Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars with Streusel Topping

Update 12/2/07-- here's the pic, really nothing much to look at. But after you allow this dessert to set up in the refridgerator, you will not be able to stop eating it! So, don't say I didn't warn you! :)
These are in the oven baking right now in anticipation of Thursday.
We're having anti-Thanksgiving. Oh, we're thankful all right. Thankful our friends are whipping up a fabulous Italian feast for us!

This recipe is going to be our contribution to the party and a slight nod to the holiday at an otherwise nontraditional dinner. It sounded so decadent, I just had to splurge! I hope it's as good as it sounds! I will report back and have pics by next week (sorry, I know I've been a slacker lately!) If it's by Paula Deen and has 3 sticks of butter and two packages of cream cheese, you KNOW it has to be good! Happy eating, y'all!

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Streusel topping, recipe follows
1/2 cup caramel topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Press evenly into a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking pan lined with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 1/2 cup sugar in an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Then add eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour over warm crust.

In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle evenly with Streusel topping. Bake 30 minutes, or until filling is set. Drizzle with caramel topping.

Streusel Topping:(I actually mixed this up first),
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients.
Yield: approximately 3 cups

Bella's Pumpkin Ribbon Bread

This is a spin off of a Cooking Light recipe just in time for the holidays!

8 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. sugar
1 tbsp flour
2 egg whites

1 cup pumpkin
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 egg
2 egg whites
1 tbsp canola oil
1 2/3 c flour
1 1/4 c sugar
1 tspn baking soda
2 tspn pumpkin pie spice
Dash allspice
Dash cloves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

For filling, combine first four ingredients; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat pumpkin, applesauce, egg, egg whites and oil.
Combine flour, sugar, baking soda & spices in another bowl.
Add gradually while beating to pumpkin mixture.

Divide 1/2 of batter between 2 loaf pans coated w/cooking spray.
Spread each w/1/2 the filling.
Top each w/remaining 1/2 of batter (1/4 on each).
Bake 40-50 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Chicken Stroganoff

This is one of my newest Fall staples.

Chicken Stroganoff

Stroganoff usually consists of thin slices of beef in a mushroom-sour cream sauce and served over noodles or rice pilaf. This version keeps the classic flavors but uses chicken in place of beef and incorporates sage for a twist. Be sure to use a large skillet(I use a dutch oven) so there's room enough to stir in the noodles at the end.

1 tablespoon butter(I use Smart Balance)
1 1/2 cups chopped onion (about 1 medium)
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage
1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 (8-ounce) package presliced mushrooms
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (about 1 ounce)
1 teaspoon paprika
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons sherry(I use white wine)
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
5 cups hot cooked wide egg noodles, I use whole grain (about 8 ounces uncooked pasta)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add sage, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and mushrooms; sauté 5 minutes or until mushrooms begin to brown. Spoon mixture into a large bowl.

Combine 1/4 cup flour and paprika in a shallow dish. Cut each chicken breast half in half lengthwise; cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips. Dredge chicken strips in flour mixture; shake off the excess flour mixture. Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Sauté 4 minutes or until chicken is done. Add chicken to mushroom mixture.

Add broth and sherry to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Reduce heat to medium-low. Place sour cream in a small bowl; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon flour. Stir with a whisk until combined. Stir sour cream mixture and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt into broth mixture. Stir in chicken mixture; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Add noodles and parsley; stir well to combine.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: about 1 2/3 cups)CALORIES 427 (28% from fat); FAT 13.5g (sat 5.7g,mono 4.7g,poly 1.6g); PROTEIN 28.7g; CHOLESTEROL 101mg; CALCIUM 96mg; SODIUM 625mg; FIBER 3g; IRON 3.4mg; CARBOHYDRATE 47g Cooking Light, APRIL 2007

The Ultimate Spinach/Artichoke Dip

Party season is right around the corner! And inevitably, this dip gets some major action on the buffet tables. No matter where I take it, people always ask for the recipe. And believe it or not, it's a lower fat alternative to the normal dips, but flavor-wise you'd never know the difference. If you want to use full-fat cream cheese and sour cream, knock yourself out. But, a warning, it might be so crazy delicious you lose your mind!~ :)


Spinach Artichoke Dip
Recipe courtesy Juan-Carlos Cruz
Calorie Commando
Party Hearty

1 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed (wring dry in a towel or ricer)
1 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella
8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, softened
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, plus more as needed
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained
Carrot sticks, celery sticks or baked tortilla strips, for serving (I use lavasch/flatbread crackers)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Squeeze all excess liquid from spinach, place in a food processor with sour cream, Parmesan, 1/2 cup of the mozzarella, the cream cheese, garlic, pepper and hot sauce.

Process until just blended but still slightly lumpy( I add everything and blend until smooth b/c we have texture issues in this house and 'chunky' just does not fly! :) ). Add artichokes and pulse to form a chunky mixture. Place in a 1-quart baking dish. Top with remaining mozzarella. Bake until bubbly, about 30 minutes. Serve with carrot sticks, celery sticks or baked tortilla strips.
Nutrition Information
Nutritional Analysis per serving
Calories 282
Fat 17 grams
Saturated Fat 11 grams
Carbohydrates 12 grams
Fiber 3 grams