Artichoke Dip


It’s Friday night and I want a yummy appetizer to go with our margaritas! This dip comes together so quick and tastes amazing!

6 oz spinach
1 can artichoke hearts
6 oz cream cheese
1/4 c sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/3 c grated Parmesan
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 jalapeño pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Heat in microwave for 1 minute or until hot and soft. Stir and serve hot.

Serves 4 – 6.

Vanilla Cheesecake Bars


I was craving cheesecake and Bake or Break posted this on Facebook today – so of course I had to give them a try!! I lightened them up a bit.

For the crust:

1/4 c unsalted butter, softened

1/4 c coconut palm oil

1/3 c sugar
1 & 1/2 c all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

For the filling
16 ozs cream cheese, softened
1/2 c coconut palm sugar

1/2 c half & half
1 egg
2 egg whites
1 TBSP vanilla extract

1 TBSP all-purpose flour

To make the crust:
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9″x 13″ baking pan.

Beat butter palm oil and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed to low, and gradually add flour and salt until mixture is crumbly. Press evenly into prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes.

To make the filling:
Place cream cheese, sugar, and half & half in the bowl of a stand mixer or a food processor. Mix until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the mixture, or add extract if using. Add flour. Mix until smooth.

Pour filling over partially baked crust. Bake for 22-24 minutes, or until the filling is set. 
Refrigerate until ready to cut into bars and serve.

Serves 24.

Artichoke Dip


This is a healthier version of artichoke dip with a little kick. I swapped out full fat cream cheese for lite and used Cayenne pepper to spicy it up.

1 14 oz can of artichoke hearts, drained
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley
1/4 c, grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp lemon zest
2 clove roasted garlic
1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp salt
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
4 Tbsp lemon juice

Put the drained artichoke hearts, parsley, Parmesan, lemon zest, garlic, and salt and pepper in a food processor. Pulse a few times until a paste forms. Add cream cheese and the lemon juice. Pulse until well blended. Add more salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste.

Serves 8 – 10.

Cheesecake Brownie Bars


These cheesecake brownies are super tasty! I found the recipe in eating well – it’s a winner!

4 ozs reduced-fat cream cheese
1/4 c sugar
1 large egg
1 TBSP all-purpose flour
1 TBSP nonfat plain yogurt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 c whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
1 1/4 c packed light brown sugar
1/4 c canola oil
1/4 c strong coffee
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350° F. Coat a 8×8 inch brownie pan or baking pan with cooking spray.

Place cream cheese in a small mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add sugar and beat until smooth. Add egg, flour, yogurt and vanilla; beat until well blended.

Whisk whole-wheat flour, cocoa and salt in a bowl. Place egg, egg whites and brown sugar in a large bowl and beat with the electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add oil, coffee and vanilla; beat until well blended. Add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed just until well blended, stopping once to scrape down the sides.

Scrape about half of the brownie batter into the prepared pan. Slowly pour the topping evenly on top. Drop the remaining brownie batter in large dollops over the topping. Draw the tip of a sharp knife or skewer through the two batters to create a swirled effect.

Bake the brownies until the top is just firm to the touch, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bars


These are a healthy versus of pumpkin cream cheese bars. I used coconut palm sugar and used a bit less butter – these are a super yummy fall treat!

1 c graham cracker crumbs
1 TBSP butter
8 oz reduced fat cream cheese
1/2 c sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 c pumpkin
1/3 c fat free greek yogurt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine graham crackers, sugar and butter, press into a 8×8 pan.

Beat the cream cheese and pumpkin together until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, add remaining ingredients and beat until combined.

Pour over bread crumbs, bake for 45 minutes.

Serves 12.

Jalapeño Cheese Bites


Our jalapeño plant has gone crazy, so what is one to do with tons of jalapeño? I make jalapeño bites! This is my take on Jalapeño poppers, a lighter version for sure, and in my opinion tastier.

4 oz light cream cheese, softened
4 oz shredded cheese, cheddar, mozz, jack
1 tsp smoked paprika
20 Jalapeños, halved, seeds & ribs removed

Preheat oven to 425.

Combine cheeses & paprika. Fill each jalapeño half with cheese and place on glass baking dish.

Bake 15 minutes or until cheese becomes bubbly and brown.

Serves 4.

Black and White Cupcakes


Food and Wine has been hitting it out of the park with their recipes this weekend!! And they have me baking up a storm. I just can’t leave well enough alone, so I made a few tweaks to F&W’s recipe, a bit less sugar, a bit less fat.

8 oz light cream cheese, softened
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/3 c sugar
1/4 tsp salt

3 c all-purpose flour
1 c sugar
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
2 c water
2/3 c applesauce
2 TBSP vegetable oil
2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
2 tsp vanilla extract
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Line three 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese with the egg, sugar, and salt until blended.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the sugar, salt and baking soda. Sift in the cocoa powder and whisk to combine. Add the water, applesauce, vinegar and vanilla and whisk just until the batter is smooth.

Scoop 2 tablespoons of batter into each muffin cup. Scoop 1 tablespoon of the filling on top of the batter, followed by another 1 tablespoon of the batter.

Bake the cupcakes for about 20 minutes, until firm and no longer sticky to the touch; turn the pans halfway through baking. Let the cupcakes cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then turn them out onto a rack to cool completely. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

MAKE AHEAD The cupcakes can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.