BLACK FOREST CHEESECAKE VALENTINE’S PARFAIT

Love is in the air and Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. If you searching for the perfect dessert to finish off a romantic home cooked Valentine Day dinner, look no farther!  The parfait also makes the perfect dessert for two to enjoy with a cup of coffee after you have arrived home from your your dinner date at the restaurant. It is so easy to prepare and healthfully lightened up as well. It features all of the great lover’s favorite foods: chocolate, cherries and cream cheese!

I decided to slim down my parfait recipe by using the Fit and Active 1/3 less fat brand of Neufchatel Cream Cheese, non-fat Greek yogurt, the no sugar added version of cherry pie filling as well as Stevia to replace the sugar in the original recipe. Let me tell you this makes a big difference in savings in calorie, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, carbohydrate and total sugar content per serving without sacrificing a rich taste. If you wish to reduce the calorie, fat and cholesterol content further, you could substitute the 50% reduced fat version of cream cheese. I have not used this in my recipe yet however so I can’t guarantee you that it will have the same consistency. I would not recommend using the fat free cream cheese since I don’t think the parfait would have a creamy cheesecake consistency. My husband and I sampled this parfait for our dessert today and loved the different flavor combinations of the chocolate, cherries and the slightly almond taste of the cream cheese. If you really love chocolate, top your parfait with a dark chocolate Hershey’s chocolate kiss.

BLACK FOREST CHEESECAKE VALENTINE'S PARFAIT
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces ⅓ less fat brand of Neufchatel cream cheese
  • 20 oz can of No Sugar Added Great Value (or other brand) Cherry Pie Filling (sweetened with Splenda or Stevia
  • Nabisco Oreo Pie Crust (one half of crust)
  • ½ cup non-fat Greek yogurt
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • 12 packets Stevia (sugar substitute)
Instructions
  1. Remove pie crust from the pie tin container and place in a bowl. Crumble up to a fine consistency. Place cream cheese in a mixing bowl and beat well with an electric mixer. Add Stevia and mix in well. Add Greek yogurt and almond extract to the cream cheese mixture and beat until well combined. Add approximately 2 TB or the crushed Oreo pie crust mixture to the bottom of your parfait glass. Add the next layer by spooning in 2-3 TB of the cream cheese mixture. Top this with
  2. TB of the cherry pie filling, repeat layers, ending with the Oreo pie crust mixture. Top with a dark chocolate Hershey's chocolate kiss if desired.Refrigerate until serving time.
Notes
Information in this food blog is not intended to provide medical advice of any kind. Please consult your personal physician or other personal health care provider for medical advice.

If you use fresh unsweetened pitted cooked cherries or a can of drained unsweetened cherries, sweeten with 12 packets Stevia or ½ cup sugar. Stir in the Stevia or sugar before adding to the recipe.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: one Parfait Calories: 262 Fat: 13 grams Saturated fat: 8 grams Unsaturated fat: 5.2 grams Trans fat: 0 grams Carbohydrates: 29 grams Sugar: 19 grams Sodium: 283 mg Fiber: 2 grams Protein: 6 grams Cholesterol: 32 mg

By making these healthier substitutions in my recipe, I realized that I was saving 206 calories, 6 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 17 mg of cholesterol, 34  grams of carbohydrate and 27 grams (7 teaspoons) of sugar per serving! Wow, that is worth it. I would have to walk 35 minutes to burn off those extra 206 calories.

I remember that my mother used these fostoria dessert dishes on special occasions such as Christmas and birthdays when I was growing up. They were displayed in her built in China cabinet in our dining room.

Vintage Fostoria China table setting passed down to me from my mother.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

 

 

 

CHICKEN NOODLE STIR FRY VEGETABLE SOUP

Chicken noodle soup with vegetables prepared in my cozy kitchen from scratch is one of my husbands and my favorite comfort foods on a cold winter day. I live in Minnesnowta, actually Minnesota and we get plenty of the white stuff and cold during the long winter months here. Some Minnesotans enjoy outdoor sports in the winter such as snowboarding, snowmobiling, ice fishing and ice skating.  Other Minnesota snowbirds, mainly retired folks go down south for the winter and return once again when most of the snow has melted and it is warmer again just in time to see the spring tulips bloom! I am more of an indoor person in the cold weather so I enjoy indoor activities such as cooking, reading and sitting by the fireplace with a cup of hot tea or cocoa during the winter. We did have a heat wave hit over the weekend and it got up into the high thirties so we took our dog out on a walk on one of the many trails by the frozen lake here in our hometown. The ice and snow had finally melted in our driveway and on the side walks so we enjoyed a scenic walk by the lake on this cool, crisp sunny day.  Unfortunately, we had a blizzard with ten inches of snow and high winds yesterday so our sidewalks and driveway are now ice and snow covered again. We do have four seasons to enjoy here in Minnesota so that is nice. I just wish that the winter season didn’t last 5-6 months!

 

Well I am sure your momma made you chicken noodle soup from scratch when you were a kid. She also fed it to me when I had a cold and told me that it was good for me and would help me recover from my cold sooner. This of course and she rubbed Vicks on my chest at night. It sure seemed to help! Turns out that momma was right! Scientific research has proven that it is indeed helpful when you have cold. First, it helps to keep you hydrated since you need eight cups of fluid a day or more for hydration purposes especially when you are ill. Secondly, the steam from the soup helps relieve that congested nose and sore throat.The substances in chicken soup may also reduce the inflammation that occurs when you have a cold. Hot chicken soup seasoned with hot pungent spices such as pepper, chilli pepper, garlic, turmeric and curry powder is a potent mucous stimulant that helps thin out mucous in the mouth, throat and lungs. While chicken soup is not a cure for the common cold, it definitely hastens the healing process!

I love vegetables and I have to admit that broccoli is my favorite veggie with spinach coming in closely in second place since I love spinach salads. Move over lettuce! Stir fry veggies with pea pods are another favorite so that is why I included them in this soup. I never put peas in my tuna casserole; nope I use stir fried vegetables. A compound in broccoli called glucosinolate, produces a metabolite called sulforaphane that is responsible for most of broccoli’s health promoting properties. Sulforaphane has antimicrobial properties, can possibly prevent diabetes from occuring in the body and also kills cancer stem cells. It can also significantly improve blood pressure and kidney function. Broccoli is a great source of dietary fiber and vitamins A and c. Peapods are very good sources of dietary fiber as well as vitamins A, C and folic acid.They also provide powerful antioxidants and enzymes which have cancer fighting properties as well. The recipe also calls for onions and garlic. These foods belong to the allium family of vegetables which are known to have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular and immune systems as well as powerful anti-cancer effects and may also play a role in prevention of diabetes. After completing some research on the allium vegetables recently, I learned that it is best to finely mince or crush fresh garlic and then let it sit awhile before you add it to your recipe. The crushing or mincing of the garlic allows the alliinase enzymes in the food a chance to get working to produce those health promoting effects. Changing the temperature or pH of the garlic by putting it in the recipe right away without letting it sit it for awhile can reduce these healthful properties.  Adding it to your recipe at the end of your cooking time increases the health benefits since long cooking times can reduce the benefits. Mushrooms are also a favorite fungi vegetable of mine and they have many healthful benefits including anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and strong immune-supporting properties. From a culinary aspect mushrooms, onions and garlic add unique flavors and textures to recipes.

Chicken Noodle Stir Fry Vegetable soup

 

Dinner is served!

Dinner with a view!

Welcome to the lake!
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice & be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
View from my vintage  kitchen and dining area.

 

CHICKEN NOODLE STIR FRY VEGETABLES SOUP
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 32 oz skinless chicken breast, baked and chopped into chunk size bites
  • 40 oz fresh chicken broth from chicken or brand of 50% reduced sodium and no MSG added chicken broth, such as Swansons
  • 2 cups water
  • 16 oz stir fry vegetables
  • 1 medium chopped purple or white onion
  • 2 cups uncooked egg noodles
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms or dehydrated mushrooms
  • ¾ tsp each garlic and onion powder
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground sea salt (optional)
  • ¼ tsp pepper
Instructions
  1. Place chicken breasts in a roasting pan, season with a dash or cumin, sea salt and pepper. Add enough water to just cover chicken breasts. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for an hour. Remove from oven and let the chicken cool off. Once it is cool, cut it up into bite size chunks for the soup. Save the broth from the chicken to use for the soup. Skim off any fat or refrigerate broth overnight and skim the hardened fat from the broth after the broth has congealed.
  2. Place all of the ingredients in the crockpot, stirring well. Place the crockpot on the high setting and crock for 4 hours. If desired, you may preheat the frozen stir fry vegetables in your microwave or steam them. This will reduce your cooking time and you may then place your crockpot on the medium or low setting and crock until soup is hot and all of the vegetables are tender. If desired, you may use fresh vegetables such as broccoli, peapods, water chestnuts and green beans in place of the frozen vegetables.
  3. Serve a bowl of this hot soup with a green salad, fresh fruit tray and crusty garlic bread.
Notes
if you omit the sea salt from the recipe, the sodium content is 270 mg per serving. If you use all fresh chicken broth from your chicken and omit the canned or packaged reduced sodium broth, the sodium content is approximately 65 mg per serving.add additional spices to flavor if desired to replace the salt.

GLUTEN FREE DIETS; You may wish to substitute 1½ cups uncooked quinoa or the same amount of Minute brown rice or cooked brown rice in place of egg
noodles in this recipe. Cook on the high setting of your crockpot for 3-4 hours or until grains are a tender consistency.

Information in this food blog is not meant to provide medical advice of any kind. For medical advice, contact your personal physician or your personal health care provider.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ⅛ recipe Calories: 133 Fat: 2 grams Saturated fat: 0.5 mg Trans fat: 0 grams Carbohydrates: 9 grams Sodium: 395 mg Protein: 16 grams Cholesterol: 44 mg