Friday, December 21, 2012

Skinny Cake Pops

I've never made cake pops before so when I stumbled onto this recipe I had to give it a whirl.

I got a Babycakes cake pop maker for Christmas last year and decided it was about time I used it.

It took a little trial and error to get the pops to look like pops instead of Jupiter

The trick is...don't fill the Babycake maker too much! A friend on facebook also told me to reuse an empty mustard or ketchup bottle next time and pour the batter using it instead- genius!

After a few rounds, I finally got the size right

The cake part is butter or oil! Just greek yogurt. Of course, after it's dipped in chocolate it's not quite as healthy but I like to just think of it as naughty and nice!

16.5 oz package yellow cake mix
6 oz plain fat-free Greek yogurt
1 cup water
1/2 cup egg beaters
1 tsp vanilla extract
48 oz Baker's white chocolate
Tub of vanilla frosting

Combine all the cake ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beat until combined.

Follow the directions on the Babycakes cupcake maker for cooking time.

Once they're cooked, refrigerate the cake balls for about 45 minutes. This helps the chocolate stick to the cake.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave according to package directions. Add the frosting to the chocolate and microwave for 1 minute.

Dip the cake pops in.

Throw some sprinkles on quickly before the chocolate hardens!

The original recipe just calls for white chocolate without the frosting and I may try that next time- mine came out a bit TOO frosted, if there is such a thing :)

If you have a good frosting recipe for cake pops- leave me a comment below!

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Pretzel Balls

Is there anything better than chocolate and peanut butter together? YES! chocolate, PB and pretzels!

These are going in my Christmas goodie bags to hand out to family.

The recipe is 3 ingredients and 3 steps. Gotta love that!

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/4 cup crushed pretzels
Milk chocolate chips, or candy chocolate bark

Mix the PB and Pretzels together in a bowl and throw it in the freezer for about 15 minutes. This will make it easier to shape into balls.

Next guessed it...Remove from freezer and shape into balls.

Melt your chocolate in the microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring in between. Dip the balls into the chocolate and set on parchment paper to harden. You can also refrigerate them at this point to help the chocolate set.

All done! Here's the yummy goodness on the inside

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Sandwiches

These are my go-to goodies for Christmas. I started making them last year and they were such a hit they are going in everyone's stockings again

The best part about them...other than the how easy they are to make!

Just take two Ritz crackers and spread some peanut butter on them to make a sandwich. Melt milk chocolate in the microwaving, stirring every 30 seconds. Dip the cracker sandwich into the chocolate and then set on parchment paper until the chocolate hardens. They are ready to eat!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Skinny Penne alla Vodka

I love vodka sauce on pasta but don't love the extra calories that come with it so I was excited to find this recipe on (you guessed it) Pinterest.

Yes it tastes as good as it looks!

And it's SO simple and easy to make...just cook your pasta as usual. Heat 2 cups of pasta sauce (I used my favorite store brand) Remove half of the sauce off the stove and stir 7oz of plain Greek yogurt into it. Finally whisk the combined sauce/yogurt into the rest of the sauce. Boom DONE!

You can top it with some Parmesan cheese to make it even better.

The recipe calls for some fresh basil...which I'm sure would be great but I didn't have any and it was fine without it.

Pinterest success rating: A+

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Lighter Eggplant Parmesan

I've never had Eggplant Parmesan before trying this recipe but it is now my new favorite Italian dish!

Start by roasting your eggplant at 450 for 20-25 minutes until they are golden brown (not burned like the one in the upper right hand corner)

Then layer your eggplant, cheese and sauce like you would with lasagna.

Bake at 400 for 30 minutes covered in foil...then remove the foil and bake for another 10

The recipe says to wait til 10 minutes before eating but I've never been able to!

Here's Gina's original recipe with my notes:

1 large eggplant (2 lbs)
1 tbsp olive oil
12 oz fat free ricotta (I always use the whole 15oz container. It makes it a little less of a "light" recipe but I hate to waste yummy cheese!)
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp Parmesan (I find a great vegetarian one at Trader Joe's)
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped (in a pinch I've substituted 2 tablespoons of the dried stuff)
1/4 cup egg beaters
2 cups reduced fat mozzarella (I used Sargento)
3 cups of your favorite tomato sauce

Slice the eggplant into 1/4 inch thick slices. (Too thin and they'll burn- be careful!_

Lightly salt the slices and put in a colander to release excess moisture for about 1/2 hour. Lay on paper towels to soak up any extra moisture. (If I have time I'll do this step but if I'm really hungry I've skipped it.)

Preheat oven to 450°. Brush eggplant lightly with olive oil on both sides and place on cookie sheets. Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning half way through until eggplant is golden brown.

In a medium bowl combine ricotta, egg, parsley and 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese.

In a 9x12 baking dish, put a little sauce on the bottom of the dish and put a layer of eggplant to cover the bottom of the dish. Top with 1/3 of the ricotta cheese mixture, mozzarella cheese and sauce. Add another layer of eggplant and repeat the ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese and sauce until everything is used up. Top with sauce and the mozzarella cheese and the remaining grated cheese.

Cover with foil and bake until cheese is melted and everything is bubbling, about 30 minutes at 400°. Remove foil and bake an additional 8-10 minutes. Take it out of the oven and let it sit about 10 minutes before cutting.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Greek Yogurt Pancakes

I have tried so many Greek yogurt pancake recipes and not always with the best success. They're all over Pinterest and always look good...they just don't always taste good. So when I offered to make this recipe that I found on my favorite time-killing website, my husband wasn't so sure he was up for another Pinterest pancake fail.

Good thing this recipe proved him wrong! (and well, me too...because I have to admit, I had my doubts)

These were definitely the best and easiest Greek Yogurt Pancakes that I've found. They were a great consistency and good flavor too...well, I did add a few butterscotch chips and some sugar free syrup to mine. I little bit of naughty with nice!

Here's the recipe:

6 oz of Greek yogurt
1/4 egg beaters
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda

Stir the yogurt until it's nice and smooth. Add the egg beaters in and mix together. In a separate bowl, mix the flour and baking soda together. Combine them both and stir.

Warning! The batter looks really thick and when you put it on the griddle...don't worry about it. Just cook as you normally would make a pancake. 

I recommend adding butterscotch chips to them because if you haven't had butterscotch pancakes before, you don't know what you're missing!

Update: I've made these SO many times and they just keep getting better. My latest addition...banana!  

Use Banana flavored Greek yogurt and add in 1/2 of a mashed up banana. Sprinkle in a few walnuts and BOOM you've got guilt-free Banana Nut Pancakes!