Couscous with Apples, Cranberries and Herbs

August 29th, 2013

I had some Israeli couscous in my pantry and decided to make a salad with it.  Searching the web, I found this recipe from Giada De Laurentiis.  I’m so glad that I did.  It has a complex but refreshing taste.  The vinaigrette has maple syrup in it which pairs well with the apples and cranberries in the salad.  Couscous is such a blank canvas when it comes to taste.  Anything that you add to it will become the star.  But Israeli couscous with its large pearly grain makes its presence known.

This is the perfect salad to bring to any Labor Day cook out.  I know that I will be making it again this weekend while the family is here.  It is easy and flavorful.  Enjoy your Labor Day weekend and summer’s last hurrah.


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups Israeli couscous
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves ( I used chopped chives)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 medium apple, diced
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

For the couscous;  In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat.  Add the couscous and cook, stirring occasionally until slightly browned and aromatic, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 10 to 12 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated.  Transfer the cooked couscous to a large bowl and set aside to cool.  Add the parsley, rosemary, thyme, apple, dried cranberries and almonds.

For the vinaigrette;  In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, maple syrup, salt, and pepper.  Whisk in the olive oil until smooth.  Pour the vinaigrette over the couscous and toss to coat evenly.

Printable recipe


Apple-Walnut Salad

December 22nd, 2012

I have to say that this is one of the best apple-walnut salad recipe that I have ever tried.  It is all because of the lemon curd that is mixed into the mayonnaise.  I found the recipe in a Southern Living cookbook.  My menu for one of the nights that our family was visiting included my Fall-Apart Tender Slow Roast Pork.  I wanted something refreshing to go with the rich pork and something that kids would like.  This salad did the trick.  Both Rachel and Cameron ate every bit of the portions on their plates.



The only changes I made to the recipe were to cut down on some of the strong seasonings, like cardamom and nutmeg.  But the lemon curd was a wonderfully refreshing addition to the dressing.  The crunchy walnuts and celery, the sweet apples and the soft dried cranberries all mingled together to make a worthy whole.  I would recommend it as a side to any pork dish that you make during the holidays.

Here are some of the other holiday dishes that we enjoyed.  I will share them with you soon.  Which of them grabs your interest the most?  Merry Christmas everyone.



1 cup chopped walnuts
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup lemon curd
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (I used 1/8 teaspoon)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I used 1/8 teaspoon)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
6 apples, chopped – A combination of Gala, Granny Smith and Red Delicious is good
3/4 cup thinly sliced celery
1 cup dried mixed fruit  (I used dried cranberries)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Bake walnuts in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring once after 5 minutes.

Stir together mayonnaise, next 4 ingredients, and 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest in a large bowl.  Add apples, celery, fruit mix, and 3/4 cup walnuts; toss well.  Cover and chill 6 hours.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup walnuts and 1 teaspoon lemon zest just before serving.


Printable recipe

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Taco Salad with a Difference

March 13th, 2010

This has got to be the most refreshing salad I have ever tasted. Most taco salads are loaded with fat from all the cheese and ground beef. There is no cheese in this salad and it calls for ground turkey instead of ground beef. To be honest with you, I can live without the cheese. I have never been a big cheese eater and most of the time I find myself in a distinct minority. In place of the cheese you have a wonderful yogurt dressing flavored with lime juice and cilantro. The salad is further enhanced with mango, black beans tomatoes and corn. Taco salads are usually served in a huge taco shell and although I love the taste of the shell it is usually way too much to eat. In this case, corn tortillas are cut into wedges and baked until crisp. They give just the right amount of bite to the dish.

The only complaint I got about the dish from David was that he would have preferred it for a lunch instead of Friday night dinner. He is kind of like Ina Garten’s Jeffery; Friday night dinner should be a roast chicken or some other special treat. He is getting his roast chicken tonight.

I found this recipe in The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook; The New Classics. The cookbook was $6.99 at T.J. Maxx. I’m glad I found the cookbook and the recipe. It is a keeper and I will definitely be making it often for lunch and light suppers . . . just not on Fridays.


1 cup of frozen corn, cooked
3 corn tortillas, each cut into 16 wedges
3/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
2 limes and their zests
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped and seeded jalapeno pepper
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 pound ground turkey
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 head of iceberg lettuce, torn into 2 inch pieces (about 3 cups)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 plum tomatoes, cut into 1/2 thick wedges
1/2 red onion, sliced ( I put the slices in ice water for a while to eliminate the strong onion taste)
1 mango, peeled, seeded, and cut into cubes

Cook the frozen corn in a small saucepan with a little water until done. Drain and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the tortilla wedges in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet; bake until crisp, turning once about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven; let cool, and set aside.

Make the dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt, juice from 1 lime, zest of 1 lime, cilantro, jalapeno, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium nonstick skillet, brown the turkey over medium heat, stirring frequently, until no longer pink, about 7 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, juice of other lime, and lime zest. I added a little salsa just to keep it moist.

Transfer the mixture to a large serving bowl. Add the lettuce, beans, tomatoes, onion, mango, and reserved corn. Toss to combine well. Drizzle with yogurt dressing and top with tortilla wedges. Serve immediately.

Serves 6. 233 calories. 4 Weight watchers points.

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.