HEALTHY HOLIDAY CHEESEBALL

Wow, It is hard to believe that there are only four days before Christmas. If you are like me, you are still putting all the finishing touches on decorating your home for this season, baking last minute Christmas cookies and wrapping that last present and placing it under your Christmas tree. I prepared this cheeseball last night for my husband’s work place Christmas party today. As usual, I wanted to modify my original recipe calling for cream cheese, shredded cheese, chopped nuts and a one ounce packet of ranch flavor dressing mix. I purchased the 1/3 less fat Neufchatel Cheese to replace the higher fat cream cheese. Next I walked over to the cheese aisle in the grocery store, admiring all of the wonderful varieties of cheese. I selected a few for the holiday season and also purchased a package of Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese made with 2% Milk in place of the shredded cheese made with whole milk. I chose the reduced fat version because I have found that these do not alter the taste and still have a smooth consistency. The revised version of this recipe still contains dairy fat, but much less now per serving with these minor changes. Dairy products are a good source of calcium and protein so I  use them in my diet for that reason. I have used some organic dairy products and find the taste of these is very good. My favorite dairy food of all is Black Cherry  Greek Yogurt.

Healthy Holiday Cheese Ball

 

I used ground walnuts in my recipe but you could use ground pecans or another variety of nuts as well. Walnuts contain heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids called alpha linolenic acid (ALA). ALA is a very beneficial for heart health and may also reduce inflammation in the body. Walnuts are also a rich source of polyunsaturated fat, including an omega-6 fatty acid called linoleic acid which also benefits our hearts. Walnuts have also been linked to improving brain health and prevention of cancer in some medical studies. Including a handful of nuts in your diet each day is also a great way to receive dietary fiber, protein and heart healthy fats. Add them to snack mixes or cereal in the morning also. Two tablespoons will provide 100 calories, 10 grams of fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 0 mg of sodium, 2 grams of carbohydrate, 2.5 grams of protein and 1 gram of dietary fiber.

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HEALTHY HOLIDAY CHEESEBALL
Recipe type: snack
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 2 8 oz packages ⅓ less fat Neufchatel Cheese
  • 1½ cups Reduced Fat Shredded Cheddar Cheese made with 2% Milk
  • 1¼ cups chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 3 tsp Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb Salt Free Seasoning Blend
  • 2 tsp minced Dehydrated Onion
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
Instructions
  1. Set cream cheese out at room temperature in a large bowl for ½ hour before mixing the ingredients together to make it easier to work with. Mix seasonings into the cream cheese with a spoon or mixer. Crush the chopped nuts. After the seasonings are mixed into the cream cheese, add the cheddar cheese and mix well. Form into a ball and roll in the chopped nuts. Refrigerate until serving time and serve on a platter with a variety of crackers and raw vegetables.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1/20 of recipe Calories: 130 Fat: 11 grams Saturated fat: 4.75 Trans fat: 0 grams Carbohydrates: 3 grams Sodium: 142 mg Fiber: 0.5 grams Protein: 5 grams Cholesterol: 22 mg

 

If you are a label reader, you will no doubt find that many prepackaged seasoning mixes are very high in sodium content and many also contain monosodium glutamate which I prefer to avoid in my diet. For this reason, I experimented with my spices on hand in my cupboard and substituted the Garlic and Herb salt free Mrs. Dash Seasoning Blend, garlic powder, onion powder and dehydrated minced onion in place of the ranch flavored dressing mix.

Serve the Healthy Holiday Cheeseball for your Christmas or New Year’s Eve celebrations.

 

 

You may wish to serve this cheeseball with a variety of crackers and raw vegetables for your Christmas Eve or New Years Eve celebrations. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year readers.

Merry Christmas

I love decorating my kitchen with vintage table cloths or table runners, antique pictures and other vintage memorabilia. I purchased the table cloth pictured above at an antique store here in my small Minnesota city of 18,000 residents that I reside in.  It is right at home on top of my old singer sewing machine purchased for me by my late mother in an antique store in Mapleton, Minnesota. The The Singer Sewing Machine is displayed in my entryway to my home. My advent wreath with red candles sits on top of my old sewing machine welcoming guests into my home.

Singer Sewing Machine in the Entryway of my Home

 

I plan to post one food blog each month in Vintage Nutrition Kitchen the second Wednesday of each month. I have highlighted this on my 2017 calendar and this is one of my New Year’s resolutions because I enjoy writing, creating and sharing healthy recipes.

 

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!