Janet's Notebook
Eat Sassy, Stay Healthy in the New Year

No Crust Cherry Cheese Cake!

Frequent readers may be under the impression that I don't spend too much time counting calories or fat grams... well, they'd be right! However, lest you think I'm all about extra cheese and second helpings, I do make a point to keep healthy eating in mind. I always exercise common sense when doling out portions, and work towards eating a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of different fruits and veggies. I come from a generation where plenty was celebrated! What's now called "dieting", was simply referred to as sensible eating back then. If we had it, we wanted to celebrate it.

It's that philosophy of enjoying the simple abundances that makes me so excited when I come across a healthful recipe that has tons of flavor. It's dishes like Holly Willwerth's Sassy Chicken Enchiladas that will make you stick to a healthy eating plan.

"My husband [and] I love these," exclaims Holly. "I sub fat free cheese when ever I can, and use a high fiber, low fat tortilla. What a great healthy dish!"

When using prepared enchilada sauce - or any pre-packaged foods - it's a good idea to keep an eye on the sodium levels as well. I try to get low-sodium whenever possible and then simply season to my liking. This way, not only am I limiting my salt intake, but also gaining more control over the flavors in a dish. (I think I get to call it "homemade" then, right? After all, what happens in mama's kitchen stays in mama's kitchen.) Low-sodium enchilada sauce is becoming easier to find. Look for it in the international or health food section of your grocery store.

So how do you manage to keep flavor without loading up on a bunch of yummy fat? Spices, spices, spices! When a recipe is well-seasoned, your taste buds won’t have time to miss the grease. Just ask Reta Smith of Liberty, MO. Her White Chicken Chili with Salsa Verde combines healthy beans and veggies for one deliciously hearty dish. Its topping of tomatillos, onion, garlic jalapeno and lime adds an unexpected kick that turns an otherwise great chili into something truly fantastic. At last, a comfort food that’s good for you!

Eating sensibly can most definitely include sweets, too! Frederick, MD gal Natasha Nalley has given dessert a makeover, proving that you really can have your cheesecake and eat it too! Her No Crust Cherry Cheese Cake focuses on ease and flavor, shedding much of the fat and time-consuming elements of traditional cheesecake.

"I've been making this cheese cake 'pie' for over 35 years, and it's still the best cheesecake I've ever tasted," says Natasha. "This recipe works well if you want to use reduced fat cream cheese and sour cream."

Some of the Test Kitchen gals and I recently made this "in a pinch" for some friends who have gluten allergies. Without a traditional crust, this dessert is completely gluten free! We think it's darn pretty too.

These recent recipe finds are just a sampling of all the wonderful, healthy recipes yet to be tasted. Creativity and resourcefulness can be just as tasty as fat and calories... and THAT is truly something to be celebrated.

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Kathy Schleicher - Jun 5, 2011
I was very surprised to note that although "healthy" eating is encouraged, and that there are a few groups for diabetics, there really aren't any groups specifically slanted towards AFTER heart-attack patients or renal (kidney failure) recipes!
Grace Kinney - Jan 10, 2011
Thank you so much for the suggestions. I can't wait to try the Cheesecake recipe as my mother and a friend of ours can't have flour. Now I simply have to adjust it to use with stevia or xylitol, Mom can't have sugar and I can't use chemical sweeteners. It's nice to have half the work done for you! :)
Susan Feliciano - Jan 8, 2011
It's called For Diabetics, and it's in the list under "Browse Groups" o the Town Square page. Just go to Town Square and type in For Diabetics in the search box. There are several recipes alread shared there.
Lori Jones - Jan 8, 2011
susan where would i find the diabetics group?
Susan Feliciano - Jan 8, 2011
Some of my friends have started a new group, Lite and Healthy Eats. We will be posting recipes there that are diet-friendly. There is also a new group, For Diabetics. If I post recipes there, I run them through a recipe calculator first to get the nutrition information so I can include that with the recipe. That really helps people make good choices. Example: if you are limited on your carbohydrates, and you only have 15 grams left allowed for your lunch, and you see a cake recipe that has 30 grams of carbs per serving, then you know you can at least enjoy half a serving of the cake and still meet your diet requirements. I've been doing this for years, being a diabetic myself.
Thanks for your good ideas.
Donna Bardocz - Jan 6, 2011
Happy New Year Janet! I'm with you, I am trying to watch my fat grams and eat right. Now that I am getting older, I think this is truer than ever.

Spices are a great way to keep the cals down in any recipe! I also use low fat products, but have a hard time finding fat free (well except for skim milk) that my family and I like.

And you have to have a little sweet to keep sweet! That my my way of thinking! :-)

I enjoy reading your notebook writings! You always have lots of good things to share, so thanks!