Disclosure: By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by National Dairy Council and the Quaker Oats Center of Excellence and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.
Breakfast. For a girl who wakes up insanely early (by choice I might add), skipping this meal would be the death of me. Word on the street is that breakfast is pretty important and not just for us early risers. So if you're one of those "I don't do bfast" people (ahem...I'm talking to you, my lil' brother), it's time you come into the light.
Today, it's all about the powerful combination of 100% whole grain oats and the goodness of reduced/low-fat dairy. The Recipe Reduxers were challenged to create a unique and nutritious recipe with these two iconic breakfast items. For daily recommended servings, click here. The Recipe Reduxers were challenged to create a unique and nutritious recipe with two of the most iconic breakfast items.
Being Asian, I
obsess worry about developing osteoporosis so I try to get in as much vitamin D and calcium from sunlight and food as I can. Reduced fat dairy products are def a part of the equation. During my recent trip to S.Korea, I was surprised to find the incredible popularity of dairy products, especially cheese. I suppose it can be attributed to the ever-increasing popularity of Western and fusion foods. From pastries, rice and noodles dishes to even patbingsoo!, the addition of cheese was sure to make it a hit. I can just feel our bones are getting stronger ;).
Sorry... Onto this Mexican oat pudding! The inspiration comes from the Hungryman who's absolutely head over heels for Mexican rice pudding, or "arroz con leche". I must admit, it's pretty good stuff. However, I decided to try a healthier twist by omitting all the evaporated, condensed, and whole milk and substituting with low-fat milk. As for the rice, steel cut oats are a great substitute because it thickens beautifully when simmered in liquid, resulting in a nice creamy consistency. A special bonus is that unlike rice, the steel cut oats add a subtle nutty flavor. And of course, a generous amount of cinnamon is a MUST.
You can top it with various fruits or in this case, nut clusters! Spicy Mexican nut clusters to be exact. And boy do they add a kick, thanks to the incorporation of chili powder and cayenne pepper. Thus, I heart them. If you can get your hands on Mexican chili powder, even better! If you like heat, that is. You can also add some old fashioned rolled oats into the mixture for a delicious power snack, but since I intended to serve the clusters as a topping for my steel cut oats, I opted out this time.
I couldn't have asked for a better result! The pudding had the familiar milky essence and bold cinnamon flavor on initial taste, but did not overwhelm with sweetness in the finish, allowing for the addition of a topping. The nut clusters infused each spoonful with texture and a pleasant lingering heat. By themselves, the clusters packed quite a punch, but paired with the creamy pudding, they were fairly tame...just enough to keep your palate interested. The combination truly made for a harmonious bite. May you never skip breakfast again! 😉 Fuel up in the best possible way with this stick-to-your ribs oat pudding.
For the oat pudding:
- 3 cups of 2% reduced fat milk
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup steel-cut oats
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Orange zest optional
For the spicy nut clusters:
- 1 cup mixed nuts I used almonds and walnuts
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- 1 tablespoon flaxseeds
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- ⅓ cup honey
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 300F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat. Mix nuts and seeds in a bowl. Toss thoroughly with cinnamon, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and salt. In a small saucepan over medium low heat, warm the coconut oil and honey. Pour liquid mixture over the dry mixture. Mix well. Spread the mixture evenly onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown, tossing at the halfway point. Allow for it to cool COMPLETELY, at least 30 minutes, or until hardened (and sticky). Break apart and store in an airtight container.
- In the meanwhile, pour milk and water into a pot and bring to a boil. Pour in the steel-cut oats and stir. Bring pot back to a boil (Do not walk away as liquid may overflow out of the pot). Reduce heat to low to allow for oats to simmer for 20-30 minutes depending on your desired consistency. It's important to stir occasionally. Cook longer for thicker pudding. Serve immediately with the nut clusters (Optional: Add some orange zest for a bright citrus kick). Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. When reheating, stir in a bit of milk to loosen up the oats.