Sunday, April 29, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake
I am finally back from my long, LONG vacation!  It was such a well needed break from everything and a vacation that I will remember for the rest of my life! But now it's time to get back to losing and gaining calories on a more healthier and routine basis (aka exercising and cooking). And I promise that my updates will be more consistent and not all over the place.  Let's just say April was just a fluke because of my vacation.  So unless I am sick, on vacation, or busy with work, expect updates!

Okay so I made this cheesecake a while ago before going on vacation, but didn't get a chance to blog about.  It turned out really good, and we happen to have guests that day, that were also pretty impressed by it.  This is also a much lighter version of your average cheesecake (LESS CALORIES), with having cut down on the cream cheese and adding greek yogurt instead.  The chocolate chucks also gives this recipe the exact amount of sweetness without being too sweet.  Anyways, give it a try and I promise you wont be disappointed!

Ingredients for Cheesecake

Ingredients (6-8 servings)
non-stick cooking/baking spray
1/2 cup crushed graham crackers 
1 tbsp light butter
2 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
-----cheesecake filling-----
8 oz package of reduced fat cream cheese (1/3 fat also works)
1/4 cup sugar
6 oz fat-free vanilla Greek yogurt (I used Chobani, but others work too)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 egg whites
2 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp flour
1/8 cup of chopped chocolate chips
(less than) 1/8 cup chocolate syrup

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spray an 8x8 baking pan with non-stick spray.
3. Crush graham crackers (I used a blender, but a food processor or any such item would work).
4. Mix graham cracker crumbs, butter, and cocoa powder until crumbs are evenly moistened with the butter.
5. Press graham cracker crumbs evenly onto the bottom of the baking pan creating the crust.
6. Gently beat together, with an electric mixer on low, the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until it's smooth.
7. Add the yogurt, egg whites, cocoa powder, flour, and chocolate chips just enough so that it's incorporated in.  Make sure not to over beat.
8. Pour over graham cracker crust.
9. Drop chocolate syrup by spoonfuls on top of the cheesecake filling.
10. Using a knife, make swirl pattern to create the marble effect.
11. Place in the oven for about 30 minutes.  When taking it out and moving it around, the filling should not wiggle very much.
12. Cool to room temperature.  Chill in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving.
13. ENJOY!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Pesto Gnocchi with Black Olives

Pesto Gnocchi with Black Olives
I cannot believe that this is my first entry of April! Where has the time gone?! I am sad to say that April will only have a few recipes since I have been on vacation for the most of it.  I haven't really had the time to sit and make food, since come on who cooks on vacation?! I decided though that I would finally post the one recipe that I did make right before I left.  It's a super fast and easy recipe that anyone can make! You can make this as a side dish, but easily double the recipe and make it as a main dish! The inspiration of this dish is from

Have you heard of gnocchi before? It was definitely my first time hearing about it, but since it's made from potatoes (which I LOVE) I decided to give it a shot.  You can find gnocchi right in the pasta isle and they can come in one solid cream color, or different colors like mine!
Gnocchi found right by the pasta
Ingredients for the Gnocchi
Ingredients (2-3 servings):
1 package potato gnocchi
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup onions
3 cloves garlic
2.25 oz can sliced black olives
1/3 cup basil pesto
Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. According to package instructions, boil the gnocchi (should be around 3-8 minutes).
2. Chop the onions and mince the garlic.
3. Heat the oil in a medium skillet on medium-high heat.
4. Saute the onions until they become golden and translucent, about 1-2 minutes.
5. Add the gnocchi, making sure that each gnocchi is touching the skillet (single layer), and let them fry for 4-5 minutes without moving the gnocchi.
6. Cook an additional 2-3 minutes making sure to turn them occasional so that all sides are nice and golden.
7. Add in the black olives and stir for another 30 seconds.
8. Remove from heat and add in the pesto sauce. Make sure that all the gnocchi and black olives are nicely covered with the pesto sauce.
9. Top with Parmesan cheese.
10. ENJOY!