Last Minute Couscous Salad
2 cups whole wheat couscous
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup Italian dressing
1 container grape tomatoes
1/4 cup green onion
1 cup crumbled feta
1 cup sunflower seeds, deshelled
Rush into the house, try not to forget the kid in the car or trip over the mountain of shoes by the door. Bring chicken stock to a boil in the microwave. Quickly chop cucumber into bite sized pieces. Add couscous to chicken stock, stir and let sit. Resume chopping cucumber, or begin chopping tomatoes and green onion if you are one of them over-achieving choppers. Contemplate how nice grape tomatoes are because if time is really short you can just toss the whole darn container in with bothering to slice them first.
The couscous usually needs about 5 minutes to set so from here there are a few choices:
1) You can keep the couscous and veggies separate until you get to your party where you mix it together in a way that looks effortless.
2) You can quickly spread the couscous out on a baking sheet that has been lightly sprayed with olive oil. Toss it in your freezer for a few minutes to chill. Then combine everything into a fantsy pantsy serving bowl before anyone knew that you were in a panic.
3) You can mix the veggies and couscous and dressing into one container and run while praying there are no couscous bits stuck to your bits.
Whatever tactic you choose, always keep the feta and sunflower seeds out until the couscous is cooled.
This is actually a great recipe to whip up when you have plenty of time to let it cool and there are many variations on it. Try adding red pepper, or use balsamic dressing instead of the Italian. Leftover shrimp and chicken would be great, as well as any leftover roasted veggies.
For those of us on the exchange diet, this is a perfect lunch idea. It's got the carb/protein/veggie ratio that can be easily adjusted with what is on hand. The sunflower seeds count as the fat in this meal, so limit it to about 1 tbsp if making individual portions. The dressing can be counted as a free exchange as long as it is fat free.
This is a great party salad, and a fantastic way to use leftovers. Let me know what variations you come up with.