Someone Likes it Hot

I used to think I didn’t like spicy foods but as I get older I find myself appreciating them a bit more.  Here are two recipes I’ve tried lately that really bring the heat:

  • Chipotle Lentil Pasta
  • Sweet and Spicy Cauliflower

Chipotle Lentil Pasta

If you’re bored with the same old spaghetti and ready to try something different you might enjoy this recipe for Ziti With Chipotle Lentil Tomato Sauce from the Vegan Richa blog.

I’ve written about my love for chipotle peppers before. There’s something about this sweet, smoky, and spicy condiment that hits my taste buds in all the right places.

 

The recipe calls for fresh tomatoes.  You could make it with canned tomatoes but I am lucky to live in a town that has the only indoor year round farmer’s market in my state.  Local growers are producing tomatoes and greens all year long and I was able to purchase fresh tomatoes here in the Midwest in the middle of March.  I love that!

I added a generous amount of sliced sweet mini peppers to increase the veggie content and used shells instead of ziti because that’s what I had on hand. If you wanted to make a non vegan version you could substitute cooked ground beef, turkey, or chicken for the lentils.

Like many savory stew and soup recipes this tasted even better the next day.

Sweet and Spicy Cauliflower

Cauliflower is enjoying a moment these days. Many people are using it as a low carb substitute for potatoes or rice. Yes, it’s white and although we’ve been taught to “eat the rainbow” cauliflower doesn’t pale in comparison to other vegetables. It’s a surprisingly good source of vitamin C and protein. It also belongs to the “cruciferous” family of vegetables that may protect against cancer.

In this recipe from The Fitchen, cauliflower florets are glazed with a combination of Sriracha (another very spicy and popular condiment I am learning to appreciate), maple syrup, and soy sauce before baking in the oven.  One word of caution – the sodium content is a bit high here.  You can balance that by making sure that the rest of your meal is very low sodium and watching the sodium level in other meals during the day.

I used a large Ziploc to combine all the wet ingredients.  Add the cauliflower, zip the bag, and toss everything around to coat the florets evenly before spreading on your sheet pan.

 

These two recipes will definitely warm you up.  If you try them let me know how you liked them.

 

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Making a Flap

While oatmeal is my breakfast of choice I do occasionally crave a pancake.  I started making my own years ago using a recipe from the Good Housekeeping cookbook I received as a wedding gift. That recipe contained white flour, sugar, and oil so of course I had to find something healthier. Here are two that I have enjoyed recently:

Peanut Butter Pancakes

These pancakes feature PB2 powdered peanut butter which is one of my favorite products. Yes, it’s technically a processed food but just slightly so.  The peanuts are pressed to remove much of the oil and dried into a peanut flour which is high in protein but lighter in calories.  I love to stir it into oatmeal and use it in smoothies.  It can be reconstituted with a little water and used as a spread or to flavor Thai inspired sauces for noodles, etc.

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There are other brands of powdered peanut butter out there but I’ve found them to contain more added sugar than PB2.

Here is the recipe.

Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon ground flax seed meal
  • 3 Tablespoons water
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup PB2 peanut butter Powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup milk (any kind will do, I used almond milk)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons sweetener (I used honey but you could use white or brown sugar or a smaller amount of stevia, etc.)
  • 1 Tablespoon peanut butter

Combine flax seed and water in a small bowl. Set aside for at least 5 minutes.  Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and stir together. In a separate cup or small bowl combine the milk, sweetener, and peanut butter. A whisk is really the best way to do this.

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Whisk the flax mixture into the wet ingredients until well incorporated. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until the batter is smooth.  You may need to add more milk or water to get it to the right consistency. (Pancake batter should be just thin enough to pour; if it’s too thick you will get a heavy pancake that doesn’t cook all the way through.) Heat a small non stick fry pan over medium heat. You can spray with cooking spray or brush on a little oil but I found that I didn’t need either with my pan. Measure out a 1/4 cup of the mixture and drop onto the pan.  Cook until the bubbles in the center of the pancake start to pop.

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Flip and cook for about one minute on the opposite side.  Serve with pure maple syrup or sliced bananas.  Next time I make these I might try mashing some banana and adding it to the batter.  These were good!

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Oatmeal Pancakes

Oatmeal in a pancake is the best of both worlds for a dedicated oatmeal lover like myself. I used this recipe from Food.com and didn’t change a thing.  I talked about making oat flour in a recent post.  It’s so easy.  Here I used my small food processor but I think the high speed personal blender works better.

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Here is a close up to show just when pancakes are ready to flip.  See the bubbles in the middle? when they start to pop it’s time to turn them over.

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I mixed some cinnamon into organic, low sugar applesauce and used that to top my pancakes.  A sprinkle of sliced almonds was perfect finishing touch.

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I hope you will try these recipes the next time you decide to make a flap (jack).