Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Chicken with chickpeas and couscous

This seat taken?  No? Great! Thanks so much for letting me join you for dinner tonight. It's really nice to meet all of you too.  I'm Melissa, and I was invited to this party by my friend Niksmom.

I'm one of the new contributors here and have been a reader since (Never) Too Many Cooks was launched. When I'm not here, chances are you'll find me at my blog, The Betty and Boo Chronicles where I'm generally talking about books, current events, my 8 year old twins, life on the autism spectrum (my son has Asperger's), my novel-in-(ahem ...) progress, or sharing a recipe.

Speaking of which, I happened to bring a dish for you to try. I wanted to bring something impressive for my debut, but instead this is pretty basic and simple.  

I had 3 boneless chicken breasts to use up last week. (The kids are generally the only ones who eat poultry in our house. The Husband is a vegetarian  - well, technically a pescetarian - and I would be considered a semi-vegetarian or flexitarian. The kids are carnivores.  All this, plus a smorgasbord of other dietary quirks and preferences, usually make for challenging interesting mealtimes at our house.)

Anyway, my kids are always much more receptive to a new dish if I I call it by a creative name. So instead of telling them this was chicken with chickpeas and couscous (which would have prompted a chorus of borrrr-rrring!) I referred to this dinner as Chick, Chick, Cous - as in Duck, Duck, Goose. They got a big kick out of that.  And devoured this. Hey, a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do.

I started by making a basic marinade for the chicken that I borrowed from a Rachael Ray recipe ("No Mystery: Marinated Beef, Chicken, Pork, or Portobello Mushrooms") as found in her cookbook, Rachael Ray 30 Minute Meals 2.

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsps red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, chopped (I used jarred minced garlic)
1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme (I used a generous pinch of dried)
1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley (same as above)

(Rachael's marinade also calls for 1/4-1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes, but that would not have been popular in my house, so I omitted.)

Combine marinade ingredients in the bottom of a shallow dish. Season [chicken] with salt and pepper and set into marinade and turn to coat. Allow meat to hang out 10 minutes, turning occasionally. (I like the quick marinading time for times like this when you get inspired for dinner at the last minute.)

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add marinated meat and cook 5-6 minutes on each side. Remove to a warm platter.

I had a craving for couscous so I simply opened up a box and cooked that while the chicken was doing its thing. I also thought chickpeas would add a healthy boost to the meal (my kids and I love them) so I added a can to the couscous.

That's it. The kids and I liked this. (The Husband was working late.) Yeah, it isn't the most colorful dinner or something that is going to knock your socks off, but it's easy, simple, and healthy which my modus operandi in our kitchen. (For additional color, you could perhaps add some veggies to the couscous. I might try that next time.)

There were also plenty of leftovers for me to take for lunch the next day.

Thanks so much for inviting me to dinner! See you again in two weeks, if not sooner.


  1. Glad I stopped over. I can add back the red pepper flakes for us, since we all like spicy, and maybe some long beans or broccoli. Glad we're past the days when I had to call it "green trees" and peas "green balls" to get my kid to eat them.

  2. Sounds perfect for a weeknight meal, though my son would not eat chickpeas! Welcome to the blog, Melissa, looking forward to more from your kitchen.

  3. Welcome to the table, my friend! :-) Since I can't have the couscous or the chick peas, well...I'll look forward to the next recipe!