Tuesday, January 10, 2012

They are like crack...

So my best friend Amy is obsessed with Vanilla Chai...and has since passed on this obsessive love to me via Dunkin Donuts Vanilla Chai Lattes.  In her words:  "They are like crack.  Once you have one...you just want another right after it."

How can you argue with THAT endorsement???J hahahahahhaa  So with a leftover cup of steel cut oats in hand, I thought what if I turned my normal Oatmeal Pudding into CHAI SPICED OATMEAL PUDDING??  Result: Amazingness!!  So here is some Amy's Chai Oatmeal, named in her honor...hahahhaahahhaJ

*If you don't happen to have all of these spices on hand, I'm sure you could add a scoop of Chai Tea mix to your oats to the same results.  I hear Trader Joe's has a good oneJ

Into the pan went:
  • Around 1/2 cup of cooked steel cut oats (1/4 cup dry oats cooked in 1 cup water + 1/2 scoop chia seeds)
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 teasp. vanilla
  • 1/4 teasp cardamon
  • 1/4 teasp. coriander
  • 1/4 teasp. turmeric
  • 1 teasp. cinnamon
  • Dash of nutmeg & ground cloves
  • 1 handful craisins
  • 2 teaspoons honey (more or less to your taste) 
Bring the milk to a boil & add the oats.  Lower the heat to low and slowly simmer for about 15 minutes.  Add ALL of your spices and stir, simmering until the oats have a creamy "pudding like" consistency.  Stir in craisins.

One bite and I was FLOORED.  The creamy consistency of the "pudding" mixed with all of the spices made for one spectacular bowl of oats!  You must, must try this one out...it's perfectionJ  And I loved that it was tinged a slight shade of yellow from the turmeric.  Made me feel like I was eating something very 'international'J hehehehehhee

For dinner, I found that my fridge & pantry had pretty much all of the ingredients to try making BLT Pasta with corn & fresh ricotta.  More than likely, you probably have everything on hand too...plus it was SUPER QUICK.  I got a late start and it STILL managed to hit the table before I had planned.  Yeah me! 

First up into the pan was the "B"...as in bacon strips sauteed until nearly crispy... 

Next came a little help from my freezer...

First was about a cup of frozen corn as well as 4 minced garlic cloves, salt, pepper & 2 tablespoons of dried thyme.  Let that cook together for about 3 minutes.

Next in went the "L":  The leeks, which were quick work since I had already cleaned, diced and frozen these for nights like this where you just want to toss them in the pan without the hassle of doing all of the 'dirty work'...

Lastly, in went the "T":  the tomatoes...this time in the form of diced sundried tomatoes...(we'll get to that in a sec...)
While I worked on the BLT "sauce," I also had a salted pot of water boiling to cook the pasta for 7 minutes.  Before draining, I added 1 cup of the starchy pasta water to the sauce and let it cook up for a few more minutes before adding the sauce to the drained pasta. 

ALL TOGETHER NOW...

OH...and one last thing!  I mixed 1 cup of part skim ricotta cheese with 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, salt, pepper & a drizzle of oil.  THIS was Scott's favorite part...so don't skip itJ

Serve the pasta with one scoop of the mixed ricotta...
I was really happy with this dish (especially the bacon & ricotta part)...until I reached about halfway through my dish.  All of the flavors were great at first...and then it was like sensory overload.  Thyme & sundried tomatoes are very dominant flavors and it became hard to sort out any flavors BESIDES those after awhile.  Even the ricotta just got a weeee bit too rich for me.  The original recipe calls for cherry tomatoes rather than sundried (they just happened to be what I had on hand), so maybe that would 'mellow' it out???

At least, Scott loved it and I gladly polished off the restJ.  Guess he wins againJ hahahahahhahaa....   

Alright...that's all I got for you today.  Tonight we are having some Trader Joe's Mandarin Chicken  (Again, I've RARELY eaten in chicken in 8 months...yet have been wishing for this since November!), so tomorrow may FINALLY be the day I get to 'catch you up' on our fun "Christmas mini-lunch road trips"....and we had some gooooooood eats.  Stay tuned...and have a great Tuesday!
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