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Lemony Orange Cake

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We recently celebrated my Dad’s 61st birthday and I meant to only provide a Banoffee Pie, but I’ve been in an experimental baking mode lately and we ended up having a dessert-athon with three cakes in addition to the pie…all for only 8 guests!

The surprise favorite turned out to be this Lemony Orange Cake.  It is heavier than a regular cake, but lighter than a pound cake and extremely moist with a wonderful orange glaze that locks in the moisture.  The citrus flavors make it the perfect summer treat.


Lemony Orange Cake

Printable recipe

Cake
1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 (3 ounce) package instant lemon pudding mix
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 teaspoon lemon extract

Glaze
1/3 cup orange juice
2/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

Grease & flour a 10 inch Bundt pan. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

In a large bowl, stir together cake mix and pudding mix. Pour in the 3/4 cup orange juice, oil, eggs, orange zest, and lemon extract. Beat on low speed until blended. Scrape bowl, and beat 4 minutes on medium speed. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Once it’s cool, fit the Bundt pan back over the cake and flip it over so the cake is back in the pan.  In a saucepan over medium heat, cook 1/3 cup orange juice, sugar and butter until it comes to a boil and continue to boil for two minutes. Pour the glaze over the bottom of the cake and use a spatula to spread to the sides so that it drips  down evenly on all sides and on the inside circle.  You don’t want all the glaze sitting on top, you want it to drip down so it can soak into the cake evenly.  Allow to soak for 10 minutes, then place a serving plate on top of the pan & flip it over so that the cake comes out on the plate.  Glaze will dry so that the cake can be covered with plastic wrap until serving.  If made more than two days in advance, store in the fridge.  Don’t worry–it will stay moist even if made several days ahead!

Orange Couscous with Chicken

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Although couscous looks like a tiny grain, it’s actually a form of pasta.

Couscous is a primary staple throughout the Maghreb, in much of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya.  It is also popular in the West African Sahel, in France, Spain, Madeira, in western Sicily’s Province of Trapani, as well as in Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Middle East. It is particularly popular among Jews of North African descent such as the Berber Jews, and is eaten in many other parts of the world as well.

My first couscous experience was in the traditional Moroccan style.  Well, nearly traditional.  My friend, Margo, is an American married to a man from Morocco and his sister taught her to make the couscous dish she prepared that night.  So as far as I know, the recipe was traditional–but it wasn’t served in quite the traditional way.

In Morocco, the entire meal is put onto a giant platter and plunked down in the middle of the table (table optional, actually!).  Then everyone digs in with their fingers.  It is quite a sight to behold.  These people literally scoop their bare fingers into the food, lick them clean and then put their fingers back in for more.  Excuse my squeamish American standards of etiquette & cleanliness, but I can barely tolerate watching this spectacle and I’m not about to participate.  Lucky for me, she provided our group with spoons.  Have you ever tried eating a chicken leg with a spoon?

But I digress.  The experience was unique and I thoroughly enjoyed it so I decided to venture out and buy couscous to incorporate into my own meals.

This one is mostly savory with a little sweet from the oranges.  You can save the liquid from the oranges to pour over the top of your dish in case you find you prefer more sweetness (like I do).  It may be just my particular taste, but I really enjoy the brightness that the parsley imparts.

Orange Couscous with Chicken
6 Servings

3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup water
3 tsp. chicken bouillon granules (or 3 cubes)
6 oz. uncooked whole-wheat couscous
12 oz. shredded cooked chicken breast
1 3/4 cups drained canned mandarin orange sections (about 2 small cans)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

In a large Dutch oven, combine orange juice, water & bouillon; bring to a boil and make sure the bouillon completely dissolves.  Remove from heat; stir in the couscous.  Cover, let stand 10 minutes.

Add chicken, 1 1/2 cups of the orange sections and the parsley to Dutch oven; stir to combine.  Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes, until heated through.

To serve, arrange couscous mixture in large serving bowl; garnish with the remaining 1/4 cup orange sections & a bit of parsley.  Plonk it on the table and tell everyone to dig in.  Or, if you prefer, divide it among six plates that are lined with an optional lettuce leaf and provide forks.  I prefer the latter.

Per Serving
243 Calories
2.3 g Fat
.6 g Saturated Fat
48 mg. Cholesterol
66 mg Sodium
32.5 g Carbohydrates
2.2 g Dietary Fiber
9.1 g Sugars
22 g Protein
22% Vitamin A
78% Vitamin C
3% Calcium
8% Iron

If you don’t have access to local chicken that has been raised humanely, you could always make this vegetarian by using  Quorn’s Chik’n Tenders or Morningstar Farms Meal Starters Chik’n Strips (both found in the freezer section).  To go completely vegetarian, sub veggie bouillon granules as well.  KitchenBitch tells me there’s an awesome low-sodium vegetable bouillon called Organic Gourmet.

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