Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers

Have you guys heard that there is a new Laughing Cow Cheese on the block??

Your favorite wedged cheese now comes in SPICY PEPPER JACK!!!  OMG…

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers | No Thanks to Cake

My friends over at Laughing Cow were sweet enough to send me a few wheels of cheesy goodness to try out and to share the spicy, cheesy news with all of you!

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers | No Thanks to Cake

I continue to use Laughing Cow as my go-to snacking cheese.  Whether I’m pairing it with veggies (cucumbers, carrots, and peppers are my faves) or a light cracker (34 Degrees crisps!), I’ve established a deep-rooted love for these little triangles!

As part of their Pepper Jack campaign, Laughing Cow challenged me to come up with a fantastic new way to snack on their creamy wedges… and I’ve come up with a REALLY tasty recipe for all y’all!

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers | No Thanks to Cake

Just in time for football season, you’ve got a new go-to healthier jalapeño popper to enjoy!  It’s not fried or breaded like it’s high-fat cousin… instead, it’s loaded with veggies, white-meat chicken, and, of course, our star:  Laughing Cow Spicy Pepper Jack cheese!

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers featuring Laughing Cow Cheese

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers | No Thanks to Cake

5 jalapeño peppers, halved horizontally with seeds removed

2 wedges Laughing Cow Spicy Pepper Jack flavor

1 1/2 Tbsp. white onion, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup baby spinach, chiffonade

2 Tbsp. cooked white meat chicken, chopped finely

1 Tbsp. reduced fat Mexican cheese

cooking spray

salt

pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Slice and remove the seeds of your peppers.  You should have 10 halves to work with.

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers | No Thanks to Cake

3.  Take one of your pepper halves, and dice it finely.

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers | No Thanks to Cake

4.  Add your onion, garlic, and diced jalapeño to a skillet and sauté on medium heat for 2 minutes.  Add the spinach and cook entire mixture until spinach has wilted, about 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers | No Thanks to Cake

5.  Add your chicken, and cook another minutes.  Note:  I prepared my chicken in a crockpot the day before, and then simply chopped it finely and added to the pan.  You could also very easily use rotisserie chicken or grilled chicken breast.

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers | No Thanks to Cake

6.  Remove mixture from the heat to a small bowl.  Add your Laughing Cow wedges, and mash with a fork to combine.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers | No Thanks to Cake

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers | No Thanks to Cake

7.  Using a spoon, scoop the mixture into the peppers.  Place the stuffed peppers on a baking sheet, sprayed with cooking spray.

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers | No Thanks to Cake

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers | No Thanks to Cake

8.  Carefully top the peppers with 1 Tbsp. of cheese.  Just a few shreds per pepper will add a touch of added cheese goodness.

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers | No Thanks to Cake

9.  Bake these bad boys in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until peppers soften and cheese melts.  Garnish with sliced grape tomatoes and finely chopped cilantro, if desired.

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers | No Thanks to Cake

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers | No Thanks to Cake

10.  Serve hot, and enjoy!!!

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers | No Thanks to Cake

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers | No Thanks to Cake

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers | No Thanks to Cake

Per about 5 stuffed pepper halves:

CAL 103; CARB 4g; FAT 5g; PROT 9g; FIB 1g; WW Points Plus: 2

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For more tasty Laughing Cow Cheese recipes, check out my recent Recipe Roundup

Recipe Roundup: Laughing Cow Cheese | No Thanks to Cake

Note:  The Laughing Cow provided me with product and a gift card for this review.  However, thoughts and opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of the brand.

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Easy Pico De Gallo

I absolutely love pico de gallo.  And, it’s hard to believe that I’ve never made it before now.  That’s just plain crazy!

Easy Pico de Gallo | No Thanks to Cake

Being that it’s tomato season, and that I can’t get enough of these red beautiful bad boys… it was prime time for me to try to make my own pico.

I got inspired to make this chunky salsa after enjoying Cafe Rio again on Saturday.  I always get what I like to call a “mexi-salad” there.  The Cafe Rio Salad comes with way too much on it, so I change it up quite a bit… I remove the tortilla, the beans, the rice, and most of the toppings to make room for grilled chicken, guacamole, and what I like to call an obscene amount of pico de gallo.

Cafe Rio Salad | No Thanks to Cake

Yep… it’s a little excessive, but when you remove everything else… you might as well load up on what you like, right?

Knowing I had a few fresh tomatoes leftover from last week’s haul at the farmer’s market, I decided to get chopping and create my own at-home pico.  I also had just picked up a new citrus juicer that I was dying to use….  great excuses to make some great pico!

Easy Pico de Gallo

Makes 2 1/2 cups

INGREDIENTS

Easy Pico de Gallo | No Thanks to Cake

4 hot house tomatoes, seeded and diced

1 small onion, diced

1 jalapeño, diced with seeds and stems removed

1/4 bunch of cilantro, chopped

juice of 1/2 lime

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Dice your tomatoes, taking care to remove the seeds.

Easy Pico de Gallo | No Thanks to Cake

2.  Dice your onions next.  Note:  I took this as an opportunity to use my onion chopper from Williams-Sonoma.  I wish I had used this for the tomatoes too, as it created the most perfectly uniform dice!

Easy Pico de Gallo | No Thanks to Cake

3.  Dice your jalapeño next.  Note:  I put the jalapeño into the vegetable chopper for a fine dice… in seconds!

Easy Pico de Gallo | No Thanks to Cake

4.  Chop your cilantro and add it to the mix.

Easy Pico de Gallo | No Thanks to Cake

5.  Squeeze 1/2 of a fresh lime into the mixture.  Note:  I used my Lemon Press from Williams-Sonoma to squeeze the lime.  If you don’t have one of these yet, I highly recommend it!

Easy Pico de Gallo | No Thanks to Cake

Easy Pico de Gallo | No Thanks to Cake

6.  Add the salt and pepper.  Mix to combine and refrigerate immediately.  Flavors will begin to combine, and create the most delicious pico.

Easy Pico de Gallo | No Thanks to Cake

7.  Serve with baked chips, over grilled chicken, or with a spoon!

Easy Pico de Gallo | No Thanks to Cake

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If you like this recipe, you may also enjoy these yummy sauces from NTTC.

Restaurant Style Salsa | No Thanks to Cake

Cafe Rio Creamy Tomatillo Ranch Dressing | No Thanks to Cake

The Very Best {EVER} Guacamole | No Thanks to Cake

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Grilled Watermelon with Fresh Herbs and Parmesan

Oh, friends… this dish tingled my tastebuds.

Grilled Watermelon with Fresh Herbs and Parmesan | No Thanks to Cake

I spotted a picture of grilled watermelon on Pinterest, as featured by my friends over at PopSugar Fitness. Since making the decision to grill avocados a few months back, I’ve become a little more curious about grilling the unexpected.

This dish blew me away…  Who knew that so much flavor could develop in just 8 minutes on the grill??  It also gave me an opportunity to use my fresh basil that I’ve been growing and to use fresh mint for the first time.  The end product is one that I will definitely be making again before the season ends…

Grilled Watermelon with Fresh Herbs and Parmesan

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

Grilled Watermelon with Fresh Herbs and Parmesan | No Thanks to Cake

1/2 thick slice of watermelon, quartered

3/4 Tbsp. fresh basil, chiffonade-style

3/4 Tbsp. fresh mint, chopped

1/2 – 1 tsp. grated parmesan cheese

about 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

salt

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Preheat your grill to medium heat.

2.  Brush your watermelon on both sides with your favorite olive oil.  Note:  I used Kristos.

Grilled Watermelon with Fresh Herbs and Parmesan | No Thanks to Cake

3.  Place watermelon on the grill and turn after 3-4 minutes, or once grill marks have been created.

Grilled Watermelon with Fresh Herbs and Parmesan | No Thanks to Cake

4.  Remove from the grill to a cool plate.  Slice your herbs into ribbons.

Grilled Watermelon with Fresh Herbs and Parmesan | No Thanks to Cake

5.  Sprinkle herbs onto the watermelon, and using a microplane grater, grate the parmesan lightly onto the fruit.

Grilled Watermelon with Fresh Herbs and Parmesan | No Thanks to Cake

6.  Sprinkle lightly with salt, optional.  And, get ready to be wow’ed….

Grilled Watermelon with Fresh Herbs and Parmesan | No Thanks to Cake

Grilled Watermelon with Fresh Herbs and Parmesan | No Thanks to Cake

Grilled Watermelon with Fresh Herbs and Parmesan | No Thanks to Cake

Per 2 triangles of watermelon serving:

CAL 113; CARB 12g; FAT 7g; PROT 1g; FIB 1g; WW Points Plus: 3

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Pan-Seared Shishito Peppers with Yogurt-Sriracha Dipping Sauce

When my friend Laurel came into town last month, we went to Zengo to meet up.  A new-to-me recommendation made by her friend Zach, I fell in love with this hotspot pretty quickly… especially after Zach insisted we try the Shishito Peppers on the Happy Hour menu.

Zengo Denver | No Thanks to Cake

These tasty, sometimes spicy peppers are popping up all over menus all over town.  And, they’re delicious!!  To prepare them, chefs simply pan-fry or wok-fry them until they begin to blister, and then serve them with their choice of dipping sauces.  Easy peasy!!!

Now… here’s the catch with these peppers.  9 out of 10 of them are mild and tasty… and then that 1, 1 of 10 is fiery hot to the point of making me ask for milk in the restaurant.  WOW.

Pan-Seared Shishito Peppers with Yogurt-Sriracha Dipping Sauce | No Thanks to Cake

It creates almost a fun challenge with the peppers… and makes them a great dish for entertaining.  You’ll not understand the HEAT associated with these guys… until you get lucky enough to pick the hot one…

After trying them at Zengo, I’ve wanted to have them again… they were THAT good; however, it wasn’t until I saw them at the local Farmers Market that I had a chance to make them at home!

This weekend after snagging the last basket, one of my fellow shoppers told me that they’ve bought them at Whole Foods.  Another option if you’re looking for these tasty Shishitos.

Pan-Seared Shishito Peppers with Yogurt Sriracha Dipping Sauce | No Thanks to Cake

I’m sharing today how I prepared them at home.  Cook time was roughly 7 minutes, but that included rinsing the peppers and whipping up the sauce and cooking them. Try these bad boys… and watch out for the hot one!

Pan-Seared Shishito Peppers with Yogurt-Sriracha Dipping Sauce

Serves 1

INGREDIENTS

10 fresh shishito peppers

cooking spray

1 1/2 Tbsp. lowfat plain yogurt

1 – 1 ½ tsp. sriracha sauce

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Mix your yogurt and sriracha in a small bowl.

Pan-Seared Shishito Peppers with Yogurt-Sriracha Dipping Sauce | No Thanks to Cake

Pan-Seared Shishito Peppers with Yogurt-Sriracha Dipping Sauce | No Thanks to Cake

2.  Heat your pan to medium hot, coated with cooking spray.  Add your peppers, and cook about 5 minutes, turning about halfway through and when they start to “sing” from the heat.  Note:  You’ll want them to have bubbly blisters on them on both sides.  Turn accordingly, and cook until done.

Pan-Seared Shishito Peppers with Yogurt-Sriracha Dipping Sauce | No Thanks to Cake

Pan-Seared Shishito Peppers with Yogurt-Sriracha Dipping Sauce | No Thanks to Cake

3.  Serve with the dipping sauce, and roll the dice to see how HOT yours will be.

Pan-Seared Shishito Peppers with Yogurt-Sriracha Dipping Sauce | No Thanks to Cake

Pan-Seared Shishito Peppers with Yogurt-Sriracha Dipping Sauce | No Thanks to Cake

4.  To eat, pick the pepper up by the stem, and eat the entire pepper minus the stem.

Pan-Seared Shishito Peppers with Yogurt-Sriracha Dipping Sauce | No Thanks to Cake

Pan-Seared Shishito Peppers with Yogurt-Sriracha Dipping Sauce | No Thanks to Cake

 Note:  In my first batch of peppers, all of them were mild.  I’m fully expecting to be fired up in the next round.

Per entire recipe serving:

CAL 61; CARB 53g; FAT 1g; PROT 3g; FIB 40g; WW Points Plus: 3

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