Since I’m on break this week, I planned a labor-intensive dinner for tonight. But the weather is so nice today, I didn’t want to spend all day inside making lunch too. I’m posting this to show how keeping the right ingredients in your pantry can allow for both variety and serious nutrition in your menu – without taking up your whole day (I know I said that I only cook 2-3 big meals a week, but I do cook smaller meals too, and this post will hopefully help you appreciate how much variety I really do get by shopping at local markets for so little $$).
Strategically keeping my shelves stocked with things I know I like to use off the cuff helps me support local farmers (rather than giving in to the “always low prices” of the mart that shall not be named), even when I’m craving something other than what I made a few nights ago (e.g. I always have whole wheat couscous that came from a farmer’s store who sells bulk organic grains). Start keeping a mental inventory of your pantry and notice what foods make you happiest to have on hand. If you take the time to plan, your budget will reward you!
Spinach Couscous: (serves 4)
- Medium saucepan, knife, cutting board, dry measuring cup, clean cloth towel, fork, stove
- 2 cups chicken stock + 1/2 cup water (optional – for a vegetarian dish, use 2 1/2 cups veggie stock or 2 1/2 cups salted water with 1 Tbsp butter)
- 2 cups whole wheat couscous
- 1 tsp kosher salt (big pinch), plus more to taste
- 2 tsp dried basil (2 big pinches)
- 1/2 tsp dried parsley (pinch)
- 2-3 oz. fresh spinach, ends trimmed off and ripped into large strips
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
1) Bring chicken stock, water, salt, basil, parsley, and a couple dashes of ground black pepper to a boil in the saucepan over high heat. While that’s warming up, trim, clean, and tear the spinach.
2) Once the stock is up to a boil, throw in the spinach and let boil 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and add the couscous. Cover the pan with a clean towel and let the couscous sit for 5 mins. While the couscous sits, chop your garlic.
3) Fluff the couscous with a fork, and mix in the raw garlic and a drizzle or two of evoo. Re-season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve hot, or leftovers can be eaten chilled.
What to Drink? Iced herbal tea