Thursday, March 31, 2011

Creamy Cheesecake

Alright, if you're a dieter look away. Look far, far away. One slice of this cheesecake is over 20 WW points. I told you to look away. This is your last chance!


However, if wish to gorge yourself on the best cheesecake EVER, weclome and continue reading! I was hesistant to try cheesecake again after my flop last year on Valentine's Day when I left out the sugar. Yes, that really happened. No, I don't want to talk about it. I didn't get it completely right again this go around, but I figure that's just incentive to try once more. Third time being the charm and all, and hey, it gives me an excuse to make another cheesecake!


The cheesecake part was divine, heavenly...perfect. The crust was a little soggy because I didn't wrap the springform pan as well as I should have when I put it in the water bath. My springform pans are practically brand new so I didn't think leaking would be an issue. Wrong. It was still very, very edible though! Not to mention gorgeous.


I'm accepting volunteers who would like to come over and finish this off for me so it will quit staring at me. Anyone?


Creamy Cheesecake
 
 2 8-oz. packages cream cheese (NOT low-fat or fat-free), softened
3 eggs
1 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
3 c. sour cream (NOT low-fat or fat free)
CRUST:
1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/3 c. white sugar
6 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375. Combine crust ingredients and very gently pat into the bottom of a 9″ springform pan. Set aside.
Beat the softened cream cheese until smooth then add the eggs, one at a time, until smooth. Add in the sugar, salt, vanilla, and almond extract and beat on high for 3 minutes, scraping the bottom and sides and making sure the mixture is completely smooth. Add the sour cream and mix well. Pour batter into pan and wrap the pan with aluminum foil or a turkey roasting bag. Place the wrapped pan into a larger baking or roasting pan and fill the larger pan with water so it comes up about 3/4 of the side of the springform pan.
Bake for 35 minutes or until filling is custard-like. The center shouldn’t be completely set–it should kind of jiggle like firm Jello, but it shouldn’t be liquidy, either. Just don’t overbake. Turn off the heat and crack the oven and allow to stand for another 20 minutes or so. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 8 hours. DON’T remove springform sides until cake has set for 8 hours. Makes 10-12 (or more!) servings.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Asian Glazed Chicken

This recipe takes a little patience, but the end result is worth it! The sauce takes quite a while to thicken up, but I promise it happens eventually. So save this one for a weekend, but make sure you save it, its delicious! Of course, being me, I had to change at least one thing about this recipe. It calls for chicken drumsticks, but I never have those on hand because we prefer boobies, so thats what I used. I'm sure its fine with either. So the next time you think about Chinese take out, try this instead, you won't be sorry!



Asian Glazed Drumsticks
recipe via Gina's Skinny Recipes
8 medium chicken drumsticks, skin removed
Pam spray oil
1 cup water
1 Tbsp
Sriracha hot sauce (more or less to taste)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
4 tsp
agave nectar (or sugar)
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp ginger, grated
2 Tbsp chives or scallions, chopped
1 tsp sesame seeds

In a heavy large saucepan, brown chicken on high for 3-4 minutes with a little spray oil. Add water, balsamic, soy sauce, agave, garlic, ginger, hot sauce and cook on high until liquid comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for about 20 minutes. Remove cover and bring heat to high, allowing sauce to reduce down, about 8-10 minutes, until it becomes a thick glaze, turning chicken occasionally. (Keep an eye on glaze, you don't want it to burn when it start becoming thick) Transfer chicken to a platter and pour glaze on top. Top with chives and sesame seeds and serve.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Finds: Falafel Chips

These are awesome! If you like falafel (me!) then you'll love these. Dipped in hummus? Heaven. Totally satisfies the falafel craving without consuming anything deep fried!

Check them out here!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spicy Roasted Edamame

Edamame is one of my all time favorite snacks, and its so incredibly nutritious. I normally eat edamame right out of the little pods, sprinkled with a bit of sea salt. Don't you love it when one of those beans goes flying across the room at fifty miles per hour and smacks your toddler in the head? Good times.


Upon my recent mission of roasting every vegetable known to man, edamame was next on the list. If is is possible for it to taste even better, it does! It takes on a nutty flavor and a bit of a crunchy texture, which goes perfectly with the spicy coating. This one's a winner!


Spicy Roasted Edamame
  • 1 1/4 cups frozen shelled edamame, thawed

  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • cooking spray


  • Directions:
    Preheat oven to 400.
    Pat edamame dry with paper towels.
    Place in a bowl and give the edamame a few squirts of cooking spray and toss to coat.
    Add in spices and mix well.
    Spray a baking sheet and arrange edamame in a single layer.
    Roast for 20-30 mins, flipping a few times during cooking.

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

    Eggplant Parmigiana

    Alright, I'd like to know who is responsible for keeping eggplant away from me my entire life? Hmm? Anyone care to step up and admit it?


    Seriously people, HOW have I missed out on this for the past 27 years??? Its not cool. Since veggies are your friend while trying to slim down, I'm always looking for new ones to try. Eggplant is a winner! So is this recipe at only 5p's for 1/3 of the whole pan!


    Eggplant Parmigiana
    source: weightwatchers.com

    cooking spray
    1/3C Italian style breadcrumbs
    1T Parmesan cheese
    1tsp Italian seasoning
    1/4t garlic powder
    1 medium eggplant, raw
    2 large egg whites, slightly beaten
    1.5C canned tomato sauce
    1/2C shredded mozzarella

    • Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9 X 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.

    • Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and garlic powder in a medium-size bowl; set aside. Remove skin from eggplant and trim off ends; slice eggplant into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
       
       
    • Dip eggplant first into egg whites and then into bread crumb mixture. Bake eggplant on a nonstick cookie sheet until lightly browned, about 20 to 25 minutes, flipping once.
       
       
    • Place a layer of eggplant on bottom of prepared baking dish, then add 1/3 of tomato sauce and 1/3 of mozzarella cheese. Repeat with 2 more layers in same order. Bake until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling, about 10 minutes more. Slice into 4 pieces and serve.

    Monday, March 21, 2011

    Purple Popcorn

    You probably have no idea where I'm going today with a title like "Purple Popcorn," but its really just a dressed up old favorite. Roasted Cauliflower has become one of my most favorite snacks, and I wanted to come up with a way to change it up a little. While browsing in the produce section the other day, I came across purple cauliflower. I'd seen it before but never tried it and I saw the potential for a unique dish so I grabbed some.


     
    You can certainly do this with regular old white cauliflower, and it would probably look more like actual popcorn if you did, but "Purple Popcorn" has a fun little ring to it, right? My two-year old insisted on calling this "candy flower" instead of cauliflower, and who am I to spoil her fun? For this recipe all you need is a good popcorn seasoning, like one of these:
     
     
    Although, I'd advise against a sweet flavoring, I'm not sure how well that would mesh with the cauliflower. I used white cheddar for my popcorn and it was delicious! Make this for your next family movie night and you'll be surprised to see your little ones gobble it up just like they would regular popcorn!


     
    Purple Popcorn
    • 1 head of purple cauliflower
    • Popcorn seasoning
    • Butter flavored cooking spray
    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 425.
    Cut cauliflower into popcorn sized florets.
    Spray foil lined pan with butter flavored cooking spray and spread out cauliflower.
    Spray again and sprinkle on the popcorn seasoning. Toss to coat.
    Bake for 20-30 minutes, flipping once during cooking.

     

    Monday, March 14, 2011

    Nutella Fudge Brownies

    Alright, alright, this recipe isn't exactly going to get you the most for your points, BUT there is good news. First of all, these are the chewiest, fudgiest, chocolatiest, most decadent brownies I've ever tasted. Please look past all the words I just made up in that sentence. Second, the recipes only makes six brownies (or 12 mini muffins sized brownies) so surely your family will devour most of them leaving you with no choice but to only eat one. I love portion control!


    Besides, what kind of life would it be if we couldn't indulge once in a while? That's one of the reasons I absolutely love Weight Watchers, because nothing is off limits. You can basically eat anything you want in moderation, if you plan for it. So, plan to work these brownies into your week!




    Nutella Fudge Brownies
    6 servings @ 5p's
    • 1/2 cup Nutella
    • 1 large egg
    • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts (I didn't have hazelnuts, so I used pecans for some and left some plain. We actually decided at my house that we liked them better nut free!)
    Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup mini muffin pan with paper or foil liners.
    Put the Nutella and egg in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth and well blended. Add the flour and whisk until blended.
    Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins (about 3/4 full) and sprinkle with the chopped hazelnuts.
    Bake until a pick comes out with wet, gooey crumbs, 11-12 minutes. Set on a rack to cool completely. Serve immediately or cover and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.
     

    Friday, March 11, 2011

    Friday Finds: Brummel and Brown

    This is for all you butter lovers out there who swear that there is no substitute for butter, other than butter. Now, there is! No really, its true. I've tried all kinds of light butters, margarines, spray butter...you name it I've tried it. This stuff is for real. It melts well, goes in recipes well, but my favorite use is slathered on a piece of bread. Or just scooped out of the tub with a spoon. Just kidding! Sort of...

     At half the fat and calories of regular butter (and 1pp per tablespoon), Brummel and Brown had me at hello!

    Wednesday, March 9, 2011

    Cheesy Garlic Pull-Aparts

    Since I've given you two cheesy, Italian dishes this week, I thought it only fair to give you the perfect bread accompaniment to go along with them! This is a super fast and simple recipe that is perfect as a side dish, but could even be used as an appetizer!

    How could you go wrong with cheese, bread, butter and garlic? Not possible! This is my favorite way to prepare garlic bread now, we have it with almost every Italian meal at my house. You can play around with it and add different things to it to mix it up if you want. Maybe some pepperoni or bacon, or use cheddar cheese instead of mozzarella. Enjoy!

    Cheesy Garlic Pull-Aparts
    6 Servings at 3 points
    • 1 - 7.5oz can of buttermilk biscuits
    • 1T grated parmesan cheese
    • 3/4C shredded mozzarella cheese
    • 1/8t garlic powder
    • 1/2t parsley flakes
    • 1.5T Brummel and Brown Spread
    Directions:
    In a pie plate, add butter spread, parsley and garlic salt.
    Microwave for 30-45 seconds until melted, swirl the dish around to mix.
    Cut each biscuit into 4 sections and place in the pie plate, tossing to coat with butter/garlic mixture.
    Top with 3/4C of  mozzarella cheese and sprinkle 1T of parmesan on top.
    Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.

    Tuesday, March 8, 2011

    Spaghetti Pie MAKEOVER

    Since I'm on a diet, I decided to start digging up some of my old favorite recipes and putting them on a diet as well. After all, when you're trying to lose weight there is no need to deprive yourself of your favorite foods, especially when just a few small changes can make it fit into your new lifestyle!


    You all remember Spaghetti Pie, right? If not, where have you been? I'll forgive you if you promise to try this new and improved recipe out. You won't even miss the fat, or the flavor! The exciting part of this recipe is that you get to eat 1/6th of the whole pie for only 9 points! If you decide to make it 8 servings, the points get even better at only 7 points per slice. Personally, I like a lot of food! With a salad or veggie on the side and maybe a piece of garlic toast, its a completely satisfying meal!


    Spaghetti Pie
    • 8oz whole wheat spaghetti
    • 2C Hunt's Traditional Marinara Sauce
    • 1lb lean Italian turkey sausage
    • 1C part-skim mozzarella cheese,shredded
    • 1/4C grated parmesan cheese
    • 1/2C fat free ricotta cheese
    • 3 egg whites
    • Italian seasoning

    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 375.
    Brown turkey sausage in skillet with Italian seasoning and cook noodles according to package directions.
    Mix all ingredients together except for the shredded mozzarella cheese.
    Once well combined, pour spaghetti mixture into a pie plate spray with nonstick spray.
    Top with 1C of mozzarella cheese.
    Bake for 40 minutes, broiling the top for the last 5 minutes if you want a crunchy cheese topping!

    Monday, March 7, 2011

    Lasagna

    I have to admit, when I tried this recipe out of the Just 5 cookbook, I was skeptical. A recipe for lasagna? With measurements and stuff? Huh? I've never gone by a recipe when I've made lasagna in the past, I just know how to make it and I throw it all together. And I use lots of cheese. LOTS and lots. Cheese in between every layer. When its all said and done I probably use at least four cups of shredded cheese. I told you it was a lot.

     

     
    When I saw that this recipe only called for shredded cheese on top, I thought #1, there is no way this will be good, and #2 there is no way its going to stay together without cheese as a binder. Well, I was wrong and wrong! After the first bite, I was so excited at the thought of having leftovers for lunch the next day. Ha! My family devoured the entire pan! Everyone had at least seconds, and one person who shall remain nameless had thirds.

     

     
    Since I seem to have an allergy to following recipes as written, I changed some things about this recipe. In the cookbook its called "Beef and Ricotta Lasagna," which is funny because those are the two items I changed! In my Italian dishes I've come to much prefer Italian turkey sausage to beef, every time. Its already seasoned and it just plain tastes better. I've also been a long time fan of cottage cheese over ricotta in lasagna. I'm not sure what it is, but it adds sort of a sweetness to the flavor of the lasagna, not to mention its much cheaper than ricotta. It would really be good with either, so choose what you like best (but don't forget to recalculate your points!). The book lists this as 10 points for 8 slices, but I got it down to 10 points for 6 slices!

     

     
    Lasagna
    • 12 no cook lasagna noodles
    • 4C Hunt's Traditional Marinara Sauce
    • 1C part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
    • 2C fat free cottage cheese
    • 1lb lean Italian turkey sausage
    • Spices (I like to add Mrs. Dash's Tomato/Basil/Garlic seasoning to my meat)

     
    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 375.
    Brown turkey sausage in a skillet until cooked.
    Spoon 1C of sauce into the bottom of a 9x13 pan, then top with 4 lasagna noodles.
    Add 1/2 of the meat, then dot with 1C of cottage cheese, top with 1C of sauce.
    Place 4 more noodles on top, the rest of the meat mixture, the rest of the cottage cheese and 1C of sauce.
    Finally, top with the last 4 noodles and last cup of sauce, finishing with 1C of shredded cheese.
    Spray a sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray and cover dish.
    Bake for 40 minutes, remove foil and bake another 10-15.
    Broil the last 5 minutes if you wish.

    Friday, March 4, 2011

    Friday Finds: Coconut Caramel Fudge Bars

    Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you've all had a great week. Here is a little something to help you get through your weekend without falling off the wagon.

    I've sworn off Girl Scout cookies this year, telling myself that they have been around for decades and they'll be around for decades more. This year is about losing weight and Girl Scout cookies are not invited to that party. I was a little bummed because I am a Samoa lover and I look forward to getting my fix every year.

    Then I found these:



    Oh. My. The resemblance to Samoa cookies is uncanny, almost a little bit freaky. At only 3 points per bar though, you can actually afford to eat one! And, you can eat it all year long, not just when Girl Scout cookie sales are going on! I'm beyond excited about this find. Give them a chance, you will be shocked!

    Wednesday, March 2, 2011

    Upside Down Baked Oatmeal

    I came up with this recipe for my friend Jamie when she was in a breakfast slump and bored of her usual oatmeal in a bowl. This is really easy to make and super low in points, which is how I like my breakfasts to be! You can use any fruit you want for this oatmeal, I went with bananas.


    This is also an awesome time to put your Capella Flavor Drops to use! I added about ten drops of the French Toast flavor to this batch of oatmeal...heaven! There are two really exciting things about this recipe. Number one is that it freezes beautifully, you can cut up equal portions, individually wrap them in plastic wrap and grab them and go in the mornings! The other exciting fact is that no matter how you slice this thing, the points cannot be beaten. By my ingredient list six servings would be approximately 3 points a piece, and four servings (1/4 of the ENTIRE pan!) would only be about 5 points. If you cut them even smaller at eight servings you're only looking at 2 points! You could even make them into muffins! All very reasonable numbers for your morning meal. Top it with more fresh fruit or fat free cool whip, maybe even a drizzle of sugar free syrup. Yum!



    Upside Down Baked Oatmeal
    •  2 bananas (or other fruit of your choice)
    • 2 c. uncooked oats
    • 1 1/2 t. baking powder
    • 1/2 t. salt
    • 1 c. lowfat milk
    • 1 egg white
    • 1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
    • 1/4 c. Splenda
    • 1 t. vanilla extract (or Capella Flavor Drops of your choice!)
    • 1 t. ground cinnamon
    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 350. Spray an 8x8 pan with cooking spray.
    Slice bananas and arrange in the bottom of the pan.
    Combine wet ingredients and then add in dry ingredients. Mix well.
    Pour mixture into pan, and bake for 35-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
    Adapted from:
    http://www.3fatchicks.com/forum/breakfast-ideas-phase-2/83187-baked-oatmeal.html
    and
    http://www.healthyfoodforliving.com/?p=12247

    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    Green Bean Fries

    You can't see me, but I'm actually jumping up and down right now. As I type. Its quite a difficult feat to accomplish, you should all be very impressed. I am so incredibly excited about today! I've been on a major snack kick lately. As we all know snacking can be very dangerous when trying to lose weight. One chip turns into three, which turns into thirty. Not good.


     
    So I've been on the hunt for some tasty zero points snack items that I can grab when I have the munchies but can't afford to eat a whole bag of chips. Green beans are something I never (ever) buy fresh. To me they taste like dirty, grimy earth. I grew up on canned green beans and I much prefer them over fresh. Blame my mama if you want to (but don't say anything bad about her, or I'll have to hurt you), but its just the way I feel! When I came across this method, I knew there would be no way canned green beans would work for this because of the moisture in them.


     
    It was going to have to be fresh, so I bit the bullet, marched into Fresh Market (if you've never been there, you need to go to their website ASAP and see if there's one near you!) and walked out with two pounds of fresh green beans. These "fries" were SO good! They don't really taste like green beans at all, granted they don't taste exactly like french fries either, but still they totally satisfied my munchies. I make these several times a week, and especially on the weekends when the urge to snack is especially high. They are an amazing zero point snack!

    Green Bean Fries
    • fresh green beans, with the ends snapped off
    • sea salt
    • cooking spray

    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 425.
    Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and toss green beans around (you may have to give them a little spray too.)
    Sprinkle with sea salt.
    Bake for 20-30 minutes until browned, flipping halfway through.