I like lunches that can be thrown together using some store cupboard ingredients and leftovers. I do plan our lunches over the week, but allow flexibility as we sometimes eat out or have leftovers from the night before.This is one of our current favourites and uses our top three store cupboard lunch essentials. Ideal for when you really need to go food shopping, but two hungry tummies need to be filled first.
First of these store cupboard staples is couscous. It can be prepped one-handed with a grouchy baby balanced on a hip. I’ve even served it with bolognaise or chilli con carne when I haven’t got the patience to cook rice or pasta.
Next is herbs. Can be dried or fresh. Herbs are key for adding flavour without adding salt. We have a herb garden, though usually the herbs we use the most seem to be incompatible with our garden. It’s a special skill to be able to kill a mint plant. Hubs has this skill so I usually use dried mint in this recipe, however use fresh if you have it to hand. Remember if you are subbing dried for fresh, or vice versa in a recipe, you need to change the quantities. I go for 1 tbsp fresh herbs = 1 tsp dried herbs.
Finally yoghurt. The plain thick Greek style one. Since LB arrived on the scene there is always a large pot of it on the go. She happily eats it neat, but I also sometimes add fruit puree to sweeten it or use it as a savoury food dip. In this recipe the yoghurt helps keep the couscous stuck together making it easier for your little one to pick up. Still, I make no excuses; this can be a messy meal due to the couscous. Sometimes food has to be messy.
Toothless LB struggles with salad leaves so we leave them out for her, but sometimes if there are a few stray leaves of bagged salad in the fridge that needs using up I will throw them in my salad.
Chicken Couscous Salad
Serves 1 adult & 1 little one
How you prep the veg is up to you. I have it diced and LB currently eats cucumber in small sticks and tomato in wedges both minus the skin. To peel the skin off a tomato cut a large cross on the bottom of the tomato then dunk it in a mug of hot water for 5 min. You’ll then be able to peel the skin off the tomato without cooking it.
- 75g dried couscous
- generous pinch of dried mint
- leftover chicken
- 1 spring onion
- 1 tomato
- heaped tablespoons of greek yoghurt
- juice of half a lemon
- black pepper
- Fresh coriander, chopped (optional)
For the grown up
- sweet chilli sauce
- salad leaves
- Put the couscous and mint in a bowl and top with just enough freshly boiled water to cover it. Cover and leave for 5 minutes to allow it to absorb the water.
- Cut your chicken and vegetables into manageable pieces for your little one.
- Once the couscous is ready, fluff it up with a fork then stir in the vegetables and chicken.
- When ready to serve, stir in the yoghurt, lemon juice, pinch of black pepper and chopped coriander leaves.
- Pep up the grown up version with sweet chilli sauce, salad leaves and salt.