Use It Up Challenge: 1/3-Less-Fat Cream Cheese
Tomato-Basil Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons
A bit of 1/3-less-fat cream cheese adds rich body to our Tomato-Basil Soup, a fast weeknight meal that boasts three times the protein compared to common store-bought varieties.
A handful of fresh mint boosts the flavor of ground turkey, while cream cheese keeps the patties moist. Mild-flavored pepperoncini peppers top these sliders served on water rolls.
A simple mixture of powdered sugar, cream cheese, and amaretto transforms hollowed out strawberries into an ultra simple dessert or appetizer—perfect for spring gatherings.
Makeover your cheesecake with a no-bake handheld version that makes an easy party treat. Lemon juice and zest blended with raspberries create a fresh summer confection.
Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs
Dress this staff favorite with cold-smoked salmon atop a creamy filling seasoned with fresh dill. You can easily double or triple the recipe to feed a crowd.
Cucumbers are a wonderful alternative to crackers during snack time. Top them off with a little cream cheese, nonfat Greek yogurt, feta cheese, and walnuts for a protein-packed crunch. Cute, portable, and easy, these are great party starters that guests will love snacking on. Tangy feta cheese steals the show and brightens up the vegetable base.
Creamy Asparagus, Herb, and Pea Pasta
Mascarpone cheese, unsalted chicken stock, and 1/3-less-fat cream cheese create a smooth and creamy sauce that pairs beautifully with asparagus, herbs, peas, and pappardelle pasta.
Carrot-Zucchini Cake With Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting
Zucchini makes a brilliant addition to carrot cake, adding a verdant note to the sweet carrot.
Chicken, Kale, and Mushroom Chimichangas
Fresh tomatoes and an avocado cream offer a bright finish. It's a crisp, flavor-packed wrap of veggies, meat, and cheese for less than 300 calories.
Two-Cheese Mac and Cheese
Indulge in this lighter version of the comfort food favorite. Because it uses unsalted stock, it eliminates a lot of added sodium.
Bacon-Goat Cheese Jalapeño Poppers
Salty bacon, rich goat cheese, savory-sweet jelly, and roasted jalapeño—it takes teamwork to make the dream work. If you already have the grill going, these dreamy little bites are equally easy to cook outdoors.
Zucchini and Goat Cheese Quiche
Is there anything more French than a savory vegetable quiche? Choose fresh-looking, smooth-skinned zucchini. If you have a vegetable garden, add strips of squash blossom to the tart, as well. Crumbled goat cheese and diced ham give the tart a complex flavor.
Fresh Artichoke and Kale Dip
Fresh artichoke leaves make the best earth-friendly disposable utensils: Their shape is perfect for scooping up dip, and after you nibble the tasty meat from the base of the leaf, you can toss it out guilt-free. Cook the artichokes and kale up to two days ahead–it will be a time-saver during the last-minute rush of putting on a party.
Ultimate Grilled Cheese
When a rich cheese mixture is slathered on whole-grain bread and sautéed in olive oil, the result is a glorious silky, ultra-cheesy sandwich.
Mini Bow Ties with Bacon and Peas
Finishing your peas and carrots is exponentially more exciting when bacon is involved. In fact, almost every dish is more exciting when bacon comes to play, so feel free to swap your family's favorite veggies into this versatile pasta.
Basil, Feta, and Quinoa Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Sweet piquanté peppers, also called sweet cherry or Peppadew peppers, are about the size and shape of a strawberry. Look for them at the olive bar or in the pickle section.
Gram's Clam Dip
From the Kitchen of Katie Barreira: Cooking Light Test Kitchen Director
Katie, a Boston native, and her cousin rivaled for their grandmother's clam dip recipe and the secret to what made her version green. "My cousin Jen won the battle," says Katie, "so it remains a mystery to me, although I think it's just food coloring."
Katie's lower-fat version uses reduced-fat Greek yogurt and cream cheese for a creamy result that does this heirloom dish justice. Precut crudités will hold up well if you'd like to prep them the day before. Wrap trimmed and cut veggies in a damp paper towel and refrigerate in a zip-top plastic bag for the crispiest texture.
Crisp-Crust Chicken Potpie
Turn to rotisserie chicken and frozen puff pastry dough to shave time from this deconstructed version of a comfort classic. Cooking the crust separately keeps it crisp and crunchy.
Almond Butter Snickerdoodles
Trust us. Our twist on the classic cinnamon-sugar cookie, lovingly called the Snickerdoodle, won’t disappoint. Using almond butter, egg yolks, and cream cheese in the cookie dough adds richness, and the crunchy coating of cinnamon sugar brings back all the memories from this all-time favorite cookie.
Carrot Cake Sandwich Cookies
Based on the classic whoopie pie, these soft sandwich cookies provide all the pleasures of traditional carrot cake in a fun-to-eat package, including the thick, tangy cream cheese frosting—especially the cream cheese frosting.
Creamy Spring Pasta
This dish is luxuriously creamy, but the pasta soaks up the sauce quickly. Be sure to serve right away. Use refrigerated pasta to cut several minutes off the cook time.
Chicken Enchilada Casserole
These enchiladas are a cinch to assemble and easy to freeze—just cover one of the pans with foil. If you plan to serve a crowd, bake in one (13 × 9–inch) baking dish. The chicken stays moist throughout baking and reheating, thanks to a gentle poach and a creamy verde sauce. Fresh cilantro stems have tons of favor; make sure to include them in the sauce.
To Freeze: Cool partially baked enchiladas to room temperature in baking dish. Cover baking dish tightly with heavy-duty foil, or seal with an airtight lid. Freeze up to 2 months.
To Reheat: No thawing needed: Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 45 minutes or until enchiladas are thoroughly heated and sauce is bubbly. Top each serving with tomato and cilantro leaves.
This simple treat puts the flavor of classic snickerdoodle cookies in dippable form. Serve with apple and pear slices.
Enjoy one baked pasta dish tonight, and freeze one for a comforting supper later. This turkey-and veggie-loaded pasta bake is a one-dish meal worth sharing and is an easy solution for "nothing in the fridge" nights.
To Freeze: Cover baking dish with heavy-duty foil or an airtight lid. Freeze up to two months.
To Thaw: Remove foil; place dish in microwave. Microwave at 30% power for 30 minutes or until thawed.
To Reheat: Preheat oven to 400° for 20 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in center registers 160°.
Chocolate-Dipped Cannoli with Pistachios
Chocolate and nuts are the perfect combination to top off sweetened ricotta and cream cheese in this cannoli. Swap out the pistachios for peanuts or almonds for a different taste.
Stovetop Sausage Mac and Cheese
A quick and easy pasta toss combines three types of cheese, plus sausage, for creamy yet hearty texture and flavor. For a more colorful version, stir in spinach.
Brown Sugar Cheesecake with Cranberry Compote
Thick cranberry sauce lends brilliant color and sweet-tart taste to this rich cheesecake.
Creamy Ranch-Style Dip
Serve this dip to your football crowd with baby carrots, broccoli florets, or other fresh vegetables.
Cherry and Pistachio Rugelach
You can switch out the cherry preserves and dried cherries for another fruit that comes in both spread and dried form, such as apricot, currant, or blueberry.
Pretty Packaging: These rustic cookies can handle a more rustic approach to wrapping. Carefully place the cookies into a cellophane bag, then drop inside a burlap bag; cinch with a ribbon.
Farro Salad with Creamy Feta
Good news, whole-grain shoppers! Precooked farro is popping up in both the grain aisle and the frozen-foods section of many supermarkets. Alternatively, you can cook up a batch of unpearled farro in about 45 minutes— it keeps, refrigerated, for up to 1 week and freezes beautifully.
From Cooking Light's Test Kitchen to Your Kitchen Table
We have a secret weapon in our Test Kitchen: Deb Wise, an experienced baker who gets the science and loves the challenge of making light sweets with sublime texture and glorious flavor. Here, we offer Deb’s wisest offerings yet.
First we have this Pumpkin-Hazelnut Cheesecake. Spiced pumpkin adds seasonal color and warm flavors to this magnificent double-decker dessert. Hazelnuts contribute their unique browned butter note to the wonderfully dense cake beneath the silky cheesecake. Shards of brittle add drama and style.
Chicken Taco Salad
Add a little variation to taco night and throw your favorite taco fillings on a bed of fresh romaine lettuce. Ready in just 25 minutes, you’ll have a flavorful, fresh taco salad that is sure to satisfy your Southwestern craving.
Strawberry Cream Cheese Waffle Sandwiches
Standard toaster waffles get a tasty upgrade in this easy-to-prepare breakfast dish.
Winn's Fig and Pecan Rugelach
This is a gluten-free variation of the traditional Jewish pastry. Filled with fig preserves, pecans, and brown sugar, they are the perfect treat for a Hanukkah celebration.
Cream Cheese-Swirled Brownies
For moist and fudgy results, be careful not to overbake. When the brownies are perfectly done, the edges of the batter will just begin to pull away from the pan.
Cream Cheese Meltaways With Lemon Glaze
When shaping these buttery cookies, do not try to form perfectly smooth balls. If the dough is handled too much, the cookies will become heavy and dense.
Fig and Cream Cheese Bars
With the honeyed flavor of dried figs, a sweet cream cheese layer, and a buttery, crumbly crust, these bars garnered our Test Kitchens' highest rating. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.
Raspberry-Cream Cheese Muffins
Serve these muffins for breakfast and your family will be begging for more. We love the combination of cream cheese and tart raspberries.
Pecan Tassies in Cream Cheese Pastry
If slicing and serving the pecan pie is more than you want to handle during the busy holidays, these pecan tassies provide the same great pie taste in single-serving bites.
Two-Cheese Penne with Chicken and Spinach
To balance out the meal, serve this rich and saucy pasta alongside a crisp romaine salad with bright acidic dressing.
Hot Artichoke-Cheese Dip
This artichoke cheese dip is just the thing when you hanker for a creamy, cheesy snack. And because you are likely to have the ingredients on hand in the fridge and freezer, it's also great for impromptu entertaining.
Goat Cheese Polenta with Sautéed Kale
We love the versatility of this 25-minute entrée. It's a hearty choice for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
Cool off at your Easter celebration with a big bowl of creamy homemade ice cream. Perfect for entertaining, this top-rated recipe makes enough for a crowd.
Meaty, cheesy, and delicious—kids will love this comforting dinner. Parents will love it, too—it’s quick.
With a touch of sweet spice, cream cheese richness, and tart apple crunch, these melty-sweet sandwich triangles are sure to earn grade-A ratings. Serve as an after-school snack for the kids, or treat yourself to a quick-fix dessert.
Creamy Smoked Salmon and Dill Frittata
Smoked salmon and eggs go hand in hand, and combining them in this frittata makes for an elegant and delicious dish.
Tortilla Chip Casserole
This casserole retains all the full-flavor of the popular, Mexican, chicken comfort dish but with lighter ingredients.
Caramelized Onion Spread
Serve with crostini, or melba toast. For an upscale version, thinly slice onions, and caramelize as directed. Then combine cream cheese, mayo, pepper, and salt; spread over crostini, and top with onions and chives.