Today, I would like to talk about the concept of the bonus meal. Each week, I plan out two meals that will definitely make leftovers and sometimes make ingredients that can be used for another meal (the concept of “chicken evolution” which was introduced in yesterday’s post). Even though my two cooking days usually make plenty of food for the week if we go out to lunch once or twice, I sometimes find that by the end of the week we need something else. I keep a pretty stocked pantry so even though we are done eating meat by the end of the week, I can usually count on pantry staples plus leftover veggies for another meal or two.
If you have been reading my fledgling blog, you will know I have been on vacation for the past couple of weeks and therefore cooking and blogging like a madwoman. We ate full breakfasts at home so much that we actually got tired of breakfast food as of yesterday. I scoured the fridge, the pantry and my cookbooks and found a recipe I wanted to try. I didn’t have all of the ingredients but I was sure I could try this. Sometimes that has to happen when you make a bonus meal, you have to be flexible with ingredients.
The recipe came out of “The Herbal Palate Cookbook” by Maggie Oster and Sal Gilbertie. The original recipe is called Couscous-Thyme Crust with Vegetable-Parsley filling. I didn’t have the full two tablespoons of fresh thyme called for in the recipe so a quick run to the herb pot in my back yard and a look in the crisper yielded a two tablespoon mixture of fresh thyme, oregano, cilantro, mint and rosemary. I didn’t have mushrooms and we were too lazy to run to the store so we used cauliflower instead. I used whole eggs instead of egg whites. I didn’t have pepper jack so I used an aged sharp cheddar then added fresh jalapeno and garlic to the filling to help out with the flavor since I was missing so many flavor packed ingredients. Altogether, the pie was good. I won’t say it was perfect but it tasted really healthy and my boyfriend loved it.
Vegetable Pie with Couscous herb crust
Adapted from The Herbal Palate Cookbook
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup whole-wheat couscous
2 large eggs
2 tbsp minced fresh herbs such as thyme, oregano cilantro, rosemary and mint
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
2 cups total thinly sliced zucchini and yellow squash
1 ½ cups chopped cauliflower
½ cup diced onion
1 or 2 cloves minced garlic
1 large jalapeno, diced
1 15 oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
½ cup packed shredded sharp cheddar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9” deep-dish pie pan with non-stick cooking spray. In a saucepan, bring the stock to a boil. Stir in the couscous, cover and remove from the heat. Let the couscous stand for five minutes. Lightly fluff the couscous with a fork. Beat the eggs and then stir them into the couscous with the fresh herbs. Pour the couscous mixture into your pie pan. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom and sides of the pan with the back of a spoon.
In a large saucepan, combine tomatoes, squash, cauliflower, onion, garlic and jalapeno. Cook the veggies over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 8-10 minutes or until veggies are tender. Remove from the heat and then stir in the beans, parsley and ¼ cup of the cheese.
Spoon the veggie mixture into the couscous crust. Bake 25 minutes or until the crust and veggies start to turn golden. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup of cheese over the top of the pie and bake another 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted. After removing the pie from the oven, let it sit for several minutes before cutting into wedges and serving.