please leave your comments, criticisms, recipe ratings & requests or input for future posts! comment or email me at with any of the above.

Monday, December 20, 2010

no-bake berry smoothie cheesecake

cheesecake is one of those crowd-pleasing, beautiful desserts. but, let's be honest - it's pretty much terrible for you.

i found this version by philadelphia (like the cream cheese) that i absolutely love. made with 1/3 less fat (neuschfatel cheese - have i mentioned i use this in everything. i never ever ever use real cream cheese) and cool whip, it's far lighter than the original. and you don't have to bake it so it whips up in no time.

theirs is a berry smoothie version which is amazing, but try your own add ins - swirl in peanut butter and chocolate, other fruit, or just top with pie filling. i'm going to do it plain and top it with red raspberry pie filling for a festive feel.

no-bake berry smoothie cheesecake
16 servings

2 cups graham cracker crumbs (make your own!)
6 tablespoons butter, melted (you can't escape the butter, so we'll cut back elsewhere)
3 tablespoons sugar
4 (8 oz) packages 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened (never pay more than $1)
3/4 cup sugar
1 12 oz package frozen mixed berries, thawed and drained (or your own topping)
1 tub whipped topping lite or fat free

1. line 13x9 pan with foil with ends extending over the edge of the pan. mix graham cracker crumbs, butter and 3 tablespoons sugar, press onto bottom of prepared pan. refrigerate while preparing filling.
2. beat cream cheese and 3/4 cup sugar in large bowl with electric mixer until well blended. add berries, beat on low speed just until blended. gently stir in whipped topping. spoon over crust; cover.
3. refrigerate 4 hours or until firm. use foil handles to remove cheesecake from pan before cutting to serve. store leftovers in refrigerator.

what dessert are you serving for christmas/christmas eve dinner??

Sunday, December 19, 2010

raspberry bread pudding

there's this quaint little sandwich shop in provo, ut (where i went to college at BYU) that has delicious.... everything. for the most part its a pretty healthy place to lunch, too.

with the most delicious exception - kneaders' raspberry bread pudding. wow. it's too good. but it's also too bad, made with whole cream.

so after too much time craving it i found a copy cat recipe on the sisters cafe, deciding i just had to have it since it isn't down the street anymore. but when i went to buy half and half to make it a bit lighter i made an amazing discovery. did you know that wal-mart has fat free half and half? i didn't. (i'm not sure what is in it to make it half and half since half and half is 1/2 cream, 1/2 milk. don't ask don't tell.) but now i do and i would gladly take this drastically fat and calorie reduced version of this delicious dessert over the original any day.

it makes a ton - a perfect dessert to serve at a big Christmas dinner. i hope you enjoy it at yours.

i keep forgetting to take a picture. it gets eaten too fast. and you can make it without the vanilla sauce. it's still amazing and then there is no butter or oil in the whole thing. you decide how to splurge.

kneaders' raspberry bread pudding
healthified from the sister's cafe
10-12 servings

cream mix
1 1/2 loaves aged, french bread
1 quart fat free half and half
3 cups sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

in large bowl combine cream, sugar, egg and vanilla. cut bread into 1 1/2" cubes (or do this ahead and let it sit out and get stale to "age" it!) and add to cream mixture, coating bread well. let stand 30 minutes stirring every 5 minutes to allow cream to absorb completely.

fruit filling
5 cups frozen raspberries
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup apple juice

combine raspberries, sugar and apple juice, stirring until sugar is dissolved.

layer a roasting pan (13x9 is too small!) 3/4 full with bread mixture, pour fruit filling over bread mixture, spreading evenly, top with remaining bread. bake 40 minutes at 375 degrees. serve warm. top with vanilla sauce.

vanilla sauce (makes enough for 2 batches of bread pudding with how much we put on!)
1 1/3 cup butter
5 tablespoons flour
3 cups fat free half and half
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup sugar

over medium heat melt butter, and add flour stir 10 minutes until it has a nutty aroma, do not brown. add cream and sugar and boil till mixture is thick, remove from heat adding vanilla. serve this wonderful sauce cold.

store leftovers in fridge and eat for breakfast. but don't tell anyone i told you to do that.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

10-minute chicken tortilla soup

with all of the fun holiday activities going on i'm finding myself needing quick meals. this is one of the quickest, yummiest meals, and it won't hurt your wallet too bad, either! and it will take you 10 minutes including opening cans. can't beat that.

it's compliments of trader joe's. i love that place. i wish i could afford to buy more things there.

trader joe's 10-minute chicken tortilla soup
suggested bovine modifications in parentheses
5-6 servings

1 box chicken broth (or 32oz or 4 cups)
1 can chunk chicken (or 1 chicken breast cooked and shredded)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained
1 12 oz container pico de gallo (the tjs one is good!)

toppings - crushed chips, cheese, guacamole, sour cream, cilantro

1. put broth, chicken, beans, corn and pico de gallo in large pot. cook 5-7 minutes until heated through. serve with toppings of choice.

Friday, December 10, 2010

kick me in the pants and call me slacker banana pancakes

kick me in the pants and call me slacker. i haven't abandoned this blog. have you abandoned me? i have no comments!! ahh!!

hubby's new job has him working late most nights, so he eats at work. why would i cook for just me and two little kids who'd probably rather have pasta or cheerios anyway? needless to say, i haven't been cooking much.

since he's sometimes around for breakfast though i have made these a few times. they are amazing! kick me in the pants and call me slacker, but at least i'm back on the posting band wagon!

stay-tuned - i'll post some desserts that won't do you or your budget in over the holidays.

kick me in the pants and call me slacker banana pancakes
4-6 servings
modified from, here
1 cup whole wheat flour (or 1/2 white 1/2 wheat)
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup skim milk
2 tablespoons applesauce
2 overripe bananas, mashed (i used really overripe that i defrosted from my freezer)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1. mix wet ingredients (including banana) well. add dry ingredients and mix until just wet. batter will be lumpy.
2. heat griddle to medium heat. pour about 1/4 cup on griddle for each pancake and cook slowly until both sides are light golden brown.
3. the most important part: serve hot with a tiny layer of peanut butter spread on top and then your favorite syrup. (i used maple... my husband used berry, with no peanut butter. weirdo.)

healthy cooking on a budget

disclaimer: i don't claim to be an expert on cooking, weight loss or even healthy eating, but i do love to cook, find healthy, taste bud-friendly tricks and most of all, i love to eat!

qualifications: what qualifies me to blog on cooking healthy on a small budget? well, as my husband is still a student, my budget is not what you'd call large. and as for the healthy part, when i was 10 i was diagnosed with pancreatitus - a disease that doesn't effect me much anymore unless i eat food that is too greasy or has too much fat (in which case, well, let's just say i get really sick). this had steered my experience and limited cooking expertise in a health-conscious direction.

please feel free to comment, criticise, rate recipes, try ideas and make requests for future posts!