Tag Archives: cream cheese

Happy Holiday Cheeseball

As I hinted, I did make a terrific cheeseball over the weekend, let it sit until Monday, then dug in. I would have posted yesterday, but time escaped me again! Wrapping packages, writing my last few Christmas cards, and the next thing I know, the day is gone. Funny how that happens faster when you get older.

I took time to look for the Christmas star, aka the Jupiter and Saturn conjunction. I expected it to be brighter and maybe a little larger, although I’m sure city lights dimmed the view. If I’d been in the desert like I used to be when I lived in El Paso, Texas, I’m sure it would have popped more. Still, how the heck did the Three Kings manage to follow that light amongst all the others?

But I digress… I found this recipe on gimmedelicious.com and had to make minor adjustments to make it low carb. Of course, I added a tiny touch or two to make it mine. Use low carb crackers, bagel chips, carrots, or celery as the base to spread a little of this yummy cheese on top. Easy to make, it comes together quickly once you have the chopping done. It’s great for a family gathering or a small party. Besides that, it’s festive-looking with the red and green in and on it.
One tip, though; when it comes to chopping chives or onions, it’s easier to use kitchen scissors to cut them into small pieces.

Photo: Cranberry-pecan cheeseball

Cranberry Pecan Cheeseball

8 ounces Cream Cheese
1 cup White Sharp Cheddar Cheese shredded
1/2 cup dried Sugar-reduced Cranberries chopped and divided
1 cup Pecans chopped and toasted (optional)
2 tablespoons Chives, chopped
2 tablespoon Spinach, chopped
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

Set the cream cheese out to soften for about an hour. Meanwhile chop the pecans, the craisins, chives, and spinach. Shred the white cheese if needed.

Toast Pecans: Pre-heat oven to 375F. Spread the chopped pecans on a baking tray and bake for 4 to 5 minutes or until they smell toasty. Be careful not to burn them.  Set these aside and turn the oven off.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, cheddar cheese, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder together until you have a smooth mixture. Add 1/2 of the roasted pecan and 1/2 of the cranberries, then the chives. Stir together until these are mixed through the cream cheese.

Cut a large piece of plastic wrap and put the mixture in the middle.  Use a spoon or spatula to begin to shape it into a ball. Once all the cheese is pulled together, use the wrap to push it closer together and round the shape as you encase the ball in the wrap and close off the top by twisting.

Put the cheese ball in the refrigerator to chill for a few hours. This will firm up the cream cheese.

Before serving, mix the remaining pecans, cranberries and spinach or chives together on a flat surface, such as a baking pan or cheese board. Unwrap the chilled ball and roll it in the pecan and cranberry mixture, coating all sides. Press the fruit and nuts into the ball if they won’t stick.

Place on a serving platter and surround with dippers. Makes about 12 servings.

Light and Fluffy Gelatin Dessert


This is a recipe I recall fondly from my childhood. We used to have it often. Gelatin-based recipes are inexpensive, refreshing, and fruit-flavored. But they don’t have to be served without enhancements. By combining the gelatin with whipped topping, you have a lighter, tastier treat. Add in cream cheese and you elevate it to a whole new level. Lime gelatin with Thompson seedless green grapes is one of my favorite combinations, but you can vary it with a bunch of different gelatin options and fruits. See the notes below for other great combinations.

With sugar-free gelatin and reasonably low-sugar fruit, you can make a delicious dessert that won’t hurt your diet.

Photo: Lime Fluff

Lime Gelatin Fluff with Grapes

1 package (8 servings) Sugar-Free Lime Gelatin
1 cup Boiling Water
1 cup Cold Water
8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup Whipped topping
2 cups Seedless Green Grapes

In a medium-sized bowl, add the lime gelatin mix and 1 cup of boiling water. Stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Add 1 cup of cold water and stir to mix. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for about 90 minutes. It should be very thick or partially set before you continue.

Cut grapes in half if you wish or leave whole.

In a large, deep bowl, add the cream cheese, breaking it into 8 pieces, then use a hand mixer to beat it until it is creamy and smooth. Add the gelatin and continue to beat to mix the cream cheese into the gelatin. It will be in little pieces through it. Add the whipped topping and beat to mix it in. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill it in the refrigerator for at least two hours.

Makes 8 servings.

Notes: Want to cut the carbs a little? Use only one cup of grapes.

This recipe can be combined with any sugar-free gelatin flavor and most fruits to make other combinations. Fruits that don’t work include figs, fresh pineapple, and grapefruit. A list of the fruits that prevent the gelatin from setting up is listed on the box.

Try strawberry or strawberry banana gelatin with fresh strawberries. Cut the strawberries in halves or quarters to distribute them better.

Try a can of drained mandarin oranges with orange gelatin to make a cream-tasting dessert reminiscent of Dreamsicles.

Try 1 cup of pineapples tidbits, liquid drained, with lime or lemon gelatin.

Try 2 cups of raspberries with raspberry or strawberry gelatin.

Try sugar-free cranberries with Cranberry or raspberry gelatin. Cook 2 cups of fresh cranberries with sugar substitute until they set up. Let them cool in the refrigerator, then mix into the gelatin, cream cheese, and whipping cream mixture.

Nutrition Info; Lime Gelatin Fluff

Nutrition Information: Other Gelatin Fluffs

Delicious Stuffed Mexican-style Chicken Breasts

Photo: Stuffed Mexican Chicken breast and riced turnips with chile

As May starts, we’re only a few days away from Cinco de Mayo, which is a great time to celebrate Mexico and anything Mexican. The cuisine is spicy, bursting with flavor, and a favorite around the world. Just because you can’t go out to your favorite restaurant right now doesn’t mean you can’t have a great celebration at home. Even better, you can make low carb versions so you don’t have to worry about gaining back any hard-lost pounds.

I’m tossing out a shameless plug for my little cookbook that features over fifteen adapted Mexican food recipes. I tried  out and adapted every one of the dishes in the booklet to be under 10 net carbs. It includes my grandmother’s TexMex Spanish rice that I grew up with but adjusted to use cauliflower in place of the rice.  Delicious and flavorful, yet different from the Mexican restaurant version.

You can purchase a copy for only 99-cents from your favorite e-book seller by going to this one link:


New Recipes

Now, on to the new recipes. I wanted to make a stuffed chicken breast that would celebrate the flavors of Mexico, so I came up with this delicious filling that gives enough spice to taste it, but not overwhelm the chicken. It’s easy to make and cooks in about thirty minutes, so less than an hour to prepare and have dinner on the table.

To compliment the dish, you can serve cauliflower rice or try the amazingly tasty recipe that follows the chicken dish  for riced turnips with green chiles. It’s so good, you won’t believe you’re eating turnips. They absorb the flavors of the dish and are a great substitute for rice.

Image: Stuffed Mexican Chicken breast

Stuffed Mexican Chicken Breast

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
2 teaspoons Taco Seasoning
1 tablespoons Chopped Green Chiles
1/2 tablespoon Dried Minced Onion
1/3 cup Cheddar Jack Cheese, shredded
1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle
2 tablespoons Southwest Style Salsa

In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, taco seasoning, chiles, and dried onions until blended and smooth. Add the cheddar jack cheese and mix it well.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (F.)

Cut the chicken breasts in the thickest part almost the full length and close to the opposite side to make a pocket. Stuff one-half of the cream cheese mixture into each pocket. Use tooth picks to hold the pockets closed.

Put the chicken in an oven-proof skillet or in a baking dish. Sprinkle the southwest chipotle seasoning on top and rub it in. If you’d like it spicier, add additional. Spray the top with a bit of oil or cooking spray.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the chicken is done. If you poke the thickest part with a fork and the liquid coming out is clear, the chicken is done.

Add a tablespoon of salsa over the top of each breast and serve.

Makes 2 servings.

Photo: Riced Turnips with chile

Riced Turnips with Chile

1 large Turnip, peeled and cut into cubes
1 tablespoon Butter
1 tablespoon Green Chiles, diced
1/4 cup hot Water
1/2 teaspoon Better than Chicken Bullion
1/4 cup Onions, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Chipotle Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon Salt

Boil water, pour into a 1/4 cup measure and add the bullion, stirring to dissolve.

Put turnip cubes into a food processor and pulse until it is chopped to the size of rice. In a medium-sized skillet over medium high heat, melt the butter, then add the riced turnips and onions. Sauté for about five minutes, then add the bullion water and stir it in. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Add chiles, salt and seasoning, stir and cook for another 10 minutes until the turnips are tender.

If the water cooks out, add more water. It should be about the same texture as cooked rice. Fluff up the turnips before serving.

Makes two 1/2-cup servings.

Image: Nutrition Stuffed Mexican Chicken Breast


Image: Nutrition Riced Turnips with Chile

Amp Up the Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Photo: Deluxe grilled cheese sandwich

Still looking for a “meatless Monday” option for lunch or dinner? Here’s an easy but delicious suggestion. A grilled cheese sandwich! Not just any grilled cheese, but the deluxe version.

I’ve heard about using cheese on the outside of your sandwich for some time now and I decided to try it while elevating the basic grilled cheese sandwich a little. To do this, you need a non-stick skillet. I used my copper saute skillet to make it. It worked perfectly.

I used a low carb Muffin-in-a-Minute made in a bowl to make a tasty low-carb bread roll that I sliced in two horizontally. You can find the basic recipe link below. While I used flax meal and Bakesquick for my roll, this is easily adaptable to any low carb flour options you prefer.

To complete your meal, you can add a side salad or fried zucchini sticks, or turnip, kohlrabi, acorn squash, or celery root fries.

Low-Carb Muffin in a Minute recipe.

Deluxe Grilled Cheese Sandwich

2 Muffin-in-a-minute rolls, sliced horizontally
1 cup Cheddar Jack cheese, or Cheddar Cheese, shredded
2 slices Colby Deli Cheese
2 oz Cream Cheese
1/4 teaspoons Mrs. Dash Chipotle Pepper Seasoning
2 small Sweet Peppers, seeded and sliced or chopped
2 to 4 slices Tomato, depending on tomato size
2 slice Onion, sliced (optional)

Prepare muffin bread in the microwave and slice across to form the top and bottom of each roll.

Mix cream cheese with seasoning and add 1/4 cup shredded cheese. Spread 1/4 of the cream cheese on the inside of each slice. On one slice. On one side, place the chopped sweet pepper. On the other side, place sliced tomatoes to cover the top. Add onion, if you wish.

Preheat skillet on burner until hot, then turn to medium heat.

Place cheese slice on top of the pepper side. Put about 2 tablespoons of shredded cheese into the middle of the pan and spread it around to form the shape of the bread. Combine the two sides of the roll with filling in the middle. Place sandwich on top of the shredded cheese in the pan. Press down with the spatula to make sure the bottom of the sandwich is sticking to the cheese.
Grill for about 1 minute or until the middle cheese is beginning to melt. Put another couple of tablespoons of shredded cheese on the top of the sandwich. Place a lid over the top to keep the heat in and melt the center piece of cheese.

Carefully, using the spatula and pressing down on the top, turn the sandwich so the grilled cheese is on top. Cook for another minute until the cheese on the bottom is grilled and toasty. Remove the pan and serve.

Makes two sandwiches.

Irish Cream Ricotta Cheesecake Tops St. Patrick’s Day

Photo: Irish Cream Ricotta Cheesecake

Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Oddly, it’s one of those holidays that tons of people celebrate whether they have even an ounce of Irish blood or not. That’s because it’s fun! Irish music can get your toes tapping or move you to tears. Then you toast the Irish and have another beer or an Irish Coffee or whatever floats your boat. The point is, people get together and have a good time.

The same thing applies to eating some great Irish-styled food on March 17th. Sure, lots of it isn’t actually Irish food, but it’s the spirit (sometimes in actuality) that contributes to the festivities.

While I’ve made an Irish Cream Cheesecake before, here’s a different version drawing on the ricotta-style cheesecake.  I adapted this from the basic recipe and used a combination of real Irish Cream and sugar-free Irish Cream Syrup to give it the yummy flavor. You could make it with all Irish Cream (add about 1 net carb per slice) or with all sugar-free Irish Cream syrup (subtract about 1 net carb per slice). While it makes six good-sized slices, I find that one-eighth of the cake is enough to satisfy me, but I’ve given the nutrition information for both size options.

Irish Cream Ricotta Cheesecake

Adapted by Rene Averett

8 oz. Cream Cheese
1/2 cup whole milk Ricotta Cheese
3/4 cup Sugar Substitute
2 Eggs
2 tablespoons Irish Cream
2 tablespoons sugar-free Irish Cream Syrup
2 tablespoons Low Carb Flour, Almond Flour, or Soy flour,
or 1 tablespoon Coconut Flour
3 tablespoons Butter, softened
1/4 cup Heavy Cream or Sour Cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F.) Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit a 6″x6″ spring-form pan and spray with cooking spray.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and ricotta cheese until well mixed. Add the sugar, eggs, lemon mix, vanilla, flour, and butter. Mix until smooth and creamy. Stir in the heavy cream or sour cream last.

Pour the mixture in the cake pan and smooth.

Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave for another 30 minutes. Let sit to cool about 10 minutes. Remove from spring-form pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to cool before serving.

Makes six to eight servings.

Irish Cream Chocolate Sauce

2 tablespoons Sugar-free Irish Cream Syrup
2 tablespoons Sugar-free Chocolate Topping (Walden Farms)

Mix together and drizzle over the top of each slice as you serve it. Top with a dollop of whipped cream.

To make your own sugar-free chocolate syrup, add 2 tablespoons unsweetened chocolate, 2 tablespoons sugar substitute, and 2 tablespoons hot water together, add a bit of vanilla extract and stir until you have a syrup. To thicken it a little, cook in microwave for about 30 seconds, then stir again and let cool.

Here are more recipes on this site for more St. Patrick’s Day dining options:

Not Quite Traditional Corned Beef Hash



Photo: Corned Beef Pie Corned Beef Cottage Pie



Photo: Irish Benedict Irish Benedict Brunch



Photo: Traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage Corned Beef and Cabbage



Photo: Irish Soda Bread Irish Soda Bread – low carb



Photo: Irish Apple Cake Irish Apple Cake



For even more foods for St. Patrick’s, type in Irish in the search box to get more recipes. Erin go Bragh to you all!