February 4, 2019

Ella’s Kitchen

February, the month of chocolate and hearts. I have shared recipes that have reduced fat content. The two beef recipes are recipes from the American Heart Association. The apple snack is from the Eating Healthy Snacks Guide.

– Ella

Chocolate Amaretto Cheesecake

Light and Luscious*

Ingredients

  • 6 chocolate wafers, finely crushed (Nabisco makes a chocolate wafer cookie that I have seen at Target. I have also used Oreo cookies. I just scrape the frosting middle off.)
  • 1 1/2 cups cream cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup 1% low fat cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup amaretto
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons semisweet chocolate mini morsels
  • Chocolate curls (optional)

Directions

Sprinkle chocolate wafer crumbs in bottom of a 7-inch springform pan. Set aside. Cream together cream cheese, sugar, cottage cheese, cocoa, flour, amaretto, vanilla extract and salt. Continue creaming together until smooth. Stir in egg and mix until well blended. Fold in chocolate morsels. Slowly pour mixture over crumbs in pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 65 to 70 minutes until cheesecake is set. Let cool on wire rack. Cover and chill for at least 8 hours.

Remove sides of pan, transfer cheesecake to serving platter. Garnish with chocolate curls. To make chocolate curls, melt 3 squares semisweet chocolate. Pour the melted chocolate onto wax paper and spread to a 3-inch-wide strip. Let stand until cool but not yet firm. Pull a
vegetable peeler across the chocolate and transfer the curls to a plate. May store curls in the freezer.

To make Chocolate Mint Cheesecake, substitute creme de menthe for amaretto.

*A make-ahead recipe


Directions

Sprinkle chocolate wafer crumbs in bottom of a 7-inch springform pan. Set aside. Cream together cream cheese, sugar, cottage cheese, cocoa, flour, amaretto, vanilla extract and salt. Continue creaming together until smooth. Stir in egg and mix until well blended. Fold in chocolate morsels. Slowly pour mixture over crumbs in pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 65 to 70 minutes until cheesecake is set. Let cool on wire rack. Cover and chill for at least 8 hours.

Remove sides of pan, transfer cheesecake to serving platter. Garnish with chocolate curls. To make chocolate curls, melt 3 squares semisweet chocolate. Pour the melted chocolate onto wax paper and spread to a 3-inch-wide strip. Let stand until cool but not yet firm. Pull a vegetable peeler across the chocolate and transfer the curls to a plate. May store curls in the freezer.

To make Chocolate Mint Cheesecake, substitute creme de menthe for amaretto.

*A make-ahead recipe

Mini Meatball Skewers with Cranberry

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef (96% lean)
  • 1 cup grated fresh zucchini
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 small onion cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 red bell peppers, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 green bell peppers, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine ground beef, zucchini, egg, salt and pepper in medium bowl, mixing lightly, but thoroughly. Shape into 24 meatballs. Alternately thread meatballs, red peppers, green peppers and onions onto each of twelve 6-inch skewers. Bake in 400°F oven 22 to 25 minutes or until instant-read thermometer inserted into center of meatball registers 160°F. Meanwhile, prepare cranberry barbecue sauce.

Cranberry Barbecue Sauce

  • 1 can (16 ounces) whole cranberry sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons barbecue sauce

Combine sauces in a medium saucepan. Simmer for 5 minutes. Stir to blend well. Drizzle over the skewers or use a dipping sauce.

Cinnamon Apple Rounds

Ingredients

  • 5 cups water
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 Granny Smith apples
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat peanut butter, divided
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup sliced or chopped almonds, divided
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, divided
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

Mix water and lemon juice in a large bowl. Set aside. Core apples. Trim top and bottom of each apple. Cut each apple crosswise into 6 rounds. Place rounds in lemon water to prevent browning.

Dry 2 or 3 apple rounds at a time with paper towels. Spread each round with about 1 teaspoon peanut butter, some almonds and 4 to 5 cranberries. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Serve and enjoy.

Beef Taco Confetti Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef (96% lean)
  • 2/3 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup low- fat shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped (about one cup)
  • 8 cups mixed salad greens
  • 1/2 cup diced bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion

Directions

Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add ground beef; cook 8 to 10 minutes, breaking into 3/4 inch crumbles.

Stir occasionally. Pour off excess drippings. Stir in salsa;
cook 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat; keep warm.

Place salad greens on four plates. Divide the meat mixture among the 4 plates. Top beef with the cheese, tomato, pepper and onion. Garnish with olives and small amount of low-fat sour cream, if desired.

Some additional ideas: add a can of drained fiesta corn or a can of drained and rinsed pinto, black or red beans. These can be added to meat mixture and heated through or at the same time you add tomatoes, peppers and onions.

[Ella can be contacted at publisher@50pluslife.com or Ella – 50+ Lifestyles, P. O. Box 2125, Davenport, IA, 52809]

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