Monthly Archives: July 2012

Steel Cut Oatmeal, Two Ways

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Blueberry Banana Steel Cut Oatmeal

I have never been a big fan of traditional oatmeal. Something about the combination of hot, soggy, and sweet doesn’t sit well with me. A bowl of oatmeal always looks appetizing to me, but once it reaches my mouth, all of its appeal is lost. My roommate Emily is a serious oatmeal enthusiast. She would eat it almost every morning for breakfast and prepared it in such ways that made me want to like it. As a kid, I wanted nothing to do with it, but over the past year I’ve learned how healthy it is and decided I would give it another try.

A few months ago I discovered overnight oats. Overnight oats are a version of oatmeal that’s prepared at night and ready to eat in morning. The oats are soaked in milk and yogurt, often topped with fruit or nuts, and typically eaten cold (but can easily be popped in the microwave if desired). I realized I actually enjoyed eating this oatmeal cold, and I loved the addition of yogurt. However, it still took me some effort to get to the bottom of the bowl without getting sick of it halfway through.

My cousin Eric is a runner and is really good about eating healthy, balanced meals. He recently bought steel cut oats and let me try some, and to my surprise, I truly enjoyed them. Finally, an oatmeal I don’t have to force myself to like!

If you don’t like the mushy, gummy consistency of regular oatmeal, you might like steel cut oatmeal. Steel cut oats contain the whole oat kernel, which is cut into pieces, and are less processed than rolled oats. They are thicker, chewier, and somewhat “nutty” in flavor. The only downside is that they take longer to cook, but it’s easy enough to prepare a large batch and heat up portions of it during the week, or eat it cold. Box directions tell you to cook the oats for 20-30 minutes but I find that they only take 10-15 minutes to reach the consistency I like.

Blueberry Banana Steel Cut Oatmeal
makes 1 large or 2 small servings. to make a larger batch, simply double or quadruple the ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 cups water*
  • 1/2 cup steel cut oats
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sliced bananas
  • 1/4 cup chopped strawberries
  • to top: a sprinkle of cinnamon, brown sugar, and/or a drizzle of honey

*I prefer my oatmeal chewier, so I use less water than the box directions say to use. If you know you like softer oatmeal, then feel free to follow the box directions.

Directions:

In a small saucepan, bring water, oats, and brown sugar to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15-20 minutes, stirring often, or until oats have thickened and almost all water has absorbed. If oats aren’t soft enough for your liking, add a little bit more water and continue to cook until desired consistency is reached. Remove from heat and top with blueberries, sliced banana, and optional toppings.

Oatmeal can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Vanilla Berry Overnight Steel Cut Oatmeal
makes 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 prepared steel cut oatmeal, using directions above (you can use raw steel cut oats but they will still be pretty tough and chewy in the morning)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp honey, agave nectar, or brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup berries (I like frozen raspberries, which melt as they sit in the fridge overnight and add the best flavor)
  • optional toppings: granola, peanut or almond butter, shredded coconut, chopped nuts

Directions:

In a bowl or jar (I use a pint-sized mason jar), combine first 5 ingredients. Stir well, cover, and refrigerate overnight. Add optional toppings if desired and serve cold.

*If you plan to heat the oatmeal in the morning, I would advise against using yogurt because it curdles when heated.

What’s your favorite way to prepare oatmeal?

Skinny Alfredo Sauce and Emily’s Chicken Sausage and Kale Pasta

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The other day I found myself with leftover ricotta cheese and lots of plain Greek yogurt to use. I haven’t been very strict with my diet lately, with frequent summer cookouts and such, so I wanted to get back on track. I decided to make a dish that my roommate Emily would sometimes make (are you starting to see where the bulk of my inspiration comes from? ha). She would cook whole wheat pasta, chicken sausage, sauteed kale, and use Greek yogurt as a sauce. This is a nice, light dish but still full of flavor. I decided I would elaborate on the sauce a little bit to make it into a light alfredo sauce.

Traditional alfredo sauce uses heavy cream, parmesan cheese, and butter to make a thick sauce. It’s pretty heavy and typically full of fat. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to make it lighter and healthier:

-Substitute Greek yogurt for cream, which has a creamy texture and tangy flavor.

-Keep the parmesan cheese, but use a smaller amount. Parmesan cheese is fairly low-fat and one of the healthier cheeses out there.

-Use part-skim ricotta and light cream cheese to thicken up the sauce, and simple herbs and spices to add complexity.

I found this sauce to still be full of flavor, but it didn’t leave me feeling bloated and guilty.

Skinny Alfredo Sauce

Ingredients:
makes ~1 cup

  • 2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp light cream cheese (or Neufchatel)
  • 1 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 shallot, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • basil, oregano, salt, pepper

Directions:

Place all items in a food processor and blend until smooth. Test-taste and add any additional spices you find necessary (I played around with it for a few minutes until it tasted the way I wanted it to.) Serve over pasta or cooked vegetables.

Ingredients (forgot to picture the shallot)

Add all ingredients to food processor.

Blend until smooth. 🙂

I served this sauce over Emily’s pasta dish I was talking about, with kale and chicken sausage. I also added onions to it, for sweetness to balance out the rich and savory sauce. I bought this Alfresco Roasted Red Pepper and Asiago chicken sausage and it was soo good:

One sausage link has 140 calories, 8 g of fat, only 1 g carbs, and 15 g of protein. The only negative is that there’s 550 mg of salt, but that’s pretty common with sausage. Each link is fairly large though (I only eat about half). I suppose sometimes you just have to choose your battles when it comes to prepared food.

Emily’s Chicken Sausage and Kale Pasta (with skinny alfredo sauce and onions)

Ingredients:
serves 4-5

  • 1 lb. (1 box) whole grain or whole wheat pasta
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion, sliced
  • 2 1/2 links chicken sausage, quartered
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups kale, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 cup skinny alfredo sauce (see above)

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to box directions.
  2. While pasta is cooking, add olive oil to a large frying pan. Add sliced onions and cook for about 10 minutes over low-medium heat, stirring occasionally. (Make sure you’re keeping an eye on the pasta, too.)
  3. When onions have softened, add chicken sausage. Continue to cook for 8-10 minutes.
  4. Add chopped kale to frying pan and cover with a lid. Saute for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Serve chicken sausage, onions, and kale over pasta and finish off with skinny alfredo sauce. Add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, if desired.

yum.

To see more of Emily’s recipes and insightful blog posts, check out her blog Stay Healthy, Stay Happy!

Oatmeal Cookie Granola

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I find that good granola is hard to come by. Like really good, crunchy, perfect clusters with just the right amount of sweetness. There was a really tasty granola that the dining halls at my school served, but I never found out what brand it is. Stop and Shop also has a great homemade granola selection if you’re fortunate enough to have an extended organic aisle at your local store. The best granola I’ve had recently, though, was made by Emily. Just the simple, cinnamon-vanilla-honey kind, but so satisfying.

Fresh granola is soo good and so easy to make, and the ingredients are likely to be sitting in your pantry at any given time. Granola is easy to personalize to your taste – you can add whatever nuts, dried fruit, seeds that you want, and flavor it to your liking . I was looking for just a simple granola, and when I found a recipe that claimed to taste like an oatmeal cookie, I had to try it.

I left out the flaxseeds, salt, and shredded coconut, but I did substitute 1 Tbsp of cream of coconut for 1 Tbsp canola oil. (Can you substitute a cream for an oil? Oh well. I’ve had this weird on-going craving for coconut lately that I can’t seem to shake.)

Another bonus is that this granola smells heavenly as you bake it, like Christmas or something.

Oatmeal Cookie Granola
adapted from Bake Your Day

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp coconut cream or oil, if accessible
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Stir well.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine oil, honey, and vanilla extract. Pop in the microwave for 15-20 seconds, or until everything is melted. Pour melted mixture over oats and stir again.
  4. Lightly grease a nonstick baking sheet, or line with parchment paper. Spread granola onto baking sheet in an even layer.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring the granola every 10 minutes. Keep an eye on the granola, especially if you have an oven you know to cook quickly or be unreliable. Burnt sugar ain’t no fun (unless we’re talking about Crème brûlée, of course).
  6. Let granola cool. Serve with yogurt or oatmeal, and store in an air-tight container.

spread an even layer onto baking sheet…

… and bake until crispy perfection.

This granola really satisfied my craving for something sweet and crunchy. It was super tasty with yogurt and I even ate it as a cereal. It tastes like a cross between Honey Bunches of Oats (my favorite cereal) and an oatmeal cookie.

If you want to get more of that “oatmeal cookie” vibe, try adding raisins, craisins, or chocolate chips.

🙂

Guacamole Revisited

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The Perfect Guacamole.

If you’re a follower of Hungry Hannah, then you probably have realized by now that I add avocados to almost everything I eat – sandwiches, eggs, on chili, etc. I usually eat 1-2 avocados a week. The first recipe I learned to make on my own was guacamole, and it’s also the first post I put up on this blog. Since then, I have been working even more on my guacamole and I think I have perfected it – at least for now.

I was also recently asked by the editor of the blog Healthy Way to Cook if I would be interested in writing a guest post for them, which I of course said yes to! Naturally, I chose to write about avocados, since I am so familiar with them. To see my guest post, click here!
It feels good to have my blog recognized by another more established blog, and I’m proud of how far it has come, though it is still in its baby stages. I’d also like to thank everybody who reads and/or follows my blog. It’s so great to have support from others, so thank you!

With that being said, I thought it would be appropriate to post an updated version of my guacamole. It’s still the same recipe for the most part, but I’ve made a few changes and have taken better photos of it. I decided red onions were a bit too strong for my liking and left an unfavorable taste in my mouth, so I substituted shallots, which have a slightly more mellow flavor. Garlic also adds a nice bite, and I just love scallions and have been putting them in pretty much everything lately.

Hannah’s Guacamole

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe avocados, skin and pits discarded
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 small shallot, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed, diced (use half a pepper for less heat)
  • 1-2 Tbsp lime juice
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp minced garlic
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • small bunch of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Your ingredients

Directions:

Using a fork, mash the avocados in a medium-sized bowl to desired consistency. Add all remaining ingredients and stir until well-incorporated. Serve with tortilla chips or to top off a sandwich or burger.

step 1: mash your avocado(s)

step 2: add all ingredients

step 3: mix thoroughly.

step 4: gobble it up. 🙂