Category Archives: Recipes

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzels

One of my favorite food combinations is peanut butter and chocolate. I love them together. Which is why I also paired them with one of my favorite “salty treats”. Pretzels. Yum! 🙂

I also found a whipped peanut butter made by Peter Pan. It only has 150 calories for 2 Tbsp instead of the usual 180-190. I made these treats with the whipped peanut butter and they are perfect!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzels

Regular Synder Twisted Pretzels

Peter Pan Whipped Peanut Butter (1 tsp per sandwich)

Chocolate Almond Bark (I only used 1 block for 12 pretzels)

Measure 1 teaspoon of peanut butter and spread it on a pretzel. Add the other pretzel to complete your sandwich. Make the desired amount of pretzel sandwiches and place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.

Melt the almond bark and dip pretzel sandwiches in half way. Lay dipped sandwiches on the cookie sheet. I dipped 12 pretzel sandwiches with one almond bark square. Place dipped pretzels in refrigerator to cool.

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Enjoy!

Each sandwich is only 55.5 calories! 😉

If you do not like pretzels, but like peanut butter sandwiches, then check out that recipe here.

Lightened Up Cheese Ball

 

Now that football season is here (FINALLY!) that means snack foods are here to stay for a while. Craig and I enjoy sitting on the sofa watching the games on Saturday and Sundays. We also enjoy having snack food while we watch the games. One of our favorite snacks is a cheese ball. It is nothing fancy, but we love it while we snack and watch games.

I tend to make it more than I should, but that’s because it is the perfect snack. We tend to eat ours with crackers, but you can also eat it with chips as well. We usually don’t cover ours in pecans, but you are more than welcome to do so if you wish.

So, instead of having that high calorie dip and chips for the game, try this low calorie cheese ball with some baked chips/crackers.

Ingredients:

1 8 oz reduced fat cream cheese

4 green onions

2 oz lean ham

1/2 cup of 2% cheddar cheese

1 tsp Garlic Salt

Directions:

Set cream cheese out to soften. Dice green onions and ham. Once the cream cheese is softened, add cream cheese, ham, and green onions to bowl and mix with electric mixer. Once mixed, stir in shredded cheddar cheese and garlic salt. Mix well.

Place cream cheese mixture on wax paper and roll into a ball. Once you have your ball, you are finished. If you want to add pecans, just simply roll the ball in the chopped pecans.

Enjoy!

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By using reduced fat cream cheese and only 1/2 cup of 2% cheddar cheese you save 520 calories! If you want to cut more calories, you could use fat free cream cheese and/or fat free cheddar cheese.

CUPCAKES!

Makeover Monday is here! Not only do I have 24 cupcakes staring at me right now while I write this post, but they are 24 DELICIOUS, lightened up cupcakes!

One of my great friends from college used to make cupcakes with applesauce instead of oil. They were actually pretty good so while I was craving cupcakes this weekend, I thought it would be a great idea to experiment. And that is exactly what I did. I replaced the 1/2 cup of oil in the cupcake mix for a 1/4 cup natural Motts applesauce and 1/4 cup Chobani greek yogurt.

These turned out great and I couldn’t be more pleased! To top it off, I also found a great recipe for greek yogurt chocolate icing and used that as well. These did not disappoint and I am excited to share this easy recipe with you. 🙂

Cupcakes (made 24):

1 box yellow cake mix (I used Betty Crocker)

1 cup water

3 eggs

1/4 cup Motts natural applesauce

1/4 cup Chobani Greek yogurt

Add all ingredients into the bowl and mix ( I followed the directions off of the cake box).

Line cupcake pans and spray the paper liners with non stick spray. I used dark pans, so I preheated the oven to 325 and baked for 12-15 minutes.

Chocolate Icing:

8 Tablespoons of Light Butter

1 cup of Chobani Greek Yogurt

1 1/2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate morsels**

1 tsp of vanilla

Melt the morsels in the microwave until smooth (I pulled mine out every 20 seconds and stirred). Add butter and mix well.

Whisk in the yogurt to the chocolate mixture until blended. Do not over mix it.

When it was time to ice the cupcakes, I used 1 tablespoon per cupcake. You will have leftover icing.

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**You can try milk chocolate morsels if you would like a sweeter icing. I used semi-sweet because my husband isn’t a big chocolate eater. I however would have used the milk chocolate for a sweeter icing. 😉

Each cupcake INCLUDING the icing is only 128 calories!

If I had not replaced applesauce and yogurt for the oil in the cupcake mix, each cupcake NOT including icing would be 115 calories! Then, depending on the icing you would make or buy, your 1 cupcake could easily be around 180-200 calories.

Hope you enjoy and happy baking!

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Oreo Cheesecake Cups Lightened Up!

You all know I love sweets; so while I was browsing through my facebook feed, I came across some mini Oreo cheesecakes. These looked amazing so of course I looked through the recipe to see if I should/could lighten them up.

I definitely needed to lighten them up so I did and they came out perfectly! These tasted fantastic and they are the perfect size for something sweet after dinner. 🙂

These Oreo cheesecakes are originally 246 calories per cheesecake and with the slight changes I made, I knocked off more than 100 calories per cheesecake and added Greek yogurt for some extra protein. 😉

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Oreo Cheesecakes Lightened Up

Ingredients:

16 oz of fat free cream cheese

8 oz of reduced fat cream cheese

2 cups of Greek plain yogurt

1 package of regular Oreos ( 30 whole and 6 crushed)

1 cup of regular sugar

1 tsp of vanilla

4 eggs

pinch of salt

Directions:

Line 30 muffin pan cups. Add a whole Oreo to the bottom of each lined cup.

Preheat oven to 275.

Beat cream cheese  and 1 cup of Greek yogurt until smooth. Add sugar and cream. Add vanilla and mix well.

Slowly poor in the eggs and mix. Add the remaining greek yogurt (1 cup) and salt- mix well.

Hand stir the 6 crushed Oreos to the cream cheese mix.

Pour the batter into each cup (it will almost reach to the top of the cup).

Bake cheese cakes for 12 minutes and then rotate the pan. Bake for another 12 minutes. Make sure the filling is set.

Once filling is set, let the cheese cakes cool to room temperature and then place in the refrigerator for a few hours or more. These are definitely best served cold.

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** I placed mine in the freezer for 2 hours and then set them in the fridge. Craig and I like them when they are a bit frozen.

Each cheesecake is only 142 calories!

I hope you try them out and enjoy! We love them.

Sausage Balls Lightened Up!

I can’t believe Monday is already here…where did the weekend go?! Since it is Monday, that means it is time for a new recipe! YAY!

So today I decided to lighten up on of my favorite snacks/appetizer….sausage balls! I love these things. My mom used to make them growing up when we would have youth group parties, birthdays, and holiday get togethers so of course I still cook them. I am sure I could and would eat an entire bowl of these so that’ s why I decided to “lighten” them up. These are fantastic and I hope you enjoy!

p.s. I personally do not like a lot of Bisquick in mine, so I only use 1 1/2 cups.

Sausage Balls

1 lb of Jennie-O Breakfast Ground Turkey

1 cup of shredded 2% milk mild cheddar cheese (I used Kraft)

1 cup of shredded fat free cheddar cheese (I used Kraft)

1 1/2 cups of heart healthy Bisquick

Put all ingredients into a bowl and mix. Microwave the mixture until the cheese is melted. Mix well. After mixing, roll out the sausage balls and placed them on a greased pan. Cook for 15 minutes at 350.

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I rolled out 35 sausage balls which made each one only 57 calories. The original recipe made with regular sausage, regular cheddar cheese, and regular bisquick comes out to be 75 calories per sausage ball. 🙂

Spinach & Artichoke Dip

This dip is incredible! Plus, it is low calorie and delicious! You can’t go wrong with making this dip. I did a post on using Greek yogurt as a substitute in recipes last Monday and told you I would share my favorite. Well, this is it.

I am not a huge vegetable eater so for me to like this dip says a lot! I replaced the mayonnaise and/or sour cream with a nonfat Greek yogurt. The yogurt provides more protein and fewer calories than the alternative.

So, I hope you try it and enjoy. I broke down the serving size to 1/4th cup. Each 1/4th cup is only 46 calories. This dish makes about 11 servings.

Craig likes to eat his dip with pretzels, but I prefer tortilla chips. I usually eat mine with the multigrain tortilla chips. 🙂

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Spinach and Artichoke Dip

14 oz. can of artichoke harts (packed in water), drained

1 1/4th cup of spinach

5-6 small green onions

1 tsp. of minced garlic

8 oz. nonfat Greek yogurt

1/3 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup part skim mozzarella cheese

Salt and pepper to season

Preheat over to 375.

Chop the artichokes (I use a small food processor). Chop the green onions. Place in a medium bowl together.

Add all the remaining ingredients in the bowl and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

Spray an oven proof pan with spray oil and place all ingredients in the pan. Place pan in the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes. Make sure the dip is hot and the cheese has melted. Serve and enjoy!

Stuffed Jalapeños Lightened Up

One of my great friends Angie always posts these amazing looking recipes on facebook. This past week while Craig was on facebook, Angie posted a recipe for stuffed jalapenos and they looked amazing! Craig asked me to make them this weekend and we are always willing to try out new recipes so I decided I would and thank goodness I did. They were fantastic!

As I was reading the recipe, I knew I could definitely swap out some ingredients for “lower calorie” ingredients. So I did. And they were incredible! The flavor and texture of these jalapeños are perfect. The jalapeños are not hot, so if you are sensitive to spicy/hot foods, don’t worry. You will definitely be able to handle these with no problems…just make sure you get all the seeds out of the peppers. J

Stuffed Jalapeños

22 Jalapenos

1 lb of Jennie-O Breakfast Turkey Sausage

8 oz Reduced Fat Cream Cheese

1 cup Parmesan Cheese

Preheat the oven to 425. Cook the turkey sausage until brown. Mix cream cheese and Parmesan cheese together. Add the cooked turkey sausage to the cream cheese mixture and mix well. Wash the jalapenos and then cut the jalapenos in half. Spoon the sausage-cheese mixture into the jalapenos (I used about 1 Tbs in each jalapeno-sometimes less and sometimes more depending on the size of the pepper.).  Line a baking sheet with foil and place stuffed peppers on the pan. Cook the peppers for 20 minutes. Let peppers cool and enjoy!

The original recipe called for regular hot sausage and regular cream cheese. By swapping out for turkey sausage and reduced fat cream cheese, you save 890 calories overall! Each pepper that has been lightened up is only 36 calories.

I know some people may be thinking turkey sausage is not the same as regular sausage; but trust me, the flavor/texture of turkey sausage is not that different. You will not be disappointed with these peppers. These are packed with flavor and with the bonus of fewer calories. I hope you try them out and enjoy them just as much as we did.

Also, if you got to this post because you saw Giveaway listed on the title, then you will want to click here and enter for the giveaway. Just “like”/share my page and comment back where you shared it! Thanks!

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Dark Chocolate Mint Bark

It is Monday again…which means time for a new recipe! Though this one is not really “lightened” up like my previous recipes, I changed some ingredients so it can be more nutrient rich and beneficial for our bodies. I switched out the milk chocolate for dark chocolate and topped the bark off with walnuts instead of mint pieces. Changing those two ingredients made the recipe lighter in calories and more nutrient rich. Dark Chocolate has several health benefits- more so than milk chocolate. You can’t go wrong with eating dark chocolate!

Some of you may be thinking dark chocolate is bitter and nasty. I used to think the same thing! However, there was a girl across the hall from me in college who kept a candy dish in her room. The sad part was that she only stocked it with Dove Dark Chocolate. I wasn’t going to walk across campus just to buy some chocolate when I could get it for free across the hall; and that is when I developed a taste for dark chocolate.

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In this recipe, the dark chocolate is not overwhelming. It is a perfect mix with the Andes baking chips and walnuts. Craig and I can not stop eating this (we had this past weekend and devoured it). The one we had this weekend was topped off with almonds and not walnuts. I had walnuts at home so that is why I used them. You can use whatever nuts you like,  just don’t forget to keep track of the calories.

Mint Chocolate Bark

1 bag of Hersheys Dark Chocolate Morsals

1 bag of Andes Mint Baking Chips

1/2 cup of chopped walnuts (or whatever other nuts you prefer)

I took a 9×13 pan and lined it with parchment paper. I poured the entire bag of the dark chocolate morsels and the andes mint chips and mix them around on the pan together. Place in the oven at 250 degrees until melted*** (mine took about 25 minutes). Pull the pan of melted chocolate out of the oven and sprinkle with your choice of nuts. Make sure the nuts are secured in the chocolate so they will stick when it is time to “break” the bark.

Place the pan of chocolate in the refrigerator to cool. When the bark is finally cool, you can cut or break the bark. I prefer to cut the bark so I know how many calories are in each piece.

Chocolate Bark

My batch was an entire 9×13 pan and I cut 40 squares. Therefore, each square came out to be about 88 calories a square. I leave my chocolate in the fridge so it doesn’t get soft while sitting out in room temp.

*** You can melt the chocolate over the stove or in the microwave. I always do mine in the oven so that’s why I did it that way.

I hope you try out the recipe and enjoy!

Fruit Pizza Cookies

Since Fourth of July is this week several people usually go to parties and family get togethers. I also know food is always at these parties which is why I decided to make a Fourth of July recipe this week.

Of course it is another dessert, but a perfect summer dessert. Fruit pizzas are one of my favorite desserts so I decided to “lighten” up the recipe and share it with you all.

Sugar Cookies  (makes 15 cookies):

¼ cup butter (I used light butter)

¼ c & 2 Tbsp Baking Truvia (or you can use ¾ c of sugar substitute that matches sugar to sugar)

1 egg

¼ tsp vanilla extract

¼ tsp almond extract

1 c. flour

¼ tsp baking powder

1/8th tsp salt

Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl and set aside. In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar together until well mixed. Add egg, vanilla, and almond extract and mix well. Mix in the flour, powder, and salt mixture slowly into the bowl of wet ingredients and mix well. Set dough in refrigerator to cool (I left mine in there for 45 minutes). Remove dough and cut cookies into desired shape on lightly floured wax paper.

Preheat over to 375 degrees and back cookies for 8-10 minutes. Set cookies on wire rack and cool.

Icing:  

4 oz fat free cream cheese

2 Tbsp regular sugar

¼ tsp vanilla

Mix ingredients together and ice each cookie. You then top each cookie with desired fruit. You can use strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, mandarin oranges, bananas, raspberries, and blackberries.

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Each cookie comes out to be 70 calories—a huge difference in calories and not taste!

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Remember when you celebrate this week to be aware of your serving sizes and to enjoy all food! Be aware of what you are eating and how much! I hope you enjoy the cookies and I hope everyone has a fun, safe, and wonderful Fourth of July.

Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Crackers

Okay, so I love sweets, absolutely love them. So today’s post I decided to do one of my favorite sweet snacks. About two years ago, my mom made chocolate covered peanut butter sandwiches during Christmas time and I fell in love with them. They are the perfect snack. A little it of salty and sweet and of course you can never go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate.

I know what you are thinking and you probably think these are “unhealthy, full of calories, and a diet no-no”. Well, if you have room for extra calories and you love chocolate and peanut butter, then I would say these are perfect for you.

This recipe is extremely easy and quick! I had the whole grain Ritz crackers on hand and some creamy peanut butter so all I needed was chocolate. (I prefer creamy peanut butter when I make these, but you are welcome to use whatever you want.) I measure out one teaspoon of peanut butter for each sandwich. I also measured how many tablespoons of chocolate I used to dip my sandwiches in. I only dipped half of the sandwich in chocolate because I didn’t want the entire cracker covered in chocolate.

Homemade Peanut Butter Chocolate Dipped Crackers

Ingredients:

20 Whole Wheat Ritz Crackers

10 tsp Creamy Peanut Butter for each sandwich

3.75 Tbsp Baking Chocolate (you can use milk, semisweet, dark, or white)

Spread 1 teaspoon of peanut butter between two crackers. Repeat until you fill 10 sandwiches. Melt chocolate chips and dip sandwiches in the chocolate half way. Place sandwiches on wax paper and set in refrigerator to cool.

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I know 3.75 Tbsp sounds unusual; however, I had used the Almond bark which is divided into 12 squares. Each square is 3.75 Tbsp so that is why I used that amount. If you would like to use 4 Tbsp of chocolate that is completely fine. Just make sure you add those calories. I made 10 of these therefore, each sandwich came out to be 84 calories.

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There is enough peanut butter in the sandwiches to where it is a perfect balance of crunchiness, saltiness, and sweetness. Make sure when you make these, you measure 1 teaspoon of peanut butter in each sandwich and keep count of the tablespoons of chocolate used for dipping. Also, using dark chocolate is a great idea because it provides fantastic health benefits for you.

So next time when you want a package of Reece’s peanut butter cups, substitute for two of these sandwiches for only 168 calories while the Reece’s will cost you an extra 42 calories.

I hope you enjoy and happy snacking!