Eating My Way Through

Frozen Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pie September 29, 2010

Filed under: Treats — Nikki Wegner @ 7:32 pm

One of my favorite food combos: peanut butter and chocolate.

There is something about the slightly salty taste of peanut butter combined with chocolate’s sweetness that makes the perfect treat. I have been known to make ginormous peanut butter chocolate shakes, or simply down Reese’s Pieces as if it were my job when I am in the mood/stressed.

But when a classier situation arises, like having people over for dinner, or attending a party, this pie is the perfect dessert! It is so simple to make and doesn’t involve the oven, so it is a great no-bake treat. All you do is mix everything together and then freeze it for a few hours.

This may sound like a super rich dessert, but by using reduced-fat or fat-free ingredients, you cut a ton of calories, but none of the yumminess!

To start, combine the peanut butter with the cream cheese (make sure you have let it sit out a bit to soften), using an electric mixer.

Peanut Butter and Cream Cheese

Peanut Butter and Cream Cheese

Then you gradually beat in the sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice.

Next you fold in with a spoon the whipped topping. Stir until nice and combined.

Peanut Butter Pie Batter

Peanut Butter Pie Batter

Then you add in the chocolate chips and stir.

Once everything is nice and mixed together, just pour it into the pie shell and smooth the top. Then sprinkle with the remaining chocolate chips.

Frozen Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pie

Frozen Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pie

Cover the pie and place in the freezer for a minimum of four hours.

When ready to serve, simply take the pie out of the freezer and slice! Serve with some extra whipped topping if you are feeling really adventurous.

This pie has always been a crowd pleaser. And it doesn’t hurt that it might be one of the easiest things I have ever made.

Frozen Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pie (adapted from Weight Watchers)

1/2 cup reduced fat peanut butter, creamy variety

8 oz Fat-free cream cheese, softened

12 oz Fat-free sweetened condensed milk

2 tbsp lemon juice, fresh

1 cup Fat-free whipped topping, thawed

5 tbsp mini-chocolate chips, semi-sweet variety

6 oz Reduced-fat graham cracker crust


In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together peanut butter and cream cheese

Gradually beat in condensed milk and lemon juice

Fold in whipped topping

Stir in 4 tbsp chocolate chips

Spoon mixture in to pie crust and smooth top

Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips

Cover pie

Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours

Slice and serve

Yields 12 servings


Tomato Basil Mozzarella Pasta Salad September 18, 2010

Filed under: Lunch,Salad,Veggies — Nikki Wegner @ 5:40 pm
Tags: , ,

I actually brought this pasta salad to a barbecue over labor day…so yeah, been awhile since I posted/really cooked…but with work crazy right now, I am lucky if I make cereal for dinner! And instead of cooking today and building up a few reserve posts, I have spent it on the couch, watching  football and per usual yelling at the television . Maybe tomorrow…

Anyways, sometimes you just need something quick and easy to throw together for a party or get together. This pasta salad is super easy and requires minimal time and ingredients. So it’s perfect for a last minute dish to bring along to a friend’s house.

First things first, make the pasta.

While the pasta is cooking, prep the dressing by combining vinegar, oil, garlic and oregano in a container.



Shake well!

Then combine with the tomatoes and a large bowl and let marinate while the pasta cooks.

Marinating Tomatoes

Marinating Tomatoes

Once the pasta has been drained and cooled, combine with the tomatoes. Add in the mozzarella as well and stir to make sure everything is nice and combined. Salt to taste.

Let the pasta salad chill until ready to serve. Before serving add in the basil.

Tomato Basil Mozzarella Pasta Salad

Tomato Basil Mozzarella Pasta Salad

That’s it. Simple, easy and delicious!

If you are going to a large get together, simply double the recipe and you are good to go. The salad will also keep for a day or two in the fridge, but after that it will probably go bad due to the dressing.

Tomato Basil Mozzarella Pasta Salad (own recipe)

8 oz spiral pasta of some kind

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tsp olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tsp oregano, dried

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup basil, chopped

2 oz mozzarella, fresh, cubed (1/2 cup)

Salt to taste


Cook pasta according to package directions

Drain pasta, set aside

In a container with a secure lid, combine vinegar, oil, salt, garlic and oregano; shake well to combine

Put tomatoes in a large bowl, dress with above mixture and toss to coat

Add in pasta and mozzarella, mix well

Salt to taste

Chill pasta salad

Add in basil right before serving

Yields 4, 1 cup servings


Minted Squash and Orzo Salad September 5, 2010

Filed under: Dinner,Lunch,Salad,Veggies — Nikki Wegner @ 3:09 pm

Deciding what to bring along with you to a party or BBQ can sometimes a be a bit challenging. Do you just chop up some veggies and bring some dip? Do you go all out and bake a dessert?

This salad is a great in between dish. Something that is a break from the traditional, while still being easy and accessible. Now admittedly, I didn’t bring this to a BBQ, I just made it for dinner and then brought it for last week’s lunches, but c’est la vie. Next time I know what to make!

To start you cook the Orzo. Orzo was something new to me, so if you don’t know what it looks like, here ya go:



Once the orzo is cooked, drain the pasta and set aside. Make sure to reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water for later!

Chop up the squash.

Yellow Summer Squash

Yellow Summer Squash

In a large skillet, heat olive oil with garlic. Then you add the squash, sprinkle with salt, and cook until tender and browned, about 4 minutes.

Then add in the orzo and cooking water, letting simmer for about 2 minutes or until the water is absorbed.

Squash and Orzo

Squash and Orzo

Once everything is cooked together, stir in 3/4 of the feta and the mint. Once the feta is melted, transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with remaining feta and mint.

Minted Squash and Orzo Salad

Minted Squash and Orzo Salad

If you decide to serve the salad at a party or BBQ I would prepare the salad exactly like the directions say!

But, if you are going to make it for lunches, I wouldn’t mix in the feta and mint right away. I would toss in the feta right before reheating, and then sprinkle it with mint. This will make sure the mint is fresh and doesn’t get wilted as it sits in your fridge waiting to be eaten.

Minted Squash and Orzo Salad (adapted from Claire Robinson)

1 cup dried orzo pasta

2 tsp olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

Kosher salt, to taste

3.5 oz reduced-fat feta

1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped


Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil

Stir in orzo and cook for 8 minutes, orzo will be undercooked

Reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water

Drain orzo pasta in a colander, set aside

Heat olive oil in a large skillet with garlic

Add the squash, season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally

Cook 4-6 minutes until brown and softened

Reduce heat to medium-low and add cooking water and orzo

Bring to a simmer and stir in 3 ounces of feta and season with salt

Cook until water is absorbed, about 2 minutes

Remove from heat stir in mint

Transfer to serving platter and sprinkle with feta and mint

Yields 4 servings


Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins September 1, 2010

Filed under: Baking,Breakfast — Nikki Wegner @ 1:38 pm

On Sunday I literally spent an hour trying to find a healthy Banana bread or muffin recipe so I could use up the over-ripe bananas languishing on my counter. After some searching and digging and not finding the perfect concoction, I decided to combine various recipes, using them as a guide for creating my own.

Now I love to bake, and am usually pretty successful when I follow a recipe exactly. However, I have never been one to come up with and try out my own recipes. So this was a bit of an experiment! I also decided to throw in some chocolate chips at the end, because who doesn’t love a little chocolate, especially with breakfast.

To start I mashed up some bananas.

Mashed Bananas

Mashed Bananas

Then I combined the rest of the ingredients, minus the chocolate chips!

To make these a bit healthier, I used half regular all-purpose flour and half whole wheat flour. I also substituted unsweetened apple sauce for oil, cutting the fat and calorie content way down. I have noticed in a lot of lower fat baking recipes that applesauce is used as a substitute for oil or butter. Until now I was afraid to give it a shot, but this might have made me a convert.

Then you add in some sugar, 1 egg, vanilla, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Batter Ingredients

Batter Ingredients

Mix all of these together, and then toss in some chocolate chips to finish off the batter.



All you have to do now is spoon the batter into a muffin tin. If you plan on serving them right away or using them up within a week you can simply grease the tins. I actually used baking cups because I was planning on freezing a good portion of the muffins to take for breakfast over the next few weeks. To pour the batter, I used a 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop the batter, which ended up being the perfect amount of batter and saved me the usual mess I make trying to use a mixing spoon.

Muffins ready to bake!

Muffins ready to bake!

Put the muffins in the oven, and let bake for about 15 minutes at 350° and then…voila!

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

So it seems my first attempt at recipe creation was a success! This muffins turned out to be nicely balanced, with the flavors of the banana and chocolate, and didn’t have too much of a wheaty taste from the flour mixture. I can definitely see using this batter as a base for other kinds of muffins, maybe adding in some bran and fig, or traditional blueberry muffins. They also freeze nicely if you want to whip up a batch on a weekend and slowly make your way through them!

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (own recipe)

3-4 bananas, mashed

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole-wheat flour

4 tbsps unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips


Pre-heat oven to 350°

Mash bananas in a large bowl

Add in all remaining ingredients, except chocolate chips, and stir until well mixed

Add in chocolate chips until combined

Pour batter into muffin tins, greased or lined with baking cups

Bake for 15 minutes or until tops are nice and crisp

Yields 12 servings