Moroccan Chicken with Couscous

I was super pleased with how this chicken came out.  It’s moist, super flavorful, and warming.  This was my first time using a Moroccan spice mix called ras el hanout which I found at the Giant and picked up because I’ve started seeing it in some recipe browsing.  I really liked it.  It adds a ton of flavor and a little heat.  Paired with the apricots in this recipe and this chicken is anything but boring.

Moroccan Chicken with CouscousMoroccan Chicken with Couscous

Serves 4

Adapted from Cooking Light magazine (November 2010: Spicy Moroccan Chickpeas)

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 large carrots, diced
  • 1 Tbsp ras el hanout (or garam masala)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (3″) piece cinnamon stick
  • 1 lb chicken tenders, cut in bite size pieces
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, sliced
  • 3 cups water or chicken stock
  • 2 cups couscous
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and cook for a minute or two until garlic begins to turn brown.  Remove garlic from pan and discard.  Add onion and sauté until tender, add carrots and cook until beginning to soften.  Add ras el hanout, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, and cook for a minute.  Add chicken and toss to coat, cook for about 5 minutes until chicken is browned.  Add lemon zest and lemon juice and dried apricots.  Cover with a lid and allow to cook over low heat for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in a sauce pan.  Once water is boiling, turn off the heat.  Add couscous to the pot and cover with a lid.  Let stand for 5 minutes and then add raisins and fluff with a fork.

Serve couscous and top with chicken, then garnish with fresh cilantro.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I am not a raisin fan.  Golden raisins are alright, but regular raisins are just not my thing.  Despite this, I made these Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, and they are quite tasty.  I think they’d be even better without the raisins, but an Oatmeal-Raisin lover I know said these are delicious.  If you have a split household, divide the batter at the end and add raisins to only half.  If I wasn’t adding raisins I’d up the amount of cardamom and nutmeg to 1/4 teaspoon each and make them more of a spiced oatmeal cookie.

Oatmeal Raisin CookiesOatmeal Raisin Cookies

Makes 42 cookies (using a 1oz cookies scoop)

Adapted from My Kitchen Addiction

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups raisins (optional)

Beat together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.  Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Mix in the vanilla.

Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg, and add the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture mixing by hand until just combined.  Stir in the oats and raisins.

Using a cookie scoop, scoop the batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Stick the dough in the freezer for about 15 minutes, and then store in a ziploc bag in the freezer until ready to bake.  Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and the cookies are set.

Spiced Stuffed Acorn Squash

This stuffed squash was DELICIOUS!  This will definitely be a regular recipe for me.  It took quite a bit of searching to find an acorn squash recipe I liked the sound of.  So many vegetarian squash recipes out there don’t sound like a main dish (in that they don’t have a lot of protein), so I was really intrigued by the chickpeas.  I also liked the inclusion of some extra veggies that I don’t normally think of in a stuffing but worked out really well.

I’m not sure this is the right name for this since it’s pretty hard to describe in a word or two, the main seasoning is garam masala.  Garam masala is a warm spice blend typically used in Northern Indian/South Asian cuisine.  It has a lot of those warm baking spices like cinnamon and cardamom, so it works really well with this slightly sweet, but savory dish.  I’m not normally a fan of celery or raisins, but in this dish they work wonderfully.  Although if you can’t get your mind wrapped around celery you might be able to use frozen peas instead, and if you don’t want to give golden raisins a chance then you can use dried cranberries instead.  But really I think it was absolutely perfect as is.  Definitely make extra because the leftovers are just as delicious.

Spiced Stuffed Acorn SquashSpiced Stuffed Acorn Squash

Serves 14

Adapted from Mountain Mama Cooks

  • 7 acorn squashes, cut in half and scoop insides out
  • olive oil, kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 1 head of celery, about 10 stalks, chopped
  • 6 scallions, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves chopped
  • 3 1/2 cups cooked buckwheat (or barley, couscous, etc)
  • 4 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups golden raisins
  • 3 cups canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Line a large baking sheet with foil and set aside.

Drizzle olive oil on the insides of your prepared acorn squash, sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper, and stab the insides repeatedly with a fork.  Place squash cut side down on prepared baking sheet.  Bake for about 35-40 minutes, until just fork tender (the fork should be able to pierce the skin pretty easily.  In a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, 1/2 tsp garam masala and 1/2 tsp (table) salt.  In the last five minutes of baking, carefully flip the squash over and sprinkle with brown sugar mixture.  Return to oven to finish baking until fork tender and brown sugar has melted, about 5 minutes.Stuffed Squash and Roasted Cabbage

While squash bakes, prepare the filling.  In a large sauté pan or wok, heat a little olive oil over medium heat.  Add celery, scallions, and garlic, cooking until tender.  Stir in kale.  As kale begins to soften, add in the cooked buckwheat and the garam masala, cumin, and salt.  Mix well.  Just before flipping the squash, add in the raisins and chickpeas, mix to warm through.

When the squash is done, carefully transfer to your serving dish and then scoop filling into the center of the squash.  Serve and enjoy!

Honey Raisin Bread

I was asked to make the communion bread for church last Sunday.  A big responsibility!  I needed to make sure that it was at least part whole wheat, but other than that I had free-reign.  I wasn’t sure what I wanted to make, so after some internet browsing I decided on this no knead honey raisin bread.  While there were some humorous comments about the theology behind raisins in communion bread, I thought the mildly sweet bread was a great way to think about the sweetness of life!  At least that’s my cover story for the raisins!

This bread was really tasty.  It reminded me of cinnamon raisin bagels and would be delicious with a cream cheese spread, or toasted with butter, or just plain.  I used a combination of flours because I had them on hand, but you can use whatever you have on hand.

Honey Raisin Bread

Makes 1 smallish loaf

Adapted from The Professional Palate

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 cup warm water

Combine flours, raisins, cinnamon, salt, and yeast in a large bowl.

Mix honey and water, add to dry ingredients and stir until a dough forms.  Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature overnight.

Preheat oven to 450°F.  Place an enameled Dutch oven in preheated oven for 30 minutes.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a ball.  Carefully place dough into the hot Dutch oven, cover with lid and bake for about 22-25 minutes.  Remove the lid and bake an additional 10-15 minutes.

Carefully remove the bread from the Dutch oven and let cool on a wire rack.