Monday, November 28, 2011

WOWZER Wheat Pitas

Normal people probably just go to he store and buy pita bread but oh no, not me. I've had this recipe from Cooking Light in my "I'm gonna make this one day" section of recipes for a few years and I'm so glad I finally made it! To my surprise the dough was incredibly easy to work with and very forgiving. These pitas were easily turned into pita chips to go along with this basil parmesan dip and our dinner guests loved them.

These are not too time consuming and the final product is a tender, chewy pita that you could easily fill with some chicken souvlaki and Tzatziki sauce for a yummy lunch.

1 Tbsp sugar
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 tsp)
1 C plus 2 Tbsp warm water
10 ounces bread flour (about 2 1/4 C)
4.75 white whole-wheat flour (about 1 C, divided)
2 Tbsp 2% Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
Cooking spray

Dissolve sugar and yeast in 1 C plus 2 Tbsp warm water in a large bowl and let stand 5 minutes until frothy. Add bread flour, and about 3/4 C whole-wheat flour, yogurt, oil, and salt to the yeast mixture and beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Turn the dough onto a floured surface. Knead dough until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Add enough of the remaining whole-wheat flour, 1 Tbsp at a time to prevent dough from sticking to hands. *do not add too much flour or your dough will get tough.
Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), for about 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
Divide dough into 8 portions. Working with one portion at a time, gently GENTLY GENTLY!!! roll each portion into a 5 1/2 inch circle. (Consider using a Tupperware or Cool Whip lid as a guide) Place 4 dough circles on each of 2 baking sheets coated with cooking spray.

5. Bake 1 sheet at a time at 500 degrees for 8 minutes or until puffed and browned. Cool on a wire rack. Brush each pita with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and a touch of cracked pepper.

Makes 8 pitas.

Printable Version

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Basil Parmesan Dip with Pita Chips

It's hard to mess anything up that has basil as the star ingredient. This dip needs no introduction but here's one anyway. We had friends over for dinner and they loved it. So you will love it too. The basil and parmesan go perfect together and the creaminess of the dip is perfect for dipping or even as a sandwich spread. This comes from the fabulous Cooking Light magazine, my favorite source for healthy food that doesn't taste "diet".


  • 4 (6-inch) pitas
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 C lightly packed basil leaves
  • 3/4 C finely grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
  • 3/4 C reduced-fat sour cream
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Split pitas; cut each half into 8 wedges. Place wedges on a baking sheet. Coat with cooking spray; sprinkle with 1/4 tsp pepper and salt. Bake at 375 for 12 minutes or until crisp.
  3. Combine remaining 1/4 tsp pepper, basil, and next 4 ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Scrape into a serving bowl using a rubber spatula and serve with pita chips.
Make 8 servings.

Unbelievable New York Cheesecake

Ah yes, that time I ate Cheesecake at the Carnegie Deli in New York City. That was the time when I quit my terrible door-to-door sales job in Virginia and literally begged a co-worker to take me home since he too quit his terrible door-to-door sales job the same day. We didn't just drive straight home though. We ended up taking about 3 weeks to get home while we travelled anywhere and everywhere we wanted to go. This cheesecake in New York was unforgettable.

Since cheesecake is usually off limits for me because of the insane fat content, I never make it. I heart cheesecake so much though so when I found this recipe for New York Cheesecake in my Cooking Light magazine, I saved it and vowed to make it one a year later I did. This recipe is from their September 2010 issue and WOW this recipe will fool you!

I slimmed it up even more by omitting 3/4 C of the sugar, 3 eggs, and 1 package of cream cheese and it still turned out AMAZING. Below is the original recipe but you can make the changes I did for a cheesecake that will impress all your guests.


  • 1 C Graham cracker crumbs (about 7 cookie sheets)
  • 3 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1 Large egg white
  • Cooking Spray
  • 1 ounce all-purpose flour (about 1/4 C)
  • 3 (8-ounce) blocks fat-free cream cheese, softened
  • 2 (8-ounce) blocks 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 3/4 C sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large egg whites
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. To prepare crust, combine crumbs, 3 tablespoons sugar, and 1 egg white in a bowl; toss with a fork until well blended. Lightly coat hands with cooking spray. Press crumb mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes; cool on a wire rack.
  3. To prepare the filling, weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine cottage cheese and 8 ounces fat-free cream cheese in a food processor, and process until smooth. Add remaining 16 ounces of fat-free cream cheese, 1/3 less-fat cream cheese, and next 4 ingredients (through vanilla); process until smooth. Add 3 eggs and 3 egg whites; process until blended. Pour cheese mixture into prepared pan. Bake at 325 for 65 minutes or until almost set (center will not be firm but will set as it chills). Turn oven off; cool cheesecake in closed oven 1 hour. Remove from oven; cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill 8 hours. (For a denser, creamier texture, cool the cake in the oven one hour with the oven door ajar instead of closed. Make a day ahead since the cooled cake needs to chill overnight.)
This makes 16 servings. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Apple Cheesecake Oatmeal

Who doesn't love a good bowl of oatmeal for breakfast? I could name a lot of people including my husband and my sweet mother who would rather eat real ants on a log than oatmeal. BUT. I LOVE oatmeal and at one point in my life ate it for breakfast every morning for about 2 years.

Over the years I have perfected the art of cooking oatmeal and when I'm in a hurry, I use the microwave. This recipe was inspired by the Granny Smith apples in my fridge and leftover cream cheese glaze from a spice cake I made for some friends.

The secret ingredient is the egg. I don't add an egg every time but if I'm turning my oatmeal into a dessert, I always add the egg. It adds protein of course but it also turns the oatmeal into a custard like texture. I can thank my wonderful MIL for this little trick!

Ingredients for 1 serving

  • 1/2 C slow cook oats
  • 1/2 C finely chopped Granny Smith Apple
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 1/4 C Water
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • Dash of Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Cream Cheese Glaze (*Full recipe Below)

1. Start by finely chopping your apple using your Vidalia Chop Wizard that you have purchased by now after realizing how much it will change your life.

2. In a deep bowl, combine the water, salt, oats, cinnamon, apple, and egg. Mix thoroughly until the egg is incorporated into the mixture. (Don't be scared of the egg, I promise it's good!)

3. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, keeping an eye on it so it doesn't boil over. Stir again and microwave for another 30 seconds if needed to reach desired consistency. Let stand for 3-4 minutes.

4. Once your oatmeal has reached its desired consistency, drizzle cream cheese glaze on top and enjoy!

* The recipe for a FULL batch of cream cheese glaze is:
  • 1/2 block of lowfat cream cheese
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 3 C powdered sugar
  • 1-3 Tbsp milk
  1. Cream butter and cream cheese.
  2. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time, mixing well in between each addition.
  3. Add milk 1 Tbsp at a time until it reaches a glaze consistency similar to honey. 
This makes enough glaze for a cake so if you are making some just for oatmeal, I would say use equal amounts of butter and cream cheese measured in tablespoons and then enough powdered sugar and milk to make a small amount of glaze.