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Weekday dinner inspiration: Chicken Couscous With Pistachios, and more

Mon | Soup and salad

Make Creamy Tomato and Tarragon Soup by sauteing 1 medium diced onion in olive oil until soft. Add 28-ounce and 15-ounce cans of diced tomatoes and 1/4 cup water. Simmer for 10 minutes and then puree in a blender or use an immersion blender in pan. Return to pan over low heat and quickly whisk in 1/3 cup sour cream and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with a green salad garnished with chunky garlic croutons.

Tues | Chicken and egg

A cute cookbook crossed my desk last week, Chicken and Egg by Janice Cole (Chronicle Books). That's where today's Chicken Couscous With Pistachios (recipe below) dish comes from. The book is a compilation of Cole's posts on her blog,, which chronicles her experiences with raising backyard chickens. This one-pot dish would go quite nicely with steamed broccoli garnished with fresh lemon zest.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

Shred the bird and discard the skin for Spicy Chicken and Artichoke Pizza, also inspired by Chicken and Egg. Mix the chicken with a bit of extra-virgin olive oil and about 1/2 teaspoon each of crushed fennel seeds, dried basil and red pepper flakes, plus a few shakes of dried oregano and a minced garlic clove. Spread pizza sauce on a prepared crust then layer on the chicken mixture, quartered, canned artichoke hearts, plum tomatoes, sliced red onions and lots of shredded mozzarella. Bake for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Thurs | Seafood and shells

Crab Pasta Salad is a light offering as long as you go light and low-fat on the creamy dressing. Cook and drain small shells. Add some chopped crabmeat, chopped celery, corn kernels, halved grape tomatoes and some fresh chopped dill. For the dressing, mix 1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise, 1/2 cup low-fat sour cream, the juice of 2 lemons and salt and pepper. Use what you need to dress the salad and save the rest for another use. (It'll keep for a week in the fridge.) I like this salad with big stone-ground wheat crackers.

Fri | Grilled and great

Meat and Greens is a delicious end-of-the-week meal, perfect for a romantic dinner for two. Grill boneless ribeye, slice thinly and place over lightly dressed greens such as arugula or watercress. Garnish with big shaves of Parmesan. Serve with a baguette and a bottle of your favorite red wine. I'll go for a fruity syrah.

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Chicken Couscous With Pistachios

1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 3/4-inch pieces

1 small onion, halved and sliced

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup raisins

1 cup couscous

1/2 cup salted roasted pistachios or almonds

1/2 cup sliced scallions (green parts only)

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Heat the oil. Add the chicken and onion, sprinkle with the salt and pepper and cook for 3 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Add the carrot, garlic and cinnamon and cook for 30 seconds or until aromatic.

Stir in the broth and raisins. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center. Stir in the couscous. Cover and remove from the heat. Let sit for 5 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the pistachios and scallions.

Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Source: Chicken and Egg by

Janice Cole (Chronicle Books, 2011)

Weekday dinner inspiration: Chicken Couscous With Pistachios, and more 02/15/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 15, 2011 3:30am]
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