Now I am no chef, but I can hold my own on the basics and I have been learning more about cooking and how to flavor foods in a low calorie way as I continue to learn about healthy eating and nutrition. It turns out that a little spice we all have in the kitchen has a whole bunch of benefits for the body including protecting against tooth decay, upping the metabolism, even keeping the hair shiny. So that you can begin to incorporate black pepper into your diet, I have come up with a few recipes that use the magic spice.
As I mentioned in another article, a good cheeseburger is one on my favorite cheat day foods. Every now and then I make a special burger that's covered in pepper. Now this one isn't for the faint of heart, but if you love pepper like I do then this is the burger for you. Start of by making your ground beef patties as you normally would, with a dash of salt in the mix. Once you have the patty ready, either spray it with butter, or paint on some melted butter then take the patty and completely cover it in pepper. Now i know it sounds crazy, but it tastes so good. Usually when I make this burger I cook it on the grill to achieve a nice blackened coating. Add a slice or two of sharp cheddar or provolone cheese and you have a real summer time classic. I like to top off my black pepper burger with a tablespoon of mustard (another great spice for you health). A sweet barbecue sauce works as well on this burger and is a nice contrast in flavor.
Another way to incorporate black pepper into your food is by making a black pepper sauce. For a single serving, I mix the following ingredients:
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
2 tsp finely grated garlic
3 tsp fresh lime juice
a dash of sea salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Stir them all together and what you have is an amazing tasting dressings that can be drizzled over a steak or chicken salad. This makes for a very nutritious and satisfying meal packed with protein.
The third and final recipe for this week is an idea I picked up from the one and only Martha Stewart. You are probably use to a plain old cheesecake like the one above, but be ready for a surprise with a Black Pepper Cheesecake. Ingredients needed are unsalted butter, black peppercorns, cream cheese, sugar, vanilla bean, whole milk yogurt, lemon juice, two eggs, heavy cream, and fresh pineapple for a topping. If this sounds like a treat you would like to try, be sure to click the link. I have made it once, and it's a great cheat day food that makes you feel a little less guilty with all the health benefits of the black pepper.
Brooke Bailey is a personal trainer, masseuse, and student in health and wellness.
She currently resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Follow her on Facebook.