Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars {5 WW+ Dessert}

When Fall comes there is one thing I am most excited about. The return of canned pumpkin on the shelves! I start out small. Buying maybe 4 cans of pumpkin on my first spotting. Then I get a bit crazy. I need to stock up for the rest of the year. How can I not have 10 or so cans of pumpkin in my pantry by mid-October? And what do I use these cans and cans of pumpkin for? Healthier recipes!

Pumpkin is a great ingredient in baking, cooking and no-bake recipes such as this one. It's simple and easy to use and best of all... it's super tasty and healthy! Now I've already been making my pumpkin waffles, pumpkin muffins and even a pumpkin oatmeal shake. But I hadn't yet tried anything with pumpkin and cheesecake before. So this past weekend I decided to try out a no-bake recipe for pumpkin cheesecake bars. And they were delicious. If you have a can of pumpkin lying around you have to try it!

Inspiration: Kraft Foods

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
  • 1 package (8 oz.) neufchatel cheese, softened*
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar (or 1/2 cup sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip Free whipped topping, thawed, divided
  • 1 package graham crackers (about 24), crushed
  • 4 tablespoons light butter, melted
Line an 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish with plastic wrap. Mix graham cracker crumbs and melted butter until the crumbs resemble moist sand. Push crumb mixture into dish with your fingers evenly to create a level crust on the bottom. Make sure to get the crumbs into the corners of the dish as well.

Beat cream cheese, pumpkin, agave and pumpkin pie spice with electric mixer on low speed for one minute. Increase speed to medium and mix for another 3 minutes or until no lumps are visible. Gently stir in 2-1/2 cups of the whipped topping. Cover and refrigerate remaining whipped topping for later use.

Spoon cream cheese mixture into crust and refrigerate 3 hours or overnight. Serve topped with remaining whipped topping. Store leftover cheesecake in refrigerator.

*How to Soften Cream Cheese
Place completely unwrapped package of cream cheese in microwavable bowl. Microwave on HIGH 10 to 15 seconds or until slightly softened. If you cannot find neufchatel cheese in your grocery store just go for the reduced fat cream cheese. Same thing, different name.

Serves 16 | 5 WW+ Points

Meatball Subs {9 WW+ Dinner}

A few months back I made a tasty meatloaf parmesan dish. After I made the patties for our dinner for two I formed the rest of the meat mixture into meatballs to be used later. These meatballs became the perfect star to this sub. The sub was tasty, filling and pleasant to look at. And I loved not feeling guilty about eating so much bread since I removed a bit of the inner part to make room for the meatballs and sauce.

The size of this meatball sub was a bit hard to wrap my hands around. I had to smoosh it a little bit to fit it into my mouth. When you have to smoosh a sandwich you know it's going to be good and fill you up! I froze extra meatballs and grabbed them out of the freezer as needed when I wanted my meatball sub fix. Definitely a great way to have an easy meal for later on in the week when it gets busier!

Inspired by my Italian Meatloaf Parmesan

Italian Meatball Subs
  • 18 Italian Meatballs (without the cheese)
  • 2 small baguettes of french bread, some of the insides removed
  • 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce, store bought or homemade
  • 6 slices provalone cheese, cut in 1/2
Slightly toast the french rolls in a toaster oven. Place two pieces of cheese (one whole slice) on one side of the roll and broil until just melted.

Add 1/4 cup of marinara sauce to each roll, either on top of the cheese or on the other piece of bread, and top with three meatballs. Close the sandwich up and enjoy!

For toddlers, just cut the sandwich into thirds so they can fit it in their hands and mouth easier. I know this made it much more easy for my son to eat. 

Serves 6 | 9 WW+ Points

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread {4 WW+ Breakfast}

I love the end of summer. For one it starts to cool down at night and secondly my mother-in-law is always sure to bring over some yummy (but very large) zucchini. Figuring out ways to use up the zucchini is always fun and shredding it to put in baked goods and savory meals is usually the way to go. Especially since my son has a fascination with our food processor.

When searching for a recipe to use up some of our zucchini I stumbled upon a delicious looking muffin recipe. Chocolate and zucchini? Why it's a match made in heaven! This bread tastes exactly like a chocolate cake. My son would have had no clue that there was zucchini in it had he not been the one to help mix the ingredients together. And the mini chocolate chips just add a bit of deliciousness and push this bread over the edge. Next time I might consider adding a few walnuts to the mix. Mmmm....

Inspiration: Meg's Everyday Indulgence

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 
  • 1 1/2 cups unpacked brown sugar 
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 cup regular egg substitute
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups zucchini, shredded
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 2 loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl whisk together flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda, allspice and cinnamon; set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the sugar and applesauce. Beat in egg substitute until just combined. Stir in vanilla, buttermilk, zucchini and chocolate chips. Gently stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined.

Divide batter equally among the two loaf pans. Bake until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and muffin tops are springy to the touch, 45 to 55 minutes; rotating halfway through baking time. Cool loafs in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 20 | 4 WW+ Points

Side Note: One LARGE freshly picked zucchini from my mother-in-law's garden yielded this much shredded zucchini!


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