Real Food for Real Life

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Changin' it up and finding a very pleasant surprise...

Plain Cheesecake Minis with Fresh Raspberries
Bake in May I had made some Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Minis for National teacher's appreciation day.  These low fat, low sugar treats were delicious and well worth the 5 Wight Watchers PointPlus that they tallied in at.  I mentioned that cutting the fat and sugar yet more could bring them down to 3 points.  For Mother's Day (yes, I made my own desert) I made the minis again, using all fat free cream cheese and subbing ginger snaps for the chocolate wafer cookies and stevia for the splenda-sugar blend.  These were delicious topped with fresh raspberries and I don't think the friend I had over for coffee later in the week even noticed they were "diet friendly."  In fact, she asked for a second!

Fast forward a month and I asked Ben what he wanted as his Father's Day desert.  Without much thought he declared he wanted a key lime cheesecake.  If you search the web for recipes, key lime cheesecake seems to involve separate layers of lime custard and cheesecake, not exactly what I had in mind.  Remembering my success the previous month with the super friendly cheesecake minis, I decided that I would take those and infuse them with lime flavor through the use of fresh juice and zest.

The verdict?  Another home run! The lime taste was very present, without overpowering the cheesecake.  It is not visible in any of the photos, but the lime zest added pretty little green flecks to the cheesecake.  I was afraid that I would need additional sweetener with the use of the lime juice, but any loss in sweetness was corrected by the bit of fat free Cool Whip, so perfection was achieved.

Key Lime Cheesecake Minis
makes 12 cheesecake minis

12 vanilla wafer cookies 
2 8oz pkgs. fat free cream cheese, softened
stevia equivalent to 1/2 cup sugar (if using packets, 12)
large pinch of salt
zest and juice of 3 limes
2 large eggs
12 tablespoons fat free Cool Whip

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Cream the stevis, salt, lime zest and cream cheese with a mixer until well blended and fluffy.  Introduce the eggs one at a time and mix until well incorporated; add the lime juice and stir to incorporate.  Line a (1/2 cup-12 capacity or two 6 capacity) muffin tin with foil  cupcake liners.  Place a vanilla wafer cookie into the bottom of each cup.
Naked (zested) limes ready to juice.
Limes after juicing.  Make sure you get it all and don't worry about a bit of pulp.
Divide the cheesecake batter evenly among the liners.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until almost set- they will still be a bit jiggly, but will firm when chilled. Remove from the oven and let cool at least a half hour so they are no longer hot to the touch and then place in the fridge until completely chilled.  Once chilled, top beach mini with a tablespoon of the Cool Whip, spreading carefully to cover the surface.   Refrigerate until ready to serve.  I garnished these with very thin lime slice quarters, but thin curls of lime zest use a vegetable peeler) would have been very pretty,
So, so good...
 WW PointsPlus

I was very pleased to find that even with the addition of the Cool Whip and lime juice, that these tallied in even LOWER than the plain minis, ay only 2 points each.  I think we will be having these again (and again).   The 'Nilla wafer cookies are evidently much friendlier than chocolate wafers or gingersnaps.  Who knew?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A feast for a father...

What did you do for Father's Day?  Ben is actually driving back to Ohio today so we had an early celebration yesterday.  I am sharing dinner photos from the evening spent celebrating the love of my life (and pretty damn fine dad).  Here's wishing everyone and enjoyable rest of the day...

The first course was a wedge salad with bleu cheese dressing and bleu cheese crumbles, perfect for the steak to follow.
The main course was grilled beef tenderloin, grilled new potatoes, and grilled (in the husk) corn on the cob.  Ben gave the grill a workout for this dinner that I made him.  I did butcher the whole loin myself with five more meals waiting in the freezer.  The potatoes were parboiled, tossed in a bit of olive oil and coated in Montreal style seasoning.  This seasoning is good on everything, and I do mean everything.
Ben wanted key lime cheesecake so dessert was a key lime cheesecake mini.  This turned out to be a fantastic combination of flavors.  The recipe will follow in the next post.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Chicago by way of Hilton Head...

Chicago Dog and Simple Slaw
We were planning on grilling some chicken sausages and when I found beautiful poppy seed hot dog buns at the Bi-Lo bakery I knew exactly how we were having them.  We are big fans of the Chicago style hot dogs so we thought we'd do a fresh and lighter version, using the chicken sausage instead of a hot dog, sweet Vidalia onion because it is summer and we are in the south, and fresh jalapeño slices instead of the pickled sport peppers.  On the side we had a simple slaw of sliced green cabbage, scallions, and tiny sweet peppers marinated in seasoned rice vinegar.  Super simple, but so super scrumptious. 
Ben's Plate
 Chicago Dog, Hilton Head Style

fresh poppy seed hot dog buns from a bakery
chicken sausages, we used Johnsonville 3 cheese Italian
spicy brown mustard
Vidalia onion, sliced in thin half moons
summer tomato, sliced in thin half moons
fresh jalapeño, sliced into thin rounds, keep the seeds
celery salt

Grill the sausages.  Slice the rolls and spread each side with the spicy brown mustard.  Layer one side with tomato and season generously with the celery salt.  Layer the other side with onion and jalapeño slices.  Insert grilled sausage.  Eat.  Enjoy.
Oozy cheese yum...
WW PointsPlus Breakdown

The sausage will be 4 or 5 points, depending on the brand.  Unless it is a huge bun, the hot dog bun will generally b 4 points.  The condiments are free. as was the slaw.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

When in the south...

Baked Eggs, à la South Carolina
I've been back in South Carolina for a week know and loving every minute of it.  After a morning of exploring a local park, I wanted something easy, but still substantial, for lunch.  Spying some leftover collard greens in the fridge, I remembered the spinach baked eggs Ben had made me for Mother's Day and I thought, "why not?".  I popped the dish in the oven before popping myself into the shower, emerging to find lunch done.  This was so damn good that I called Ben to make him jealous of hat I was having for lunch, but with the promise to make it for him when he joins me next week.

Baked Eggs, à la South Carolina

For each serving:
1 heaping cup of your favorite leftover collard greens, preferably with lots of ham bits
1 or 2 eggs
coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat an oven to 400°F. Lightly spritz oven-safe dishes or ramekins with cooking spray.  Place a heaping cup of prepared collard greens into each of the oven-safe dishes, making a well or two in the center of each.  Break an egg into each well and season with salt and pepper.  Place the ramekins on one or two rimmed baking sheets and bake until the whites are set and the yolks are firm around the edges but still soft in the center, about 17 minutes or to your liking. Serve immediately. 

Serve this with a whole grain bread or English muffin and some hot sauce.  Texas Pete is very popular here.

WW PointsPlus:
2 points per egg, but the greens will depend upon how they were prepared.  Mine, made with lean ham and defatted ham broth, are 2 points for a heaping cup.
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