Quarantine Cookbook: Level up with couscous

Opinion Editor Rewon Shimray shares how to make a meal featuring chicken, vegetables and couscous. Rewon Shimray | Opinion Editor

By Rewon Shimray | Opinion Editor

Welcome back to the Quarantine Cookbook! The goal of these recipes is to make you feel like a chef by exerting the least amount of energy, using the fewest ingredients and requiring the most minimal skill possible.

Last time we made sandwiches with whatever was left in our fridge. With the confidence gained from making your very own gourmet sandwich, I will now guide you through the next level.

We are going to use both the stove top and oven — moving to new cooking territory. I believe in you. This is the self-development you need to come out of quarantine having. Today we are making couscous bowls.

One baking sheet. Twenty minutes. Three servings.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 box of couscous mix
  • veggies (I have chosen a zucchini, yellow squash and carrot.)
  • 1-2 chicken breasts
  • garlic and/or onion (I strongly recommend including both.)
  • olive oil
  • 1 pot with a lid
  • 1 baking sheet

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

While waiting for it to warm, begin cutting your vegetables into your desired shape and size. Don’t cut them too small or else they’ll burn. Go ahead and dice the onion and garlic, too.

Prepare the chicken by tossing with olive oil and seasonings.

Take out a baking sheet that looks big enough for everything you’ve just prepped — trust your intuition here. Lay aluminum foil over it and put the carrots over it first. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the chicken on the baking sheet, too. These two ingredients take the longest to cook, so they’ll go in the oven first.

Set a timer for 5 minutes. Once the time is up, add in everything else on the baking sheet. Make sure to oil and season these vegetables, too.

Put everything back in the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Now, it’s couscous time. Couscous is one of those foods that seem fancy but are actually one of the easiest things to cook. The brand of couscous you bought may have different directions, so be sure to check that.

The brand I got was Near East. To cook, you combine 1 1/4 cup of water, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the box’s seasonings in a pot. Once it begins to boil, slowly stir in the couscous. As soon as the couscous is well-mixed into the liquid, cover the pot and remove it from the heat. Let it stand for 5 minutes. Don’t touch it. I promise everything in there is under control.

Before you know it, your timers for both the oven and the couscous are going off. If it’s a magical day, they may even go off simultaneously!

Serve with the couscous at the base and chicken and vegetables on top.

Feel free to spice it up with some herbs, salsa, pesto or cut up grape tomatoes.

Rewon Shimray | Opinion Editor
Opinion Editor Rewon Shimray shares how to make a meal featuring chicken, vegetables and couscous. Rewon Shimray | Opinion Editor

You did it! Send a picture to your mom, post it on Snapchat or share it with me on my food Instagram @rachel.raywon.

You deserve to be proud, and also to eat! The recipe says three servings, but don’t feel guilty if it ends up serving one.