Archive for the ‘All the Extras-Dips-Sauces-Spreads’ Category

SAVORY SUN-DRIED TOMATO APPETIZER CHEESECAKE

A little different…but when it comes to cheesecake anything is good!  This one will be a hit on your celebration tables, or at any potluck, BBQ, or picnic. For low-carb-hardly-any-calories serve with assorted cut veggies to dip.  

The add-ins are really up to you.  Sub out the tomatoes for greek olives and part of the mozzarella for feta cheese.  Stir in a little crushed pineapple or jalapenos…anything you’d like.  Leave off the crust altogether for even lower calories – I’ve given stats for either way.

(For complete fabulous-ness don’t be tempted to use fat-free cream cheese as it tends to make cheesecakes rubbery!)

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2/3 cup plain bread crumbs (unseasoned)
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Two 8-ounce pkgs reduced-fat cream cheese
2 cups shredded part skim mozzarella
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 eggs
3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, blotted with paper towel and finely minced
1 cup light sour cream OR plain Greek yogurt for added protein
1/2 teaspoon Italian Herb seasoning

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Stir together bread crumbs and melted butter. Pat into the bottom of a greased 9-inch springform pan (OR 9-inch deep dish pie plate). Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

In large bowl whip cream cheese just to soften. Add shredded cheese, green onions, black pepper, and cayenne pepper, and mix to combine. Add eggs, one at a time and beat just until each egg is no longer visible. Fold in tomatoes. Pour filling into crust. Place pan on a cookie sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until almost firm in the middle.

Combine sour cream and Italian seasonings and pour over cheesecake. Return to oven for 5 minutes. Turn off oven, leaving door slightly open, let cake cool in oven for about 20 minutes.

Remove to a wire rack and run a sharp knife around the edge of the cake. Let cool completely before removing sides of pan. When cooled, wrap tightly and chill overnight or preferably a couple days. Makes 20 appetizer servings.


 With crust:
Per Serving: Calories 149; Protein 7 g; Fat 9 g; Carbs 5 g; Fiber 0 g; Sugar 0 g; Sodium 226 mg
 Without crust
Per Serving: Calories 125; Protein 7 g; Fat 7 g; Carbs 3 g; Fiber 0 g; Sugar 0 g; Sodium 192 mg

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PUMPKIN PIE SPICE

There are few spice blends that I use more than Pumpkin Pie. It’s so good in everything – from my Pumpkin Protein Shake, to Greek-style yogurt, cheesecake, quick breads, spice cookies, sprinkled on oatmeal…the list goes on and on.

The one that you can buy is good in a pinch…but nothing beats the hand-picked cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg, high-quality ginger and all the LOVE that goes into making your own!

I know there are higher-end places you can buy spices, but I love Penzey’s. They are super fresh and affordable, and have a big variety.

Making your own blend means you can choose the flavors you love to dominate, add just a touch of this or that and go heavy on something else. This recipe is the ratios that I love – add, subtract…use a stronger or milder cinnamon – whatever makes you happy in your heart!
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For the standard, Libby’s-everybody-loves-it pumpkin pie recipe (two pie-big can) I use 3 1/2 teaspoons of the mix.
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12 teaspoons China Cassia cinnamon (this is my fave, but any will work)
6 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 rounded teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg  (makes a huge difference!)
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Combine all and store in an airtight container.  Keeps at least six months.

 

 

 

 

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PUMPKIN-CRUNCH GRANOLA

When I get to eat a sweet and satisfy a crunch with good-for-me complex carbs – that’s a good day!  This mix is everything you love a granola to be.  Slightly sweet, spicy, nutty, crunchy, nice-sized chunks, and lots of oats.  

Oh, and it makes your house smell like Pumpkin Pie.  There’s never anything awful about that.

Add this to some Greek-style yogurt with a Gold Caramel Sauce swirl – super.   In a bowl with a little almond milk – fabulous.  Sprinkled as a crust on Apple Crisp – so good.  

Don’t leave out the egg yolk – it’s for the “clump factor”.  Without the stickiness that sugar gives the clumps are lost!  Adding some chopped dried cranberries/cherries/raisins or some chocolate chunks would be wonderful, too.

(Thanks to Lynne  for the inspiration!)

Personally, I think this is better as it sits, so I’d make it ahead and store for a day or two!

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1/4 cup pure pumpkin puree

1/4 cup sugar-free maple syrup (OR agave)

1/3 cup  Whey Low Gold (OR Splenda Granular)

2 tablespoons sugar free Caramel Syrup (OR Vanilla, Toffee, Hazelnut…etc) OR add 2 T. more of maple syrup

1 egg yolk

2 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice (OR 1 t. cinnamon, 1/2 t. ginger, 1/4 t. cloves, 1/8 t. nutmeg)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 cups old-fashioned oats

1 cup chopped pecans (OR walnuts, macadamia nuts, coconut, etc)

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In a medium bowl combine the pumpkin, agave, WL Gold, caramel syrup, egg yolk, spice, vanilla, and salt.  Stir in the oats and nuts until every flake is coated.

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.  Coat a 11 inch baking sheet with vegetable cooking spray and spread the oat mixture evenly.  Bake for 45-60 minutes (stirring every 15 minutes) or until deep brown.  Allow to cool completely on the baking sheet.  Store in an airtight container.  Makes approx 15 (1/4-cup) servings.

Per 1/4 cup: Calories 119; Protein 6 g; Fat 8 g; NET Carbs 11 g; (Fiber4 g); Sugar 4 g; Sodium 41 mg

With Agave:  Per 1/4 cup: Calories 135; Protein 6 g; Fat 8 g; NET Carbs 16 g; (Fiber 4 g); Sugar 8 g; Sodium 41 mg


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STRAWBERRY-RHUBARB SAUCE

If you are blessed with your own – or a neighbor’s! – rhubarb plant you’ll need something to do with it.   How ’bout this ruby deliciousness?!

Tart-sweet, spiced, and vanilla scented – perfect to stir into some plain yogurt or ricotta, over an Oatmeal-Cottage Cheese Pancake, inside a Crepe, or blended into a shake.   I LOVE THIS SAUCE!

Double or triple it, if you can…stick it in your freezer for summer all year long.

PS – if you don’t have any strawberries,  just use another cup of rhubarb.  Either way, it’s beyond yum!

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3  rounded cups finely diced rhubarb

1 cup chopped strawberries (or about 10 frozen)

1/2 – 1 cup Splenda Granular OR Whey Low Granular (adjust to how tart/sweet you like it)

Zest and juice of 1/2 fresh lemon

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Pinch salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

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In a saucepan, over medium heat, combine the rhubarb, strawberries, Splenda, lemon zest/juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.  Bring to a boil, uncovered, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until fruit is soft and mixture is thickened.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Makes approx 2 cups.   Serving size approx 1/4 cup.

Per Serving: Calories 20; Protein 1 g; Fat 0 g; NET Carbs 4 g; (Fiber 1 g); Sugar 2 g, Sodium 2 mg

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MY FAVORITE EGG SALAD

Super simple…Plain Jane, no frills.

This is the egg salad that I keep in the fridge to wrap in lettuce leaves or to eat with a spoon out of a bowl.  Nothing fancy.  You probably have a favorite way of making yours…this is mine.

One secret that makes it super quick is to grate the eggs on a cheese grater.  I use the large holes and in 5 or 6 swipes a boiled egg is reduced to shards that mix up quickly with whatever you put with it.

(The sweetener just gives a rounded taste – that yum factor – and makes savory things extra good!)

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9 large eggs, boiled, peeled
1/3 cup regular or  reduced-fat mayo (my preference is regular…just ’cause)
2 tablespoons fat-free half & half or milk
1/2 teaspoon Splenda or sugar (brings out the salty flavors!)
1/8-1/4 teaspoon salt – to taste
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
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Shred or dice the eggs and, in a small bowl, combine with the mayo, half & half, Splenda, salt, and pepper.  Cover and chill.  This will become less ‘wet’ as it chills.
Makes approx five 1/2-cup servings.
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Per Serving: 186 Calories; 10 g Protein; 15 g Tot Fat; 2 g Carb; 0 g Fiber; 1 g Sugar; 353 mg Sodium

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COLORED ‘SUGAR’

How fun!  The photo above shows the standard colors that come in a box of food coloring…but don’t stop there.  Become your own colorist and experiment to make fabulous custom/designer shades for all your baking needs.  (See chart below.)

I use Whey Low Granular and it works beautifully.  But, since WL seems to be more ‘moist’  - at least in my climate – left out, it tends to clump.  So I also added a touch of cornstarch to help keep it dry and clump free with the added moisture of the liquid coloring.

I can’t wait to use this on top of a snowy-white low-sugar Cream Cheese Frosting-iced cake!

EDIT:  My friend said she just used the color POWDERS with Splenda Granular and it worked very well.  Good to know!!

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1/4 cup Whey Low Granular

2 drops liquid food coloring  (more drops for intense color)

1/4 teaspoon cornstarch – (if you will be storing the mixture or adding more than 2 drops color)

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In a small bowl place the WL (and cornstarch, if needed) and add the drops of coloring.  With the back of a spoon smoosh it around and stir until all lumps of color are gone.   Store in a sealable bag, or airtight jar/bowl.

This is a chart for custom colors using the basic red/green/yellow/blue that we can find anywhere.  Specialty stores will have more colors to choose from and thus give you an even greater range.  However, with the basic four you can make just about any color imaginable.

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Turquoise: 4 Drops of Blue, 1 Drop of Green
Brown: 5 Drops of Red, 6 Drops of Yellow, 3 Drops of Green
Purple: 1 Drop of Red, 1 Drop of Blue
Lime Green: 3 Drops of Yellow, 1 Drop of Green
Pistachio Green: 1 Drop of Yellow, 4 Drops of Green
Orange: 2 Drops of Red, 3 Drops of Yellow,
Peach: 1 Drop of Red, 2 Drops of Yellow
Salmon: 3 Drops of Red, 2 Drops of Yellow
Black: Equal amounts of all colors.

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GOLD CARAMEL SAUCE

There aren’t any (that I’ve found) rich, decadent caramel sauces out there that don’t contain sugar alcohols.  I just can’t eat those very often but NEED a good caramel sauce more times than I care to admit!

Since I use Whey Low I can now make my own and have it when I want it and not suffer any ill effects.  (Re: toxic-waste, green cloud…if you catch my drift!!)

Whey Low will cook to the soft ball/hard ball/soft crack/hard crack stages of candy making, so you can make this recipe into a pourable sauce, or even into chewy, buttery, fabulous caramels.  How wonderful is that?!

(Don’t shoot me – I never said it was calorie-less!)

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1/4 cup real butter

1 1/4 cup Whey Low Gold

1/3 cup heavy cream

1/8 teaspoon salt

In a small saucepan melt the butter over medium heat.  Whisk in the Gold, cream, and salt.  Bring to boil and boil, stirring frequently, for 2 1/2 minutes.  (Boil for longer if you want a thicker sauce.  Five minutes will result in caramel that resembles taffy when the sauce is cooled.)

Allow to cool for a few minutes and pour into a small glass pitcher or bowl.  This will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge.  Heat in the microwave for a few seconds to pour or drizzle.  If it gets too thick, heat it with a couple more tablespoons heavy cream.

Makes approx. 16 tablespoons

Per Tablespoon: Calories 47; Protein 0 g; Fat 4 g; Carbs 4 g; Sugar 4 g; Sodium 21 mg

 

 

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EGGNOG

(No sugar or eggs added)

Some things just scream “HOLIDAYS!”…and eggnog is one of those things!  Just because we are trying to eat low or no sugar doesn’t mean we have to forgo this wonder.

There are a lot of recipes out there where you could simply sub Splenda Granular for the sugar and they would work great.  But I’m a girl who gags at the thought of drinking raw eggs – and would rather find a great alternative – and has.

This is surprisingly ‘real’ tasting and in feel, also.  Easy to whip up and is great as creamer in your coffee.  I drizzle it over warm apple crisp, too…WOW!

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1 cup fat-free half & half

One 1-ounce pkg (four 1/2- cup serving size) sugar-free instant vanilla pudding powder (Jell-O brand works best…see note)

5 cups 2% milk

3 tablespoons Splenda granular

3/4  teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons brandy or rum extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

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Whisk together the half & half and pudding powder until smooth – this will be very thick. Slowly whisk in milk until smooth. Whisk in Splenda, nutmeg, cinnamon, and extracts. Allow to chill for at least 2 hours. Serve with whipped cream and a sprinkling of freshly grated nutmeg. Makes approx twelve 1/2-cup servings.

Per Serving: 82 Cal; 4 g Protein; 4 g Tot Fat; 7 g Carb; 0 g Fiber; 5 g Sugar; 155 mg Sodium

**Jell-O brand works best for this recipe.  I love them, but the generic brands are sometimes bigger packages and will make the drink too thick.  Then you have to add more milk, and it just ‘waters’ it down.  Go with Jell-O!

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CHOCOLATE-MINT CHEESE BALL

Just in time for the Holiday dessert tables that are everywhere you go.  You can’t escape this time of year – the buffets, the lunch rooms, the office parties, and hundred and one other occasions to eat…each filled with stuff we shouldn’t have.

This one everybody will love – whether they like to eat low-sugar or not!  Most bigger grocery stores carry the sugar free star-light peppermints, or you can order from an on-line candy store.  One of my favorites is Perfectly Sweet.  Or there is Candy.com, but they sell in bulk.  I don’t know…you might want 425 star-light mints.  Who am I to judge?!

I serve it with the Murray’s Double Chocolate Cookies – or graham crackers – or off of a spoon…

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One 8-ounce pkg. reduced-fat cream cheese
1/3 cup Splenda
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
One 4 ounce package sugar-free peppermint candies
1/4 cup Hersey’s sugar free chocolate chips or other sugar free chocolate, finely chopped

In a medium bowl combine the cream cheese, Splenda, vanilla, 3 tablespoons finely crushed candies, and chocolate. Place in a small plastic wrap-lined bowl and chill 4 hours or overnight. Unmold cheese ball and place on a pretty plate. Gently press 1/3 cup coarsely crushed peppermint candies onto the surface. 

The candies tend to get “wet” if left in the fridge too long. I would press them onto the surface just before serving.

Makes ten servings, 2 tablespoons each.
Per Serving: 118 Cal; 3 g Protein; 6 g Tot Fat; 4 g Carb; 0 g Fiber; 0 g Sugar

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Crepes

(Low-carb, higer-protein)

I use these in so many more ways than just “crepes”.   In both sweet or savory recipes, as wraps, tortillas, noodles – they are a great way to still make those dishes you love without the unneeded carbs.

Don’t be afraid of making crepes – and you don’t need a special pan.  The first one may flop, but you’ll get the hang of it quickly.   Then you can use them for enchiladas, burritos, lasagna, sandwiches, or just roll up with a sprinkle of Cinnamon-Splenda inside.  They’re a very versatile thing to keep on hand.  (They also freeze great.  Just put a piece of waxed paper, or plastic wrap between each one.)

You can add 1 tablespoon Splenda, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, or sweet spices for a sweet version.  Or herbs and other spices for savory.

These are very tender and will be more moist than regular crepes.  They are what I use in my Chicken Pot Pie with Crepes, which has been very popular.

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1/2 cup ricotta cheese (stats are for Part-Skim / lowfat)

4 eggs

1/4 cup flour

3 tablespoons milk

Pinch of salt

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In a medium bowl beat the Ricotta with the eggs. Beat in the flour, salt, milk.   Allow to sit for 15 minutes.

Heat an 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Coat with vegetable cooking spray when hot. Pour in 2 tablespoons of batter and immediately swirl the pan to coat the entire surface in a thin layer. Allow to cook, without turning, until completely done. The top should be no longer shiny and when you touch it it’s not wet. The bottom will be have a very slight golden color. If it’s too dark, lower the heat.

(If you are a new crepe-maker, these can be next to impossible to flip and they don’t need to be.) Gently loosen the edges with a spatula and slide out of the pan onto a plate. Very lightly spray the top with vegetable spray – this way you can stack them on top of each other.

Lightly coat the pan with cooking spray before each crepe. Proceed with above directions until batter is gone. Allow the crepes to cool to room temperature and then wrap the plate tightly with plastic wrap. These keep well in the fridge – unfilled – for several days.

Since these are so moist, letting them sit uncovered for a half hour or so will help them get that dry, ‘lacy’ edge.

Makes approx 12 crepes.

Per Crepe:   Calories 57; Protein 4 g; Fat 3 g; Carb 6 g; Sugar 1 g; Sodium 35 mg

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