Category Archives: Spicy

Mango Chipotle BBQ Burrito Bowl

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If you are still reading my blog, you are great. Work and busy weekends have taken over my life, leaving little time for blogging. Recently I’ve had a couple friends tell me they keep checking my blog but are disappointed when they find no new posts. That of course made me want to update, and because I miss it!

So it’s August already. Summer always has a way of getting away from you, doesn’t it? Having only been out of school for a couple of years, I’m still getting used to having no formal vacations, deadlines, or breaks built into my schedule. It makes the seasons kind of seem like a blur and sometimes I find myself having no idea what day or even month it is (like a few months ago when I started to write “September” as the date… what?)

Today’s post is inspired by a recipe that I’ve been eyeing forever: Chipotle-Mango BBQ Chicken Salad on Iowa Girl Eats. I’ve been following IGE for a couple years now and it’s one of my favorite food blogs, as well as one of the few I subscribe to. I’ve had this particular recipe saved for a long time and decided it was time to try out this miraculous-sounding BBQ sauce. I decided to take a slightly different take on the recipe and make mine into a burrito bowl instead, because who doesn’t love a good burrito bowl?

This Mango Chipotle BBQ Burrito Bowl is filled with chicken marinated in a sweet and spicy semi-homemade barbecue sauce, rice, and some of my favorite veggies like bell peppers, fresh corn, and avocado! It’s a great summer recipe because most of the ingredients are in season right now and is light enough that you won’t feel guilty eating it. To make the sauce quicker and easier, I added pureed mangoes and chipotle peppers to store-bought BBQ sauce. My favorite thing about recipes like this is that you can completely customize it to your taste and you get a bit of each flavor in every bite!

Mango Chipotle BBQ Burrito Bowl
adapted from Chipotle-Mango BBQ Chicken Salad on Iowa Girl Eats

Ingredients:
makes about 3 burrito bowls

  • For the sauce:
    – 1/2 cup fresh diced mango
    – 1/3 cup barbecue sauce
    – 1/4 cup tomato sauce
    – 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, seeds removed and diced
  • 1 lb. boneless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch strips (I used tenderloins)
  • 1.5 – 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • Assorted toppings of your choice (about 1/3 cup of each):
    – Diced bell peppers
    – Diced tomato
    – Corn
    – Beans
    – Avocado
  • Optional: cheese, sour cream, scallions, cilantro
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Ingredients for the sauce, plus tomato sauce! Always forget to picture at least one ingredient…

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Your delicious toppings!

Directions:

  1. In a food processor or blender, combine ingredients for the sauce. Blend until smooth. Place chicken in a medium bowl and pour 2/3 of the sauce over it, making sure each piece is thoroughly coated. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours or up to 6.
  2. Cook your chicken on the grill or in a frying pan over medium-high heat until cooked throughout. Let rest for about 5 minutes and then cut into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Start to assemble your burrito bowls: First rice, then chicken, your toppings, and then drizzle with the remaining mango chipotle sauce and enjoy!
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Start by preparing your mango chipotle BBQ sauce: combine diced mango, bbq sauce, chipotle peppers, and tomato sauce, and blend until smooth.

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Pour 2/3 of the sauce over your chicken and stir, making sure each piece is thoroughly coated. Marinate for at least 2 or up to 6 hours in the refrigerator.

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Cook up your chicken, either on the grill on in a frying pan.

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Assemble your delicious burrito bowl! Start with rice, chicken, and your favorite toppings.

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Finish off with the remaining mango chipotle sauce, and optional cheese and sour cream. Enjoy!

{Skinny} Bang Bang Shrimp

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Hello everyone! I feel like I haven’t updated in ages. Things around here have been a bit hectic lately. Not to mention that I  briefly went through a weird phase where I lacked inspiration and motivation to cook, and when I did, I often didn’t enjoy whatever I made. This was especially strange for me because I usually love cooking and love eating. I think I chalked it up to being busy and stressed, and have been feeling back to normal the past week – phew!

Anywho, I had a few ideas of what to post today but when I saw shrimp on sale at the store I immediately knew what I wanted to make. Recently I’ve seen a lot of recipes for “Bang Bang Shrimp” and they always catch my eye. It’s a dish that includes crispy, breaded shrimp served with a creamy and spicy chili sauce. This dish is served at Bonefish Grill, a restaurant I’ve never been to and therefore have not actually tried the original recipe, but I could tell from the ingredients that I would love it.

I was even more inspired when I saw a lightened up version of the dish over at Cooking for Keeps. I followed this recipe pretty closely, though I opted for Greek yogurt over mayo for the sauce and used regular flour instead of almond flour. I also added a bit of teriyaki sauce which I thought bumped the sauce up a notch. The sauce is rich and flavorful, all while being light on calories. Breading the shrimp is optional – I very lightly breaded mine in flour and cooked them in a bit of coconut butter which was delicious!

I also love this recipe because it looks fancy, but takes less than 30 minutes to make! You can used thawed frozen shrimp and store-bought chili sauce to make the recipe even easier, and I bet you nobody will know the difference. 🙂

Skinny Bang Bang Shrimp
adapted from Skinny Bang Bang Shrimp with Homemade Sweet Chili Sauce on Cooking for Keeps

Ingredients:
serves 2

  • 1/2 lb large, raw shrimp (about a 12-count), peeled & de-veined
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 Tbsp oil (I used coconut, but olive or canola work too)
    For the sauce:
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp sweet chili sauce (I like Frank’s brand)
  • 1 Tbsp teriyaki sauce
  • 1 tsp Sriracha (2 if you like things spicy)
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • Rice to serve on the side

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Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the sauce and whisk. Set aside.
  2. In a large frying pan, heat your oil over medium heat. Toss the shrimp in the flour and gently place in the hot oil. Fry on each side for 1 – 2 minutes, or until shrimp is pink and breading is crispy.
  3. Turn the heat down to low and pour the sauce over the shrimp. Cook for an additional minute or so, until the sauce is hot. Serve over rice and optional veggie, and enjoy!
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Start by preparing your sauce!

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Lightly coat your shrimp in flour

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Frizzle up your shrimp in the hot oil

 

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It will look something like this when it’s finished cooking!

 

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Pour sauce over your shrimp, cook for another minute, and it’s ready to serve!

 

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🙂

Spicy Red Lentil Dip (Hummus)

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Spring weather has FINALLY arrived in Massachusetts and it is glorious. This winter was the longest, coldest, snowiest winter I can remember and it was starting to feel like spring would never come. Yesterday was a nice 65 degrees and I spent the day with Mirva, Naomi, Emily and Brian enjoying the weather and playing cornhole.

This Spicy Red Lentil Dip was inspired by a delicious hummus I picked up recently – Eat Well Embrace Life Spicy Yellow Lentil Hummus. It was so tasty but a little bit pricey so I decided to whip up my own. I love lentils and of course hummus, and find that sometimes dips made with beans other than chickpeas are just as good (if not better) than the traditional stuff.


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I couldn’t find yellow lentils (I’ve actually never seen them before, though I did consider buying yellow split peas instead), so I picked up some red lentils. Red lentils have a mild, nutty flavor and are not quite as earthy-tasting as brown or green lentils. I threw in all the ingredients you would put in hummus – tahini, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt – but I read recently that hummus literally translates to “chickpeas” in Arabic, which is why I’m calling this a dip instead of hummus (even though it’s the same concept).

In addition to the base of the recipe, I added a red fresno pepper, cayenne pepper, hot sauce, and smoked paprika to spice up this dip and bring it to life. I love how the lentils blend up super smooth and make a perfect texture for the dip. I love lentils not only because they’re tasty, but they’re also loaded with protein – 1/4 cup of dry split red lentils has 13g! Perfect for vegetarians/vegans, or for those looking for a filling snack.

Spicy Red Lentil Dip
makes ~2 cups


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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dry split red lentils, rinsed
  • 2 – 4 Tbsp Tahini (sesame seed paste – I love Trader Joe’s Tahini Sauce)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil (more if needed)
  • juice from half of one large lemon (about 2 Tbsp)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño or red fresno pepper (use half for less heat)
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp mild hot sauce
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • sprinkle of cayenne pepper powder
  • salt, to taste
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Your ingredients, plus the spicy pepper

Directions:

  1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and cook red lentils according to package directions. They typically take about 15 minutes to cook. They may start to break down and become mushy or all of the water may not evaporate/be absorbed – this is okay and will make blending easier.
  2. While you’re letting your lentils cool, combine your tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and hot pepper in a food processor and pulse until smooth.
  3. Add in your lentils, hot sauce, paprika, cayenne pepper, and salt and continue blending, stopping to scrape down the sides when necessary, until well-combined and smooth. Taste and adjust any spices/salt to your liking. Serve with pita chips, carrot sticks, or on a sandwich and enjoy!
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Cook your lentils according to package directions. When they’re finished, they’ll look something like this.

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In your food processor, combine the tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and hot pepper. Pulse until smooth.

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Add the cooked lentils to your food processor and pulse until smooth.

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And there you have delicious & nutritious, creamy, Spicy Red Lentil Dip! 🙂

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Sweet Potato Hash

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This morning I was looking around my kitchen, trying to figure out what I could make to put on my blog. The sun was out, and I hadn’t posted a recipe in a few weeks. Back when I was posting recipes on here every few days, I would always have something planned. Lately when I post a recipe, I don’t really have a plan and I kind of just throw something together. I miss having lots of time to plan recipes, go grocery shopping and then cook and photograph the food. But I certainly do not miss not having a job, so I will squeeze in food blogging whenever I can.

Anyway, I stumbled upon some sweet potatoes that needed to be eaten, and also happened to have some fresh bell peppers. I’ve made regular potato hash, but not sweet potato hash before and my stomach was rumbling for some breakfast. Growing up, on the weekends my parents would sometimes frizzle up corned beef hash that comes from a can and I won’t lie – I still love the stuff. It’s chewy, crispy, and full of flavor. In light of attempting to eat better, I healthified (new word) my hash by omitting meat, subbing regular potatoes for sweet potatoes, and adding some fresh veggies.

This Sweet Potato Hash makes a delicious addition to a weekend breakfast, and I think it would also heat up well for leftovers. It’s sweet, spicy, and filling. I found it to go great with a fried egg and a light sprinkle of cheddar cheese. I do think this hash would be really good with bits of bacon, but it’s also delicious without! I cooked my sweet potatoes in a separate pan from my veggies because I wanted to make sure everything cooked evenly, but they could also be par-boiled. I just recommend being careful of overcooking your sweet potatoes, because then they will fall apart.

Sweet Potato Hash
makes 3 – 4 servings

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil, divided in half
  • 1/2 Tbsp butter (optional)
  • 1 medium sweet potato, diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 small sweet onion
  • 2/3 cup diced bell peppers (I used red and yellow)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • seasoning to taste: paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper, and a garlic/salt/pepper blend
  • green onions to garnish

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Your ingredients

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Your spices

Directions:

  1. In a medium frying pan, heat 1/2 Tbsp olive oil or butter over medium heat and add diced potatoes. Cover with about 1/4 cup water and let cook for 8 – 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until water has absorbed and potatoes are softened but not yet mushy.
  2. In a separate frying pan, heat another 1/2 olive oil and add diced onion. Cook for about 10 minutes, and then add bell peppers. Continue to saute for another 10 – 15 minutes, until veggies are softened and beginning to brown. At this point I added a bit of butter to really ramp up the flavor, but that’s optional.
  3. Add cooked sweet potatoes to veggies, along with your spices. Cook for another 3 – 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, and make sure the spices are to your liking. Garnish with green onions and serve with eggs or a meat of your choice, and enjoy!

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Cook up your sweet potatoes until softened

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Saute your onions and peppers until soft and beginning to brown. Add garlic at the end.

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Mix your sweet potatoes in, along with spices. Cook for an additional few minutes. Garnish with green onions and serve! 🙂

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Chicken & White Bean Chili

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Ah, it’s good to be back in the old blogging world. As you may have noticed, I haven’t been around much lately. I feel bad I haven’t kept up with this blog as much as I’d like, but I honestly haven’t had the time. The only time I’m able to photograph and write recipes for HH is on the weekends, and if my weekends are busy, then unfortunately blogging gets pushed to the back burner. I’ve photographed a couple recipes over the past few weeks, but I wasn’t particularly excited about them, so I wanted to wait until I had a post I thought was worth sharing.

Chicken & White Bean Chili is a fun twist on the traditional. It’s made with shredded chicken breast, green chiles, classic chili spices, and uses a chicken broth instead of tomatoes. It has all the wonderful flavor of tomato chili, but with a slightly lighter taste and is lighter on the calories, too. A combination of cornmeal and milk is used to thicken up the soup a bit, though it tastes delicious just with the broth if you want to save further calories. It’s a simple one-pot meal that comes together in under an hour and makes for great leftovers during the week.

This is a recipe I originally wrote a post for about a year ago, and have made a few times, but my photos were less than impressive. It’s not the most photogenic soup, but it sure is tasty. Last time I made it, I used cornstarch to thicken the soup, but I didn’t like the consistency. After reading a few similar recipes, it seemed like cornmeal and milk was the way to go, and I definitely liked the results better.

Chicken & White Bean Chili
adapted from White Chicken Chili on AmyBites and Pinch of Yum

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Ingredients:serves 5 -6

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil + 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced
  • 3 – 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Spices:
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 1 tsp chili powder
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper
    • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1 32 oz. container low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 raw chicken breasts (about 1 1/3 lb)
  • 2 14 oz. cans white beans, rinsed and drained (Cannellini, Northern White – any kind will work!)
  • 1 4 oz. can of diced chiles
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • juice from 1 lime
  • Optional toppings: chopped scallions, cilantro, shredded cheese, avocado, sour cream

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together cornmeal and milk until combined and set aside. Let it sit while cooking the chili so the cornmeal can soak up the milk and thicken up.
  2. In a large cooking pot, heat olive oil and begin sauteing diced onions. After about 10 minutes, add diced bell pepper and continue cooking, stirring occasionally until veggies are softened. Add butter and garlic and saute for an additional 3 – 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in spices and let them toast for a minute or two. Pour in chicken broth and can of diced chiles and bring to a boil. Place chicken breasts in pot and cook over a medium simmer for about 10 minutes.
  4. Remove chicken breasts from broth and let them sit on a cutting board for a few minutes before shredding it. Add shredded chicken back to the broth, along with beans. Simmer for 10 – 15 minutes, covered loosely.
  5. Pour in the cornmeal and milk mixture and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Finish off with lime juice and any spices or salt as you see fit. Serve with optional toppings and enjoy! 🙂

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Begin by whisking the cornmeal and milk together to let it thicken while your soup is cooking

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Saute up your onion, pepper, and garlic

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Stir in spices and then pour chicken broth in, along with diced chiles. Bring to a boil and add raw chicken breasts right into the broth. Let them cook for about 10 minutes and then remove to a cutting board.

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Shred your chicken using forks (or your hands if it’s cooled off enough!)

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Add chicken back to the pot, along with the drained beans. Simmer for 10 – 15 minutes, loosely covered.

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Stir in your thickened cornstarch/milk mixture and continue cooking for another 10 minutes. Finish off with lime juice for an extra bite.

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The finished product!

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Add your favorite toppings

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Nom nom nom

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And what chili is complete without avocado? 🙂