Chicken Skewers With Cous Cous Salad
2 chicken breasts (diced), 1 lemon, 1 garlic clove, handful of rosemary, 1 courgette, approx. 10-12 cherry tomatoes, 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, wooden skewers
For the cous cous: half a red and half a yellow pepper, handful green beans (approx. 70g), 1/3 cucumber, handful fresh parsley. Other vegetable ideas to add: sweetcorn, petits pois, cherry tomatoes and celery.
Serves 2-3 - Prep time: 25 mins - Cook time: 15 mins
1. Allow 36g of cous cous per serving. Add 50ml of boiling water per serving. Mix the cous cous with the boiling water in a bowl. Add a knob of butter and mix well. Cover and leave to stand for 5 minutes and fluff up with fork or spoon. Leave to cool.
2. Soak the wooden skewers in a bowl of water for about 20-30 minutes.
3. Finely grate the lemon zest, garlic clove and finely chop the rosemary and add to the chicken along with the juice of half the lemon and 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Marinate for approx. 20-30 minutes or use straightaway if pushed for time.
4. Whilst the chicken is marinating, chop the peppers and cucumber and finely chop the parsley, boil the green beans for a minute or two and then run under cold tap to stop the cooking so still crunchy.
5. Add the vegetables to the cous cous. I usually start with half a squeezed lemon and a decent drizzle of extra virgin olive oil over the cous cous, mix and assess if you’d like more. It depends how much of this flavour you’d like on your salad.
6. Peel the courgette in a long slice and roll up into a ribbon and thread onto the skewer, followed by a piece of chicken, tomato and repeat in whatever order you wish.
7. Place under a high grill and cook for 4-5 minutes each side until golden and cooked through. I like to place foil over the skewers for at least 15 after cooking so the meat is really tender and rested.
Serve with pitta bread, tortilla wraps or any type of bread. Children love rolling up all the cous cous, chicken and vegetables and being in control of what they are putting into their mouths. Prepare to have cous cous all over your kitchen though!
How to serve this meal to your child
Beginner: ‘My child refuses any new meals’
Cook for yourself and serve a skewer alongside your child’s usual meal or offer it as a small starter whilst they are waiting for their meal the next day. The great thing about this approach is that you are not cooking specifically for your child, you are giving them leftovers from a meal that you would have cooked anyway, so straightaway there is LESS expectation and pressure. It’s about creating easy opportunities to widen your child’s food list. If the rosemary and lemon are a step too far, do one plain chicken skewer to start and build up. Get your child involved in the cooking process if possible, even cutting up the herbs with scissors, helping weigh the cous cous or chop the vegetables.
Intermediate eater: ‘My child may try this new dish but I’m not sure’
Choose a day when you can eat together. Offer other components your child usually eats so there is no pressure. If both the cous cous AND the chicken is a step too far, serve the kebabs with rice or pasta. Offer plain cous cous and leave the vegetables on the side for your child to add in if they wish. Kids like the independence of building their own meal and being left to it. It doesn’t matter if your child doesn’t touch the new meal, it is all about your child getting used to seeing new food and taking it in and also seeing you eat it to give them confidence for future meals.
Advanced eater: ‘My child eats most things I give them and is not phased by new food’
Serve the new meal and if they unexpectedly do refuse it, the best advice is not to panic and don’t feel bad. It’s just one meal. Say non-confrontational words such as ‘you don’t have to eat anything you don’t want to’ and and see if they can try a bit in their own time. If they don’t, it is best to move onto the next mealtime and write it off and try another time!