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Explore the World From Your Kitchen: Moroccan Menu

Explore The World From Your Kitchen: Moroccan Menu Although many people draw a blank when asked what they know about the country of Morocco, you might be surprised to learn that this small nation is home to the city that gave its name to one of the most famous movies of all time.

If you guessed Casablanca, you're absolutely correct. The city that gave its name to the classic film is also Morocco's most highly-populated area, and put the country on the map in terms of modern recognition and tourism. Since the early 1900s, however, Morocco has been highly-valued as a cultural hub, displaying influence from the countries that colonized it, including France and Spain. A large aspect of this character comes from the traditional foods that were inspired by the incoming nations as well as countries across Africa.

Morocco has a relatively warm climate, making its cuisine a nice reminder of sunnier weather. Residents of senior living can enjoy these hearty and healthy dishes as part of a balanced diet: 

Moroccan Chicken
Ingredients (serves 4)
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained
1 15-oz can crushed tomatoes
2 medium carrots, sliced
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
2 medium yellow onions, diced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, ground
1 1/2 C low-sodium chicken broth
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp oregano
3/4 tsp cumin
2 tsp salt

Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. While the oil is warming, season the chicken with salt, add it to the pan and brown, then remove it and set it aside.

In the same pan, cook the sliced onion, garlic, carrots and celery until all of the vegetables have softened. Then stir in the turmeric, paprika, oregano and cumin. Allow  the spices to cook for about 1 minute, then add the broth and the tomatoes to the pan. Cook for an additional 3 minutes before stirring the chicken back in, reducing the heat and simmering the mixture for 10 minutes.

After the dish has simmered, add in the chickpeas, and chopped zucchini and continue cooking for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice immediately before serving.

Moroccan Grain Salad
Ingredients (serves 4)
For the salad
1/2 C bulgur wheat, uncooked
1/4 C pistachios, chopped coarsely
1/2 C pitted dates, chopped
2 clementines, peeled and sectioned
2 C baby spinach leaves

For the dressing
1 orange, peeled
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 C fresh cilantro leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

In a medium saucepan, cook the bulgur wheat according to the package directions. During the final moments of cooking, add the chopped dates and salt, then allow the mixture to cool for about 30 minutes.

Mix the chopped pistachio pieces and clementine sections into the bulgur wheat, then mix with the baby spinach leaves. Cover the salad and chill it for about 15 minutes before dressing and serving.

To prepare the dressing, pour the olive oil and balsamic vinegar into a food processor, and mix together until evenly combined. Add the orange slices and salt and continue pulsing, and finally add the fresh cilantro leaves. Mix the complete combination for about 30 seconds, then pour it into a small bowl or directly onto the salad and toss thoroughly.

Cinnamon Orange Slices
Ingredients (serves 4)
4 sweet oranges, peeled and sliced into rounds
1 apple, sliced
1 tbsp cinnamon

Arrange the sliced oranges and apples on a plate and sprinkle them with cinnamon. You can enjoy them cold or lay the mixture on a piece of aluminum foil and bake for about 15 minutes at 425° F.

Happy eating!

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