Fourth of July: Couscous with Tomatoes, Sautéed Spinach & Two Cheeses

By Michelle Plummer

Celebrate the Fourth of July!  The Fourth of July and Independence Day, July 4th has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution (1775-83). In June 1776, representatives of the 13 colonies then fighting in the revolutionary struggle weighed a resolution that would declare their independence from Great Britain. On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later its delegates adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. From 1776 until the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with typical festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues.  I thought I would gather some fun facts of Thomas Jefferson and others to share with your friends as you celebrate the 4th of July!  The answers are at the end.

  1.  Who is Dabney Carr?
  2.  Name 3 inventions of Jefferson’s?
  3.  Why is the no billiard room in Monticello?
  4. What contest did Jefferson enter but did not win?

This recipe was selected because of the ease and simplistic manner it can be made.

Couscous with Tomatoes, Sautéed Spinach & Two Cheeses
Makes 6 servings

1 cup each couscous and water (all to rest 10 min)
1 (8-ounce) can Italian-style diced tomatoes
1/4 cup red onion, sliced into rings
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
10 cups fresh spinach (10 ounces)
1 tablespoon water
6 ounces Cabot cheddar (reduced fat),grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil sprigs for garnish
1. Prepare couscous; set aside.

3. In large skillet over medium heat, combine onions, garlic and oil; stir until onions are heated and fragrant. Add spinach and water; stir until spinach is wilted and tender but still bright green, about 2 minutes.

4. On large platter, layer couscous, spinach mixture and tomatoes. Sprinkle with cheeses and garnish with basil.

Nutrition Information: Calories 221, Total Fat 7g, Saturated Fat 4g, Sodium 334mg, Carbohydrates 27g, Dietary Fiber 3g, Protein 14g, Calcium 270mg

Note:  this recipe is great with cucumbers, green onions, feta cheese, green peas, green beans, but remember to keep it simple!


Trivia Answer:

  1.  When Jefferson was a boy, he and his best friend, Dabney Carr, used to rest under an oak tree not far from the site on which Monticello was later built. The two boys pledged to each other that when they died, they would be buried together under that oak. While Jefferson was away in Europe, Dabney died and was buried in the local cemetery. When Jefferson returned, he ordered the remains disinterred and redeposited under the oak, as promised. Jefferson and his family were later laid to rest in the same spot.
  2.  Jefferson was a gifted inventor, who devised dozens of handy gadgets for his personal convenience. Among his noteworthy inventions are a revolving chair, a pedometer to measure the distance of his walks, a walking stick which unfolded into a chair, a plow that won a gold medal at a French exhibition, a revolving music stand, and a letter-copying press.
  3. Jefferson originally designed Monticello with a billiard room in the dome, but before it could be completed, Virginia had outlawed billiards.
  4. In 1792 Secretary of State Jefferson secretly entered a contest to choose the architect to design the White House, but the prize went to James Hoban of South Carolina. Jefferson had entered the competition under a pseudonym and never told his friends about his failure. His participation was not discovered until the 1930s, when it was found that one of the unsuccessful designs submitted by an unidentified person exactly matched a drawing in one of Jefferson’s personal notebooks

2 Responses

  1. Here is a bit about Thomas Jefferson that connects your comment about the Declaration of Independence to your recipe. Before Thomas Jefferson was President he tried to bring the olive industry to the parts of the east coast where olives had previously grown. He sent trees to South Carolina and asked them to share the trees with Georgia. Few of the trees were planted, if any. Frustrated, Jefferson tried to grow different varieties of olive in his South Garden at Monticello. Unfortunately, he was unsuccessful, but now olives grow for commercial purposes on the east coast of the U.S. Part of Thomas Jefferson’s vision has been realized.

    Mary Squires

  2. Love this recipe- thanks for sharing it from our website 🙂 Hope your holiday was great!

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