Tag Archives: cookies

30 Minute Meals with Cheese

5 Jul

Now that I’m training once again for a half marathon, my summer evenings are quickly being whittled away. It’s not always easy to find time for running, family, chores, friends, and cooking. Rather than settling for a packaged meal, or going out to eat all the time, I strive to make dinner most nights of the week.

30 Minute Meals with Cheese | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

That’s where these 30 minute meals become incredibly handy. Healthy food doesn’t always have to take long to make. A combination of vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and healthy fats makes the perfect dinner. And in my life, cheese often plays a big part of that 🙂 The uses are endless, and it can really elevate a dish to be something your whole family can look forward to eating.

Thanks to the Wisconsin Cheese Mart, I was able to develop three nutritious, quick, cheesy meals for your enjoyment, plus a bonus dessert recipe! Yes, a sweet treat made with cheese 🙂 Head over to the Cheese Mart’s blog to get the full details on all these tasty meals!

30 Minute Meals with Cheese | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Spicy Vegetable One Pot Pasta

This pasta is the perfect quick weeknight dinner. All the ingredients cook together in the same pot, at the same time. It’s packed with vegetables and the spicy Ghost Pepper Monterey Jack cheese gives it a bit of a kick.

30 Minute Meals with Cheese | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com


Roasted Sweet Potato Rosemary Risotto

Risotto is an elegant classic dish that may seem daunting and time-consuming, but can actually be made in 30 minutes, start to finish. Roasted sweet potato makes this a hearty main or a side dish to just about any protein. The Parmesan cheese is the perfect finishing touch.

30 Minute Meals with Cheese | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com


Baked Spinach Quesadillas

Quesadillas can be a quick, healthy meal for the entire family when you add vegetables! Make them even easier by baking them in the oven. Customize the fillings to your heart’s content. Make sure to choose cheeses that melt well, such as provolone or a spicy pepper jack.

30 Minute Meals with Cheese | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com


Gjetost Filled Shortbread Cookies

No dinner is complete without a sweet treat! This simple shortbread is filled with a layer of Gjetost – a cheese that looks and tastes like caramel candy. The end result is a buttery cookie layered with a sweet, salty caramel cheese that’s sure to please everyone!

30 Minute Meals with Cheese | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

I received free product from the Wisconsin Cheese Mart and was compensated for my time. All opinions and creations are my own.

Healthier Walnut Refrigerator Cookies {vegan, whole grain, egg free}

9 Jun

By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Walnut Commission and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Do you remember those “refrigerator cookies” your grandma used to make? They weren’t exactly pretty, or terribly interesting as far as cookies are concerned, yet they tasted SO GOOD. My grandma packed hers with chopped walnuts, they were scented with vanilla extract, and they had the lightest brown color to them. She usually kept a tin of these cookies stocked in her fridge for when we stopped by to visit. But that’s not why they’re called refrigerator cookies – the dough for these bad boys needs to set up in the fridge like most other slice and bake cookies require.

The traditional recipe is unfortunately made up bleached flour, lots of white sugar, and too much butter. The problem here is that I always wanted to eat three, four or even five of these cookies in one sitting…not exactly a healthy choice.

Healthier Walnut Refrigerator Cookies | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

So, to combat this issue (aka make cookies I could feel better about eating by the half dozen), I swapped out quite a few of the processed ingredients with some purer options. A combination of ground oats and whole wheat flour increase the fiber content dramatically without sacrificing flavor. I reduced the amount of sugar, and used coconut sugar instead of nutrient-void white sugar. And finally, I replaced half of the butter with coconut oil for a nutrition boost. And, of course, I added even more walnuts, the star of the show!! Yep, these treats are filled to the brim with chopped walnuts, providing a nutty flavor, some crunch, and Omega-3 fatty acids the nuts are known for.

Healthier Walnut Refrigerator Cookies | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

The result is a cookie reminiscent of what grandma used to have waiting for your enjoyment, but with a much healthier profile. Enjoy these for yourself or bake them for a family gathering! They’re sure to please. And, check out the other great walnut recipes that are being posted this week with The Recipe Redux. There’s a link-up at the end of this post containing many delicious recipes!

Healthier Walnut Refrigerator Cookies | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Pro tip: serve cookies in cute bowls, rather than on a platter. They’ll look more appealing!

Healthier Walnut Refrigerator Cookies {whole grain, egg free}, adapted from Food.com

Makes 36 cookies (8 servings)

  • 1 C ground oat flour
  • 1 C whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 C coconut sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 C (1 stick) butter, softened (vegan or otherwise)
  • 1/2 C coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax + 3 tbsp water)
  • 1 C finely chopped walnuts (about 2 cups walnut halves)

In a large bowl, combine flours, sugar, salt and baking soda. Mix well with a wooden spoon or hand mixer.

Mix in the butter, coconut oil, extract and flax egg. Keep mixing until thoroughly combined. Finally, mix in the chopped walnuts.

Lay out three pieces of plastic wrap and form three logs of dough, about 5″ long. Wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours.

Preheat oven to 350; line two baking sheets with silpat mats or parchment paper.

Slice two logs into 12 pieces each. Lay on the baking sheets with about 1″ between each cookie.

Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes, turning halfway through. Remove and let cool on the sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Repeat with remaining dough log.

Serve cooled cookies, or store in a cookie tin in the fridge (I enjoy these slightly chilled).

Healthier Walnut Refrigerator Cookies | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

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As the first and only recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians, The Recipe ReDux aims to inspire the food lover in every healthy eater and inspire the healthy eater in every food lover. Thank you for visiting. We hope you enjoy!

(Please note that this is a closed link-up for Recipe ReDux posts only. Any links added to this collection for non-ReDux posts will be deleted.)

Whole Wheat Thin Mint Brownie Bites

30 Mar

Girl Scout cookie season hit you hard? Is your freezer overflowing with Thin Mints and Lemonades? (because we all know they freeze well). But you can’t stand to eat another addictive morsel? Well do I have a recipe for you!

Transform those basic Thin Mints into delectable brownie bites to share with your family, friends, and co-workers. Plus, they’re [sort of] healthy! Whole wheat flour, coconut oil and apple sauce make these better than traditional brownies. And they’re topped with cookies, so there’s that.

Whole Wheat Thin Mint Brownie Bites | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Crispy cookies and perfect brownies


Why bake something that’s already baked? Topping these brownie bites with Thin Mints makes for the best texture combination. The brownies are spongy, moist and chocolatey, supporting an extra-crisp cookie. Too fun to pass up!

Whole Wheat Thin Mint Brownie Bites

Makes 24 brownie bites

  • 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 C organic cane sugar
  • 1/2 C sugar-free applesauce
  • 3/4 C whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 24 Thin Mints

Preheat oven to 350. Spray 2 mini cupcake tins with PAM and set aside.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate with butter and coconut oil. Whisk in the eggs, sugar and apple sauce. Mix in the whole wheat flour, baking powder and sea salt.

Scoop batter into prepared mini tins, about 3/4 full. These WILL rise! Top each brownie bite with a Thin Mint.

Whole Wheat Thin Mint Brownie Bites | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Ready for the oven!


Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely before removing from the tins. Store in an airtight container up to 5 days. (Who are we kidding, these will disappear as quickly as a box of Caramel DeLites!)

Whole Wheat Thin Mint Brownie Bites | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Lemon, White Chocolate and Toasted Coconut Cookies {Gluten Free}

20 Jan

There is never a wrong time for a cookie. I firmly believe this. And what better time to make a big batch of bright, lemony cookies than during the depths of January? Loaded with lemon, white chocolate and coconut, these cookies will hit the spot for just about anyone. Including those who are gluten intolerant!

Lemon, White Chocolate and Toasted Coconut Cookies {Gluten Free} | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Whip up a batch for your family, friends, co-workers, or just to hog all for yourself. You can’t go wrong!

Lemon, White Chocolate and Toasted Coconut Cookies, adapted from The Baker Chick

Makes 3 dozen

  • 1 1/2 C unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 3/4 C gluten free flour blend (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 C) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1/2 C white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1/2 C white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Line two large cookie sheets with Silpat mats or parchment paper.

Spread shredded coconut on a small rimmed cookie sheet and toast in the oven for 6 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove and let cool while mixing the rest of the dough.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat softened butter together with the sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla and lemon extracts. Mix until smooth.

Add the flour mixture, mixing on a low speed. Remove the bowl and fold in the toasted coconut and white chocolate chips until just combined.

Use a cookie scoop to make cookies, placing about an inch apart.

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Remove and let sit on the cookie sheets for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Store in your favorite cookie tin or jar!

Lemon, White Chocolate and Toasted Coconut Cookies {Gluten Free} | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Earl Grey Tea Cookies

8 Dec

Welcome to Cookie Week on the blog! Every recipe this week will be some kind of scrumptious cookie, perfect for the holiday season!

This first one is particularly special because I made them for a charity bake sale in town. AND they’re an homage to the great Jean-Luc Picard. He was smart enough to drink Tea. Earl Grey. Hot. So why not put that tea straight into a cookie? This is really a basic sugar cookie with the addition of loose leaf tea. A day or two after they’re baked, the Bergamot flavor really comes through and pairs wonderfully with a hot cup of the very same.

They’re also nice for the holidays because you can add colored sugar on the edges! I made these red and green for the bake sale, but you could use any color you like, or even normal white sugar for a more neutral look. Enjoy these cookies! Your friends will surely like them too 🙂

Earl Grey Tea Cookies, adapted from C’est la Vegan

Makes 2 dozen cookies

  • 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 1/2 C powdered sugar
  • 5 bags (2 tbsp) Earl Grey tea
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 C AP flour
  • 3/4 C butter, softened
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • colored sugar for the edges, optional

Combine sugars, salt and tea in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse so that the tea is pulverized and mixed in with the sugar. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl and add the flour, stir to combine.

Mix in the butter, vanilla and milk. You want a dough that will stick together.

Divide the dough in half and roll each half into a 6″ log. If desired, roll the log in colored sugar (spread sugar on a flat plate and roll the dough in it – don’t worry about the ends being sugared).

Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Now, preheat the oven to 375. Line two cookie sheets with Silpat mat or parchment paper.

Slice the dough logs into 12 pieces each – they’ll be about 1/3″ thick. Place onto prepared baking sheets.

Bake at 375 for 10 minutes, flipping around and switching racks halfway through.

Remove from oven and let sit on the baking sheets for 10 minutes before transferring to cooling racks.

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