Near East Couscous Review And Giveaway

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Are there any foods that you haven’t tried just because you have some idea in your head about what they are or what they taste like? I do. When I decided to write about foods more on this blog I promised myself that I was going to try new things. It was with that in mind that I accepted an opportunity to review Near East Couscous.

I don’t really know what it is I thought Couscous was, I just has this silly notion that it was some super spicy side dish. I had no idea it was pasta. Yep. Couscous is a bunch of tiny pasta balls.

From the website – Couscous is tiny grains of a round, pre-cooked pasta made in the U.S. from high quality durum (yields a glutinous flour) wheat. It has a nutty, wheat-like flavor and retains a firm bite after cooking. Couscous can be used just like rice or pasta in favorite recipes. Couscous can be used as a side dish, as directed on the package, as an ingredient or as a main dish when chicken, beef, beans or vegetables are added. Cooked and served like rice, couscous has been around for centuries. It’s a staple in many cuisines from around the world, where grains, vegetables, fruits and legumes create the foundation of a healthful diet.

So I decided to try it. I didn’t really expect to like it. I don’t know why, it was that silly notion still knocking around inside my head.

I received a box of each of the new flavors of Near East Pearled Couscous for this review. The Pearled Couscous is made from all natural ingredients and has 0 grams of trans fat and 8-9 grams of protein. One box has an approximate retail price of $2.89.

near east pearled couscous boxes

The first one I made was the Basil & Herb Pearled Couscous. To make it you’re supposed to combine 1 3/4 cups water, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the Pearled Couscous. After bringing to a boil you add the included spices and then bring to a boil again. No draining necessary. Simple enough.  I was surprised to find that the Couscous was tender and tasty, it reminded me a little bit of what huge pastina might be like. I put more a little more water in the pot than the directions called for so I did have some liquid left in the pot (seen in the picture below), which I think diluted the flavor a little.

near east couscous bowl

Another night I made the Roasted Garlic and Olive Oil Pearled Couscous. This time I followed the directions to the letter and measured the water. I had no excess liquid in the pot and the flavor wasn’t quite as weak. The texture was still great and I liked the flavor of this one even more. Each box of Pearled Couscous contains 2 servings. I stretched that to 3 servings, which was perfect for us since CJ can’t have any because it’s got gluten.

near east gourmet meal kit box

I also received a box of the Mediterranean Herb Gourmet Meal Kit to try. This also has 0 grams of trans fat and all natural ingredients. To make the meal kit you add a pound of chicken and some included spices and cook that in a skillet while you cook the couscous and some included spices in a pot and combine it all together at the end. I added some green beans as well. The flavor was terrific. I do wish it could have all been cooked in just the skillet to save on dishes. One meal kit can serve 4 and sells for approximately $3.69 per box.

The Near East site is quite interesting. It offers product information, and also currently has a coupon for $1 off any two Near East products. It also offers many cooking tips and techniques, and some interesting cooking articles as well. Near East offers 30 different flavors and varieties of rice pilaf, couscous and other grain dishes.

WIN IT!

One winners will receive a kit including both of the new Pearled Couscous flavors and one Gourmet Meal Kit.

HOW TO ENTER. (MANDATORY)

Visit the Near East site and then leave a comment on this post telling me a flavor of Couscous that you’d like to see added.

BONUS ENTRIES – LOTS OF THEM!

1 – Subscribe to my newsletter. (at top of sidebar)
1 – Subscribe to my RSS feed. (at top of page)
1 – Follow me on Twitter AND leave your Twitter name here. (at top of page)
1 – Tweet this giveaway.
1 – Friend me on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/valmg
1 – Fave this blog at Technorati AND leave your Technorati name here.
1 – Blog about this giveaway, including a link here.
1 – Place my button on your blog. (in sidebar)
1 – Visit HereAndThere.US (my Mom) and leave a comment on any post (except a giveaway post) there. Then return here and leave a comment on this post telling me one thing you read or learned on my Mom’s blog. (That’s two comments you need to leave for this bonus entry, one there and one here.) Unlimited entries for this method of entry.

Leave an additional comment for each entry you qualify for. You must have completed the first entry according to the instructions to be eligible for any bonus entries.

THE SMALL PRINT.

US addresses only please. No PO boxes. This contest will end on Thursday 10/29/09 at 5:59 pm est. If you’ve entered any of my giveaways before then you know that only comments containing all of the requested information will be eligible for entry. The winner must contact me to confirm they wish to receive the prize within two days of my email notifying them they’ve won. Good luck to everyone!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.

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95 comments

Renee G October 17, 2009 - 11:06 pm

I wish they would add something with a little zing like a chicken caesar couscous. Although I like couscous– I generally find it a little bland.

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Barbara M October 18, 2009 - 12:04 am

I’d like to see a flavor with chipotle which is smoked jalapeno.

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Benita G. October 18, 2009 - 8:21 am

I’d like to see dried tomato red basil couscous.

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Benita G. October 18, 2009 - 8:22 am

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pat. October 18, 2009 - 10:15 am

Years ago when the boys were little, we all went to WDW’s Morocco for its food. Hubby tried its fair and we haven’t been back since. The little men did love the belly dancers though.

Jeanette Huston October 18, 2009 - 5:31 pm

I like the idea of smoked jalapeno.

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Kathy K October 19, 2009 - 7:03 pm

I’d like to see a Pilaf-style flavor.

Nancy October 19, 2009 - 7:49 pm

I think a Roasted Red Pepper Couscous would be great!

Nancy October 19, 2009 - 7:49 pm

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Kathy October 19, 2009 - 10:45 pm

Some sort of North African spice blend would be great… love couscous!

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Carolsue October 20, 2009 - 3:57 am

The Rice Pilaf flavor would be the one I’d like to try the most
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LivingforGod October 20, 2009 - 4:46 am

I’d like to see Spicy Thai couscous :).

Lisa p October 20, 2009 - 4:35 pm

hmm maybe like a saffron based flacor. I love cousecous

Matt October 20, 2009 - 7:21 pm

I’d love to see a Parmesan & Garlic flavor and maybe a flavor with a spicy kick.

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Amanda October 22, 2009 - 12:35 am

The roasted garlic and olive oil looks delicious!
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Jessie C. October 22, 2009 - 2:09 am

I’d like to see spicy flavor, like spicy curry.

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Lisa October 22, 2009 - 5:23 pm

Most of the flavors offered seem to be savory… what about a light lemon and herb flavored couscous?

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Jennifer October 24, 2009 - 1:03 pm

I would like to see a garlic chicken and cheese Couscous!

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JEANETTE HUSTON October 24, 2009 - 10:49 pm
Marj M. October 25, 2009 - 12:57 pm

I would like to see a Couscous with a jalapeno flavor. My mouth waters to think of it.

Brian October 25, 2009 - 6:36 pm

I think a Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke couscous would be tasty.

michelle rosborough October 25, 2009 - 8:15 pm

Spanish

michelle rosborough October 25, 2009 - 8:15 pm

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mj October 26, 2009 - 9:32 am

I’d like to see the pearlized couscous come in Parmesan.

Jennai October 26, 2009 - 8:44 pm

I’d like to see a Mexican or spicy-type flavor
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Francine Anchondo October 27, 2009 - 8:36 pm

I would like to see a jalapeno flavor.

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CherylS22 October 29, 2009 - 3:44 pm

I’d like to see Herbed Chicken add to the wheat couscous line

CherylS22 October 29, 2009 - 3:45 pm

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Rebecca Orr October 29, 2009 - 5:44 pm

Maybe something with garlic and tomatoes…i saw they already had something with both of these…but separately, not together. bekki1820cb@yahoo.com

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