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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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