my mouth watering.  

However, in an effort to take better care of myself by hitting the gym daily and eating well, I’ve been doing all sorts of research.  I’m leaning more towards vegetarianism and a trend called clean eating.  It focuses on fresh foods and good, lean quality proteins.  

In my travels around the internet I found a recipe for a Roasted Vegetables & Goat Cheese Pasta Salad on the Clean Eating Magazine site.  I liked the idea of a cold pasta salad since our kitchen heats up quickly, but wanted to switch the typical noodles with something else.  

I found the recipe very versatile because I can use any organic vegetables that are in season and make this meal throughout the year.  I modified the recipe to my taste and got to experimenting.  This is how my recipe turned out:

2 cups of uncooked Israeli couscous
1 each of red pepper, yellow pepper, orange pepper, sliced into bite size pieces
1 red onion, sliced into bite size pieces
1 zucchini, sliced into bite size pieces
1 package of cherry tomatoes cut in halves
1 clove of garlic (can be minced or whole)
2 tablespoons (more or less) of extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch of chopped chives (white & green parts)
½ bunch of fresh parsley
1 bunch of fresh basil
½ cup of white wine vinegar

For serving:

Goat cheese
Feta cheese
Pine nuts, toasted
Pumpkin seeds

Cook the couscous as directed on the package. (Note: There are many different types of couscous , and they will all work for this recipe).

Roast the peppers, red onion, and zucchini in an oven at 350F for about 15 minutes.  I usually put foil on a cookie sheet, spread the veggies out in a single layer and drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper if desired.  Keep an eye on the veggies around 10 minutes in as the cooking times do vary based on the type of vegetable.  Roast them to your desired tenderness.  

Photos courtesy of Army Life

In a blender, combine the garlic, chopped chives, parsley, basil, and white wine vinegar.  As this is mixing, slowly add in the olive oil through the top of the blender and enjoy the smell of that earthy, fresh basil.  I didn’t actually measure out 2 tablespoons of oil, I just added until it got to a consistency I liked.  

Combine the couscous, roasted vegetables, raw cherry tomatoes, and vinaigrette in a large bowl.  To serve, top the salad with soft, crumbled goat cheese or tart feta cheese and the toasted pine nuts or pumpkin seeds and chow down! 

Below are several photos from the various wives who have already tested out this recipe:

Happy cooking, my friends! I hope you enjoyed this guest post by Michele, a fellow spouse and great friend... if you make this recipe, let us know in the comments how yours turned out and what changes you made to suit your tastes.

Thanks for reading, everyone!
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1 comment:

  1. That looks super yummy! Thank you for sharing, Michele!