Chicken Roll-ups, Roasted Butternut Squash/Brussels Sprouts, Israeli Cous Cous

Perfect Food

When I lived in Germany 10 years ago, they didn’t have any shopping bags to carry your food out of the grocery store.  EVERYONE brought their own.  They also separated their recycles into at least 6 categories which had to be carried and dropped in the neighborhood bins (clear glass, green glass, brown glass, plastic, newspaper, and aluminum).  The Germans made fun of America’s apples, they told me that our apples were waxed and shined to look “pretty” and that it made our apples look fake (they thought we were fake too).  How preposterous, I thought!  So many years later, I often think about my German experience.  I wonder why Americans feel the need to cut ugly carrots down into 2 inch segments and repackage them into much prettier “baby carrots”.  I wonder why did our grandparents feel the need to cover their furniture in plastic (and never take it off)?  Why does everything have to look so perfect?  Everybody knows that even if it looks perfect on the outside, things are never what they seem.  So look out next time you bite into your juicy, waxed, perfect-looking apple – you just might find a worm.

Chicken Roll-ups:  This is one of our favorite chicken dinners.  You can make this is in any quantity and prepare ahead of time (just bake when ready).

  • Stir a little olive oil and salt into about 1 cup of Italian bread crumbs in a bowl (should   be   crumbly but not wet).
  • Cut (pounded) chicken cutlets in half on an angle.  Spread breadcrumb mixture on chicken, roll it up and fasten with a toothpick.  Space chicken out onto baking dish.
  • Mix broth and pour on top of  chicken:   1 cup of chicken broth, 1/2 cup of dry white wine, 1/4 cup of lemon juice.  Sauce should cover about 1/2 inch from bottom of dish.  This will thicken after cooking.
  • Bake at 475 for 15 minutes.  Baste chicken and sprinkle a little more breadcrumb mixture on top and bake for another 5 minutes.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussel Sprouts:

  • Wash Brussel Sprouts, cut off the end and cut them in half.  Cut butternut squash into cubes (you can also buy them cleaned/cut).
  • Toss veggies in a baking dish with EV olive oil, rosemary, salt/pepper.
  • Roast on 400 for approximately 45 mins.

Israeli Cous Cous

  • Cook 1/2 onion in a drop of olive oil until soft.
  • Add 1 cup of Israeli cous cous and mushrooms (any kind) and stir for a few minutes – add some parsley for color and salt/pepper.
  • Add 2 cups of water (and/or chicken broth) and cook for 10 minutes.

Beet Salad:

  • Boil some red beets and cut them into cubes.
  • Add grape tomatoes and mozzarella balls (both cut in half) to beets and toss with a drop of olive oil, salt/pepper and rice vinegar.

How Can the Kids Help?

  • Pour the EVOO into the breadcrumbs used in the chicken dish.
  • Find and push the toothpicks into the chicken.  Count the number of chicken pieces in the dish and the number of toothpicks you will need.
  • Help measure and pour the sauce over the chicken.
  • Sprinkle spices on veggies and help toss in the baking dish.
  • Try using a “chopper” to chop onions for the Cous Cous.
  • “Did You Eat Your 5 a Day?”

Did You Know?

  • You can bake and mash butternut squash and add a little butter, brown sugar and/or maple syrup- YUM!
  • Butternut squash is one of the best-keeping vegetables – you can store it for 3 months in your kitchen!
  • The tradition of lighting candles inside a carved pumpkin at Halloween is originally from Ireland where lit vegetables were hung in the window to ward off Jack O’ Lantern, a wayward soul condemned by the devil to walk the earth for all eternity.

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