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Peanut Butter Cheesecake

14 Feb

My husband doesn’t get excited much about food.  But, there are 2 things he loves:  Peanut Butter, and Cheesecake, and it’s Valentines Day–so there I found myself last night, making peanut butter cheesecake, which he ate for breakfast this morning.  I used PB2 in this recipe, which is a great way to get peanut butter flavor without all the added calories of peanut butter.  If you’re not familiar with PB2, it’s a peanut product that is pressed and the oils are removed to decrease the caloric value.  It’s great for baking, and in fact I have used it before in this yummy peanut butter pie.  If you prefer a more traditional cheescake, check out this recipe for my skinny NY style cheesecake!

Again, the recipe itself is mostly mine, but the cooking technique is based on tips from This Old Gal when using the Instant Pot.  I hope you enjoy it.

Editors Note: This recipe was made in a 7 inch spring form cheesecake pan.  Your slices are a little smaller than you’d get from a traditional 10 inch pan.  However, this recipe is meant for the smaller pan and you won’t get the same results if you try to stretch this to a 10 inch.

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 7 whole graham crackers (that’s 7 of the sheets of 4 rectangles).
  • 2  TBSP light butter or margarine (i used 50 cal per TBSP)

Filling:

  • 16 oz Neufchatel Cheese (sometimes marketed as 1/3 fat cream cheese) Room temp
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup splenda
  • just a pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 TBSP PB2  +1 TBSP for topping later
  • 2 room temperature eggs
  • 1 room temperature egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup 1% milk
  • 1 TBSP strawberry preserves for topping

Instructions: 

  1. put all the graham crackers into a food processor and pulse until you have fine crumbs.
  2. Melt the butter in the microwave for about 25 seconds.
  3. Pour melted butter into cracker crumbs and stir until they are all well combined.
  4. Spray your spring form pan generously with cooking spray.
  5. Pour the crust mixture into the pan and use your fingers to press it evenly across the bottom, and up the sides just about an inch or so.  You can use the bottom of a glass to get a more consistent thickness and texture.
  6. Place the pan with the crust inside, into the freezer for 20 minutes to set while you work on making the filling.
  7. Once you’ve got your crust in place, it’s time to start making your filling.  It’s important to make sure your cheese is softened pretty well.  It should be very soft and pliable inside the package.
  8. Place your cream cheese, sugar, splenda, salt, flour, vanilla extract, PB2, and milk into a mixing bowl.  Use stand mixer or electric beaters to cream these ingredients together until they are smooth.
  9. Add eggs, one at a time, and then yolk.  Mix until just incorporated after each one.
  10. Once filling is mixed together, pour it out on top of the crust, and spread it evenly across the pan.

Cook it! 

For the oven:

  1. Place your spring form pan on large sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil and fold the sides of the foil around the sides of the pan.
  2. Set pan inside a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until the water reaches halfway up the side of the springform pan.
  3. Very carefully place the whole contraption into the oven and bake at 325 for 55 minutes.  When the cake is ready, the edges will look done, but about 1 inch in the middle of the cake will still be jiggly.  This is perfect. It’s going to continue cooking in the next step.
  4. Turn off oven and prop door open.  Allow the cake to sit in the oven, turned off, door slightly open for 45 minutes.
  5. Remove to a cooling rack and let it cool completely before moving to the refrigerator.  Refrigerate 6 hours or overnight before serving. Complete this step before adding topping.

For the Instant Pot:

  1. Pour 1 1/2 cups of water into the bottom of your Instant Pot, and then add the trivet.
  2. Place a paper towel over the top of the pan, and then loosely attach a piece of foil over the top to hold the paper towel in place.  Fold the edges of the foil loosely over the sides of the pan. The foil should not be tightly sealing up the pan, just loosely attached so the paper towel stays stretched across the top.  This paper towel will catch any condensation so it doesn’t settle on the top of your cake and ruin the texture.
  3. Create a foil sling by placing a large piece of heavy duty aluminum foil (about 2 ft long) on your counter, and folding it longways about 4 times.  So at the end, the foil strip should be about 4 inches wide, and 2 ft long.  Place your spring form pan directly in the center of this aluminum strip and pull the sides of the foil up to the top of the pan.  You’re going to use these pieces of foil as a handle to lift the hot pan out of the pot once cooking is done.
  4. Use the “handles” on the foil sling to lower your cake onto the trivet inside the Instant pot.
  5. Set the IP to high pressure, manual setting for 32 minutes.
  6. Once time is up, allow the Instant pot to sit for 18 minutes (NPR). Do not release any pressure until this 18 minute time frame has passed.  Once your 18 minutes has passed, release any remaining pressure manually.
  7. Use handles from the foil sling to remove the pan carefully and place the pan on a cooling rack.
  8. Unwrap the top of the cake and discard foil and paper towel.  Allow cake to cool on the cooling rack 1 hour before placing into the refrigerator.
  9. Refrigerate 6 hours to overnight before serving.  Complete this step before adding topping.

For Topping:

  1. Use 2 small contaners, and place 1 TBSP of PB2 in one, and 1 TBSP of strawberry preserves or jam in the other.
  2. Add about 3/4 TBSP of water to each, and stir until well mixed.
  3. Pour strawberry mixture into a small ziplock bag, and pour PB2 mixture into another small ziplock bag.
  4. Cut a very tiny tip off of one corner of each ziplock bag, and drizzle the PB2 and Strawberry preserves over the top of the cake.

Makes 8 servings= 271 calories per serving (with topping)

 

 

 

 

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Skinny Cheesecake

22 Jan

As I’ve mentioned in many of my recent posts, I’ve gotten an instant pot electric pressure cooker.  When you get an instant pot, and you start researching what you can use it for, there are 2 things that people are very vocal about.  Yogurt, and Cheesecake.  I love yogurt, but it’s cheap and I’m probably not going to go through the trouble of making my own. Cheesecake, however.  Well that’s another story. Challenge Accepted!  I will provide directions below for both oven baking and instant pot baking. I read a bunch of recipes, then made substitutions and switches and crossed my fingers, because you know, cheesecakes are finicky. The results are DELICIOUS.  When you join an instant pot discussion, it becomes clear rather quickly that there is one reigning queen of pressure cooker cheesecake, and her name is “this old gal” so, I took a few tricks from “This old Gal” on how to cook the cheesecake in the instant pot.

Note, I made this in a 7 inch spring form pan so these slices are smaller than an average cheesecake, but still enough to feel like you’re scratching your cheesecake itch.  This is a traditional cheesecake, but if you like the idea of Peanut Butter Cheesecake better, I’ve got that too.  Also, you try this yummy  blueberry orange cheesecake with a gingersnap crust, check out this recipe I posted a while back! 

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 7 whole graham crackers (that’s 7 of the sheets of 4 rectangles).
  • 2  TBSP light butter or margarine (i used 50 cal per TBSP)

Filling:

  • 16 oz Neufchatel Cheese (sometimes marketed as 1/3 fat cream cheese) Room temp
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup splenda
  • just a pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • orange zest from 1/2 an orange
  • 3-4 drops of lemon juice (i just used the stuff in the plastic bottle this time but you could use zest from half an actual lemon instead)
  • 2 room temperature eggs
  • 1 room temperature egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup 1% milk

Instructions: 

  1. put all the graham crackers into a food processor and pulse until you have fine crumbs.
  2. Melt the butter in the microwave for about 25 seconds.
  3. Pour melted butter into cracker crumbs and stir until they are all well combined.
  4. Spray your spring form pan generously with cooking spray.
  5. Pour the crust mixture into the pan and use your fingers to press it evenly across the bottom, and up the sides just about an inch or so.  You can use the bottom of a glass to get a more consistent thickness and texture.
  6. Place the pan with the crust inside, into the freezer for 20 minutes to set while you work on making the filling.
  7. Once you’ve got your crust in place, it’s time to start making your filling.  It’s important to make sure your cheese is softened pretty well.  It should be very soft and pliable inside the package.
  8. Place your cream cheese, sugar, splenda, salt, flour, vanilla extract, orange peel, lemon juice, and milk into a mixing bowl.  Use stand mixer or electric beaters to cream these ingredients together until they are smooth.
  9. Add eggs, one at a time, and then yolk.  Mix until just incorporated after each one.
  10. Once filling is mixed together, pour it out on top of the crust, and spread it evenly across the pan.

Cook it! 

For the oven:

  1. Place your spring form pan on large sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil and fold the sides of the foil around the sides of the pan.
  2. Set pan inside a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until the water reaches halfway up the side of the springform pan.
  3. Very carefully place the whole contraption into the oven and bake at 325 for 55 minutes.  When the cake is ready, the edges will look done, but about 1 inch in the middle of the cake will still be jiggly.  This is perfect. It’s going to continue cooking in the next step.
  4. Turn off oven and prop door open.  Allow the cake to sit in the oven, turned off, door slightly open for 45 minutes.
  5. Remove to a cooling rack and let it cool completely before moving to the refrigerator.  Refrigerate 6 hours or overnight before serving.

For the Instant Pot:

  1. Pour 1 1/2 cups of water into the bottom of your Instant Pot, and then add the trivet.
  2. Place a paper towel over the top of the pan, and then loosely attach a piece of foil over the top to hold the paper towel in place.  Fold the edges of the foil loosely over the sides of the pan. The foil should not be tightly sealing up the pan, just loosely attached so the paper towel stays stretched across the top.  This paper towel will catch any condensation so it doesn’t settle on the top of your cake and ruin the texture.
  3. Create a foil sling by placing a large piece of heavy duty aluminum foil (about 2 ft long) on your counter, and folding it longways about 4 times.  So at the end, the foil strip should be about 4 inches wide, and 2 ft long.  Place your spring form pan directly in the center of this aluminum strip and pull the sides of the foil up to the top of the pan.  You’re going to use these pieces of foil as a handle to lift the hot pan out of the pot once cooking is done.
  4. Use the “handles” on the foil sling to lower your cake onto the trivet inside the Instant pot.
  5. Set the IP to high pressure, manual setting for 32 minutes.
  6. Once time is up, allow the Instant pot to sit for 18 minutes (NPR). Do not release any pressure until this 18 minute time frame has passed.  Once your 18 minutes has passed, release any remaining pressure manually.
  7. Use handles from the foil sling to remove the pan carefully and place the pan on a cooling rack.
  8. Unwrap the top of the cake and discard foil and paper towel.  Allow cake to cool on the cooling rack 1 hour before placing into the refrigerator.
  9. Refrigerate 6 hours to overnight before serving.

Makes 8 servings= 247 calories per serving

Editors Note:  My husband likes his cheesecake plain. I like mine with cherry topping.  Since the slices are small, I used 2 tbsp of kroger light cherry pie filling (shown below) to top mine.  That brought my calories up to 273.  My threshold for desserts to be listed on this site as low calorie, is 300 calories or less.  That being said, my husband chose to eat a 1/6th sized serving instead of 1/8th which brought his calories up to 327 with no topping. If you really love cheesecake and you’ve got calories to spare… go for it.  Cut it into 6’s instead of 8’s.

 

 

Homemade Applesauce

17 Jan

I never have really been an applesauce girl so to speak.  However, I’m definitely a “warm apple pie filling poured over a 100 calorie cup of vanilla ice cream” kind of girl.  And I decided to make homemade apple sauce tonight, which turned out really delicious.  But before I put it in the fridge to cool for tomorrow night’s dinner, i snuck a half cup while it was still warm and it was glorious!

Again, I’ll give you both the crock pot and the instant pot versions below.

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs of gala apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup of water
  • 2 tsp lemon juice (if you’re using the crock pot. Not needed for instant pot)

Directions: 

For Crock Pot

  1. Mix all ingredients together in crock pot, and heat on high 3 hrs, or low 6 hrs.
  2. Once time is up, open lid and stir apples until they have broken up and sort of melded together.  Sauce will be chunky.
  3. Use an immersion blender to break up chunks until sauce reaches desired consistency.  You can dump the sauce into a food processor or blender as well, but listen. LISTEN to me.  Do not fill more than 1/2 way at a time with hot apples, or it will blow boiling hot apples all over you when you push the button.  Trust me.  This is why i use the immersion blender.
  4. You can cook the apples down a little longer if you find there’s more juice than you want.

Serve hot or cold in 1/2 cup serving sizes.

For Instant Pot:

  1. Mix all ingredients (except lemon juice) together in instant pot.
  2. Use the manual setting to cook for 5 minutes at high pressure.
  3. Once cooking is complete, use the pressure dial to release the steam (QR).
  4. Once steam is released, open lid and stir apples until they have broken up and sort of melded together.  Sauce will be chunky.
  5. Use an immersion blender to break up chunks until sauce reaches desired consistency.  You can dump the sauce into a food processor or blender as well, but listen. LISTEN to me.  Do not fill more than 1/2 way at a time with hot apples, or it will blow boiling hot apples all over you when you push the button.  Trust me.  This is why i use the immersion blender.
  6. You can cook the apples down a little longer on the saute or keep warm setting if you find there’s more juice than you want.  If you plan to serve cold, sauce will thicken in some in the fridge.

Serve hot or cold in 1/2 cup serving sizes.

Makes 8 (1/2 cup) servings= 150 Calories per serving


Editors Note: This sauce is sweet, and I love it that way. If you wanted to make this unsweetened by omitting the brown sugar, your 8 servings would come out to 124 calories each.

Editors Note: I actually left the peels on half of my apples, but the peels stayed in tact when i blended them all together, which i don’t mind at all… but you know… kids.  So  next time I’ll probably peel them all.  If you’re using the blender or food processor, i wouldn’t even bother peeling them.

Lemon Raspberry Pound Cake

25 Jan

So, I made this cake as a bundt cake, but judging by the texture when it was done, I’d say it’s really more of a “pound” cake. It’s rather dense, but flavorful. I hope you enjoy it. My kids really liked it.  This is a variation on a recipe i found in cooking light.

Ingredients: 

  • 12 oz fresh raspberries
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Splenda + 1/2 cup Sugar (or 1 cup splenda baking mix)
  • 2 TBSP water, divided
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup light butter, softened (i use one that’s 50 cal/tbsp)
  • 1 1/2  tsp orange extract
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup of low fat buttermilk
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2-3 tsp water

Directions:

  1. 1. Combine raspberries, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and 1 tablespoon water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until berries break down and mixture thickens slightly, stirring frequently.
  2. Place cornstarch in a small bowl; add remaining 1 tablespoon water, stirring until smooth. Add cornstarch mixture to pan; cook 1 minute or until thick. Cool completely.
  3. Once the raspberry mixture is cool, use an immersion blender to pulverize the seeds as much as possible.  You can also do this by pouring the mixture into a food processor.
  4. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk.
  5. Place butter, Splenda Baking mix (or 1/2 c splenda/1/2 cup sugar) into a bowl or mixer and beat until smooth and creamy.
  6. Stir in Orange extract.
  7. Add eggs to sugar mixture, 1 at a time, mixing until all eggs are incorporated.
  8. Alternate between flour mixture and buttermilk, adding each one a little at a time to sugar mixture.  Mix batter until everything is well incorporated.
  9. Spray your bundt cake with nonstick spray.
  10. Spread 1/2 of your cake mixture into the pan and spread it evenly.
  11. Pour 1/2 of your raspberry mixture over the top of your cake batter and spread evenly, reserving the other half of the raspberry mixture to top your cake.
  12. Pour remaining cake batter over the raspberry layer and smooth the batter so it’s evenly distributed.
  13. Bake on 350 for 25-28 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  14. Remove cake from oven, and cool about 10 minutes. Then remove the cake and turn it out onto a cooling rack.  Cool the cake completely.
  15. Combine powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of water, and whisk it well until all lumps are gone.  add additional water up to 3 tbsp total until glaze reaches desired consistency.
  16. Pour glaze evenly over cake and allow glaze to harden a bit (sit about 10 min)
  17. Slice cake and serve with a dollop of reserved raspberry sauce on top.


  
Makes 12 servings= 200 calories per slice

appx 5 weight watchers points plus per serving

 

 

Strawberry Froyo

29 Jun

This recipe was time consuming, but the ice cream was pretty yummy. The kids loved it.  I’ll probably make this again, but it’s a weekend recipe (takes some time).  Please keep in mind that this recipe is finicky.  You have to let it freeze just the right amount of time, and it has to be eaten right away, and it’s a lot of work… but i’m glad i made it.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 1/4 cups 1% milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 TBSP Splenda no-calorie sweetener
  • 1 Cup sliced fresh strawberries
  • 2 TBSP honey

Directions:  

1. Place strawberries in a small food processor and puree until only small chunks remain.

2. Combine yogurt, splenda, vanilla and honey in a bowl. Mix in strawberries and 1/2 cup milk.

3. Pour mixture into a gallon-sized zip-top freezer bag. Lay the bag flat, and spread the mixture into an even layer pressing to eliminate air pockets. Close the bag and lay it flat on a shelf in the freezer.

4. Freeze the mixture 3-4 hours

5. Remove the bag from thee freezer and break the mixture into small pieces.

6. Place the pieces in the bowl of a food processor; add remaining milk and blend until smooth.

7. Pour ice cream into an 8×4 bread pan.  Cover with plastic wrap and return to freezer.

8.  Freeze for 1-2 hours, and serve immediately.  If you freeze it longer, and it gets too hard to scoop, let it sit on the counter for 5-10 minutes or until it’s scoopable.

Editors Note: I actually added 1 drop of red food coloring before freezing the first time.  You don’t have to, but i liked the color 🙂

Makes 8 servings= 85 calories per serving

appx 2 weight watchers points plus


Chocolate coconut cookies

19 Apr

These little gems were super low calorie, and pretty delicious! I think next time I’ll add a tsp of almond extract and call them “almond joy.”

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 6 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 cups shredded sweetened coconut

Directions:

  1. Sift together confectioners sugar, granulated sugar, cocoa and flour. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix egg whites until soft peaks form.
  1. Slowly mix in cocoa mixture a little at a time until incorporated.
  2. Stir in coconut.
  3. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Using a 1 tbsp cookie scoop, place batter on sheet about 1 inch apart.
  5. Bake at 325 for 22 min.
  6. Cool completely before serving.

1 cookie= 45 calories

2 cookies= 90 calories

1 cookie= appx 1 weight watchers points plus

2 cookies= appx 3 weight watchers points plus

 

Almond Cookies

25 Jan

These little cookies were a delightful treat.  They were a nice, subtle kind of sweet, for those of you who don’t like your desserts to be over-the-top sweet.  I enjoyed them, and my kids couldn’t get enough.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 Cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 TSP baking powder
  • 1/8 TSP salt
  • 6 TBSP light margarine, softened
  • 1/4 Cup sugar
  • 2 TBSP splenda
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 TSP almond extract
  • 1/4 TSP vanilla extract
  • 1 TBSP water
  • 1/2 TBSP sugar
  • 14 Slices of almond

Directions:

  1.  Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl, and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat margarine until creamy.  Add 1/4 Cup of sugar and 2 TBSP splenda and beat until sugar is incorporated and mixture is smooth.
  3. Add yolks, vanilla, and almond extract and blend until incorporated.
  4. Gradually add flour mixture into butter mixture, and continue mixing until  all ingredients are well combined.
  5. Using a cookie scoop, form the dough into 14 balls, about 1 inch or so.
  6. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place dough balls about 2 inches apart.  ightly use a fork to slightly “smoosh” cookies down into cookie shape.
  7. In a small bowl, whisk egg white and water.  Brush cookies lightly with egg white wash, and sprinkle 1/2 TBSP of sugar lightly over cookie tops.
  8. Press 1 almond slice into the top of each cookie.
  9. Bake at 325 for 18 minutes.

1 cookie=70 Calories

2 cookies= appx 3 weight watchers points plus

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