Cheese stuffed Manicotti

Do you watch the Next Iron Chef at all? I think it’s awesome that this time it’s a Super Star battle. I also think that all these chefs could be the Next Iron Chef and they need to have an Iron Chef America 2. That way, everybody will be happy and we don’t have to see Bobby Flay battle it out all the time. It makes me wonder if he’s retiring from being an Iron Chef or which of the Iron Chef’s is retiring next? Morimoto possibly? We finally get to see all those judges on Chopped cook for once, too.

Manicotti, reminds me of the Italian version of enchiladas. The marinara sauce replaces the enchilada sauce, the manicotti shells replace the tortillas, and the cheese is used instead of beef/chicken. Although, I’m sure, either of those would be great in this too. What if I made a Mexican manicotti? *Mental note for next time.

One thing I learned when making manicotti is to use a piping bag to stuff the shells. That made it so much easier! I kind of followed this recipe but made it so that there were only 3 servings of manicotti. The husband is lactose intolerant so he got some spaghetti and just marinara sauce for his dinner. I didn’t use any spinach either, because I didn’t have any, but that would sure make it better and add some more fiber and protein.
Calories: 328 | Fat: 9g | Carbohydrate: 38.3g | Fiber: 3.9g | Protein: 23.8g

Servings: 7 (2 shells each)

Ingredients from Cooking Light

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1 (16-ounce) carton fat-free cottage cheese (I used ricotta)
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry  (left out, but would add more fiber and protein)
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (8-ounce) package manicotti (14 shells)
1 (26-ounce) jar fat-free tomato-basil pasta sauce
Cooking spray
1 cup water

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375°.
Combine 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, cottage cheese, and the next 5 ingredients (through black pepper) in a medium bowl. Spoon about 3 tablespoons cheese mixture into each uncooked manicotti. Pour half of tomato-basil pasta sauce into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange stuffed shells in a single layer over sauce, and top with the remaining sauce. Pour 1 cup water into dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella evenly over sauce. Cover tightly with foil. Bake at 375° for 1 hour or until shells are tender. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Spiderweb Cupcakes

Have I mentioned how much I love Halloween before? It’s my favorite Holiday. I love it so much, I made my own grim reaper,

that I found on pinterest.

I made my own tombstones out of Styrofoam and used wooden dowels to keep them in the ground.

I took some old jeans that were no longer being worn, stuffed them with plastic bags and put a shoe on it.That’s fake blood, I found at the Halloween store.

We love to carve pumpkins the night before. Ben likes the easy face pumpkins, and I like to try and carve the hard ones.

f stop: 16

exposure:  3 seconds

I also like to to make sweet Halloween treats, like cupcakes stuffed with Reese’s Peanut Buttercups and decorated with a spiderweb on top. I couldn’t get the right black, and it turned out a dark grey color. They’re so easy to make you pipe some circles on top of the cupcake and use a tooth pick to create the spider web.

C’mon people, it’s Halloween indulge a bit! I also like it simple.

Ingredients

1 box of chocolate cake mix.

1 container of white frosting

black food coloring

12 reese’s peanut butter cups

tooth picks

Directions:

Fill the cupcake half way with batter. Add a Reese’s peanut butter cup in the middle and add the rest of the batter in the cupcake mold. Bake according to directions on the back of the box.

Frost the cupcakes first, with white frosting. Use the black food coloring and color the frosting black. Fill in a pastry bag with the tiniest tip open you can find. Pipe different sized circles on top of the cupcakes. Use your tooth picks to create the spider webs like the picture shows above.

Notes: If you’re watching you’re waste line, make the chocolate cake with a can of soda. Leave out the Reese’s peanut butter cup. For the frosting use fat free or light cool whip. :)

H A P P Y    H A L L O W E E N !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pumpkin-Cinnamon Streusel Buns

Pumpkin Cinnamon buns are great for breakfast on the weekend. I made the dough the night before and let it rise over night. They only take 20 minutes to bake in the oven, so you can prep the streusal and icing while you’re waiting for the oven to heat up.

Some of the cinnamon rolls were not all the same size. As most of you know, I suck at math, and they looked pretty funny in the pan after they cooked because the rolls were all not the same size. I was watching them make cinnamon rolls once on the Food Network and they said to cut the dough in half first, then cut the dough into fourths, and then  eights…. Well I did that and realized that the serving size was 12 and started cutting them even smaller but then that looked weird.. oh well… now I know for the next time I make these.

Calories: 219 | Fat: 6.2 | Protein: 3.8 | Carbohydrate: 36.9 | Fiber: 1.2

Servings: 12

Points Plus: 6

Ingredients from Cooking Light

Buns:
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/4 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup Pumpkin Puree
1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Cooking spray
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces

Glaze:
3/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 tablespoon hot water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation

To prepare the buns, dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl; let stand for 5 minutes. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Add 2 cups flour, pumpkin, and next 5 ingredients (pumpkin through nutmeg); beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes); add enough of the remaining 3/4 cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky).
Place the dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, for 45 minutes or until doubled in size. (Press two fingers into the dough. If an indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.)
Combine 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal.
Punch dough down; cover and let rest for 5 minutes. Roll the dough into a 12 x 10-inch rectangle on a floured surface. Sprinkle with brown sugar mixture. Roll up the rectangle tightly, starting with a long edge, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets; pinch seam and ends to seal. Cut roll into 12 (1-inch) slices. Place slices in a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 25 minutes or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 375°.
Bake the rolls at 375° for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 15 minutes in pan on a wire rack.
To prepare the glaze, combine the powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon water, and vanilla extract in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Drizzle glaze over buns. Serve warm.

Cherry Cheesecake

Every now and then, I’ll run across a recipe on the Weight Watcher website that I HAVE  to try. This recipe happened to be Jennifer Hudson approved. ;) You know it’s good, if Jennifer Hudson approves of it. It’s very rare finding a really good recipe on their daily recipe section. Half the time, I don’t even have the ingredients for those recipes to make.

I couldn’t believe how fast these little cheesecakes were done. It only took 15 minutes in the oven for them to bake. Regular cheesecake takes almost an hour! From now on, this is how I’m going to make my cheese cakes. If I want it to be a different flavor, I’ll just switch up the ingredients.

I made these cheesecakes  last night, and the recipe makes a total of twelve. There’s only 4 left and Ben hasn’t eaten any of them. Oops!  Good thing, he doesn’t like cheese cake.  I had to use oreos for the crust, because we didn’t have any graham crackers. The topping is my favorite part. I could eat a can of cherry pie filling by itself!

Calories 117 | Fat 4.23g | Carbohydrate 15.88g | Fiber 0.3g | Protein 3.6g
Servings: 12
Points Plus: 3
Weight Watcher Recipes

Ingredients from Weight Watchers

3/4 cup(s) graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbsp light butter, melted
2/3 cup(s) low fat cream cheese
6 Tbsp fat-free cream cheese
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 large egg white(s)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup(s) sugar
3/4 cup(s) light fruit pie filling, cherry

Instructions

Place 12 cupcake liners in a cupcake pan. Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and butter; mix well. Spoon 1 tablespoon of crumb mixture into bottom of each liner and press down gently; refrigerate until ready to use.

In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat both types of cream cheese until fluffy. Add lemon juice, egg whites, vanilla extract and sugar; beat until smooth.

Spoon cream cheese mixture evenly into muffin liners; bake until set, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Top each cheesecake with 1 tablespoon cherry pie filling. Yields 1 cheesecake per serving.