Friends, today I have two recipes that take FIVE INGREDIENTS and FIVE MINUTES. You see, even this cook (who occasionally throws dinner together in a flash) seeks faster ways to get food on the table. My motive? Not that any impatient twenty-something needs reason to be in a hurry, but I got a job. A real job with a real salary (wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles)!
So with a full-time job starting Monday, a part-time job removing staples and keeping the copier company, and grad classes (Food & Culture this semester!), I need some super-fast meals.
This week was exhausting, and while we did resort to Chinese carry-out for the first time in a year, I threw two dishes together I really must share with you. Just in case you’re busy, too. Or hungry.
Do I really need to tell you reason number four-hundred sixty-three why I love Trader Joes?? We could talk about how affordable this whole salad is there, sure, but this week I went ga-ga over their Goat Cheese Medallions. You know those bags of mini Babybel cheese wheels in the little red wax? Trader Joes now offers a similar little bag of mini cheese wheels— goat cheese wheels—and my work week has entailed enjoying these cheesey samplings in every which way.
This was my easy and sumptuous lunch, way less than five minutes to assemble, unless you need a few seconds to wash the lettuce.
1. Lettuce (I used arugula, spinach or another dark green would also work)
2. Dried cranberries (I prefer these over sweetened Craisins, as the cranberries are sweet enough)
3. Walnuts (from an affordable bag of TJ’s bits-and-pieces. you could also buy in bulk or enjoy almonds here)
4. Goat Cheese (I would be tempted to eat the whole log of chevre if I had one, so the individual portions are perfect for this snappy salad)
5. Dressing (specifically, a squeeze of lemon wedge and a drizzle of olive oil. simple bliss)
Combine. Enjoy with gourmet crackers, cheese twists (pictured here), or a slice of hearty bread. It looks as sophisticated as it does beautiful, but believe me, there’s such little work involved. I brought the ingredients to work and did a one-minute assembly before scarfing it down. On other days of the week, I substituted avocado for cranberries, or tomato. All were delicious. (I am not liable for drooling co-workers).
I promise I didn’t eat arugula and lemon every day this week, but I had enough around to need a few variations. As Andrew put in a DVD last night and reached the menu screen, this meal was done. On the plate, awaiting a fork.
Fast, nutritious, effortless, and oh-so good.
Lindsey’s Whole-Wheat Lemon Couscous with Wilted Arugula
1. Whole wheat couscous
2. Whatever veggies you find in the fridge
3. Almonds (or other nuts)
4. Fresh parmesan
While you’re heating the olive oil for the couscous (which cook in five minutes no matter how much you make!), chop your veggies (tomatoes + arugula) and soften them in the hot oil just before adding the water. When the water comes to a boil (equal parts water to dry couscous), remove the pot from the heat, stir in the couscous (and salad greens here, if using), cover for five minutes.
In the brief, brief time the couscous cooks, grate some parmesan on your plate, grab a small handful of nuts, and get your beverage while you’re at it because you simply combine everything on your plate (minus the beverage) and it’s all ready to eat! Yes, already. Squeeze a small wedge of lemon over everything for a really divine finish. I prepared 1/2 cup dry couscous, one plum tomato, and a small handful of arugula. This was enough for a generous single serving, and delightfully filling.
I hope you didn’t think beautiful food has to take a lot of work and a lot of money. Not on this blog, my friends.