Today was just one of those days. One of those days when you feel a headache starting off as soon as you wake up, when class seems to take twice as long as normal, when the erratic driver in front of you on the drive home makes you want to cry rather than laugh, when you come home needing a simple and quick comfort food.
Just one of those days.
I needed the ultimate comfort food–one that contains the dairy trifecta: milk, cheese, and butter. And because dairy does not equal “unhealthy”, you can use all three of those in some delicious moderation and eat comfort food that can still make you feel good. ‘Cause on days like these, guilt is the last thing you need on your plate.
Cheesy Peasy Couscous (Printable Recipe Card)
- 1 T butter
- 1 1/2 C broth (I used one chicken bouillon cube and 1 1/2 C water)
- 1 C frozen peas, defrosted and drained
- 1 1/2 C dry couscous
- 2 T whole-wheat flour
- 1 1/2 C skim milk
- 1/2 C Gruyère cheese (or other cheese)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1-2 t smoked paprika
Preheat the broiler. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the peas and the broth (or bouillon and water).
Bring the whole mixture to a boil and take off the heat. Pour in the dried couscous and cover with a lid or plate, and let it sit for fifteen minutes until it absorbs all the broth and gets nice and fluffy. Place the couscous into a casserole dish and get ready for the cheesy magic.
While you are waiting, make the cheese sauce. In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together the flour, milk, and cheese until a nice, smooth, thick sauce forms–it should only take a few minutes. Pour the sauce over the couscous mixture and mix it in.
Lookin’ good! Add a bit of salt and shake the smoked paprika over the top. Smooth the mixture out, and place under the broiler until a nice golden brown crust forms, about 5-10 minutes.
That’s it! Salt and pepper your serving to taste and eat right away. It’s kind of like a cross between mac and cheese and a casserole. I bet this would be even better with pearled couscous, ’cause it’d be even closer in texture to standard macaroni.
Fritz walked in as I was taking pictures of the finished product, and he was super excited to see this–he grew up with a lot more casserole-type dishes than I did, and he loves seein’ them come out of the oven. Spoon it all into a big dish, and let that comfort just roll over ya.
It’s okay if you want to add a little extra smoked paprika. I’m going to need to join Smoked Paprika Anonymous if things keep heading in this direction.
I also did a little work in the garden a few days ago and harvested a bunch of lavender. Since it seemed like a waste to hang them up to dry in the closet (far away from my eyes and nose), I put a few stems each into a bunch of glass jars and let them dry as a centerpiece for the table. They looked beautiful, smelled great, and only took a few days to dry. Now I just have to figure out what I want to make with them–lavender eye pillows? Lavender salt? Lavender ice cream?
So many ideas, so little time!
Have you ever made anything with dried lavender? Any ideas for me?