Swirled Cheesecake Brownies

Some “healthier” recipes just don’t taste as delectably satisfying if you forgo too many of the ingredients that make it delectable. This brownie recipe is a great combination of a healthier AND sweetly satisfying. With all things, though, enjoy in moderation. Make sure you cut these into the 24 bars as suggested in the recipe so you don’t end up eating more calories and fat than you think you are. Enjoy one with a nice glass of low fat (or almond) milk to help fill you up and keep you from over-indulging! You can also freeze some if you’re making the entire batch for only a couple people and don’t want them to go to waste.

cheesecake brownies

Cheesecake topping

4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon nonfat plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Brownie layer

2/3 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup strong (or prepared instant) coffee
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 350° F. Coat a 7-by-11-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
Topping: Place cream cheese in a small mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add sugar and beat until smooth. Add egg, flour, yogurt and vanilla; beat until well blended.
Brownie layer: Whisk whole-wheat flour, cocoa and salt in a bowl. Place egg, egg whites and brown sugar in a large bowl and beat with the electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add oil, coffee and vanilla; beat until well blended. Add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed just until well blended, stopping once to scrape down the sides.
Scrape half of the brownie batter into the pan. Slowly pour the topping evenly on top. Drop the remaining brownie batter in large dollops over the topping. Draw the tip of a sharp knife through the two batters to swirl the batters together.
Bake the brownies until the top is just firm to the touch, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely and cut into 24 bars.

Nutritional Information

per bar (makes 24 bars)

105 calories

4 g fat

21 mg cholesterol

16 g carbohydrates

2 g protein

1 g fiber

54 mg sodium

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Mini Brussels Sprout and Potato Fritata

brussel sprout and potato fritata

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once again I had some random ingredient in my fridge that I was not quite sure what to do with. This time it was Brussels Sprouts. This was a delicious way to make them but I think next time I will try making them as just a nice healthy veggie side dish, instead of the main dish. Feel free to use frozen pre-shredded potatoes like the recipe suggests; however, I had potatoes to use up at home so I shredded them myself and used 1 cup white potato and 1 cup sweet potato.

 

 

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups refrigerated shredded potatoes
8 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 16-ounce container liquid egg substitute (or 16 oz. egg whites)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup low-fat milk
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat four 10-ounce ovenproof ramekins with cooking spray and place on a baking sheet (or use a muffin tin).
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add potatoes, Brussels sprouts, onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened and starting to brown, about 6 minutes. Divide the mixture among the prepared ramekins.
Whisk egg substitute, cheese, milk, thyme, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Pour the egg mixture over the potato mixture and gently stir to combine.
Transfer the baking sheet to the oven. Bake until the eggs are set, about 25 minutes.

Nutritional Information

209 calories

6 g fat ( 2 g sat , 3 g mono )

7 mg cholesterol

21 g carbohydrates

18 g protein

3 g fiber

665 mg sodium

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Steak and Potato Kebabs

steak and potato kebabs

Did someone say KEBABS? Oh, heck yes…I did! I Looove kebabs. They are so convenient for me because I can just get everything all cut up and put into containers and in the fridge ahead of time. Then, when it’s time, I usually put out all the containers with the different ingredients, along with skewers (if you’re using wooden skewers make sure you soak them in water first so they don’t catch fire on the grill) out for everyone to choose what they’d like on theirs. I like to  add more to mine ( like broccoli and cauliflower. If you like to add tomatoes, which I do, make sure you add them only for the last minute or two or they’ll get shriveled or burnt!), but feel free to do with yours what you wish!

Ingredients

1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, minced
2 tablespoons red-wine or cider vinegar
2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
1 tsp. garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
8 new or baby red potatoes
1 1/4 pounds strip steak, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 large green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large sweet onion, cut into 1-inch chunks

Directions

Combine cilantro, vinegar, sour cream, garlic, chile powder, cumin and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Set aside.  Preheat grill to high.
Place potatoes in a microwave-safe container. Cover and microwave on High until just tender when pierced with a fork about 3 to 3 1/2 minutes.
Toss the potatoes, steak and pepper pieces with oil and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Thread the potatoes, steak, peppers and onion chunks onto 8 skewers. Grill, turning once or twice, until the steak reaches desired doneness (about 6 minutes for medium). Serve kebabs with the reserved sauce.

Nutritional Information

271 calories

9 g fat

65 mg cholesterol

17 g carbohydrates

30 g protein

2 g fiber

368 mg sodium

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Baked Tomatoes with Corn and Quinoa

stuffed tomato

I love stuffed tomatoes. They’re so versatile, you can really get creative with them and add whatever you think sounds good; as well as subtract what you’re not particularly fond of. With this particular recipe, I have to say that broiling the chiles, corn and onion does add a great favor, but there have been times I’ve been in a pinch and used canned chiles and skipped broiling the corn and onion all together and they still tasted great.

Ingredients

2 poblano chiles (omit or decrease if you don’t like spicy)
2 cups fresh corn kernels
1 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 large ripe tomatoes
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1/4 cup water
4 ounces co-Jack cheese, shredded

Directions

Preheat broiler to high.
2. Cut the chiles in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place chile halves, skin side up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil 8 minutes or until blackened. Place in a paper bag; close tightly. Let stand 10 minutes. Peel chiles. Coarsely chop chiles; place in a bowl. Add corn and onion to pan; broil 10 minutes, stirring twice. Add corn mixture to chopped chiles; stir in oregano, oil, lime juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, cumin, and black pepper.
3. Cut tops off tomatoes; set aside. Carefully scoop out tomato pulp, leaving shells intact. Drain pulp through a sieve over a bowl, pressing with the back of a spoon to extract liquid. Reserve 1 1/4 cups liquid, and discard remaining liquid. Sprinkle tomatoes with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Invert tomatoes on a wire rack; let stand 30 minutes. Dry insides of tomatoes with a paper towel.
4. Combine reserved tomato liquid, quinoa, 1/4 cup water, and the remaining salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; fluff with a fork. Add quinoa mixture to corn mixture; toss well.
5. Preheat oven to 350°.
6. Spoon about 3/4 cup corn mixture into each tomato. Divide cheese evenly among tomatoes. Place tomatoes and tops, if desired, on a jelly-roll pan. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Preheat broiler. Broil the tomatoes 1 1/2 minutes or until cheese melts. Place tomato tops on tomatoes, if desired.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
Calories: 320
Fat: 11.2g
Saturated fat: 4.1g
Protein: 13.4g
Carbohydrate: 46.3g
Fiber: 8.8g
Cholesterol: 17mg
Sodium: 550mg

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Pork Chops with Spinach and Feta

spinach and feta pork chops

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remember the last recipe I posted that called for pomegranates? Do you also remember how I said I was originally saving that pomegranate to use with pork but since I don’t often eat meat, I figured I’d better use it up in something else I’d be more likely to eat? Well…

guess who suddenly had a hankerin’ for pork this week?! Yeah, this girl right here. This girl that used to say firmly, “I will NEVER give up meat. I will NEVER live off of mostly fish, fruit and vegetables!” Well, I didn’t give them up but I did cut back on them significantly. So much so that when I do eat meat, I have to be conscious of how much of it I eat (portion control) or my body will let me know later that it wasn’t happy with my choice (per lots of swollen limbs and a rolling tummy). Knowing all of this about my body, but still wanting to satisfy my pork craving (everything in moderation, remember), I decided to make this delicious-sounding stuffed pork. To help my body, I served mine with steamed garlic green beans and roasted carrots (beans and sweet potatoes for the rest), and I also cut my serving of pork in half so I didn’t feel “obligated” to eat the whole stuffed chop when I knew my body wouldn’t appreciate it. I also drank 2 tall glasses of ice water with my meal instead of milk, tea, soda or wine. Clearly (haha, get it? water…clear. oh, sorry. here, have a glass of dry wine to go with my sense of humor!), water is the better choice.

I love spinach and feta, but if you don’t, feel free to swap out a different kind of cheese (mozzarella, romano, muenster, etc.) or greens (swiss chard, kale, etc.).

Ingredients

cooking spray1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
5 sun-dried tomatoes, packed without oil, diced
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) block-style fat-free cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
4 (4-ounce) boneless center-cut loin pork chops, trimmed
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

Directions

  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat with cooking spray. Add half the garlic; cook about 1 minute. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, tomatoes, and spinach; cook until moisture evaporates. Remove from heat; stir in cheeses and rind.
  3. Cut a horizontal slit through each pork chop to form a pocket. Stuff about 1/4 cup spinach mixture into each pocket. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper over pork. Arrange pork on the rack of a broiler or roasting pan coated with cooking spray; place rack in pan. Combine remaining garlic, juice, mustard, and oregano in a bowl; stir well. Brush half of mustard mixture over pork. Broil 6 minutes; turn pork. Brush remaining mixture over pork; broil 2 minutes or until done.
Amount per serving (serves 4, not including sides)
Calories: 232
Calories from fat: 33%
Fat: 8.6g
Saturated fat: 3.4g
Protein: 32.1g
Carbohydrate: 7.2g
Fiber: 2.8g
Cholesterol: 73mg
Sodium: 640mg

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Pomegranate Mint Yogurt

I’ve had a pomegranate sitting in my fridge for awhile now just waiting for me to find a way to use it up. I thought about using it on pork chops but very rarely do I ever eat pork or any other meats. Now that Spring has finally arrived with summer-like temperatures I thought this would be a great way to use it up for a nice, light treat. Sometimes I mix it up with whatever else I have on hand, such as honey, vanilla yogurt, granola, pineapple, almonds, or any other fruit or topping that you have on hand that will add great taste with minimal fat and/or calories.

pomegranate parfait

 

 

 

 

 

1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt (such as Fage)
1/3 cup pomegranate arils (the pulpy seeds)
2 tsp thinly sliced fresh mint (about 5 leaves)

optional: granola, honey, slivered almonds, pineapple chunks, or a tiny amount of vanilla and/or almond extract

Fold mint into yogurt. Layer yogurt mixture and pomegranate arils in a clear dessert dish. Makes 1 serving.

Per serving (serves 1):

(optional ingredients are not included in the nutritional info)

145 cal

0 g fat

69 mg sodium

19 g carbs

4 g fiber

16 g protein

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Pumpkin Penne Pasta

I love that this dish uses pumpkin and pureed cottage cheese to make the creamy sauce that brings everything together. The sage and nutmeg are also a delicious touch that stands out well against the pumpkin. Feel free to use whatever chicken or turkey sausage you can find or have on hand. You could also opt to leave it out to make it a bit lighter or if you’re not a meat eater. Plus, this dish packs a whopping 8 grams of fiber and 36 grams of protein per serving!

Image

Ingredients

8 oz penne pasta *see note
2 tsp olive oil (or grapeseed oil)
1 medium-large onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 Tbsp. garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tbsp. dried sage
3 links cooked chicken sausage **see note
1 cup low fat cottage cheese (1% milk fat)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup nonfat milk
pinch of nutmeg
10 oz torn spinach (or kale), thick stems removed
grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese, optional

Directions

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook gently for about 10-15minutes, until softened and beginning to caramelize. Add garlic, sage, and chicken sausage; continue to saute.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.

In a blender, combine combine pumpkin, cottage cheese, and milk. Blend until no lumps are present. Add to sausage mixture in skillet and continue to cook over low heat. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg.

Drain pasta and return to pot over low heat. Add sausage mixture and baby spinach, and toss together. Cover for a few minutes to let the spinach wilt. Serve with parmesan cheese, if desired.

*Barilla PLUS is a good pasta choice as it has added protein in it. You could also use gluten-free if needed or I’ve even thought about trying it with some cooked spaghetti squash, though I haven’t done it yet.

** any type of chicken sausage that you like or can find should work sufficiently. I’ve used different kinds that I’ve bought from Trader Joe’s, CostCo and WalMart. Some brands are Al Fresco, Bistro Sensations and Johnsonville. I, personally, like to use the Sweet Apple ones but I’ve pretty much used them all and loved how they all tasted.

Nutritional Information

per serving, makes 4 servings

Calories 496.5
  Total Fat 12.4 g
  Saturated Fat 3.2 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 2.3 g
  Cholesterol 53.7 mg
  Sodium 767.5 mg
  Potassium 687.3 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 61.3 g
  Dietary Fiber 8.1 g
  Sugars 14.2 g
  Protein 36.3 g

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