Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Roasted Vegetables with Couscous

These vegetables are soon to become world famous, I swear. When I take them to work (yes, I have an actual 8-5, Monday thru Friday job) & someone sees me eating them they say "is that your famous vegetables?" I say groaning "yes", cover my food & quickly turn the other way, I don't like an audience when I eat at work, plus I'm stingy with my food & don't like to share.

My mother requests them every time I cook for her. My boyfriend gets very excited when he finds out I'm cooking them so I make sure to fix enough so he (we) can have leftovers. But he rarely if ever eats them for leftovers.

That's a whole 'nother talk-show, the boyfriend vs. the leftovers.

Here I have mixed the vegetables with couscous. For those of you who aren't sure what couscous is, it's actually a pasta, some think it's a grain but it's not. It's a finely ground semolina pasta. You see it more in Indian & Middle Eastern dishes. I love the stuff & do not eat it that often because the boyfriend doesn't care for it either. He's a sweet guy though, he'll eat couscous when I fix it but certainly not more than the one time & I love him for that.

Enough about him, why am I talking about his food quirks, although I love his food quirks. But this is not about him, it's about the food. So on to the food. 

The vegetables of choice are zucchini, white mushrooms, yellow squash, red bell pepper & red (I call it purple) onion. This is great in the summer because all of these vegetables are super fresh, but it's just as easy to find them any other time of the year too.

And don't you love my artsy vegetable picture? I do, I was experimenting with the light, whatcha think?

You'll chop all the vegetables, except the mushrooms. Be sure to chop them all as close to the same size as you can. This will help them cook evenly so things like you're peppers getting done before your zucchini will not happen.

You're going to be using my house seasoning on this, like we did with the baked fish. So you're gonna need your seasoned salt, black pepper, italian seasoning & garlic powder. No table salt is in this as the amount of seasoned salt you use is sufficient.

Aren't the colors beautiful, that's the other reason I love this recipe so much, it's just plain purdy, that's pretty for all you non-southern/country folks. I don't really say it that way either, not that there's anything wrong with it if you did. Just sayin'.

I digress.

Sprinkle all of the seasonings on the vegetables with some olive oil & mix them up really well. I use the same pan that I will be cooking in to mix, that way the oil will grease the pan for you a little bit. Feel free to use some non-stick cooking spray though if you don't trust your pan. Also, be sure they are as close to being in a single layer as you can get them. You can use a broiling pan too if you like. Using the broiler pan just helps them to get a little more crisp.

Next roast them in a 450 degree oven, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, give or take.

They will come out looking like this. Delicious, nutritious & beautiful. Now you can stop here if you like & just have the vegetables, we do that most often, again because the BF doesn't care so much for couscous. Or you can continue for an extra special treat...

While you're vegetables are roasting you may prepare the couscous.

This is the brand I prefer & it's the most readily available. I usually use the pine nut flavored couscous, it has a lovely nutty flavor & just mixes well with the vegetables. But as you can see this time I used Garlic & Olive Oil because they did not have my beloved pine nut at my local grocer.

Big sigh, sad face, I miss the pine nut.

So just follow the directions on the back of the box, it's really simple, 5-10 minutes & you've got couscous. I do use chicken broth instead of water though & I usually 86 the oil too.

Now toss the vegetables & couscous together & there you have it. How simple is that?!?

Note: I used just less than half of the vegetables to mix with the couscous. I like to keep the amount of each equal. I just kept adding spoonfuls until I reached my desired amount. You may use all or less of the vegetables, whatever you choose is perfectly fine.


Roasted Vegetables with Couscous
2 yellow squash
2 small zucchini
1 large red onion
1 large red bell pepper
1 large container fresh white mushrooms
2 tsp seasoned salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp italian seasoning
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 box of flavored couscous

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Spray a baking pan (I used a 9x13) with non-stick cooking spray. Chop the squash, zucchini, pepper & onion being sure to make them a fairly substantial size, a chunk if you will, and of equal size. Place vegetables in baking pan. Sprinkle with the season salt, pepper, italian seasoning, garlic & oil. Toss well but be gentle as the mushrooms may break easily. Spread vegetables in a single layer. Place in middle rack of oven & roast for 30-40 mins.

Prepare couscous according to package directions using chicken broth in place of water & omitting the oil.

Once vegetables & couscous are done, mix chosen amount of vegetables with the couscous & serve.

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