Mediterranean Meatballs and Couscous

  • 1 can (14 ozs) fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups couscous
  • 3/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 3 T lemon juice, divided
  • 3 t grated lemon peel, divided
  • 2 t ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1 t turmeric
  • 1/2 t ground cumin
  • 1 pound ground round beef
  • 1/2 cup crushed saltine crackers
  • 1/4 cup evaporated skimmed milk
  • 1/2 t dried oregano leaves

1. Pour chicken broth and water into 2-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat. Add couscous, raisins, parsley, 2 T lemon juice, 2 t lemon peel, 1 1/2 t cinnamon, turmeric, and cumin. Cover and let stand 5 minutes.

2. Combine beef, crackers, milk, remaining 1 T lemon juice, 1 t lemon peel, 1/2 t cinnamon, and oregano in large bowl. Mix until well blended. Shape into 24 meatballs. Place in large microwavable baking dish. Cover loosely with waxed paper. Microwave at HIGH 4 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through. Stir couscous mixture and spoon onto platter. Top with meatballs. Garnish with lemon and fresh oregano, if desired.

Yield: 6 servings

From Favorite Brand Name Best-Loved Light Recipes

I picked this recipe because I have never made couscous before and wanted to try it. I thought this dish was good, just very different from anything we have eaten before. It was sorta slow eating because the flavors were just so strange. Hopefully we will make many different things and get used to having flavors that are completely different and it won’t be so odd!

This was fairly easy to make, and I chopped and measured everything out before starting so that I didn’t have surprises. It was a good thing because I discovered several things early on! First of all, you need more than one lemon. I thought that one lemon would be plenty, but I got every bit of the zest off and there wasn’t really quite enough. And the juice only made 2 tablespoons, so I had to resort to 1 tablespoon of the store bought lemon juice from concentrate. The second thing I discovered is that I had read the ingredients wrong and did not see that it said evaporated milk. I always keep milk on hand and did not purchase any at the store today. So I ended up using regular milk and that seemed to work fine.

The last thing that happened was that I just read a measurement wrong. I had measured out the crushed saltines in a bowl and was thinking that it looked like an awful lot of them. I re-read the recipe and I had put twice as much as were called for! Thank goodness I was measuring beforehand and not in the middle of adding things!

I’d also like to remark on the ground beef. I ended up using a 90/10 blend of ground beef instead of 85/15 (which is ground round). It still made a lot of grease in the bottom of my meatball dish. I just picked up the meatballs individually with tongs so that we didn’t get any of that excess grease in our meal.

Overall this was a good dish, inexpensive, and easy to make. I think we would probably make it again somewhere down the road!

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