Tag Archives: Eating healthy

A new dessert recipe for you, and it’s healthy, to boot!

4 Jan
These yummy mini cheesecakes used fat free fillo dough, fat free, sugar free pudding and fat free whipped cream on top!

These yummy mini cheesecakes used fat free fillo dough, fat free, sugar free pudding and fat free whipped cream on top!

Oftentimes when you have an allergy or a dietary issue, eating out or eating some place that is not the comfort of your own home is tough. We’ve always had those issues, but never knew exactly what was causing them.

Now that our family knows that staying away from fats is the key to avoiding a severe stomachache for one of our family members, we worked very hard during the holidays to provide options for eating as close to fat free whenever we could, including when we went to someone else’s house. We also worked hard not to have completely separate choices for our family, but rather to make things everyone could enjoy.

This New Year’s Eve in preparing to go to our friends’ house for the festivities, Caroline and I came up with a great dessert recipe that was extremely healthy, meeting our fat free requirements, and delicious. It was an instant hit that night and I’d definitely make these again.

I had seen the little fillo dough tart shells on different websites, always filled with something cute, and one day they were on sale, 3 boxes for $5 at the store, so I grabbed them and put them in my freezer, knowing I could somehow make use of them.

Earlier this fall, on one of my favorite blogs, Budget¬† Gourmet Mom, I’d seen a recipe for a low fat pumpkin cheesecake parfait that I’d never gotten the chance to make, but the recipe had alerted me to the fact that Jello makes a fat free, sugar free cheesecake pudding mix. At the time I didn’t need to know that, but now, that information has come in pretty handy.

I picked up a few of these for my pantry, and they've come in handy this past month!

I picked up a few of these for my pantry, and they’ve come in handy this past month!

On one of my trips to the store, I was intent on finding various fat free dessert and snack options and I saw the pudding there, so I grabbed a few boxes to have on hand.

The side of the box has traditional pudding directions and then directions for making a cheesecake with the pudding, using a graham cracker crust.

So here is what I decided to do to create my delicious New Years Eve desserts:

I made one box of the Jello Cheesecake pudding mix using 1 3/4 cups of 1% milk. That is the amount of milk needed for a cheesecake, NOT for the regular pudding. I let that set a few minutes (it sets fast, in less then ten minutes) and then I used my Pampered Chef small scoop to scoop a little bit into the little fillo shells. One box of pudding filled 15 fillo tarts. I did not want to bring more than that so I used the leftover pudding, putting it into cups for future snacks in the days that followed. I was able to get two small cups of extra pudding in addition to the shells.

I left those in the fridge until we were ready to leave that night.

Getting the hang of shaving the chocolate and having it land on top was tricky but eventually we got it!

Getting the hang of shaving the chocolate and having it land on top was tricky but eventually we got it!

I took with me an Extra Dark Chocolate bar by Lindt that had very conveniently showed up in my stocking for Christmas, a grater like I’d use for cheese, and a can of Reddi Whip fat free whipped cream. We were also bringing a fruit tray (with a great dip which I’ll share the recipe for on another day) that had strawberries on the tray.

When it was time for dessert, people had the option to add whatever they wanted to their little tarts of cheesecake. Some added the berry and cream with the chocolate shavings (I was one of those people) and some did not.

Shaving the chocolate over the individual shells was tricky, as you had to figure out where the shavings were going to land. Initially they were landing everywhere til I got the hang of it. Had I shaved it all over the entire set of shells first, making them all exactly the same, that would have worked out perfectly, but I wanted to give everyone their options so I did them individually.

The great things about this recipe were:

It was inexpensive, fast and easy.

It was delicious.

It was versatile so people could take or leave whatever part of it they wanted to or leave it in tact.

It was healthy.

Even without the shells, you could do something similar with it in the future; a parfait or just a bowl of pudding with berries, with or without cream and chocolate.

And, it looked festive for the holidays.

This recipe gets huge thumbs up and I’d definitely make it again! I am especially proud because in general I am not an experimenter. I am a recipe follower to the T. So the fact that I sort of created a dessert is thrilling to me. The fact that everyone liked it…even more thrilling.

Give it a try for your next gathering and see what you think!

What’s for Dinner Wednesday: Chicken and Veggie Chowder

2 Jan
This soup was hearty and delicious and everyone in our family gave it a thumbs up!

This soup was hearty and delicious and everyone in our family gave it a thumbs up!

Happy New Year!

If you read my New Year’s Eve post on Monday, then you’ll remember that I mentioned that some of my posts will be showing the new recipes we’ve been trying at our house during the month of December.

These recipes are helping us in our goal of eliminating as much of the “bad fats” from our diet and we’ve been using a variety of websites, blogs and cookbooks to guide us in finding some fun new meal options.

One thing our family loves is homemade soup. During the fall and winter months we have homemade soup all the time.

When I was looking through The South Beach Diet Cookbook last month, I saw this recipe for Chicken and Veggie Chowder and it seemed like we would all love it. We had everything for it at home already, so we gave it a go. If you were following the South Beach Diet itself, this recipe is recommended for Phase II. Since we are not, we could eat it any time we wanted to.

It was a cold day when we had it, and it was definitely a warm-your-belly kind of soup. Everyone loved it, which is one reason we love making soups. Very rarely does someone not like soup at our house.  This recipe was definitely a keeper, and of course, it was good for you.

CHICKEN AND VEGGIE CHOWDER (from the South Beach Diet Cookbook)

3 cups chicken broth

2 carrots, chopped

2 ribs of celery, chopped

2 ounces mushrooms

1 onion, chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 3/4″ strips

2 tablespoons trans-free margarine or butter (We’ve been trying out the Smart Balance Omega 3 sticks and the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter sticks)

3 tablespoons whole wheat flour

1 cup 1% milk

3 spears asparagus cut up into 1″ pieces or 1 cup broccoli florets (we like both but we went with the broccoli.)

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


In a large pot, combine the broth, carrots, celery, onion, mushrooms, garlic, thyme, and salt.

Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Using a slotted spoon, remove half of the vegetable mixture to a food processor and process until pureed. Return to the saucepan.

Stir in the chicken, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink.

Melt the margarine in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour until smooth and cook for one minute.

Gradually add the milk and cook, stirring constantly for three minutes, or until thickened.

Stir into the chicken mixture. Add the asparagus or broccoli, parsley, and pepper and cook for 5 minutes, or until heated through.