Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!
I promise that once Thanksgiving has come and gone, I will return to posting things that aren’t filled with pumpkin. But my love for the stuff is still going strong, and I intend to keep baking with pumpkin until Turkey day arrives.
Last weekend I spent a little time scouring magazines looking for recipes for our family Thanksgiving. I don’t know about you all, but on Thanksgiving I prefer to indulge responsibly. There is nothing I hate more than the “oh my gosh I feel so full I want to die” feeling. It’s really less about calorie consumption and more about how I feel after eating a huge meal and the days following. Also known as Thanksgiving hangover.
When I spotted a recipe for Pumpkin-Almond Cheesecake in Cooking Light’s November issue, I knew I had to give it a try. Instead of making the almond cake that was intended as the bottom layer, I used a crispy graham cracker crust and poured the lightened up cheesecake mixture atop.
I was expecting to be a bit underwhelmed by the dessert when I threw in a block of low-fat cream cheese, Greek yogurt and very little sugar. But to my surprise and delight it was awesome. Smooth, rich-tasting and lightly sweet, Joey and I both ate a piece without feeling stuffed afterward. Things only got better when I calculated the nutrition information for the bars and found that when you make it into 12 servings, each serving only has around 190 calories. Not an ultra low-calorie dessert, but hardly a gut-busting indulgence, either.
Healthier Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
Recipe slightly adapted from Cooking Light magazine
*1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
*2 tablespoons sugar
*3 tablespoons butter, melted
*8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese
*1/2 cup sugar
*3 large eggs
*1 tsp. vanilla extract
*1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin puree
*1/3 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
*1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*Preheat oven to 300°F. In a small bowl, combine the crust ingredients until well combined. Press the crust mixture evenly into an 8×8-inch square baking pan. Set aside.
*In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until just combined. Add in the vanilla, pumpkin, Greek yogurt and cinnamon and beat until smooth and incorporated.
*Pour filling mixture into prepared crust pan. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until the cheesecake center barely moves when pan is touched. Cool completely on a wire rack. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for at least 8 hours. Makes 12 servings
Approximate Calories per serving: 190
Quite often when Joey and I don’t feel like cooking (well, when I don’t feel like cooking), we pick up a rotisserie chicken at the store and I made a bunch of steamed and roasted veggies for me to eat and for him to pair with his chicken. As someone who knows how easy it is to roast a chicken, buying a rotisserie chicken always kills me inside because I know I could do it better.
Well this past weekend, I finally got my butt to the store and picked up ingredients for a roasted chicken meal. You know the crazy part? I picked up a whole organic roasted chicken, a pound of green beans, two large russet potatoes and an onion for just NINE dollars. Crazy, right? Anyone who says you can’t eat well on very little money, or who says that fast food is cheaper than real food, hasn’t spent much time at the grocery store or in the kitchen.
Food prices aside, this meal was incredibly easy to make and would be impressive enough to serve for company, or in our case, on a casual Friday night in. Sure, you need a bit of time, but 90% of the time is hands-off. We actually got a workout in while our chicken was roasting, that’s how easy it is.
One word to the wise: unless you feel like cleaning your chicken or making something with the giblets, I would recommend buying a chicken that says it is ‘without neck and giblets’ for the easiest (and much less gross) chicken roasting experience
Easy Roasted Chicken
*2 medium russet potatoes chopped into large bite-sized pieces
*1 tablespoon olive oil
*1 medium-sized whole chicken without neck or giblets
*1/4 cup mayonnaise
*Salt and black pepper
*2 cloves garlic, minced
*1/2 medium onion, sliced
*Additional salt and ground black pepper
*Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Set aside.
*Place potatoes on the baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and ground black pepper. Set aside.
*Rinse chicken thoroughly making sure to clean the inside cavity. Dry with paper towels and discard paper towels. Place chicken atop some of the potatoes. Rub chicken with mayonnaise. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper to taste. Top chicken with the minced garlic.
*Place chicken in the oven and bake for 65 to 75 minutes, adding the onions halfway through cooking. Chicken’s juices should run clear when pierced with a fork, potatoes should be crispy brown and the skin of the chicken should be dark golden brown.
*1/2 teaspoon baking powder
*2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
*1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
*1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1 cup canned pumpkin puree
*1/2 cup olive oil
*1 cup sugar
*2 large eggs
*1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
*Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease muffin cups. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt.
*In a large bowl beat together pumpkin, olive oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla.
*Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until combined. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until muffins are lightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
*Cool on a wire rack. Store leftovers in a zip top bag or container with a lid.