Spinach-Cheese Balls Appetizers

Who doesn’t love appetizers?  I love them… but I often struggle with them.  I mean, a girl just can’t eat all the chips and dips, sausage balls, and bacon-wrapped dates that she comes across.  Even if she wants to!

When I host events and when I get invited to bring something to a party, I always try to make a few guilt-free treats.  In the South, it seems like every party has a batch of sausage balls.  In the spirit of bringing a lighter version of this snack, I decided to try the spinach version.

Spinach Cheese Ball Appetizers | No Thanks to Cake

These little spinach bites are tasty, cheesy, spicy… and will satisfy your need to enjoy your appetizers!

Spinach-Cheese Ball Appetizers

Adapted from Betty Crocker

INGREDIENTS

Spinach Cheese Ball Appetizers | No Thanks to Cake

1 box (9 oz.) frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed to drain

1 cup reduced fat Bisquick mix

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 egg

1 tsp. Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. Williams-Sonoma Pizza Seasoning

1 tsp. garlic salt

cooking spray

1 cup marinara sauce (like Super Simple Marinara), optional

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Heat oven to 400°F.  Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray.

2.  In large bowl, combine the cheeses, spinach, and baking mix.

Spinach Cheese Ball Appetizers | No Thanks to Cake

3.  Add egg, seasonings, and mix until well combined.

Spinach Cheese Ball Appetizers | No Thanks to Cake

Spinach Cheese Ball Appetizers | No Thanks to Cake

Spinach Cheese Ball Appetizers | No Thanks to Cake

4.  Shape mixture into balls; place on cookie sheet.  Note:  I used a 1 Tbsp. scoop to create the balls.

Spinach Cheese Ball Appetizers | No Thanks to Cake

Spinach Cheese Ball Appetizers | No Thanks to Cake

5.  Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from pan. Serve with pasta sauce, if desired.

Spinach Cheese Ball Appetizers | No Thanks to Cake

Spinach Cheese Ball Appetizers | No Thanks to Cake

Per 2 ball serving:

CAL 80; CARB 6g; FAT 4g; PROT 5g; FIB 1g; WW Points Plus: 2

Related posts:

Caprese Salsa

By now, you likely know I love all things that begin or end with the word “caprese.”  And, today’s salsa is a new love…

Caprese Salsa | No Thanks to Cake

This weekend, I had some ladies over for a CAbi Party!  If you’ve never seen CAbi’s clothing line, you should definitely check it out.  Unique high quality pieces for the ladies… and I love the whole line!

My CAbi consultant Teri encouraged me to keep the food simple for the party, since most people don’t like to try on clothes when they are feeling full.  Well, I tried Teri, but I just can’t resist putting out delicious food for folks coming over to my place.  Of course, I put together a spread including this tasty salsa.

I have to tell you though, this salsa is INCREDIBLY easy to make and made with simple, simple ingredients.  I found the idea on Pinterest, and the recipe linked back to my blog designer Cassie over at Back to Her Roots.  I scaled down the recipe a bit, and wow… so delicious!

Caprese Salsa

Adapted from Back to Her Roots

Serves 16

INGREDIENTS

Caprese Salsa | No Thanks to Cake

3 cups diced ripe tomatoes, seeded

1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

1 cup mozzarella balls, in water

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

salt

pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Dice your tomatoes.  Note:  I find that removing the seeds makes for the best salsa/pico de gallo.

Caprese Salsa | No Thanks to Cake

2.  Prepare your basil.  Note:  I always like to dice my basil into ribbons, chiffonade style.

Caprese Salsa | No Thanks to Cake

3.  Combine tomatoes, cheese, and basil in a large bowl.  Note:  I sliced each perillini ball into quarters.

Caprese Salsa | No Thanks to Cake

Caprese Salsa | No Thanks to Cake

4.  Add olive oil and vinegar.

Caprese Salsa | No Thanks to Cake

Caprese Salsa | No Thanks to Cake

5.  Toss to combine.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Store in the refrigerator before serving.  Note:  My suggestion is to make and serve the salsa within a few hours for the best flavor.  

Caprese Salsa | No Thanks to Cake

6.  Enjoy with pita chips, 34 degrees crackers, or a healthy tortilla chip.  Note:  I served mine with Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Wholegrain Pita Chips.

Caprese Salsa | No Thanks to Cake

Per 1/4 cup serving (not including chips):
CAL 43; CARB 1g; FAT 3g; PROT 3g; FIB 0g; WW Points Plus: 1

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Watermelon Caprese

After I went to California a few months back, all I was talking about was that salad that Crystal and I had dining at a Temecula winery.

Watermelon Tomato Caprese Ponte | No Thanks to Cake

That’s how I am with food.  Once I eat something I love, I just want to talk about it a lot… and about how I loved it… and about how I’m going to recreate it.  Crys actually remade it before I did… and hers looked so pretty, I had to go for it.  Mine came out pretty gorgeous as well…  I mean, take a look.

Watermelon Caprese | No Thanks to Cake

To me, it’s the perfect way to say goodbye to summer.  You can still find gorgeous watermelon and beautiful tomatoes.  And, if you’re like me, you still have fresh herbs growing in your garden that you can leverage.  Luckily, I chose to grow both basil and rosemary this year…

There is something amazing about the sweet watermelon paired with the savory tomato, topped with salt and pepper.  Enter the fragrant basil and the creamy fresh mozzarella… and the dish comes together like none other.

 

Take a chance on this one.  You won’t be sorry.

Watermelon Caprese

Serves 1

INGREDIENTS
Watermelon Caprese | No Thanks to Cake

2 slices heirloom tomato, yellow and red

2 slice watermelon, seedless

2 thin slices of fresh mozzarella (about 2 oz.)

4 leaves basil

1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. balsamic vinegar reduction

salt

pepper

1 sprig of rosemary for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Slice your heirloom tomatoes.  Note:  I think it looks prettier if you use two colors, but you can definitely use all red or all yellow.

Watermelon Caprese | No Thanks to Cake

2.  Plate your first tomato slice (red) and season with salt and pepper.

Watermelon Caprese | No Thanks to Cake

3.  Layer two basil leaves, and top with cheese.

Watermelon Caprese | No Thanks to Cake

Watermelon Caprese | No Thanks to Cake

4.  Top with watermelon slice.

Watermelon Caprese | No Thanks to Cake

4.  Repeat steps 1-4, making another layer, and ending with watermelon on top.

Watermelon Caprese | No Thanks to Cake

Watermelon Caprese | No Thanks to Cake

5.  Secure the stack with a piece of fresh rosemary.

Watermelon Caprese | No Thanks to Cake

6.  Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic reduction.

Watermelon Caprese | No Thanks to Cake

Watermelon Caprese | No Thanks to Cake

7.  Serve and enjoy!  Note:  I chopped my salad to make it easier to eat.

Watermelon Caprese | No Thanks to Cake

Watermelon Caprese | No Thanks to Cake

Per Entire Recipe Serving:

CAL 347; CARB 30g; FAT 20g; PROT 13g; FIB 2g; WW Points Plus: 9

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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!

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, 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

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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AWP-DO