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.

Related posts:

Ask Me: How to Curb Sweet PM Cravings

Today, I’m running a VERY special edition of ASK ME.  It’s been a long time since I’ve run this type of post, and frankly, I’m to blame for it.

Ask Me | No Thanks to Cake

I’ve written before about how crazy this summer has been… and if you’ve kept up with this blog, you’ll know that I shared quite the whirlwind of a 2014.  Vacations, work travel, fun sales competitions, there’s been so much!

So, confession: I’m quite the workaholic and a major busy-body.  Capricorn by birth, it’s what we do… and often times, I can’t make everything happen as I’d like.  Wow, I don’t like seeing that in writing.  I’m still not taking off my cape! :)

Enter my inbox for a moment:  I absolutely love getting notes from new products to try, but they’re hard to find between the tons of spam that arrive every day.  Ugh!  And buried even further within this mix are the absolutely lovely email I get from you guys… which legitimately make my day and should NEVER get lost.

I found a few tonight that got lost in the mix, that I never got back to!  (OMG… I know!)  So, while I always say my blogging space is no space for apologizing for living life… I truly apologize to each of you that reached out that didn’t get a timely response!

So, tonight I’ve written everyone back… and I found a question in the midst that I thought was a good one to share with all of y’all!

Ask Me:  How to Get Started on Your Weight Loss Journey | No Thanks to Cake

Haley wrote me from the midwest, seeking advice on how to control evening cravings for sweets!  This is something I suffer from as well… I mean, who doesn’t love dessert at the end of the night.

Here’s an excerpt from Haley’s email:

Ask Me: Sweet Cravings   No Thanks to Cake

Haley -

I completely get where you’re coming from.  There is something hugely satisfying about having a sweet treat at the end of the night.  There is something about my taste buds that really crave something sweet right before I go to bed.  Maybe it’s the fact that most of my dinners are on the savory side, but I definitely can relate to that sweet need.

In my days before joining Jenny Craig, everything I wanted I ate.  So, it might have been a Fiber One Bar before bed, or a mini banana bread, or maybe a cookie from Starbucks.  I ate it all, but in my own way, I ended up conditioning myself to enjoy something sweet before bed.

So, considering that I’ve built a habit… these are my recommendations.

Don’t Fight the Sweet Craving Completely

When I tell myself I can’t have something… it makes me want it more.  Maybe it’s part of the stubborn capricorn in me, but I get to a point where I just HAVE to have it.  And with too much deprivation, that can quickly manifest into a binge.  That’s not doing me any favors.

My recommendation is to identify treats that you can enjoy that are well within your eating plan, whatever that might be.  For example, on my eating plan I put into place last week, I made sure that my evening snack was something sweet… and it helps.

Find Some Frozen Goodness

There’s something decadent and delicious about frozen treats.  Whether it’s ice cream or a popsicle, if it comes out of my freezer, I’m in.

Yasso | No Thanks to Cake

I’ve recently found the Yasso Greek Yogurt bars, and I’m a huge fan. This is my go-to at night these days.  I rotate between the Peanut Butter Cup and the Mint Chocolate Chip, depending upon what I’m in the mood from.  Peanut Butter wins most nights, as I’m a PB-aholic!

I’m also a huge fan of Skinny Cow Ganache Ice Cream Cones and their Salted Caramel Pretzel Bars.  There are so many “light” versions out there of your favorite treats, you can really find an appropriate substitute.

Fruit… Naturally Sweet!

On a night where you may not have as many calories/points/macros left to enjoy, you can also look at fruit for a natural sweet treat.

watermelon | No Thanks to Cake

A small bowl of watermelon, some frozen grapes, or even a cup of cherries, any of these sweet juicy fruits can give you that sugar fix that you’re looking for before bed.

Sweet Supplements

A few years back, I had a chance to try Adora calcium supplements.  They are CHOCOLATE DISKS, and amazing!  If you’re taking calcium every night anyway, what a great way to take it!  Note:  The Milk Chocolate is my favorite… 

Adora Calcium | No Thanks to Cake

When It Doubt, Brush it Out

During a trip at Target where I was just wandering… I found this Mint Chocolate toothpaste.

Crest Be Adventurous Mint Chocolate | No Thanks to Cake

It is made by Crest and is called BE ADVENTUROUS.  As the pickiest human ever, I was a little skeptical about it, but in its own weird way, it’s AWESOME!  When I’ve got nothing left for the day, I switch out my regular toothpaste for this stuff.  I know your eyebrow is raised, but trust me… 

After You Get Your Allotted Sweet Stuff, GO TO BED

The worst thing I can do when I’m having a night of cravings is to stay awake.  Assuming the sun has gone down for the night.  Do yourself a favor… but away your tablet and your phone, and close those eyes.

Haley, That’s how I do it… now, I’m asking the rest of y’all.  How do you handle those late night cravings?

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DISCLAIMER:  I mention a lot of products above, but they’re just ones that I really like and truly use.  No affiliate links, no paid promotion, just good honest LOVE.

Also… Do you have questions that you’d like me to feature here on NTTC as part of my “Ask Me” series?  Email me at nothankstocake@gmail.com. 

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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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Avocado Salsa

Ever since the Fitbloggin Avocado contest, I’ve been completely hooked on avocados.  I just can’t get enough of them.

And… next week, as part of my prize pack for winning 2nd place in the recipe contest, the commission is sending me an ENTIRE BOX of California Avocados.  Can you imagine??? I’m so excited!

I’ve been eating a lot of carrots lately as snacks, and I wanted a different kind of dip to use with them.  I always like to put something on them… whether it’s Laughing Cow Cheese (a fave!) or one of my homemade healthy dips.  Then, I found this idea…

Avocado Salsa | No Thanks to Cake

How delicious does that look? And, why haven’t I tried something like this before???  Adding an avocado to your favorite salsa gives it a creamy and decadent texture… perfect for dipping chips, vegetables, and it even can be used as a salad dressing!  So good!

Avocado Salsa

From The Picky Palate Cookbook

1 (14.5oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
2 small avocados, mashed
½ cup cilantro, chopped
2 tsp. fresh garlic, minced
½ lime, juiced
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Combine all the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until blended.

Avocado Salsa | No Thanks to Cake

Avocado Salsa | No Thanks to Cake

Avocado Salsa | No Thanks to Cake

Avocado Salsa | No Thanks to Cake

2.  Store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.  Serve with veggies or baked chips.

Avocado Salsa | No Thanks to Cake Avocado Salsa | No Thanks to Cake

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