Thursday, July 24, 2008

Real Simple, Real Delicious

I get a lot of cooking magazines...a lot. My husband would say perhaps a few too many. There is no way I will ever make all the recipes that I read about each month. But, reading recipes is entertainment for me. (And, almost all of my subscriptions have been gifts...can't beat that). The only non-cooking magazine I receive is Real Simple, also a gift from a good friend. Of course, it has recipes in it, and that's the first thing I read when a new one arrives in my mailbox. This past week I was flipping through April's issue and checking out the "Five Easy Meals" that's a regular feature. They had a recipe for "Spiced Mini-Burgers and Couscous Salad." It didn't require many ingredients, and I already had a few of them (cucumber, green onions, feta cheese) that I was looking for a way to use before they went bad. So, I thought I would give it a try.
It tasted great, but more importantly, it was SUPER easy and fast. I love that, especially now when our evenings have been packed full with campaigning and baseball games. (It was also a great opportunity to introduce our foster son to couscous. Surprisingly, he did pretty well with it. It helped that it was chock-full of tomatoes and cucumbers, which he loves.)

Here's the recipe as written. (One note: I have some Pampered Chef Greek Seasoning, so we used that on the burgers instead of the cumin and oregano, and we probably could have used more than what we did.)

1 10-oz box couscous
1 lb. ground beef
Kosher salt and pepper
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 TB dried oregano
4 TB extra-virgin olive oil
6 scallions, trimmed and sliced
4 Roma tomatoes, cut into chunks
1 cucumber, sliced into half-moons
3 TB fresh lemon juice
Feta cheese, optional

Place the couscous in a medium bowl and pour 1 1/2 cups hot tap water over the top. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
Form the beef into 12 small 1/2-inch-thick patties. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt, `1/4 tsp. pepper, the cumin, and oregano.
Heat 1 TB of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the patties and cook to desired doneness.
Combine the couscous, scallions, tomatoes, cucumber, lemon juice, 1 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper and the remaining oil in a large bowl.

We added the feta cheese to our individual portions, and it was a great addition, just not perhaps as child-friendly. Also, while this says it makes four servings, we probably had close to 8 servings of salad.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Computer Illiterate

Unfortunately, I am just old enough to have missed growing up with a computer, and so there are many things that I do not understand about the machine. But, today, I am going to try to enter the world of "real blogging" where I use a link to a recipe. Wow. I know you are impressed at the thought.

So, the other night we had a tasty meal for dinner out of Everyday Food, one of my most favorite cooking magazines. Nearly all of the recipes I have made have been quite good. I can be confident when cooking from EF that I am not making something that will turn out to be a dud. Nevertheless, not every recipe is a home run, but each is at least a solid base hit. (Aren't you glad baseball season is here?)

(This post was started on May 9, 2008...finally, today July 7, 2008, I figured out how to insert the link.)

Mini Honey-Mustard Meatloaves with Roasted Potatoes

Who needs a name?

So, for those of you who took Les's advice and have started (compulsively) reading, you've already seen this recipe. Right up front, I'm admitting to stealing it and wouldn't dare claim it as my own. All that to say, you've got to try it...soon! Calling it a recipe is generous. It's just a little treat that kids and adults will enjoy. Now for those of you who are smores-lovers, you may scoff at the absence of chocolate in this, but I promise it's still delicious. The real beauty lies in the fact that you can make as many or as few as you need. (Confession: last week, we made some every night.)

I don't know what these are called. We're just calling them tasty treats.

So, here's what you do. Take some Ritz crackers, spread them with a little peanut butter and put them on a cookie sheet, place a large marshmallow on top (on its side), and put under the broiler until the tops of the marshmallows turn golden to dark brown (depending on your taste). Take them out and eat them and get melty marshmallow all over your face. I didn't say they weren't messy!