Mid-Summer Israeli Couscous Salad

If you were a Moroccan housewife planning a family meal, in all likelihood it would include couscous. This inexpensive yet highly nutritious food, often thought to be a grain, is actually made from wheat. Rich with religious and symbolic meanings, the making of it traditionally is a female activity during which prayers are said invoking blessings and prosperity.
It is a very time consuming, labor-intensive task involving much hand labor: sifting, rolling, and re-rolling again and again until granules of similar sizes appear. Then it is sun dried and stored until its time of cooking. Fortunately most of us can simply purchase it at any grocery store in its ready-to-cook form at any time and its popularity rapidly continues to increase in the food world.
As in many other countries it is served differently from one area  to another. My favorite way is simply hot with a little oil or butter and onion salt. However guests who had it at last weekend’s dinner theatre with many added seasonings and various vegetables and herbs as we are showing it today said it was the best ever!
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Mid-Summer Israeli Couscous Salad
SERVINGS
6servings
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
servings
COOK TIME
30-40mins
PREP TIME
15mins
READY IN
45-55mins

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Prepare the dressing by whisking 2 tablespoons oil, lemon juice, 1 garlic clove, and lemon peel in small bowl and put aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add couscous, sprinkle with salt, and sauté until most of couscous is godlen brown, about 5 minutes. Add broth, incease heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover the pot, and simmer until liquid is absorbed and couscous is tender (about 10 minutes). If couscous is not fully cooked and seems dry, add more broth by tablespoonfuls until couscous has cooked all the way through.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a nonstick skillet over high heat. Add remaining garlic, onion, bell pepper, and zucchini and sauté until tender (about 3 minutes).
  4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Transfer vegetables to large bowl and add chopped mango.
  5. Add couscous to bowl with vegetables and mango. Drizzle with dressing and toss with chives and cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Festive Asparagus Frittata

Easter! A day of joy! A day of celebration! That’s why we have been planning a festive Easter Sunday brunch this year. And that’s why we have been experimenting with a number of fresh new ideas to make this an uplifting meal of praise and thanksgiving that will set the tone for the week ahead.

One of the new dishes we put together is a colorful asparagus fritatta. This starts with a tasty potato and onion crust that is filled with a mixture of eggs, cheese, and bacon bits, and then topped with fresh asparagus spears, strips of zucchini, and colorful peppers. To dress it up we garnished it with a couple of crisp bacon curls. We were very pleased with its appearance and we loved its combination of flavors. It is definitely now on our menu, and I am almost certain once it has made its debut in the convent on Easter Sunday it will return for many repeat performances in the days ahead — not only as a brunch or breakfast dish, but as a lovely spring lunch or light supper.

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Festive Asparagus Frittata
SERVINGS
8people
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
people
COOK TIME
45minutes
PREP TIME
20minutes
READY IN
65minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Drizzle oil over the base of a 9 inch quiche dish, then spread with onions and top with potato slices.
  2. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes or until potato is tender.
  3. Steam asparagus until tender.
  4. Arrange asparagus spears and red pepper and zucchini strips like the spokes of a wheel onto top of potato, then pour over eggs and season with black pepper to taste.
  5. Scatter with Parmesan cheese. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes or until frittata is firm.

Southwestern Chili

Stamping the snow off of my boots I came into the convent from the windy cold outdoors. As I shed my coat, I thought “Nothing could be more comforting than the warmth of being indoors right now.” But then I entered the refectory where I was met with something else even more comforting. It was the unmistakable aroma of one of our favorite meals, simmering in the skillet. Cooked with just the right combination of spices and seasonings, few, if any can resist this Southwestern chili especially on a chilly night like this.
As mealtime arrived the Sisters all gathered in the dining room where a glowing fire crackled in the fireplace. Each of us had a bowl of chili with our own favorite choice of toppings. Nothing could have warmed our hearts or satisfied our pallets more. We ate our meal with gladness and gave God thanks for all His many, many blessings to us.

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Southwestern Chili
Make-ahead note: The flavors continue to develop as the chili sits, so go ahead and make it up to 2 days in advance and refrigerate it in a container with a tight-*fitting lid. It can also be frozen for up to 1 month.
SERVINGS
6
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
6-8hrs
PREP TIME
45mins
READY IN
7-9hrs

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Sauté the vegetables, ground beef, and spices, then put the mixture into the Crockpot or covered skillet along with tomatoes and kidney beans. Simmer until it’s thickened and has a nice beefy flavor, and then stir in jalapeños. We like this served with cornbread.
  2. To use dried beans in place of canned, start with 1 cup dried beans, soaked and cooked to yield 3 cups.
  3. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and bell pepper, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic, chili powder, and cumin, stir to coat the vegetables, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the ground beef and measured salt and cook, breaking the meat into small pieces, until the beef is browned, about 7 minutes.
  5. Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker or covered skillet, add the diced tomatoes and their juices, tomato sauce, and beans, and stir to combine. Cover and cook on lowest possible heat until the chili thickens and the flavors meld, adding small amounts of the beer and coffee as needed to keep mixture from sticking. Stir in the jalapeños or green chiles. Taste and season with salt as needed.

Savory Herbed Chorizo Chicken

Sometimes color can be almost as important as flavor in producing a successful recipe.  That is one of the reasons I find so much joy in using fresh garden vegetables, whether they are cooked into the dish or simply used as a garnish or an accompaniment.  Fresh herbs can also enhance an otherwise plain or ordinary entrée.

Right now our gardens are rich with a profusion of healthy herbs — so lush and fragrant that when I am in the midst of them I understand why Paddington, the cat, would often lie right down and roll around in a bed of them. I love to keep a collection of freshly picked herbs in front of me on the kitchen counter where I can bury my face in them from time to time and remember to include them in whatever I may be cooking.

Today I am making savory herbed chorizo chicken breasts using both garden vegetables and herbs to notify both the eye and the palette.

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Savory Herbed Chorizo Chicken
4 (6 ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves ½ teaspoon salt, divided ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper Cooking spray ¼ cup Mexican pork chorizo, casings removed ¼ cup sliced onion 2 tablespoons diced carrot ¼ cup diced yellow bell pepper ¼ cup diced red bell pepper ¼ cup white wine 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
SERVINGS
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
18mins.
PREP TIME
READY IN

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Sprinkle chicken with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper.
  3. Coat pan with cooking spray.
  4. Add chicken to pan; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done.
  5. While chicken cooks, heat a large skillet over medium – high heat.
  6. Add chorizo; cook 1 minute, stirring to crumble.
  7. Add remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, onion, and carrot; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Add bell peppers; cook 1 minute or until crisp-tender.
  9. Add wine, cook 2 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.
  10. Spoon chorizo mixture over chicken; top with cilantro or any choice of fresh herbs ( rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage)