With my husband busy at work on the house, I have taken it upon myself to cook our dinners. It is a fun chore, to be honest. I love being able to try different recipes, and being new to the city, picking out and experimenting with the dinner menu and buying all that you need for a week’s worth of food in a supermarket really makes me happy. I never thought grocery shopping can give me as much joy as it does now. My snapchat and instagram feed is probably 70% food related. I’m either buying, cooking, or eating food. Domesticated, much?
I have no shame in my dinner game. I will always strive to impress when it comes to dinner. Dinner is, and has always been, the meal that truly represents “family”. Growing up, I would always look at dinner as the most important and most filling meal of the day, the one with the combination of at least 3 dishes – a meat dish, a vegetable dish, and a big bowl of steaming rice. It was always the meal with the special dishes. The dinner menu had to be thought through. Flavors had to complement each other, and you can’t have the same thing two nights in a row. (Unless there’s particularly good leftovers!) Most importantly, my mom used to wait for all of us to get home so we can all eat together. Somehow, eating without a family member feels weird. Now that Andrew and I have become each other’s family, I feel weird when eating dinner without him. It’s a feeling and a habit that I hope I never lose. Speaking from experience – sitting down with family to enjoy food is a ritual that holds families together.
Special and Fuss-Free
While I urge you to make every dinner special, the problem is that if you really aim to please, you’ll find that a lot of the recipes out there will be unforgiving when it comes to the cost of ingredients and cooking time. A few days ago, I made lamb tagine for our weekend dinner (the assigned fancy dinner night because it allows for longer cooking time), and while it was impressive and delicious, I felt bad about our grocery bill.
This recipe of chicken and couscous was easy and inexpensive, yet it was one of the more impressive dinners I prepared so far. It was all done on the hob in one pot. The ingredients were pretty affordable. The product was delicious! Served with steamed green beans, this is a truly satisfying meal.
Do yourself and your family a favor, and whip up this crowd pleaser of a dish for dinner with the gang this week.
- 8 skin on, bone-in chicken thighs
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 2 tbsp garam masala
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp mild chili
- 1 tbsp all spice
- 1 finely chopped onion
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced
- 500ml stock (one chicken cube dissolved in water is fine)
- large handful whole black olives (halved pitted olives are fine too)
- zest and juice 1 lemon
- 250g couscous
- 250g chickpeas / garbanzos
- greek yogurt
- small bunch chopped flat-leaf parsley to garnish
- Take all the spices with a sprinkle of salt and mix in a bowl.
- Toss the chicken thighs in the spice mixture. Make sure they are nicely coated, especially the skin. Add more spice mix as necessary.
- Fry chicken thighs skin side down first in hot oil in a large pan with a cover. Leave for about 7-8 minutes before turning over, then cook on the other side for 2 minutes.
- When the chicken is cooked thoroughly on both sides, take them out of the pan and set on a plate with paper towel.
- With the spices from the chicken still on the pan, heat up a little bit more oil and sautee onions until semi clear, and then the garlic, chickpeas, and olives. Sautee for a minute more.
- Add the vegetable stock and stir it in with all the spices from the chicken and the sauteed ingredients.
- Sit the cooked chicken in the stock and chickpeas, skin side up. Cover and let simmer for a 4-5 mins.
- Transfer the chicken to a plate. Take the pan out of the heat, and add the couscous, lemon juice, and lemon rind to the stock and chickpeas. After a couple of minutes, fluff the couscous. Add more stock if needed to cook the couscous through.
- Return the chicken on top of the cooked couscous. Sprinkle with parsley, if using. Serve in pan.
- Great with tzaziki or plain yogurt. Serve with stemed green beans. Add chillies or cayenne peper if you're going for a bold and spicy dish!