Light Lime Cheesecake Squares

Key Lime Cheesecake Squares

Happy Friday!! I have a dessert recipe for you!!!!  It was inspired by one from Clean Eating magazine. This recipe boasts big flavor, creamy texture, and lower calories than a typical cheesecake dessert. Because it makes a large 9×13 pan, it can be enjoyed by a crowd…. just in time for the party and cookout season.  You’ll make everyone happy!

Light Lime Cheesecake Squares (15 to 20 servings)

11 rectangular sheets graham crackers

5 tablespoons Earth Balance (or butter), melted

12 ounces non-fat cream cheese

1-1/2 cups 2% fat Greek yogurt

3/4 cups sugar

1-1/2 tablespoons lime zest (about 4 limes)

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons lime juice

2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray. In a food processor, process graham crackers into crumbs. Pour melted Earth Balance through feed tube and process until just combined. Transfer mixture to baking dish. Press into bottom to form an even layer. Bake until edges are very light brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer pan to a baking rack to cool.

Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. In clean food processor bowl, add cream cheese and yogurt. Process until smooth. Add sugar, lime juice and zest. Pulse to combine, scraping sides of bowl, as needed. Add egg and pulse until just combined. Pour mixture to evenly cover graham cracker crust. Bake until edges are slightly brown and center is set, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a baking rack to cool.

When cool, squares can be cut and served. Or, to enjoy the next day, cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Mother’s Day Menu


This is my mom and me teaching a class together, ‘Cooking with Mom’ this week.

Here is a Myplate2yours Mother’s Day menu.  Three easy recipes that either the seasoned chef or annual ‘Mother’s Day’ cook can follow.  It is always a treat when mom can take a break from menu planning and prep…but she may be up for helping, if asked!

Enjoy your day!

Here it is:

White Gazpacho Soup

Grilled Chicken Fajitas

Lemon Panna Cotta

Portobello Pesto Egg Bake

Portobello Pesto Egg Bake

My husband is a big Costco shopper.  And I have learned to enjoy creating a meal from the new items he brings home.  This was a yummy dinner we had this week… all of these ingredients came from Costco!  Who knew?!

This recipe works for breakfast & brunch, lunch or a light dinner.  

Portobello Pesto Egg Bake (serves 4)

4 portobello mushrooms, cleaned with stem removed

1/4 cup pesto (try my pesto recipe!)

4 eggs

1 cup baby spinach

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

2 green onions, sliced

4 slices provolone cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Brush caps lightly with olive oil.  Place cap side down on a baking sheet.  Spread a tablespoon of pesto on the gills of each mushroom.  Bake 10 minutes.  Crack egg on top of mushrooms.  With the raw egg on top, carefully return to oven for 5 minutes for soft yolk or 10 minutes for solid yolk. (For the egg to rest on top of the mushroom, the surface of the mushroom needs to be concave and at least 4 inches wide.  Another option to is to crack each egg into a non-stick fry pan and cook to desired doneness and add to mushroom cap after a total of 15-20 minutes in oven). When the mushroom and egg are cooked, add 1/4 cup spinach to each and top with a slice of cheese.  Return to oven for 2-3 minutes, until cheese melts and spinach wilts.  Serve immediately garnished with grape tomatoes and scallions.  Enjoy!

Mango & Black Bean Avocado Bowl


The look of my local grocery store’s produce section is changing with the season.  I have recently found sweet mango and creamy avocado which make a great pair in this dish.  Add some black beans and toss with cilantro-lime dressing, and this outstanding salad (originally inspired from one in can escort you into the summer months!  A fun twist to this recipe is how it is served….proudly in a reserved avocado shell.  Enjoy!

Mango & Black Bean Avocado Bowl (makes 4)

2 avocados (firm and ripe)

1 ripe mango, peeled and diced

1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced

1 teaspoon lime zest

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

1/4-1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1, 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, vinegar, zest, salt, pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon sugar. Whisk in oil until thoroughly combined. Taste and adjust sweetness, if needed.

In a separate bowl, combine black beans, mango, jalapeño, and cilantro. Add dressing to taste, reserving extra dressing in fridge. Let mixture rest for 30 minutes.

When ready to serve, halve, pit and dice avocados, reserving shells. Combine avocados with bean mixture. Add more dressing, if needed. Divide salad amongst 4 shells. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Albacore Tuna, Chickpea, and Roasted Beet Salad

Albacore Tuna, Chickpea, and Roasted Beet Salad

This photo may look familiar… I sent it out last week to promote a class I was teaching.  But for all my friends and followers who do not live close enough to get to class, here is the recipe!  The premise behind this recipe is putting together a great main dish salad with ingredients you have ‘on hand':  (in pantry) canned albacore tuna, canned chickpeas; (in fridge) roasted beets, mixed salad greens, and cucumbers.  Please let me know how you like it!!

Albacore Tuna, Chickpea, and Roasted Beet Salad with Dijon Dressing (serves 4 main dish portions)

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 cans (5 ounces) albacore tuna packed in water, drained

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 head romaine lettuce, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

3 ounces baby spinach (3 cups)

1 package (8 ounces) cooked beets, quartered

1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Small seedless cucumber, diced

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, and oil. Reserve 1/3 cup dressing and combine tuna in dressing bowl. In a serving bowl, toss together romaine, spinach, beets, cucumbers and chickpeas. Toss salad with remaining dressing and top with tuna.




Easter Brunch

Sweet Pea Potato Frittata

I use this blog as my personal cookbook.  I know what recipes I’ve written here and can use the search button to find them.  If you are newer to this blog, finding recipes may be a little harder for you.  Someday soon, I hope to move these 200+ recipes to a website while keeping up my weekly blog.  Please let me know what you think of that idea, too!

Until then, here is what I’ve put together for an Easter Sunday Brunch from previously posted recipes. Enjoy!


Creamy Avocado Soup

Sweet Pea and Potato Frittata

Sweet Rhubarb Muffin

Happy Easter!

Spring Classes!

Here is the line up of upcoming cooking classes at Marcel’s in downtown Glen Ellyn, Illinois.  In April, you’ll find a lunchtime demo ‘Restocking Your Spring Pantry’ with yummy recipes featuring fresh pantry items;  also, there is one last ‘Breakfast Now, Dinner Tonight’ class before this series breaks for the summer.  The two evening classes I’m teaching are ‘Made over Baby Boomer Classics’ in April, and ‘Small Plates:  International Vegetarian in June.  In May, to coincide with Mother’s Day, I am so happy to be teaching once again with my own mom; also in May, I’m excited to offer a new class format, ‘Shape Up for Summer’.  Please take a look at all of these, and more, below.  There are so many great classes, I hope to see you all sometime soon!!


8-Restocking Your Spring Pantry: Cheese Tortellini & Spring Vegetable Soup, Albacore Tuna, Chickpea, and Roasted Beet Salad with Dijon Dressing, Sweet Sunflower Mini MuffinsMarcel’s demo12:30-2pm. $35  Register HERE

16-Breakfast Now, Dinner Tonight: Southwestern Egg Scrambler on Corn Tortilla / Easy Risotto with White Beans, Mushrooms and Spring Peas. Marcel’s demo, 9:30-11am. $45  Register HERE


6-Cooking with Mom: Creamy Spring Radish Soup, Soy Marinated Salmon with Mango-Kiwi Salsa, and Lemon Blueberry Tart. Marcel’s demo, 12:30-2pm. $35  Register HERE

14-Shape Up for Summer: Roasted Asparagus with Chive Yogurt Ranch Dressing, Chicken and Artichoke Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms, and Light Lime Cheesecake Squares. Marcel’s demo, 11-12:30pm. $35  Register HERE


3-Herbilicious! Lemon Poppyseed Bread with Lavender, Spring Vegetable Soup with Basil-Mint Pesto, and Rosemary Chicken with Maple Orange Glaze on Herbed Basmati Rice. Marcel’s demo, 12:30-2pm. $35  Register HERE

18-Small Plates- International Vegetarian: Sweet Potato and Chick Pea Curry, Eggplant Parmesan Bites, Black Bean Cakes with Chipotle Yogurt Sauce, Tofu and Cashew Lettuce Cups, and Apricot Blueberry Cobbler. Marcel’s hands On, 6:30-9pm. $65  Register HERE

Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle!


March is National Nutrition Month. This year’s theme is ‘Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle. Many of you, friends who read and follow this blog, already bite into a healthy lifestyle everyday! Here is what that looks like:

Your day starts with breakfast.  Food at breakfast is used as fuel for your brain, better than any morning latte could do!

Half of your plate is fruits and vegetables.  Over the course of 3 meals and 1-2 snacks, you consume at least 5 to 7 fruits and vegetables. The more color on your plate, the richer in health promoting phytonutrients you consume.

Half of all the grains you eat are whole.  There is great nutrition- fiber, minerals, phytonutrients- in the bran layer of grains that gets lost when grains are refined.  You reap whole grain nutrition with three servings of whole grain everyday.

You enjoy three servings of dairy foods (or calcium-rich substitute) everyday.  With dairy foods– milk, yogurt, cheese- you consume the nutrients calcium, vitamin D, and potassium, that are most often lacking in American diets.

You choose to be active everyday by walking, running, stairclimbing, dancing, biking (the list is endless).  You reap the many benefits like weight management; protection from the chronic diseases diabetes and heart disease; strengthening of bones and muscles; and improved mental health.

Celebrate the steps you’ve taken toward a healthy lifestyle!  Good health- your health- is worth every bite!

Zesty Cioppino

Zesty CioppinoThis is the dish my mom and I prepared for our class last week at Marcel’s Lunch in Nonnie’s Italian Kitchen.  It is super yummy and very easy to make.  Start to finish it can be on the table in less than 30 minutes.  The fish/seafood in the recipe can be varied depending on your family’s preferences, simply substitute equal portions of fish and shellfish to suit your tastes.

Serve with crusty bread and a simple green salad…it’s so tasty your family will wonder who is coming for dinner!

Zesty Cioppino (serves 6 main dish portions)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1-1/2 cups diced sweet onion (1 large)

2 green peppers, diced

1 cup sliced mushrooms (8 ounces)

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon each: dried basil and dried oregano

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Ground black pepper, to taste

2 cans (16 ounces each) diced tomatoes

6 ounces tomato paste

1 cup white wine

1 cup vegetable broth

6 ounces canned all-white crabmeat

1 pound frozen shrimp, shelled and deveined

8 ounces firm white fish fillets (cod or halibut)

12 fresh mussels, rinsed with beards removed

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in mushrooms, dried herbs, salt, and red pepper. Cook until mushrooms are softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, and broth. Heat to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Stir in the fish. Make sure pieces are submerged. Adjust heat for fish to cook in a slow boil until fish is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir in crabmeat, shrimp and mussels. Heat until mussels open and shrimp is opaque, about 5 minutes. Serve hot with crusty bread! Enjoy!


Mom and I have another class together on May 6, Cooking with Mom.  Just in time for Mother’s Day!  Click here for more information and to register!


Warm Apple Crisp

Warm Apple Crisp

Tomorrow March begins!!!!!  But here in the snow-covered Midwest, Spring seems like a very distant reality.  The temperatures still average below freezing and there is snow in today’s forecast.  I find this to be the perfect time to share a warm, sweet dessert that will help put a smile on your face and those who eat this with you!  Enjoy!

Warm Apple Crisp (serves 6)

4 medium, tart apples (about 4 cups) peeled, cored and sliced

1 tablespoon sugar

1/3 cup yellow raisins

Juice of half lemon (1 tablespoon)

4 tablespoons whole wheat flour (or gluten free flour)

1/3 cup rolled oats

1/3 cup slivered almonds

1/3 cup canola oil

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 8-inch pie plate with cooking spray. Set aside. In a bowl, combine apples, sugar, raisins, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon flour. Mix to combine. Spread evenly on pie plate.

Combine 3 tablespoons flour, oats, nuts, oil, brown sugar, and spices. Mix well. Sprinkle this topping evenly over apples. Bake in center of oven until golden and bubbly, 30-40 minutes. Serve in individual dessert dishes and top with your favorite ice cream.