Sunday, October 30, 2011

Couscous Cakes - AKA -The Husband's Favorite

One day I picked up a small healthy heart cookbook. A few days later I tried a recipe from the cookbook. That night I discovered Miles' favorite meal! Interesting point, it contains no meat! I never thought that would happen! I know I am blessed to have a husband who is willing to try lots of different foods but I also know it is because his taste buds are "fixed" that he loves a lot of those foods. So there is hope for the rest of you too!

I too love this recipe and so do the kids. I get squeals of excitement when they come in the kitchen and ask what's for dinner. Faith will promptly run to tell Daddy that we are having his favorite dinner and expect to hear the same excitement from him as well. You must be ready to hear about this amazing meal now, right?

Start with a box of whole wheat couscous. I can only find this at Cub locally but I buy it in bulk at a health food store. It can be tricky to find the couscous in whole wheat but that is what makes it healthier so try health food sections. Couscous is SO SIMPLE to make. Just boil the amount of water on the box and dump it in. Remove it from the heat and cover and let it sit for about 5 minutes. VERY FAST!

It will absorb all the water and look like this. Take off the lid and fluff with a fork. It would be great just like this as a side dish too. Grab a bowl and toss the cooked couscous into the bowl.

Then I add a few more ingredients. Egg or an egg substitute and Cavender's Greek seasoning. How much egg substitute depends on how much couscous you make. For the box above I started with 1/3 cup of the egg beaters. It is better to error on not putting enough in since you won't have more couscous to add. I think I did end up adding 1/4 cup more to get it to all come together. It will vary if you buy the couscous in bulk of course.

Then I add about 2/3 cup feta cheese. I buy this at Sams for $7.48. The same kind at the store in town is $6.59 and you only get half as much. If you can't get to Sams then your best bet is to stock up when it goes on sale. It doesn't have to be Athenos brand and if you buy it in brick form and crumble it yourself you can save quite a bit. 

Then I add about 4 chopped green onions and some black pepper. Mix that together until you get a nice wet consistency that will hold together. If it is too dry then add a little more egg substitute. Prepare your pan on the stove by heating up a couple tablespoons of olive oil.

Grab a 1/4 measuring cup and fill it with the mixture.

Dump it into the hot oil using a spoon to get it out of the cup and then flatten it with the back of the spoon. It will take about 3 minutes per side to cook these. Warning: the first few I make take a little longer but by the last two they are cooking quite quickly so you will need to watch them carefully.

I try to get 3-4 in the pan at a time to make it go quickly but you have to watch them carefully so you don't end up burning them. Mmm...I can taste that crispy edge in my mouth right now. Out of one box of couscous I get about 10-12 cakes.
Of course I have to mention that you can do this with quinoa also. I have done that with a roasted red pepper sauce mixed in instead of eggs and they were awesome.

I served it with a side salad, some very crunchy grapes, home made hummus with pita, and lots of smiles all around the table. We decided they would also be good the next day in a pita with some hummus, lettuce, and Greek dressing. However, there are NEVER and I mean NEVER any leftovers!

Just in case you were wondering couscous has several health benefits. It has protein and fiber of course especially if you choose the whole wheat version. But it also contains selenium which is an antioxidant that helps protect blood vessels from plaque build up and narrowing of the arteries. Since it is hard to find significant dietary sources of selenium adding some couscous to your diet will help you meet that requirement!

So get eating!

1 box whole wheat couscous (cooked according to package directions)
1/3 cup egg substitute (plus 1/4 cup more if needed to come together)
2/3 cup Feta cheese
4 chopped green onions
1 tsp. Cavendar's Greek Seasoning
1/2 tsp. black pepper
olive oil

To a bowl add cooked couscous, egg substitute, feta, green onion, Greek Seasoning, and black pepper. Gently combine. If mixture is too dry add a little more egg substitute. Heat a couple tablespoons olive oil in a pan. Add 1/4 cup couscous mixture to the pan and flatten with the back of a spoon. Cook approximately 3-4 minutes per side. Yields 10-12 couscous cakes. (You will need to add more oil as you cook)

Sidenote: It is also good with finely chopped red onion!


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