Tags: Buttermilk, Cheesecake, Farmers Cheese, First Love, Graham Crackers, Skinny Cheesecake, Weight Watchers Fresh Meals
For this months Secret Recipe Club, I decided to keep it skinny, since I also happen to be reviewing a few new Weight Watchers Fresh Meals in this post. When I saw this Cheesecake with Sour Cream at Cook Book of Trial and Error, the blog I was assigned for March, I knew I had to try it. Look at how creamy and decadent it looks! Would you believe it has almost 5 times less calories than a full fat cheesecake? Trust me, you’d never know it. It’s lighter in texture, more like a a mix between a ricotta cheesecake and full-fat cheesecake, but the flavor is closer to fatty the cheesecake, I was pleasantly surprised.
I was a bit devious, though. I had a few questions about the recipe and since it’s supposed to be a ‘secret’ when you have someone’s blog, I left an innocuous comment asking those questions. When she quickly responded with the answers (less butter and crumbs in lieu of powder), she asked me to let her know how it turns out. I told I would definitely let her know – 100%. Now, I’m letting her know – It turned out amazing and everyone who tried it cannot believe it’s a skinny cheesecake!
Then again, I didn’t post as Guest or Anonymous, so I’m sure she put two and two together and figured it out. Also, I tried to emulate the cinnamon zigzag in her photo, freehand, but it didn’t quite work out – so excuse the strip that looks like dirt.
That said, please be sure to visit her blog, she’s got some really fantastic recipes!
On another skinny note..
Remember last September when I reviewed Weight Watchers Fresh Meals and Deli Salads? Well, Catherine Bowen Brophy of Greencore/Weight Watchers sent me 5 new fresh meals to try and tell you about. Like I mentioned in the previous review, I like Weight Watchers because it’s a sensible way to diet and the food is delicious and filling. The meals I received, in order from favorite to least favorite, are;
Photos above courtesy Weight Watchers
Beef Steak Tips with Potatoes and Vegetables - This was my favorite of the 5. I wanted to lick the carton clean when I was finished. 20 minutes later I realized I was full and satisfied. This is what I love about Weight Watchers.
Southwestern Style Turkey Chili - I loved the heartiness and flavor of this chili, but it needed a bit more spice. But, again, it filled me up, so that’s a gold star.
Teryaki Chicken - The sauce was really good, and it tasted pretty close to what you might get at a good Japanese restaurant. However, it needed salt and teryaki should never,ever need salt.
Chicken Curry - Again, like with the chili, I felt it needed more kick, but I love really hot and spicy food, so maybe it’s just me. Nice flavor and the sauce was silky.
Wild Alaskan Salmon - This was the least of my favorites. The salmon was bland, dry and the texture not pleasing at all, but, what do you excpect from pre-frozen packaged fish? That’s a tough one to pull off. I wanted to dredge each side in cajun seasoning and give it a quick sear, THEN, smother it with some kind of sauce, but that kind of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? They need to rework this one.
You can always add extra spice to kick up the heat, so I’m giving these 5 new Fresh Meals a 7.5 out of 10, the main caveat being the salmon. You won’t get 5-star caliber food here, but you will get tasty food that fills you up, without deprivation . My favorite diet plan out there, by far.
Before I get to the cheesecake recipe, I’d like to thank my friend, Mandy, from What the Fruitcake?! - for converting the measurements in this recipe from metrics to US for me. Also, to see all the delicious dishes my fellow SRC’ers made from their assigned blogs, click on the blue frog below.
Skinny Sour Cream Topped Cheesecake
Recipe from Cooking with Trial and Error, via her friend’s Mom, with my revisions for an 8-inch springform pan
Approximately 2950 calories, 12 servings, 245 calories per serving
4.6 ounces animal or graham cracker crumbs (I forgot to measure after I weighed, but I will do that later with remaining crumbs)
3 to 5 tablespoons melted butter (it could get too greasy with 5, so start with 3, which worked for me)
1 3/4 cups Farmers Cheese *
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Buttermilk or Yogurt *
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/3 cups sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
* The Farmer’s Cheese plus buttermilk amounts can be substituted with all Quark or Greek Yogurt – 500 grams total. Next time I’m going to make yogurt cheese with the Greek yogurt, and try this recipe with that instead of the farmer’s cheese and buttermilk. I’m pretty sure it will be closer in texture to full fat cheesecake since it’s creamy. Strain about 600 to 700 grams low-fat or regular Greek Yogurt so you end up with 500 grams yogurt cheese, which is about 2 cups.
UPDATE - I made it with the yogurt cheese and it’s exactly like a full-fat creamy cheesecake. If you use cottage or farmer’s cheese, you get more of a ricotta cheesecake, which is also delicious, of course.
1. Place the animal or graham crackers in a food processor and pulse until you get fine crumbs. Transfer the crumbs to a clean bowl and drizzle in the melted butter, stirring, until it holds together somewhat. As mentioned above, you shouldn’t need all 5 tablespoons, the cheesecake filling will bind it together when baking.
2. Press the crumbs into a greased 9-inch cake pan – just the bottom. Use the bottom of a glass to really pack it in. Place in the freezer while you make the filling. You can also use a 5”x7” square Pyrex pan, if you want to make cheese cake squares. *I used an 8-inch springform pan, which doubled the baking time. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. In a food processor, combine all the ingredients for the cheese filling until uniform and silky. Remove the graham cracker crust from the freezer, and pour the filling on top of it.
3. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 5 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degreees F and bake for 15 minutes.
4. Combine the sour cream with the sugar. After the cheesecake has baked for 15 minutes at 350F, remove it from the oven and spread the sour cream on top evenly – be gentle, as it will be slightly jiggly in the middle. Bake for another 5 minutes.
5. Let the cheesecake cool to room temperature, then chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving. I topped my mini cheesecakes (I cut them out of the leftover large cheesecake with a round biscuit cutter) with a melange of cut up fruits and honey.
* As i mentioned above, I used a 7 1/2 to 8-inch round springform pan. The baking time was 10 minutes at 400 degrees F, then 30 to 35 minutes at 350 degrees F, and another 10 minutes with the sour cream topping.
I was not compensated monetarily for my Weight Watchers Fresh Meals review, only sent the meals free of charge. All opinions expressed are my own.
Tags: Chocolate, Chocolate Mint Dessert, Diet, Gluten-Free, Healthy, Low-Fat, Mint, Review, Weight Loss, Weight Watchers, Weight Watchers Deli Salads, Weight Watchers Fresh Meals
About two months ago, Catherine Bowen Brophy, a consultant at Greencore/Weight Watchers, contacted me, asking if I wanted to review a new line of Weight Watchers fresh meals and deli salads. My first thought was…
‘Umm..has she seen my blog?’
My blog is probably the last place one would look for weight loss or healthy eating. I think I have maybe one ‘healthy/low-fat’ post, and any others that may or could be good for you, are purely accidental or coincidental. This had to be some kind of mistake, right?
I like Weight Watchers. As I’ve said before, I will not review or talk about any product on my blog that I don’t like or believe in. I’ve turned many products down, but this one I couldn’t. Truth be told, I think Weight Watchers is one of the few, if not only, diet plans that’s sensible, convenient, doesn’t deprive you, and is most likely to keep weight off once you lose it. I have friends who have succeeded on it, and back in HS, even though we didn’t need to lose weight at the time, a friend and I used to buy some of the Weight Watchers desserts for munchies, simply because they tasted really good. Of course we’d eat like 4 desserts each, but again, they were munchies food after a party or a night out – not a diet.
If you’ve ever seen Sex and the City – there’s an episode where Miranda is ready to purchase a stack of diet books in a desperate attempt to take off her baby weight. The cashier flips through the books as she rings them up. These are not exact quotes,, but it went something like this..”This one I lost 40 lbs on, then gained back 60″ – “This one made me sick, and I didn’t lose weight” and so on and so forth. She then tells Miranda to go with Weight Watchers, the only one that ever worked because, as I mentioned above, they don’t deprive you of the foods you like to eat. I know, I know..Weight Watchers probably paid for that little scene, but one part definitely isn’t BS. The food IS good.
Photos in collage courtesy of Weight Watchers. Top Row – BBQ Chicken with Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Turkey and Stuffing. Bottom Row – Three Cheese Macaroni and Meat Loaf with Garlic Mashed Potatoes
After devouring a half pan of the baklava I made in June..and endless candy testing/tasting throughout the month of July, I wasn’t feeling too hot. Bloated, lethargic, and well, jiggly. I had already been through many ‘blog’ over noshings in late 2010 (remember the pots of cassoulet?), so I wasn’t helping my cause by eating more than a ‘bit’ of my super rich dishes and desserts again.
I received a huge ice packed box filled with 7 fresh meals and three deli salads. I decided then and there, if I was going to review this properly, I was going to do it right. Never having been on any weight loss plan my entire life (I dieted in many unhealthy ways – which I won’t get into now, when I needed to lose), I was now officially on one. I gave myself the month of August to see what would happen by sticking to a Weight Watchers meal plan. I even purchased more of these meals and salads when I ran out of the ones sent to me free of charge…because, again, I wanted to do it right.
This is what it looks like in natural light and when it’s not melting – photo courtesy of Weight Watchers
Every day I’d have fresh fruit or a little cereal for breakfast, then a bit of one of the salads they sent, for lunch (I received the chicken salad with dried cranberries, the potato – egg white salad, and the macaroni salad, but there’s more – which you can see HERE), and one of the fresh meals for dinner. The fresh meals are not as small as you would think, and they’re delicious – they taste fattening. I especially loved the meat loaf with garlic mashed potatoes, the three cheese macaroni, and the BBQ chicken. The deli salads tasted just like the stuff you get from a deli. The only criticism I have is, the egg whites in the potato salad were a tad rubbery and need to be cut smaller. LOVE, LOVE, LOVED the chicken salad!
Verdict. I try not use a scale, as I prefer to go by how my clothes fit and how I feel. However, I did this time. I dropped 6 lbs barely doing anything other than sticking to these meals. Whether you need to lose a little, or a lot of weight, I highly recommend you give these fresh meals and deli salads a shot.
That said, here’s the best part, they’re cheap! Fresh Meals are only $2.99 each, and deli salads are $1.99-$2.99! You can find them in the refrigerated areas of the deli or meat sections at most supermarkets. Once again, you can see the various selections of Fresh Meals and Deli salads, HERE.
Now, of course I’m not done. No, Weight Watchers did not send me any desserts, so you’re probably wondering what the photos of the fattening looking chocolate thing with whipped cream, chocolate syrup and candy pieces is. It’s a Weight Watchers recipe! There’s no way I’m going to review anything without making something, and this was one of the desserts I chose to satisfy my sweet cravings. It tastes like a rich, chocolate – mint pudding pop..and again..it tastes fattening! It looks pretty good doesn’t it? It takes 5 minutes to put together, and after two hours of freezing, you can eat the whole dessert without guilt! I’m going to post the recipe, verbatim, with a few italicized tips of my own, from weightwatchers.com.
How quicketh it melteth..
The Weight Watchers Fresh Meals are currently available in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Mid-West regions, at nearly all major grocery stores as well as online at Peapod.com. Soon Fresh Meals will be available in stores in North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, as well.
By the way, this blog will remain a 99.5 % rich, fattening blog, as it’s always been - just wanted to make that perfectly, crystal clear.
Frozen Chocolate Mint Dessert
Recipe from Weightwatchers.com
PointsPlus® Value: 3
Preparation Time: 7 min
Cooking Time: 0 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy
1 oz chocolate wafer(s), about 5 cookies
1/4 teaspoon mint extract (I used peppermint extract)
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa
7 oz fat-free whipped topping, about 1 whole aerosol can
1/4 cup(s) fat-free skim milk
3 piece(s) Weight Watchers by Whitman’s Mint patties, frozen, chopped
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
6 tablespoons whipped topping, light or fat-free, vanilla or chocolate
1. Line six muffin holes with foil muffin liners. (I used paper liners)
2. In a blender, combine wafers, extract, cocoa, fat-free whipped topping and milk; blend until completely combined. Divide mixture among prepared muffin liners; freeze for at least 2 hours. (Fill each cup half way. Anymore and you won’t get 6 desserts, and your points will go up on each one.)
3. Just before serving, top each with 1/6 of mint patties, 1 teaspoon chocolate syrup and 1 tablespoon whipped topping. Yields 1 dessert per serving.
NOTES: This easy chocolate dessert can be made in several flavors. For a pure chocolate treat, replace the mint extract with chocolate or vanilla extract and swap the mint patties for an ounce of mini chocolate chips (could affect PointsPlus values). My note : You can also make it a chocolate – almond dessert by using almond extract instead of mint, and WW almond patties.