Pumpkin Cheesecake Smoothies

Well, how was your Thanksgiving? Did you eat too much? Drink too much? I’m happy that I didn’t overstuff or overserve myself and today I feel really good! But despite all the good food I ate yesterday, I didn’t finish it all up with a healthy piece of dessert. So, when I woke up this morning craving something pumpkin, I looked in my refrigerator and decided that I could get some pumpkin dessert flavor for breakfast without a lot of ingredients or calories. These Pumpkin Cheesecake Smoothies were just what I needed!

Pumpkin puree, almond milk, cream cheese, and spices are blended together with a little bit of sweetener making this pumpkin cheesecake in a glass. I love the flavor and creaminess of almond milk but you can use regular milk if you like. I also used a packet of Splenda but if you are a sugar person, go for it. Really, I was a little surprised just how well this turned out. Maybe I should have thought to do this last night after dinner?

Pumpkin Cheesecake Smoothies (makes 1 large or 2 small smoothies)

  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or regular milk)
  • 1 ounce cream cheese (1/3-less fat or regular)
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 packet Splenda or 2 teaspoons sugar

Blend all ingredients in a blender and enjoy!

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Asparagus with Tomato and Feta

Here we go again with Thanksgiving. Where does the time go? Well, hopefully you’ve got some fun and happy plans. Me? I’ll be keeping it small but my day is planned: coffee, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, eat a little food, watch football, eat a little more food. Oh and drink bourbon or wine somewhere in between, depending on how I feel. Well, I struggle with vegetables sometimes and rather than steamed broccoli or boring green beans or roasted Brussels sprouts, how about something untraditional like this Asparagus with Tomato and Feta instead?

Grape tomatoes and asparagus are roasted in the oven and topped with white balsamic vinegar and feta cheese, adding tons of flavor and color to these healthy spears. Sure, this dish may look a little more like Christmas than Thanksgiving but so what? ‘Tis the season, right? Whatever veggie you dish up with your turkey tomorrow, I certainly home you enjoy it, eat a bunch, pop a button on your pants, and appreciate every second of it. Be thankful, because I’m thankful for each one of you.

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Preheat oven to 425°F. Place tomatoes and olive oil on a jelly-roll pan; toss. Bake at 425°F for 4 minutes.

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Add asparagus; bake 9 minutes.

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Top with vinegar, salt, pepper, and crumbled feta cheese.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Cheesy Sausage Balls

I’m pretty slow to the sausage ball party. I first became aware of these little bites from Trisha Yearwood’s show on Food Network and thought that they would be a perfect little nugget for me considering how much I love sausage (turkey sausage, that is). But since then, I suddenly see sausage balls everywhere – on Pinterest, on the Today show, on my Instagram feed. Well, I figured it was high time for me to jump on the bandwagon and I was especially thrilled when I came across this recipe for Cheesy Sausage Balls which has a little different twist than your standard sausage balls.

Sausage, cheese, and quinoa make up the base of these bites which are perfect for a Thanksgiving appetizer. Instead of baking mix, these balls have cooked quinoa which is so much healthier than some floury mix. Granted, baking mixes are super simple and easier to throw into a bowl than cooking up a batch of quinoa but it only takes fifteen minutes for quinoa to cook so you can do it ahead of time and still have some leftover for another dish later. Plus, quinoa is so much better for you! The quinoa actually adds a bit of texture to these sausage balls, a bit of a pop, if you will. I haven’t tried the sausage balls made with baking mix but I don’t think I need to. I’m perfectly happy with these little guys and I bet you will be too!

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 Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine quinoa, cheese, cornstarch, black pepper and sausage in a bowl.

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Shape mixture into 40 (1 1/2-inch) balls. Place balls on a lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray.

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Bake at 375°F for 18 minutes or until lightly browned and done.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Dark Chocolate Brownies with Cherry Flavored Filled DelightFulls™

Oh my goodness, you guys. First of all, roaming around the baking aisle of my local grocery store or Target this time of year can make my heart go pitter patter. I found myself stocking up this weekend on baking supplies (even though I wasn’t planning on doing any holiday baking for another month) all because of these flavor filled morsels. Say whaaaat? I get pretty excited about chocolate-covered cherry things so when I saw the cherry flavor filled morsels and this recipe for Dark Chocolate Brownies with Cherry Flavored Filled DelightFulls™, I was sold. I loaded up my cart and started some early baking.

Dark chocolate chips give this batter a rich, deep flavor (way better than boring old cocoa). Cherry flavor filled morsels are then folded into the batter which ups the ante. Chocolate-covered cherries in a brownie? Yes, pleeeeeeaaaase! There isn’t much else I can say about this other than if you don’t like chocolate-covered cherries, I would recommend some of the other flavors like peanut butter, caramel or mint. These brownies are too good to pass up. And the best part? The recipe doesn’t call for the whole bag of morsels so you’ll have plenty left over to nosh on while you wait for the brownies to bake.

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Preheat oven to 325° F. Line 8-inch-square baking pan with foil. Lightly grease. Heat dark chocolate morsels, sugar, butter and water in small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate and butter are melted. Pour into medium bowl. Stir in eggs, one at a time, with wire whisk until blended. Stir in vanilla extract. Add flour and salt; stir well.

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Stir in 3/4 cup DelightFulls morsels. Pour into prepared baking pan.

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Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup DelightFulls morsels over batter.

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Bake for 42 to 45 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Lift out by foil edges to cutting board. Carefully remove foil. Cut into bars.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love it

Source: verybestbaking.com

Charred Broccoli with Orange Browned Butter

I mentioned yesterday that I served the Nut-Crusted Chicken with an orange-flavored broccoli but my puny description didn’t do this dish justice. I’m pretty used to roasting broccoli and do it more often than steaming it. But this Charred Broccoli with Orange Browned Butter takes it a step further before taking it another step further.

Broccoli florets are roasted and then put under the broiler for a few minutes until nice and dark before being tossed in a mixture of browned butter, orange zest and orange juice. The roasted broccoli alone is flavorful enough but the browned butter and the addition of orange makes this an even fancier side dish than plain old steamed broccoli. I loved this dish with the chicken from yesterday because they both had hints of orange and paired well together but this broccoli will be a perfect addition to any meal.

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Preheat oven to 450°F. Arrange broccoli on a foil-lined baking sheet; coat with cooking spray. Bake at 450°F for 12 minutes or until crisp-tender and lightly browned, stirring once. Heat broiler to high, leaving pan in oven; broil 2 minutes or until lightly charred.

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Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat; cook 3 minutes or until browned. Remove from heat. Stir in rind and juice.

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Combine broccoli and butter mixture in a large bowl.

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Sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Nut-Crusted Chicken

I was away for work all of last week and even though I had made food to post ahead of time, I just never got around to it. I flew in on Friday and woke up on Saturday to having zero food in the house so I bundled myself up (seriously, why is it so cold??) and went to the grocery store, list in hand. After eating catered food for lunch and restaurant food for dinner every day, I was ready to eat some home-cooked meals and fresh produce. I’ve been eyeballing this recipe for Nut-Crusted Chicken for a while and decided it was time to get it done.

Dijon mustard, fresh orange juice, salt and pepper coat one side of boneless chicken breasts before being coated in chopped pistachio nuts and baked until perfect. The tang of the mustard and saltiness of the pistachios pack this chicken with flavor leaving it anything but boring. I served mine with some orange-flavored broccoli which I’ll post tomorrow but by all means, try out the rest of the recipe by making the carrots included.

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Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place pistachios in a shallow bowl. Whisk together mustard, orange juice, salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a second shallow bowl.

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Coat 1 side of each chicken breast with mustard mixture, and dip coated side of chicken in chopped nuts. Place chicken, nut sides up, on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

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Bake 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and nuts are lightly browned. Sprinkle chicken with orange zest, if desired.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Coastal Living magazine

 

White Bean Spread

When you are eating healthy, you need healthy snacks, right? So you buy some baby carrots to have on hand to snack on here or there but after a while you just want to dunk it into some creamy or cheesy dip. Carrots are my quickest go-to when it comes to quick-grab veggies but sometimes, I just can’t eat another one plain. And since I hate cooked carrots more than anything and don’t particularly care for light dressings, I’m left to find myself another way to eat these little guys. Luckily for me, I usually have cans of beans on hand so when I came across this recipe for White Bean Spread, it was like an aha moment.

Canned cannellini beans are whirled together with nothing more than lemon juice, fresh thyme, salt and pepper, producing a fiber and protein-filled snack. This vegetarian dip is simple but complex in flavors and one of the easiest things you can make. The lemon juice gives it a real vibrancy and the thyme shines through subtly. I didn’t process the beans all the way so I could have some chunky bites here and there (for those of us who like lumpy mashed potatoes) which made this feel more like a small meal than a snack. This dip is thick and only gets thicker if you put it in the refrigerator but can easily be thinned out with water or additional lemon juice. If you are sick of hummus, give this fresh dip a try.

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Combine beans, oil, lemon juice, thyme, salt and pepper in a food processor.

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Process until smooth.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Family Circle magazine

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