January 14, 2008

Healthy Meal: Middle Eastern Chicken Pot and Butter-Nut Couscous

Today I was bored and channel surfing, and I saw that Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals was on Food Network. I have a sentimental fondness for Rachael Ray, because watching her was how I first learned to cook. In fact, a lot of the recipes on this site come from her recipes, though I rarely take the time to watch the episodes. It was fun to once again watch her on TV and then make the meal later that night.

Recipe notes:
I cut the olive oil in half and used lean chicken breast instead of thighs, both to reduce the fat content a bit. I diced a carrot instead of shredding, because I find it easier. For the dried fruits, I really wanted apricots because I thought that would give it a great middle eastern flavor, but what I had were dried cranberries so I used those instead. I skipped the olives because I hate them. Finally, for the couscous, I used 1 tbsp each of the pine nuts and almonds (for two servings). One suggestion: when you make the chicken, be careful not to let it cook too long. I let it go a minute or two over because I was talking to my roommate, and a lot of the sauce boiled away. It was still good and the chicken tasted fine, but it would have been nice to have some extra juices to flavor the couscous.

Nutrition facts:
451 calories for the chicken and couscous (recipe here)
60 calories for Trader Joe’s Greens With Envy that I paired it with to up the veggie goodness

Review: 5/5
This was a great way to do chicken for dinner, yet mix it up with the flavors. This had a good amount of complexity to it due to all the different spices. And honestly, it was delicious! Very light tasting, but still filling for dinner. My only complaint is that there aren’t a ton of veggies in this, so it’s not quite a one-dish meal; I’d pair it with some extra veggies. The nutritional info is great though – 451 cals for dinner is awesome, so add 50 calories for veggies and you’re good to go. I’m really happy to find this recipe, because it was very quick and easy to make – minimal chopping, and then just tossing ingredients in the pan. The couscous had a nice buttery flavor, and the nuts and the chicken give the whole dish a ton of protein. Fantastic!


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