Healthy Couscous Salad

Healthy Couscous SaladSummer is coming and it’s always great to have some lighter meal ideas under your belt. I want a bit more from a salad than a bit of lettuce, tomato & cucumber though… I need some flavour! This gorgeous couscous salad recipe (adapted from Oh My Dish) does that by the bucket load. It’s packed full of goodness & it’s seriously tasty! I particularly love the addition of the sweet potato, it really kicks it up a notch.

Here is what you will need to serve 2 as a main or 4 as a side dish:

  • 150g Couscous
  • 300ml Boiling Water
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 Sweet Potato, peeled & cubed
  • 1 Shallot, finely diced
  • 1 Garlic Clove, finely diced
  • 1 Aubergine, sliced *
  • 4 Sundried Tomatoes, sliced + the Oil
  • 8 Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • Handful of Rocket or chopped Romaine Lettuce
  • Juice of half a Lemon
  • Salt & Pepper

 * I ended up picking out the aubergine but, even if you don’t like it, keep trying! It’s the only way to change your tastebuds. Trust me – I was the worlds fussiest eater as a child!

In a large glass bowl, add in the couscous, a generous helping of salt & pepper and about 1 tbsp of the oil from the sundried tomatoes jar.

Pour in the boiling water, stir with a fork and cover with cling film. Leave to one side whilst we prepare the rest of the dish.

Heat a non stick frying pan over a medium heat then add in about 1 tbsp of olive oil.

Dump in the cubed potato and fry for a few minutes.

Then add in the diced shallot & garlic and fry for about 10-15 minutes until the potato is golden and cooked. (Soft in the middle.) Season to taste with salt & pepper.

Healthy Couscous Salad

Healthy Couscous SaladIf adding aubergine – heat a griddle pan over a medium/high heat. Brush both sides of each slice with olive oil and grill on each side until nice charred lines appear.

When cooked, take out the pan and sprinkle with a little salt.

Healthy Couscous SaladBack to the couscous, which should be nice & plump by now. Remove the cling film & fluff up with a fork.

Healthy Couscous SaladNow all your ingredients are ready, add the sundried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and cooked sweet potato in with the couscous.

Season with a little more salt & pepper if it needs it. Squeeze over the juice from the lemon and add a good glug of olive oil.

Give it all a good stir and divide between serving plates. Top with slices of aubergine and a handful of either rocket or romaine lettuce.

Healthy Couscous SaladI absolutely love this salad. It only takes about half an hour to make, it’s tasty, satisfying & good for you too! In my opinion, it’s a perfect, bright & colourful Spring/Summer dish. Great if you want a bit of light, al fresco dining in your back garden or on the park!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s post my lovelies, until next time!

Miss KitchenMason

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Balsamic Garlic Chicken with Couscous!

Balsamic Garlic Chicken with CouscousSo now we are in Spring, I think it’s about time to dust off those lighter meal ideas and start look forward to Summer! I’m kicking it all off with this gorgeous chicken and couscous dish covered in a sultry balsamic, garlic, and honey glaze. Here is what you will need to serve two hungry people.

For the Couscous

  • 90g Couscous
  • Knob of Butter
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 260ml Chicken Stock (Reserve 60ml for the Chicken)
  • 1 heaped tsp Fresh Parsley, chopped
  • 4 Spring Onions, chopped
  • 15g Flaked Almonds, roughly chopped
  • Zest of 1 Lemon

For the Chicken

  • 2 x Skinless & Boneless Chicken Breasts
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 1/2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 60ml Chicken Stock (Reserved from the Couscous)
  • 2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1 large Garlic Clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Honey

Tip the couscous into a large glass bowl, add in the butter and season well with salt & pepper.

Pour in 200ml of the chicken stock (reserve the remaining 60ml for the chicken later) stir briefly with a fork then cover with cling film & leave to one side whilst we get on with the chicken.

Balsamic Garlic Chicken with CouscousPlace a heavy, non stick pan over a medium heat.

Meanwhile, place the chicken breasts inbetween some clingfilm & flatten to about 2cm thick with a rolling pin. Season well with salt & pepper.

Balsamic Garlic Chicken with Couscous

Balsamic Garlic Chicken with CouscousAdd the butter & olive oil into the heated pan then lay in the chicken.

Balsamic Garlic Chicken with Couscous

Cook for about 5-6 mins on each side until golden and cooked through.Cook for about 5-6 mins on each side until golden and cooked through.

Cook for about 5-6 mins on each side until golden and cooked through.Place on a plate and cover with foil to rest and keep warm.

Balsamic Garlic Chicken with CouscousWith the pan still on the heat, add in the balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, reserved chicken stock, garlic & honey and continue to cook for about 5 minutes until it reduces to a sticky glaze.

Balsamic Garlic Chicken with Couscous

Balsamic Garlic Chicken with CouscousBack to the couscous. Remove the cling film and fluff  the cooked couscous up with a fork.

Balsamic Garlic Chicken with CouscousTip in the parsley, spring onions, almonds and lemon zest and give it all a good mix.

Balsamic Garlic Chicken with CouscousFinally, slice the chicken and serve on warmed plates with the couscous. Finish off by pouring over the hot, balsamic glaze.

Balsamic Garlic Chicken with CouscousAnd there you have it! This is definitely one I will be making again. It’s packed full of fresh, spring flavours and only clocking in at around 430 calories per portion. Not bad if you’re after that bikini bod or 6 pack for the summer! Oh, did I mention that it’s absolutely delicious by the way? No? Well it is!

Hope you enjoyed the post and I’ll see you all next week.

Miss KitchenMason

A Day With The Ladies!

A Day With The Ladies! DessertLast weekend the Mr went on a trip to Germany to visit Gamescom. Meanwhile, I enlisted my girls to come keep me company with a day of cooking, drinking and general merriment.

The idea was that we would each pick a course and run with it. Emma chose the starter, Ceri took the main course, I had the dessert and Charlie designated herself as pot washer!

Here was the finished menu we chose.

Starter

Mushroom & Halloumi Stuffed Roast Peppers

Main

Feta, Mozzarella & Sun Dried Tomato stuffed Chicken with a Parmesan Crust – Served with Spicy Potato Dauphinoise

Dessert

6 Layer Peanut Butter S’mores Cookie Bars

First up was Emma’s starter. The recipe she used is based on THIS ONE from the trusty BBC Good Food website.

She roasted the peppers in the oven first for about 15 minutes, until they were soft & slightly charred but still held their shape.

A Day With The Ladies! StarterThen she stuffed them using most of the ingredients on the list but instead of using the antipasti mushrooms, cooked her own and added in some toasted almonds to the mix.

A Day With The Ladies! StarterAfter baking for about 15 minutes more in a 180°C oven, they came out all golden and delicious…

A Day With The Ladies! StarterNow having never eaten stuffed peppers before, but I must say, I bloomin loved them! They seem to have an added sweetness to them when they’ve been roasted which is absolutely delicious. The textures from the filling that Emma chose were great too! Soft and fluffy couscous teamed up with the meaty mushrooms, ‘squeaky’ halloumi & the crunchy almonds, really made for a fantastic, light starter. I also added a cheeky drizzle of truffle oil to mine, made them even more delicious… cracking job Em!

For the main course, Ceri started on the potato dauphinoise which is based on THIS RECIPE from the Love Potatoes site. She peeled and thinly sliced the potatoes & set to one side in a bowl of cold water to stop them from browning. Then moved onto the sauce by putting some cream, milk chopped garlic & some added chilli flakes into a saucepan and brought to the boil. When that was ready, she added in the potatoes, covered with a lid and simmered for about 10 minutes or so until just starting to soften.

Tipping the potatoes into a glass dish, she then topped it all off with mountains of gruyère cheese and placed in a 180°C oven for about half an hour until cooked through, golden & bubbling…

A Day With The Ladies! MainJust look at it… isn’t is beautiful??

Anyway! Now we’ve all stopped drooling at the potatoes, onto the chicken!

Loosely based on THIS RECIPE from the Eating Well website, Ceri butterflied each chicken breast, smeared in some sun dried tomatoes, feta & mozzarella cheese then folded back over. She then blitzed up some breadcrumbs with parmesan, Italian herbs, salt & pepper and spread them all over the tops of the chicken breasts.

A Day With The Ladies! MainThey went in the oven alongside the potatoes for about 30 minutes until golden & crispy on top…

A Day With The Ladies! MainYep… I can assure you, it was as tasty as it looks. That chicken was seriously tasty stuff! Super crispy on the outside with a sweet tomato and cheesy centre, team that up with the creamy potatoes (that packed a punch with that extra chilli kick!) and you have yourself a winner ladies and gentleman. Compliments to Chef Ceri!

Right! Now it was my turn to try and impress.

I came across THIS RECIPE from the excellent Cookies & Cups blog and knew it was the one.

The only thing that I really need to say, which isn’t spelled out from the pictures, is that I used 1 batch of my own Ultimate Choc Chip Cookie recipe for the dough.

Well that, and I may have gotten slightly carried away with the quantities I used but in my opinion, this only made it bigger, better & messier! Just the way I like it…

So! Line a large square tin with baking paper, preheat your oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C and press half of the cookie dough into the bottom of the tin.

A Day With The Ladies! DessertNext, lay blocks of milk chocolate on top of the cookie dough… yep, you heard me. WHOLE block chocolate!

A Day With The Ladies! DessertThen smear on lots of smooth peanut butter…

A Day With The Ladies! Dessert

A Day With The Ladies! DessertBlitz up some milk chocolate digestive biscuits (not too fine… I got a little carried away haha) then spread them out onto the peanut butter…

A Day With The Ladies! DessertNow for the fun bit… spread (I use that term loosely) some marshmallow Fluff over the top of the crushed biscuits. Yeah… you’ll have fun with that!

A Day With The Ladies! DessertNow roll out the leftover cookie dough into a square and press onto the top to finish…

A Day With The Ladies! Dessert

A Day With The Ladies! DessertIf you can actually lift it up (it weighs a bloomin ton!) put into the centre of the oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes until golden and crisp on top.

A Day With The Ladies! DessertNow for the painful bit… wait. It has to be completely cool before you even attempt to get it out the tin, let alone try and cut it. So preferably, make this the day before, allow to come to room temperature then chill in the fridge overnight. Otherwise (like me!) you will get yourself in a right ruddy mess! Well, they do say patience is a virtue… something I’ll have to master one of these days!

A Day With The Ladies! Dessert

A Day With The Ladies! DessertBut to be fair… let’s face it, it’s totally worth it!

I mean, what’s not to like? The crunchy yet gooey cookie? The milk chocolatey goodness? The creamy peanut butter? The unbearable deliciousness of marshmallow Fluff? Nope, didn’t think so. There is actually nothing not to like about this ridiculously indulgent bar of amazingness!

It’s honestly that good, our Emma was handing it out to strangers in the pub who were randomly congratulating me even though I had never met them before.

When all is said and done though, I think we put together an awesome meal! Massive thanks to my girls for all going out of their way to keep me company whilst the Mr was away at Gamescom.

Until next time my lovelies!

Miss KitchenMason

Greek Chicken Salad

Greek Chicken SaladI figured it’s about time I treated you lovely lot to a healthy recipe for a change. Don’t get me wrong, I love my puddings and devilish treats as much as the next person, but every now and then I do eat healthily I promise!

This recipe comes courtesy of Jamie’s 15-Minute Meals book. I was a little dubious when I first got it but I can honestly say that every recipe I have made from this book so far has not disappointed!

Here is what you will need to make more than enough for 2 people. (Easily doubled.)

Couscous

  • 1/2 Mug (150g) Couscous
  • 1 Pepper (any colour)
  • 1/2 Fresh Red Chilli
  • 2 Spring Onions
  • 1/4 Bunch of Fresh Dill
  • 100g Peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 1tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 20g Feta Cheese

Chicken

  • 1 Large Chicken Breast (or 2 x small)
  • 1/2 heaped tsp dried Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Allspice
  • Zest of 1/2 Lemon
  • Olive Oil

Tzatziki

  • 1/4 Cucumber
  • 125g Fat Free Natural Yoghurt
  • Juice of half a Lemon
  • 1/4 bunch Fresh Mint

Place the couscous in a bowl with a pinch of salt. Add in 1 mug of boiling water then cover with cling film and leave to one side.

CouscousPut a heavy non stick pan over a medium heat. Place the chicken on a big piece of greaseproof paper, add salt & pepper, the oregano, allspice and lemon zest. Massage it all in then fold over the paper. Bash the chicken with a rolling pin until it’s about 1.5cm thick.

ChickenAdd the olive oil into the pan then put in the chicken. Fry until golden and cooked through. (About 8 mins)

Frying the ChickenTo make the Tzatziki, coarsley grate the cucumber. Sprinkle over a generous amount of salt then squeeze out all the excess water. Pop it into a bowl with the yoghurt & lemon juice. Finely chop the mint, add it to the bowl with some pepper and mix well.

TzatzikiRemove the seeds & stalk from both the pepper & the chilli. Trim the ends off the spring onions and put it all in a food processor along with the dill. (Reserving some for decoration.) Blitz until it’s finely chopped.

Blending the VegetablesIf using frozen peas – blanch in boiling water first. Then add them into the veg and mix.

Fluff up the couscous with a fork in a big serving dish then mix in the veg. Slice the chicken and place on top. Drizzle over a little lemon juice, some olive oil and scatter on some fresh dill. Crumble over the feta cheese and serve with the bowl of tzatziki.

Greek Chicken SaladThis one really surprised me! It’s refreshing, light, zingy AND it’s super quick to make – bonus!

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for quick and healthy meals to make. Jamie’s recipes somehow make vegetables taste good! Instead of it feeling like a chore to eat healthily, Jamie makes it really rather enjoyable.

One final note – I would like to wish my lovely Mum a very Happy Mother’s Day today, and all the other wonderful Mum’s out there too! I hope you were all spoilt rotten and had a great day.

Hope you enjoyed this weekends post chaps and chapettes!

Miss KitchenMason

Mango Chicken with Couscous!

This dish is one of my all time favourites, and it just happens to be low in calories too – extra awesome points!! It’s a recipe I discovered a long time ago on the BBC Good Food website and have eaten many times since!

Here is what you will need to serve 2 hungry people.

For the Mango Chicken

  • 220g Pack of Mini Chicken Breast Fillets
  • 2 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 3 tbsp Mango Chutney
  • 100ml Chicken Stock
  • 4 Spring Onions, chopped largely
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Coriander, chopped

For the Couscous

  • 100g Couscous
  • 1 Vegetable Stock Cube
  • 150ml Chicken Stock
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Coriander, chopped
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Parsley, chopped

Chop the chicken fillets into bite size pieces and heat a few squirts of a low calorie oil spray in a heavy non stick pan. Add the chicken and sprinkle over the cumin and a little salt & pepper. Cook over a medium heat until it starts to turn golden.

Meanwhile, prepare the couscous. Make the chicken stock, I used 2 of my Chicken Stock Ice Cubes and poured over 250ml of hot water. You could just as easily use dried stock cubes or fresh shop bought stock.

Put the couscous in a large bowl and crush in the vegetable stock cube. Add some salt & pepper then pour over 150ml of the chicken stock and cover with cling film. Leave for about 10 minutes to cook.

Back to the chicken, add the mango chutney to the pan and allow to bubble for a few minutes. Next, add the remaining 100ml of chicken stock and boil until its a nice sticky sauce. Add in the spring onions and continue to cook for a minute or two.

Take off the heat and stir in some coriander. Fluff the couscous with a fork and stir in the remaining coriander & the parsley.

Serve on warmed plates.

This is definitely a household favourite. It always goes down a treat with both me & the Mr and it’s only approx 330 calories per portion too. Unbelievable! Oh and did I mention that it only takes about 15-20 minutes to make? It’s the perfect quick mid-week dinner for the busy 9 til 5 folk.

Well, until next time kids.

Sayonara!

Miss KitchenMason