Balsamic Chicken, Israeli Couscous, and Spinach

Over the past few months, from time to time I’ve seen recipes, usually Mediterranean ones, that have Israeli couscous as an ingredient. Unfortunately, for the longest time, I couldn’t try out any of these recipes as I was having great trouble trying to find the ingredient locally. Israeli couscous, despite popular opinion, is not couscous at all, but actually a form of pasta – it reminds me of acini de pepe, only nuttier. There’s a great article here that goes into the origins of it. I found it locally at A Touch of Earth in the North Market for $4.25/lb.

And occasionally, I like to eat “light” – much more less than I should be, but after the heaviness of last week’s Thanksgiving dinner, I just wanted something simple for dinner – this week has been eating light week, with Cooking Light recipes as the staple for the past two nights, and also with tonight’s dinner as well. Since I had some chicken breast I needed to use up, I decided on a balsamic chicken recipe to prepare.

Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Balsamic Vinegar Pan Sauce, Israeli Couscous and Spinach

The chicken had great flavor, which could have been even more improved with a better quality balsamic vinegar – nonetheless, it was still quite excellent – I just didn’t feel comfortable using the “good” stuff ($40+ for a small bottle) for this recipe because of the quantity it calls for. So, if you decide to make it yourself, I recommend using the cheapest good vinegar to make it, something aged should do nicely. I prepared the couscous in a recipe that wouldn’t clash with the flavor of the sauce. The original recipe for the chicken calls for serving it over orzo (which I was out of), and the couscous was a good substitute. I rounded out the meal with some steamed spinach seasoned with just a little butter, kosher salt, and pepper.

Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Balsamic Vinegar Pan Sauce
courtesty Cooking Light

1/2 c. fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. honey
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
4 (5-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. finely chopped shallots
Chopped parsley (optional)

Combine broth, vinegar and honey. Melt butter and oil in a large nonstick skillet over low heat. While butter melts, sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in flour; shake off excess flour.

Increase heat to medium-high; heat 2 minutes or until the butter turns golden brown. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Add shallots, and saute 30 seconds. Add the broth mixture, scraping to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil, and cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 3 minutes). Serve sauce over chicken. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired. Yields: 4 servings (serving size: 1 breast and 2 tbsp sauce).

Per serving: 269 cal (27% from fat), 8.1g fat (sat 2.7g, mono 2g, poly 2.5g), 34 g pro, 90 mg chol, 29 mg calc, 331 mg sod, 0.2 g fib, 1.7 mg iron, 13.1 g carb, 6 WW points

Israeli Couscous
recipe courtesy

1 small onion, chopped
2 tbsp. oil
1 c. Israeli couscous
2 c. hot chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onion in the oil. Add the coucous and stir for a few minutes until lightly browned. Add the hot broth and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes or more until liquid is absorbed. Season to taste.

3 thoughts on “Balsamic Chicken, Israeli Couscous, and Spinach

  1. Rachel

    Hi, I don’t know you at all, but I found this blog entry via google, and I just wanted to say thanks! I made it all and it was delicious! (Well, I had green beans instead of spinach.)

  2. Cheri

    I prepared the chicken, the couscous, even the spinach this evening, and it was a hit! Thanks for sharing your recipes and your vast knowledge of food. I have you bookmarked for future finds.

  3. Pingback: Columbus Foodie » Blog Archive » Apple Day: Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Creamy Apple Cider Sauce

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