What we ate: Baked Ziti, Gluten-free Mongolian BBQ, Leek-y Chicken and Couscous

Creamy Baked Ziti

This is going right up at the top of the dinner rotation. Next to the Korean beef. (Still in love with that one.)

I made some minor changes: greek yogurt instead of sour cream – couldn’t tell the difference – and one jar of spaghetti sauce instead of two. The ingredients list didn’t sound like it would all fit in my 9×13 pan, plus I prefer sauce to be on the sparse side. We decided we would have liked a little more sauce, but not necessarily enough to warrant opening the second jar. It definitely wouldn’t have all fit, anyway. I think I’d top out at 1.5 jars.

Gluten-free Mongolian BBQ

Gluten-free Mongolian BBQ

This was a HUGE hit. With me, at least. This is my favorite restaurant in the world and the vegetables/noodles tasted like I was there. It’s Japanese, technically, not Mongolian, but I assume they’re similar? At least in the noodle area? Anyway, I loved it. Thomas thought it was “good.” (He would have preferred it also include the teppanyaki meat.) The kids didn’t say much and just ate, which is a win in that at least they didn’t whine about how they didn’t like it. I didn’t get any “this was yummy”s, either, though.

This is the first time I’ve tried brown rice noodles. I was expecting them to be like most gluten-free substitutions and, basically, …suck. I thought they tasted more like regular white pasta than whole grain pasta does, though. The texture was better, too.

It took longer to make than I was planning, what with all the chopping and grating and onions always taking longer to become translucent than I think they should. (What is up with that?) I also pre-steamed the broccoli and added it at the very end because I refuse to eat broccoli with any sort of crunch, as does Margaret.

Leek-y Chicken and Couscous from Rachael Ray Express Lane Meals

When we first started making this a few years ago it was the first time we’d ever had couscous. Probably leeks, too, for that matter. At least the first time we cooked them. This is very easy and SO good. Leeks cooked in white wine = best thing ever.

Basically, you sautee 1.5 pounds chicken tenders in 2 tbsp EVOO (because what else would Rachel use? :)) over medium-high heat. While that’s cooking, chop and rinse 2 medium leeks (get all the dirt off!). When the chicken is brown on all sides, add the leeks and wilt (she says 2-3 minutes, it usually takes me 4). Then add 1 cup dry white wine and cook until it’s reduced by half (4-5 minutes). Serve over couscous and voila! You’re done!

She has a few make-it-fancier touches, like cooking the couscous with chicken stock & butter and adding golden raisins. I make it with water and DONE. We like it fine without chickens stock and I don’t like raisins. She also swirls 1 tbsp butter into the finished dish after the wine has reduced. It’s fine, but honestly I find it a little greasy and like it better without.

Chicken Couscous

If there’s wine in the food, there should be wine in the glass, right? I forgot to chill it, though, hence the addition of the ice cubes because I’m klassy.


  1. I have chicken and leeks in my fridge and couscous in my pantry. This might be dinner tonight.