Picture, that is. I was lucky to get two very decent pictures, and then my camera battery died. The only problem, I didn’t quite get the perfect angle on either, and one shows off the chicken better while the other much better displays my couscous and zucchini. Can you tell I was all about presentation tonight? I guess it comes along with being a foodie, but I really do get a kick out of making a plate look so pretty! Now, on to the food.
As you might know, I am a certified pumpkin freak. I look forward to fall for the onslaught of pumpkin cakes and cookies and pies and breads and pancakes and risottos and ravioli… basically whatever I can put my pumpkin into! I might be the only person in the world who actually eats pumpkin every day – I put it in my oatmeal. What a treat! Good thing it is a “superfood”.
Well anyway, last fall, my mom and I were browsing in a bookstore and came across DeeDee Stovel’s Pumpkin: A Super Food for All 12 Months of the Year
cookbook. It’s a shame that pumpkin is usually relegated to the fall, and this book gives plenty of recipes (excuses) to enjoy pumpkin year-round. The only problem might be actually finding fresh pumpkin to cook with for about 10 months out of the year. However, the book does say that butternut squash is a fine substitute (I believe the two vegetables are closeley related) and obviously, any recipe that calls for canned pumpkin can be made anytime.
I found a recipe perfect for the grill – Barbeque Chicken Thighs with Spicy Pumpkin Sauce. However, you also know I can hardly ever make a recipe without any changes! My problem with this recipe was that it was way too caloric – with the majority coming from a large amount of brown sugar, worcestershire sauce, and molasses. Inspired by the ever-popular Weight Watchers Diet Cola chicken (which I have never tried, by the way) I decided to modify this recipe by cutting the sugar and adding diet cola to keep the sweetness but cut calories. I also cut down amounts of some of the other liquid ingredients. I considered using light syrup instead of molasses, but in the end I went with real maple syrup (because I had that, and I did not have molasses, and I wanted to keep something for stickiness). Shown below is my modified version. I only used half of it, and froze the other half for later use (good thing we loved it so much!) I used two chicken breasts, but in reality the amount of sauce (half the recipe) would certainly be enough for 4 pieces of chicken. 1/4 of the recipe has ~65 calories, but again, you could get away with using half of that amount for one chicken breast.
3/4 cup Cider Vinegar
1 tsp Hot Pepper Sauce
1/2 cup Pumpkin
6 oz Diet Coke
2 tbsp Maple Syrup
2 tbsp dijon mustard
2tbsp Kikkoman Lite Soy Sauce
1 clove garlic Garlic
1 tsp fresh Ginger Root
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
2 tbsp Orange Juice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
I whisked these ingredients together, and brushed some on my chicken breasts and let them marinate for 20-30 minutes. Once the chicken was on the grill, we boiled the remaining sauce and let it simmer for a few minutes – it thickned up quite nicely. We then used this to baste the chicken while grilling.
Meanwhile, I prepared the couscous:
-saute some thinly sliced yellow onion in a nonstick pan with evoo spray, over low-medium heat, until very soft
-add 2 tbsp slivered almonds, let toast for a few more minutes
-add dashes of cinnamon and ginger, salt and pepper
-add 2 tbsp dried cranberries, 1/4 cup OJ, and 6 tbsp water, bring to a boil
-add 1/2 cup couscous, stir, cover, remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
Then fluff it all up and serve!