Dinners to try this Week

By Meredith Fisher

A new year means new food! Logistically speaking, it is comforting to make food you know and love but occasionally it comes time to spice up your routine. These recipes will add new dimension to foods you already know and love. Best of all, the recipes are easy to put together and can be prepared without a kitchen- goodbye, dining hall!

Sun-dried Tomato Couscous with Chickpeas and Roasted Kale

  Photo:   Meredith Fisher

Photo: Meredith Fisher

This recipe builds off a fluffy couscous base with nutrient-filled greens and a scattering of protein-filled chickpeas. This dish will fulfill your craving for Mediterranean food and you will look like a whiz in the kitchen. The secondary elements of the recipe include pine nuts and sundried tomatoes, which elevate the taste and add complexity. This meal will come together right before your eyes and still look carefully thought-out and elegant.

INGREDIENTS (SERVES 4):

1   10-ounce box couscous

½ c. pine nuts

3T   olive oil

1    15.5-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed

2    bunches kale, stems trimmed

1    small jar sun dried tomatoes (or package of dried tomatoes, not in oil)

Salt, black pepper, and garlic; season to taste

  1. Cook couscous according to package instructions
  2. Add sundried tomatoes to couscous while water is still being absorbed. If they are out of a jar, they can be put directly into the couscous mixture. If they are dried, soak them in water for a few minutes to soften them. Cut the pieces into small bits
  3. Toast pine nuts in a skillet over low heat until golden, about 3 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Add olive oil to skillet and sauté kale on medium heat for 1 minute.
  5. Add chickpeas, garlic, salt, and pepper to the skillet. Cook until the greens are tender
  6. Incorporate chickpeas and kale over couscous. Top with toasted pine nuts

SHORT CUTS: Buy couscous mixture with pine nuts and spices already incorporated. Use a microwave instead of stove to cook the couscous. Microwave for 2 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Use microwave instead of pan to steam greens for 1 minute.

 

Zucchini Noodles with Creamy Avocado Sauce

 Photo: Meredith Fisher

Photo: Meredith Fisher

I think we can all agree that avocados are one of the greatest foods on Earth and finding a new way to eat them is arguably one of the best discoveries of the week. Making your own pasta sauce may sound daunting, but is much simpler and even more satisfying than you can imagine. This recipe also incorporates zucchini noodles, allowing you to enjoy pasta, without all of the carbs. While some light equipment is required, this dish comes together in a snap.

For just under ten dollars on Amazon you can be the proud owner of a hand-held vegetable spiralizer, turning all of your favorite vegetables into shredded toppings or spaghetti noodles. 

INGREDIENTS (SERVES 4):

12 ounces zucchini (about 3 zucchinis)

2 ripe avocados

1/2 c. Basil Leaves

2 Tablespoons of lemon juice

1/3 c. olive oil

1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved

salt and black pepper; to taste

  1. Prepare sauce by mashing avocado and adding lemon juice, olive oil, and basil. Throw into the food processor for a quick whirl or simply mix by hand.
  2. Spiralize zucchini
  3. Place zucchini in pan over medium heat ensuring that there is enough moisture for the noodles to soften. Cook until softened, about 3 minutes. The noodles can also be cooked in the microwave for about 2 minutes.
  4. Add halved cherry tomatoes to pan, cook on medium heat until warm
  5. Cover noodles with sauce and serve.

SHORT CUT: Use normal pasta rather than zucchini noodles.* For a healthier option, use noodles made from a bean or lentil base, such as Tolerant Black Bean Fettuccine.