I have recently discovered a new product in my local grocery store, the Near East Couscous products. Not only are they delicious as-is, but I’ve found that you can use them as a base for some wonderful new recipes. Couscous itself is essentially tiny pasta and this particular brand comes in lots of varieties. I love it because it’s ready in less than 8 minutes.
I recently purchased some more boxes of this couscous and it got me thinking about what you might call semi-homemade food. By this I mean, when you start with something that was pre-made but you dress it up and make it your own. I have also been known to do this with the pre-cooked rotisserie chickens that are available at almost any grocery store.
But back to the couscous…
- Mediterranean – I have cooked down raw spinach in olive oil and garlic along with shredded chicken, then added the couscous and cooked it per the directions with added red pepper flakes. Just before serving, toss in diced roasted red peppers and crumbled feta and you have a one-dish meal ready to go.
- Mexican – If you want to spice things up, start with the same shredded chicken (I use the rotisserie just to make it easier), and to the cooked couscous mix in salsa, shredded cheese, and cooked peppers and onions. You can also add green chilies for a more Southwestern flavor.
- Asian – Sometimes you might want to travel east instead of south. You can stir-fry any mixture of vegetables such as peas and carrots and baby corn, add the egg and cook until scrambled, add water and soy sauce, and let everything sit for about five minutes to let the flavors blend. You can certainly add chicken if you like.