Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Paula Deen's Lean: Stuffed Cranberry Sauce

If you are anything like me, there is nothing appealing about cranberry sauce from the can. It has never had a place in my heart...or my stomach for that matter. This past Thanksgiving, a few minutes from sitting down, my mother asked, "Linds, do you have any cranberries?" I could sense a little disappointment when I had to break the news to her that there would be no cranberry sauce. I just didn't buy any this year. It is one of those things that has always been on the table, yet no one eats it. However, as I learned the hard way, when it isn't there, it is missed.
So, in efforts to redeem myself, I didn't just do cranberries for Christmas. I went all out and gave my family the jazzed-up version of the canned cranberry! I present to you, Mrs. Hoggles Stuffed Cranberry Sauce.

Yields 6 Servings


2 tablespoons Hellman's mayonnaise dressing

1 8-ounce FAT FREE cream cheese, softened

1 16-ounce jellied cranberry sauce, chilled

1/4 cup chopped pecans


Mix cream cheese and mayonnaise until creamy. It needs to be spreadable. Add pecans and mix well.

Slice cranberry sauce in 1/4 inch rounds and spread cream cheese mixture on one round and place another round on top, sandwich style. Keep in fridge until time to serve.


It wasn't enough to turn every "non-cranberry sauce eater", but everyone that tried them was impressed. There is such a nice combination of tart from the cranberry, cream from the cheese and crunch from the pecans. It is actually quite a nice combination. Even though cranberry sauce is not a favorite, I had to try them because a cook always samples what they serve (just ask Chef Ramsey of Hell's Kitchen) and I am so glad that I did! I guess my taste buds have matured since swearing off cranberry sauce as a child.
For your next big holiday meal, I would strongly suggest throwing together this simple and delicious side. ENJOY!!

NUTRITION FACTS (per serving): 193.17 calories;  3.78g fat;  33.56g carbohydrate;  5.99g protein;  1.27g fiber

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Paula Deen's Lean: Holiday Whoopie Pies

I was formally introduced to Whoopie Pies about 2-1/2 years ago. And life hasn't been the same ever since. Talk about a favorite indulgence. These things top the charts! Although I have eaten many a Whoopie, I have never actually attempted making my own. The real reason is that my Aunt Carla makes the most amazing cookies you will ever eat. They are so wonderful, that family and friends encouraged her to start a business making them; therefore Carla's Cookies was born. Do yourself a favor and check them out sometime.

If you have ever had one, then you will agree that Whoopie Pies are great in the original style. It's difficult to imagine one tasting any better. But when I saw these Holiday Whoopie Pies on Paula's website, I absolutely had to give them a try.

Yields 18-21 large whoopie pies or 33-38 medium


For Cookies...

3 cups SPLENDA
1 cup "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter", softened
1 cup Egg Beaters (4 large eggs)
½ cup apple sauce
1 tablespoon vanilla
3.5 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups Whole Wheat flour
2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups 1% milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two half-sheet pans with Silpats or lightly grease.

In a large (at least 5 quart) bowl of stand mixer, cream sugar and butter with paddle attachment for 3-5 minutes. Add eggs, beating well after each. Add vegetable oil and vanilla and beat.

In a large separate bowl, sift dry ingredients together.

With mixer on very low speed, gradually add half of the dry ingredients to the egg mixture. Blend well. With mixer running on low, add 1 1/2 cups of the milk. Mix until blended. Repeat with remaining dry ingredients and milk.

Using a standard 1/4-cup ice cream scoop, place batter on baking sheets, spacing 2-3” apart. Bake 12 minutes, rotating pans (move lower pan to top level and top level to lower level) after the first 6 minutes. Remove cookies from oven and transfer to cooling racks. Repeat with remaining batter. Don’t worry if some are a little cracked on the top – that’s normal! Cool completely prior to filling.

For Filling...

1 1/2 cups "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter"
1 1/2cups vegetable shortening
9 cups confectioners’ sugar
4 cups marshmallow creme
4 tablespoons 1% milk
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
½ teaspoon salt
1 lb hard peppermint candies


Combine first 7 ingredients in large bowl of mixer and beat until fluffy with paddle attachment.

Place peppermints in heavy plastic bag and crush with hammer or flat side of meat tenderizer. Sift crushed mints through fine sieve to separate dust from bits of candy. Fold ½ of candy bits plus “dust” into the filling. Reserve other half of candy pieces for garnish.

ASSEMBLY: Place a scoop of filling on the flat side of one cookie. Place another cookie, flat side down on top, pressing down gently. Roll edges of icing in remaining crushed peppermints. Package immediately in clear cellophane bags and tie with ribbon.


WHOOPIE! These things were really good! I strongly suggest using a cookie dropper (or something smaller than an ice cream scoop). I used an ice cream scoop and they were HUGE! I ended up slicing my first batch in half and filling them that way. I got wise after round one and made them a lot smaller for the remaining pies. They didn't turn out as neat as I had hoped, but this was my first time ever making them. Hey, it's fun to get messy every now and then. Next time I'll know how to make them smaller. Overall, they still taste fantastic and that is what matters most.
This is a really fun baking recipe and the peppermint adds that little bit of a festive punch. I think my Aunt Carla would be proud.

I would also like to mention that although this recipe came from Paula Deen's site, it actually belongs to Juliann Mathews. Thank you Juliann!
Happy Holidays! ENJOY!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Paula Deen's Lean: Sugar Spice and Everything Nice Mixed Nuts

Would you love a delicious treat that makes the entire house smell like Christmas? Then you need to try this super-easy and delicious recipe for sugar-spiced nuts. The recipe name says mixed nuts, but I made mine with just pecans; a personal preference. I am sure that it would be delicious with almonds or a mixed assortment. Simply replace the pecans with any type of nut you choose for a wonderful snack that you don't have to feel guilty about nibbling on throughout the holidays. Paula's recipe for Sugar Spice and Everything Nice Mixed Nuts can be found on her website at Pauladeen.com.

Makes 1 lb. of Nuts ~ 16 servings

1 lb. pecan halves (almonds or mixed nuts)
1 cup of Splenda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water
3/4 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven 250 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, whip water and egg white until frothy. In a separate bowl, mix together Splenda, cinnamon and salt. Add pecans to egg white and water; coating nuts evenly. Add the sugar mixture to the bowl and mix until pecans are coated. Spread the pecans on a lightly sprayed cookie sheet.

Bake for one hour; stir every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Store in a tin or other sealable container.

So delicious! This recipe adds tons of flavor without adding significant amounts of fat and calories. The Splenda has zero calories per cup compared to real sugar which has roughly 774 calories, according to calorieking.com. Most nuts, including pecans, offer several health benefits when eaten regularly and in reasonable portions. To learn more about how nuts are "heart healthy", visit mayoclinic.com. This recipe is wonderful to make for yourself or to share with others. Throw some pecans in a festive dish for a great couch-side snack or place them in a holiday tin as a gift. Almost everyone is sure to enjoy this sweet treat. ENJOY!

NUTRITION FACTS (per 1-oz. serving): 244.56 calories;  20.42g fat;  16.78g carbohydrate;  2.84g protein;  2.95g fiber

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Paula Deen's Lean: Chocolate Chip Cookie

The Chocolate Chip Cookie is the most popular, likable, most recognizable cookie out there. Who doesn't know the Chocolate Chip? Better yet, who doesn't love a chocolate chip cookie?!? I have the best memories of baking these sweets in my Mom's kitchen growing up; pouring in the chips, stirring the batter and my favorite part...licking the bowl. Oh, so much fun! Now that I am on a mission to make my favorite things lean, it was time to tackle the Chocolate Chip Cookie. Paula has a recipe for Three Chocolate Cookies, which I guess is the closest thing to compare my version to.

Makes 2-3 Dozen


1 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/4 cup WHOLE WHEAT flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 sticks "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter", softened
3/4 cup SPLENDA
3/4 cup SPLENDA light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 egg whites
2 cups Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Chips


Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Beat butter, Splenda, brown sugar Splenda and vanilla in large bowl with a mixer, until creamy. Add eggs; beat well. gradually add flour mixture, beating well. Stir in chocolate chips.
Drop by rounded teaspoon onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.


When hosting Redskins fans on game day, the mood can be a little down at times. What can bring a smile to a disappointed fan's face? Could cookies help out? Sure! I put a plate of these down for the the men on football Sunday and they were gone within minutes! They were smiling and saying things like, "I can't believe these are one of your Lean Paula Deen recipes...they are so good!" I think that is the best compliment; being able to make something that cuts the fat and calories, but not the flavor. I find the men in my life to be picky about flavor. Healthy means bland to them...until they try one of my dishes! As you can see, my daughter Kimberlyn liked them too! Don't worry, I didn't forget to treat myself as well. Chocolate chip cookies and milk, one of my top five favorite food indulgences. Yum.

I was able to cut saturated fat by using a butter substitute and only egg whites. About 700 calories were cut from this recipe by using Splenda in place of granulated sugar! Since you can't do chocolate chip cookies without the chocolate chips, I decided to make the calories worth it. Dark chocolate has been proven to offer health benefits such as lowering blood pressure and supplying antioxidants to the body (get more info. on WebMD.com). So, for good health...make a batch of chocolate chip cookies!Your heart,body and soul will thank you. Oh, and so will your family and friends. ENJOY!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Paula Deen's Lean: Cheese Treats

OK, they aren't really called Cheese Treats. When the shape changed, the name had to change too. The idea for this snack comes from Paula Deen's Cheese Straw recipe. During Halloween, I planned on making these and cutting them into cats, bats and other festive shapes. Being that I never got around to it, I figured it would be just as fun to make them into Christmas shapes. And there you have it...Cheesy Christmas Treats!

Made 2 Dozen (with standard size of cookie cutter)

¾ pound (8 ounces) well-aged, extra-sharp 2% cheddar, grated
¼ pound (4 ounces) Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated
¼ pound (½ cup or 1 stick) I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, softened
1 generous teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or more, to taste
½ teaspoon salt
10 ounces (about 2 cups) WHOLE WHEAT flour

In a food processor fitted with a steel blade or with a stand mixer, cream both cheeses with the butter until fluffy and smooth.

Whisk together the cayenne, salt, and whole wheat flour in a separate bowl. Add it all to the processor or in batches to the mixer and work into a smooth dough. Gather into a ball, wrap well in plastic wrap, and chill 30 minutes. Don’t let it chill hard. If you make it ahead, soften at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325° F. Roll out the dough on a lightly flour a work surface about 1/8-inch thick and cut into shapes with cookie cutters.

Bake 16 to 18 minutes, being careful not to let them brown. The bottoms should be golden but the tops and sides should not color. Cool on wire racks. Store in airtight tins.

I can't claim that these are low-fat treats, but trust me, I really tried. I guess some things are just meant to be. The attempt was not a complete wash. I did manage to cut some of the fat by using 2% cheese and butter substitute. I tried using less butter than the original recipe called for, but it really needs a full stick. At least the saturated fat was cut in half (from 54 to 27 for one stick). They may not be 100% lean, but they are a slimmer version. It's Christmas time...'tis the season to treat yourself a little!

They turned out nice, but didn't have that pretty orange color that Paula's did. Using whole wheat flour caused this, but other than the color, it worked just as well as all-purpose. Mine did have a little bite to them, so use caution when adding the pepper. I hope you all ENJOY!

NUTRITION FACTS (per cheese treat): 93.25 calories;  5.43g fat;  8.26g carbohydrate;  3g protein;  1.2g fiber

Monday, December 7, 2009

Paula Deen's Lean: Chicken Divan

If you are looking for a way to get your healthy greens, perhaps a little broccoli, without realizing you are eating it...then you are going to love Paula Deen's Chicken Divan. This dish smothers this vitamin-packed veggie with cheese, chicken and creamy goodness. It is what I like to refer to as a "delish-dish". Here's what you need to do to make it lean...

Serves  8

2 (10-ounce) packages frozen broccoli, chopped
6 cup chopped chicken, cooked
2 (10 3/4 -ounce) cans 98 % FAT FREE condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 cup Hellman's Mayonnaise Dressing
1 cup FAT FREE sour cream
1 cup grated 2 % sharp cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon curry powder
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
8-10 crushed Reduced-Fat Ritz Crackers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Remove the outer wrappers from the boxes of broccoli. Open one end of each box. Microwave on full power for 2 minutes, until thawed. Drain the broccoli and put into a casserole dish. Add the shredded chicken.

In a medium bowl, combine the soup, mayonnaise dressing, sour cream, cheddar cheese, lemon juice, curry powder, salt and pepper to taste, and wine. Whisk together to make a sauce. Pour the sauce over the broccoli and chicken. Mix well with a spatula.

Place the mixture into an 11x7-inch casserole dish or two 9-inch square disposable aluminum foil pans that have been sprayed with vegetable oil cooking spray. Pat down evenly and smooth with a spatula. Combine the Parmesan cheese and crackers and sprinkle over the top.

Bake for about 30-45 minutes


This dish turned out really well. The entire family liked it, including the little one who is only 18-months-old. People of all ages are sure to enjoy this dish and the cooks will enjoy making it too. The recipe is easy to follow and takes about 10 minutes to prep. This makes for a quick and easy weekday dinner. I hope you ENJOY!

NUTRITION FACTS (per serving): 347.63 calories;  10.52g fat;  18.28g carbohydrate;  46.88g protein;  2.76g fiber

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Paula Deen's Lean: Broccoli Casserole

This side dish is one that has been a staple at all "special occasion" dinners in our family for quite some time now. By "special occasion", I mean Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years...and any other time upon special request. My friends and family have really grown to love this dish. I have always made Paula's Broccoli Casserole lean, so this side dish first stole their hearts minus all the butter, whole cheese and mayonnaise. Here is my tried and true recipe for Broccoli Casserole. The original recipe can be found on page 87 of The Lady and Sons Savannah Country Cookbook.

Serves  3


One 10-ounce package frozen chopped broccoli

1 small onion, chopped

1 tablespoon "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter"

1/2 cup grated 2% Cheddar cheese

6-10 crushed Reduced-Fat Ritz crackers

1/2 cup 98% Fat Free cream of mushroom soup

1/4 cup Hellman's Mayonnaise Dressing

House Seasoning (located at the bottom of the page)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Steam broccoli until limp, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat; drain. Saute onion in "butter" and add to broccoli. Add all remaining ingredients; mix well. Pour mixture into a casserole dish. Sprinkle about two pinches of cheese on top (optional); then top with crushed crackers. Bake 35 minutes.


This recipe never disappoints! It turned out great and everyone enjoyed it. However, I did learn one thing from this cooking experience. When adding the topping, make sure the cheese goes on first, then the crackers. For some , when the cheese was put on last and it didn't melt (as you can see in the picture). It dried out the cheese; very strange. So, if you are going to add an extra pinch or two on top, make sure it goes on BEFORE the crackers. Other than that, ENJOY!

NUTRITION FACTS (per serving): 201 calories;  10.3g fat;  20.55g carbohydrate;  8.87g protein;  3.5g fiber

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Paula Deen's Lean: Ham, Broccoli and Potato Soup

When my husband Rudy told me that Paula Deen had an unfortunate run-in with a ham last week, I found it only fitting that her Ham, Broccoli and Potato Soup be next on the menu. This recipe comes from page 34 of Cooking with Paula Deen (November/December 2009). The recipe calls for frozen versions of the veggies needed. Not having to spend time cleaning and chopping allows this recipes to qualify as a "fast family supper".

Serves 8


2 tablespoon "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter"

3 cups frozen Southern-style hash brown potatoes

1 cup frozen chopped onion

2 teaspoon minced garlic

3 tablespoons organic whole-wheat flour

1 (32-ounce) box low-sodium, FAT FREE chicken broth

2 cups SKIM milk

2 cups frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained

1 (8-ounce) package mini diced cooked ham

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup FAT FREE sour cream

1 (5-ounce) package of shredded Low-Fat Swiss cheese


In a large Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add hash browns, onion, and garlic; cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently. Once the hash browns are tender, add the flour; cook for 2 minutes and stir constantly. Stir in chicken broth and milk; cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Add broccoli, ham, salt and pepper; cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add sour cream and cheese, stirring until cheese is melted and soup is heated through.


This really is a simple supper that can be thrown together in minutes. I made this "Thanksgiving Eve". It was just the right amount of food for the night before the big binge. It cut fat and calories by using low-fat or Fat Free versions of milk, sour cream and broth. Swiss cheese is already lower in fat then most cheeses, so I left that one alone.
On a cold winter day, this soup would absolutely hit the spot. ENJOY!

NUTRITION FACTS (per serving): 200.75 calories;  4.02g fat;  24.67g carbohydrate;  17.35g protein;  2.95g fiber


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