MarocMama

eat well, travel often, dream big!

Couscous is one of the simplest side dishes to cook. Sure the instant couscous sold in store aisles can’t hold a candle to real Moroccan couscous but it can be used in many different ways to create a  light yet hearty pasta that is packed with nutrients and is delicious.

12-delicious-couscous-recipes

 

A few things to remember when cooking instant couscous. Add your couscous before your water boils, and when the water starts to boil, promptly remove it from heat, cover, and let sit.  Be sure to fluff your couscous with a fork before removing from the pan.  It helps to break up the clumps and give it  nice light texture.  You can also prepare instant couscous the same way traditional couscous is made – by steaming it.

Now that you have your couscous, here are 12 ways to use it!

couscous-1

 

  1. Jeweled Butternut Couscous Salad from Daily Waffle
  2. Lemon and Artichoke Couscous with Shrimp from Foxes Love Lemons
  3. Apricot Couscous Salad from Grab Your Spork
  4. Curried Couscous Salad from Devour Blog

couscous-2

 

  1. Couscous with Dried Fruit from Kitchen Riffs
  2. Herb Flecked Spring Couscous from Katie at the Kitchen Door
  3. Pearl Couscous Salad with Olives from A Zesty Bite
  4. Watermelon and Feta Couscous Salad from Southern in Law

couscous-3

 

  1. Couscous Salad with Cherry Tomatoes and Broccoli from Wine Dine Daily
  2. Couscous Salad with Cucumber, Red Onions & Herbs from The Kitchn
  3. Mediterranean Couscous Salad from Two Peas and Their Pod
  4. Summer Couscous Salad from Food n Service

What’s your favorite couscous dish?

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    I read a lot, a LOT of blogs and I came across hasselback potatoes somewhere and filed the idea away into the back of my mind.  One night I remembered this idea and decided to give them a shot.  I loved them and think that they would make a really good side-dish for a party…
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Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Side Dishes

One of my favorite holidays has always been Thanksgiving. For as long as I can remember all of my family would get together at my grandma’s house for a huge meal.  It was  always a fun time for my cousins and I to get together and usually get in some type of trouble. The meal was always traditional; turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, corn, small soft rolls, and plenty of dessert.  When MarocBaba first came to America I couldn’t wait to share this holiday with him. His second year here we were not near any family and it was up to me to make a Thanksgiving dinner.  I was afraid the whole thing would be a flop but we ended up having a delicious meal – even if it was just our little family. This year Thanksgiving will be different because of his diagnosed celiac disease.  I’ve already started re-creating some of the staples in a gluten-free version to make sure he doesn’t miss out. Two of the dishes I’ve re-created are a baked corn pudding and a crouton to be used for stuffing.  They’ve both passed the kid test and I think they may be better than the original versions!

Gluten-Free Italian Croutons

To make this recipe, I whipped up a batch of cornbread, let it cool and then cubed it.  I toasted it again to make them crunchy.  Alternately you could leave the cornbread out overnight to “dry up” and then finish them in the oven the next day.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon basil chopped finely
  • 1/4 grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup Brummel and Brown Spread
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup Brummel and Brown Spread reserved

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 400F
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the flours, cornmeal, baking powder, parmesan cheese, salt, basil, onion and garlic powders.  Mix together.
  • Melt the Brummel and Brown and add to the flour mixture along with the egg, and milk.
  • Use a whisk to combine all of the ingredients and remove as many of the lumps as possible.
  • Grease an 8×8 baking pan and pour in the mixture.
  • Bake 20-25 minutes until the bread is cooked through and a fork comes out clean.

  • Allow the corn bread to cool and then cut into 1/2″ strips and then cubes.
  • Lay out the cubes on a large baking sheet.  Melt the 2nd 1/4 cup of Brummel and Brown and drizzle on top of the corn bread cubes. Toss gently and place back into a 400F degree oven.  After 8-10 minutes mix the cubes and bake until they have browned and dried out.

Baked Corn Pudding

I’ve made this dish for several years and have often been asked for the recipe.  It’s a hit with adults and especially with kids.  I’ve altered this version to omit any gluten.

Ingredients

  • 5 eggs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup Brummel and Brown spread
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 can of creamed corn
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 4 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 400F.
  • In a large mixing bowl add the eggs and cream and whip together with a whisk.
  • Melt the Brummel and Brown spread and add to the egg mixture along with sugar, salt and pepper.
  • Mix well and add the creamed corn, frozen corn and cornstarch. Fold together everything.
  • Grease an 8×8 baking pan and pour the mixture in. Place in the oven.
  • Bake the pudding for 20-25 minutes until the edges are brown.  This is a pudding so it will not become firm. It should not be runny but don’t be alarmed if it is soft.
  • Serve hot.  You can also garnish this with chopped parsley, cilantro, onions, or even shredded cheese!

I hope that these recipe ideas help you have a great Thanksgiving whether you’re gluten intolerant or not!

Thank you to Good to Know & Unilever Spreads for being a sponsor. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own.

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Bombay Potatoes

 

In the small town I live in there is one Indian restaurant and it’s on the verge of going out of business. It’s not the best, and certainly not the most authentic but they have a decent lunch buffet that includes as much naan as you can eat and I can’t pass that up. I’ve learned that it’s really not that hard to make most Indian foods at home and for the most part they are healthy. With the threat looming of losing the one and only Indian restaurant within 100 miles (yes really), it has become apparent that I need to start flexing my Indian cooking powers.

 Last week I introduced you to Saffron Road’s new line of Simmer Sauces that include a Tikka Masala sauce.  The sauces come completely ready to use, just cut open the package and heat up. Really can it get any simpler?  Instead of using the sauce in a traditional way, I decided it would be a great sauce for potatoes. I was a little apprehensive and after making these I left them on the stove as I ran to pick up M from a friend’s house.  I knew it was a great idea after receiving a call from MarocBaba while I was on the road.

Him “Babe what’s on the stove?”

Me: “Oh it’s a new potato recipe I tried.”

Him “Well you better get home soon because I don’t think there will be any left if you’re gone too long.”

 

Needless to say 1/2 the original contents were missing by the time I returned.

 

Cutting Potato

 

This recipe isn’t complicated in the least and is a fabulous side dish to go with any number of main course ideas.  I made a yogurt chicken (post forthcoming).  To begin simply peel 5 medium size potatoes and cut into cubes or rounds between 1/4″ and 1/2″ thick.  The size doesn’t matter – just be consistent so that they all cook in the same amount of time.

 

Tikka Masala Saffron Road Simmer Sauce

 

Isn’t the color of the Tikka Masala simmer sauce lovely?  I really think the best part is that when you read the ingredient list you WILL be able to recognize every item listed.  There’s no bicarbocrappola and monoglutanimanmoomoo. It’s real ingredients like tomatoes, spices, garlic etc. Love that.

Potatoes with Tikka Masala

 

Once the potatoes are cut, simply boil in water until they are fork tender. You do not want them to fall apart when you poke them but your fork should go in easily. Drain the water very well.  Return the potatoes (gently!) to the pan.  Pour the contents of the Saffron Road Tikka Masala sauce on top. Stir with a soft spatula or very gently with a spoon to coat the potatoes.  Turn the burner heat to low and allow the temperature to increase.  You can also add frozen (or fresh) peas at this point.  If you like peas add a lot – the amount is up to you.  Within 5-10 minutes your Bombay potatoes are ready to eat!

I made a yogurt chicken recipe to serve with the potatoes – watch for that post in the next few days.

In other exciting news who wants to try these simmer sauces?  I hope you’ll join me next Thursday May 10th at 8pm Eastern for a Simmer Sauce inspired Tweetchat!!  Please be sure to RSVP below to join me. We’ll be chatting on hastag #SRFSS (Saffron Road Foods Simmer Sauce. Only those who have RSVP’d will be eligible to win.  Bring your cooking questions and I’ll be giving away Saffron Road goodies.

 

Before I go, what are some of your ideas for using this simmer sauce in your kitchen?

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A revelation I had during this trip to Morocco was that our diet has clearly changed.  While we were once eating meat at every meal we have really relaxed a lot on the quantity and types of meat eaten.  If we do eat meat it’s most likely chicken or turkey.  You might find red meat on our table once a week.  Maybe.  Within 3 days of our trip I felt like I had meat coming out of my ears. No one wants meat coming out of their ears.  Not kidding I was almost in tears I wanted a salad so bad. I cobbled together a little meal and trust me cucumbers and tomatoes never tasted so good.

This is not that meal.

Ha!  I almost had you!  This little meal I put together before we left and I was trying to use up all of our CSA veggies so that they wouldn’t spoil.  The salad is really very simple with just some spicy mixed greens, sweet cherry tomatoes, very thinly sliced yellow heirloom tomatoes and red peppers and a good smattering of goat cheese drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.  Yum.

I put my very favorite side dish with the salad.  Gratin Dauphinois or Potato Gratin.  Potatoes and Cheese.  You really can’t go wrong there especially on a chilly fall night.  Check out this recipe for them from Gratinee.

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This post is a little late in coming and might be too late for some of my fellow northerners but certainly there still is fresh sweet corn in other parts of the country.  Last year I started freezing more produce because we bought a large chest freezer.  It was a great buy and has saved us a lot of money.  I live in an area where there is a lot of farming and happen to know many people who grow food, and grow a lot of food!  This year we were lucky to have a friend of my mom offer us free reign on their cornfield.  I came out with over 100 cobs of corn.

MarocBaba got roped into the processing of the corn because it was a huge job.  Just shucking all that corn took us almost an hour.  I set up two big cleaning stations outside.  One was for all of the husks and another was full of fresh water to clean the cobs.  A final station was for cutting.

 

A little trick that I found to cleaning off the pesky hairs that remain is to use a medium coarseness scour pad.  It cleans off the grit and grabs those hairs.  Simply rinse well between ears.

After the corn is cleaned is time to cut off the kernels.  I’ve re-purposed a bundt pan to facilitate cutting.  Simply push the skinny end of the corn into the top hole and then using a sharp knife cut down the sides.  The kernels will fall into the pan and it will be much easier and safer to cut.  Continue this until the pan is full.

In a large pan on the stove. (I use a huge chicken frying pan) Add plenty of butter (2-3 tbsp) and let it melt.  Season the corn with salt and pepper and mix well to incorporate the seasoning and butter through all of it.  You could add any other seasoning that you’d like.

Spread the corn as flat as you can so that it can cook.  This only takes 5-6 minutes, as it’s not fully cooking the corn.  You can taste it and add more butter or seasoning based on the taste.

When the time is up remove the corn from the pan and place in a bowl or on a cookie sheet.  The flatter you can lay the corn the faster it’s going to cool off.  Once cool move the corn into containers.  I use Ziploc freezer bags.  I think that it’s best to do this in quart size containers.  You don’t want to freeze all of the corn together unless you plan to eat it all at one time.  A smaller bag is easy to grab for dinner or other meals.

That’s really all there is to freezing corn!

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I read a lot, a LOT of blogs and I came across hasselback potatoes somewhere and filed the idea away into the back of my mind.  One night I remembered this idea and decided to give them a shot.  I loved them and think that they would make a really good side-dish for a party because they are unique.  I love unique but easy dishes!

Ingredients

  • 4 potatoes – whatever you have works – I used Yukon Gold
  • salt and pepper to sprinkle
  • cumin and paprika to sprinkle
  • 2-3 tsp olive oil
  • Butter (optional)
  • Greek yogurt (optional)

Directions

Peel each potato all of the way except for a small part on the bottom of each.  Using a very sharp knife cut slices into the potato but DO NOT cut all the way through the bottom skin.  The thiner you can slice the better.  Preheat oven to 375F.

Drizzle each potato with olive oil, try to get it in between as many layers as possible.  Sprinkle each with salt and pepper.  I then sprinkled 2 with cumin and 2 with paprika.  How much seasoning you add is up to you.  The more you add the more powerful the flavor!

Place potatoes into the oven and cook 50 minutes – 1 hour until tender.   Remove from oven and double check doneness.

At this point they could totally be eaten and be very very tasty.  Or you can take it a step farther…

Add a pat of butter and some Greek yogurt on top.  Now dig in!

 

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Veal is one meat that I have avoided for a long time, because of how it is raised.  Growing up in a rural community I learned in my late teens how veal came to be and found the practice repulsing.  Some facts about veal that many people might not know;
  • Veal calves are taken from their mothers almost immediately after they’re born.
  • They are placed in 22″ by 54″ crates and tethered to them 24 hours a day. The crates are designed to be so small that the calves cannot step forward or backward or turn around. This makes the meat very tender since the animals do not develop muscle.
  • They receive a substitute for their mothers’ milk that is deficient in iron so they stay anemic, giving the meat a whiter color, instead of the usual pink or red that characterizes beef.
  • Not much water is provided, so the calves will drink more of their feed.
  • Many are given steroids or growth hormones to help them gain weight quicker, plus antibiotics, since confinement can breed disease.
  • These practices have long been considered inhumane by many worldwide. In fact, the use of crates and the anemic diet is illegal in Europe.
from Organic.lovetoknow

Disturbing isn’t it?  The good news in all of this is that I discovered Strauss Free Raised Veal!  Most Whole Foods carry this brand which fits my criteria for humanely raised.  If you enjoy veal I really encourage you to find out how it is raised  and buy the most humanely raised meat as possible.  I truly believe it’s so important for all of us to know and understand where our food, and especially our meat comes from.  But that’s a story for another day.

With my good fortune in hand I set out to make a dish with the veal cutlets.  My husband only likes meat if it’s falling apart.  So even though these were nice little cutlets I tossed them in the pressure cooker to speed things up.  You could easily make this in a pan on the stove!

Ingredients
Veal
1lb veal cutlets
1 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp each paprika, salt, pepper
1 small onion chopped finely
1 tbsp crushed garlic
1 large handful of frozen artichoke hearts
1/4 c water

Pilaf
1 c quick cooking barley
2 c chicken broth
1/4 c frozen peas

Directions
Pressure Cooker
In a pressure cooker add 1 tsp vegetable oil and the chopped onion.  Turn heat to medium high and cook the onion until translucent.  Next, add the veal cutlets and brown.  Last, add the paprika, salt, pepper, garlic and lemon juice.  Mix and add the water and frozen artichoke hearts.  Cover pressure cooker and cook for about 20 minutes.  Release pressure and continue to cook if there is water remaining.  There should be a medium thick sauce remaining.

Stovetop
In a wok or a high sided skillet (like this one) add the vegetable oil and onion.  Cook on medium heat until onion is translucent.  Add the veal cutlets and brown.  Add the seasoning, garlic and lemon juice.  Last add the water and frozen artichoke hearts.  Cover and cook on medium heat for about 30 minutes.  If using this method you will want to check the water levels.  This method will take longer but if you don’t want your meat falling apart you can cook it to the tenderness you prefer.

For the pilaf:
Add 2 cups of chicken broth to a pan and heat to a boil.  Add the barley, cover and cook approximately 12 minutes until tender.  All of the liquid should be gone.  Mix in the frozen peas, cover and allow to sit.  The heat of the barley will thaw the peas.

Serve together and drizzle meat and pilaf (if you desire) with the leftover sauce from the veal.

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I’ve always wanted to give this style of rice a shot.  I’ve found that my family is more receptive lately to the idea of rice and other starches in place of bread.  That’s a good thing because I get really tired of so much bread!  This is my first attempt at an Arabic style rice and it turned out good!  As for the vegetables you can use anything you have on hand, or no vegetables at all.  
 
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In a large saute pan, add 2 tbsp butter, 1 tsp garlic and 1/4 finely chopped onion.  Brown vermicelli noodles in butter.  I used about 3/4c of noodles.  Cook them until the noodles soften and start to turn brown.  


 

 


I had some white asparagus that I wanted to use.  I simply cleaned and cut off the tops to use.  I also used some frozen peas.  Next, I added in about 1 cup of white long-grain rice and 1 c of chicken broth.  Watch the water levels.  The consistency should be a little drier than a risotto.  Continue stirring.  Cooking time should take between 15-20 minutes.  


 



 

 


 
This is a great side dish or toss in some chicken or more vegetables for a healthy and tasty main dish!
 

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