Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Beauty of Yogurt Cheese!

I've been trying to stay away from making every single entry a recipe. Even though I have lots to share and I love getting new recipes from other people, I do have a life outside of cooking. But today I want to share with you one of my favorite things to make. Introduced to me by my very healthy friend, Heather B. (love you!), yogurt cheese is right up there with sour cream for me. It's wonderful. It has all the benefits of plain yogurt because, well, it is plain yogurt. Versatile, healthy, and really pretty tasty. So how do you make this crazy yogurt cheese? Allow me.

Yogurt Cheese

2 quarts plain yogurt

Place 4 layers of cheesecloth (or a coffee filter, or a couple layers of paper towels) in colander set over a bowl. Add the yogurt and let drain overnight in the refrigerator. The desired consistency is that of soft cream cheese.

Wow. Pretty easy, huh? Here's a couple dorky facts about it:

1. Yogurt cheese takes on the flavor of whatever you mix it with. That means you can "thin out" the fat calories from ice cream, peanut butter, mayo, etc. by mixing them with yogurt cheese.

2. If you are on a diet, yogurt cheese can help you stick to it because it tastes rich- no sodium or chemicals are added as they are in commercially " lite" foods.

3. If you make yogurt cheese from sweetened yogurt (like vanilla or lemon) most of the sugar will drain out with the whey but it will still have a sweet taste. Although, it's not as good for you as plain.


Now, here's some things you can do with yogurt cheese. I'm totally copying and pasting here, people.

10 TIPS TO LOWER FAT & CALORIES WITHOUT GOING ON A DIET

1 BAGEL & CREAM CHEESE: spread a bagel with plain yogurt cheese. Variation: mix in a teaspoon of jam or spreadable fruit.
2 DANISH: split an English muffin in half, toast it, and spread with sweetened yogurt cheese. Sprinkle with cinnamon and heat under broiler until bubbly.
3 PEANUT BUTTER: mix 1 tablespoon peanut butter with 1 or 2 tablespoons yogurt cheese (the yogurt cheese takes on the peanut butter flavor).
4
MAYONNAISE: mix 1 tablespoon commercial mayonnaise with 1 or 2 tablespoons yogurt cheese (the yogurt cheese takes on the mayonnaise flavor).
5 BAKED POTATO TOPPING: add sour cream flavor buds, chives and/or herb mix to yogurt cheese.
6 WHIPPED CREAM: mix 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla to vanilla yogurt cheese.
7 ICE CREAM: mix 1/4 cup commercial ice cream and 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt cheese.
8 LEMON TART: place a thin cookie in the bottom of a cupcake paper; spoon in lemon yogurt cheese; top with slice of fruit. Chill.
9 CHOCOLATE MOUSSE: add 1 packet low-calorie chocolate drink mix to 1 cup yogurt cheese.
10
VANILLA FROSTING: mix 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla with 1 cup vanilla yogurt cheese. Chill. Spread on cake just before serving.


Most of the time I will substitute it for half of the sour cream or mayo in a recipe. It's great and healthy. It's a good way to sneak in some plain yogurt, which my kiddo's won't touch, without them even noticing. Try some of the above recipes. I know I'm going to! Yum!


And just so you know, while I was typing this up my 18 month old got ahold of our Smart Balance butter and decided to eat about half of it. He also managed to smear it all over the floor in the school room, and all over his brothers bed. Awesome. :)

Running the race,

~A







4 comments:

Paprika said...

I love these posts...you're so resourceful!

Em said...

Go to www.craigslist.com (or www.craigslist.org...both work for me). It's like a HUGE on-line garage sale, sorted by city and then by category. You should be able to choose your city or region. And then choose which category you're searching for. I've only used the 'for sale' section of the site to search for baby/kid things and furniture. You should check it out. I've never sold anything on Craig's list, but from what I understand it's free to do so. And certainly free to browse. It's updated every single day, so if you're searching for a particular item, I'd search daily!

Marie said...

oh Bradley....

Amanda said...

It was nasty...don't even get me started about what happened this morning. Sigh...