So it’s January now and I am not pleased with this whole going-back-to-work thing. Can we all go on strike until the boss of the world agrees to that four-hour work week philosophy?
Also, I’m not super pleased that my vacation diet of cookies-all-day had to stop in favor of spinach and lentils and lettuce. Alas, necessary evils.
I was very pleased, however, to find that the grocery store next to my kickboxing gym, has a clearance dairy section! Erik, who dutifully tosses gallons of milk the second they hit the expiration date and is probably allergic to the phrase “clearance dairy,” would most likely have backed away slowly had he been present to witness my enthusiastic rifling through bins of 50% off, near-expired flavored yogurt cups. The kind I would never buy normally, but for .50 cents? Um, yes I want apple pie-flavored yogurt! And then I eat it on the way home–no yogurt, no expiration, no problem.
(On a side note: One thing I learned from last year’s detox is that restricting foods does not do anything for me except make me binge on all the things afterwards. So back to the world’s best motto: all things in moderation [minus meat]. Dairy included.)
Even though I’ve talked about my aversion to cottage cheese before, I couldn’t pass up a $2 tub of cottage cheese and bought it with lasagna in mind. While following the LiveFit program, I re-discovered cottage cheese as a fantastically efficient, low-cal way to get protein—even though I practically have to plug my nose to eat it plain. Then I remembered cheesecake.
I tried another cottage cheese cheesecake recipe before perfecting this one and while my roommate and I were both a fan of the flavor of the first cheesecake, she kept trying to describe the texture and kept coming up with phrases like “soggy,” “crumbly,” and “kind of like tres leches—not grainy, but…sort of curdled, maybe?”
The first recipe used cottage cheese, yogurt, honey, eggs and vanilla. A lot of liquid seeped out of the pan when it chilled overnight and it deflated like no one’s business into a soggy pile of (delicious) curds. I theorized it was a victim of too much liquid and in the next version, swapped the honey for sugar, reduced the amount of egg and added a little flour to help set the cheesecake and soak up any excess liquid.
It made all the difference. This cheesecake is completely creamy and not at all soggy. Lighter than full-fat cheesecake, it doesn’t completely wreck you after eating. Full disclosure: I never liked cheesecake until I tried chocolate cheesecake in which the chocolate drowned out the cheese flavor. I’ve since acquired a taste for the weird sweet-tang of regular cheesecake, but it’s often just too creamy for me and I almost always prefer healthier cheesecakes to the full-fat creations. You might be all: that is not cheesecake. But I say: it’s delicious and I’m eating it for breakfast.
Because look at the nutrition stats! I probably shouldn’t mention this, but you could eat half of this entire cheesecake for about 240 calories (and get about 20g of protein in the process). But sharing will make you feel like a hero!
This lusciously creamy cheesecake is incredibly low in calories and high in protein--about 120 calories and 10g of protein in a large slice! Topped with yogurt, strawberries and granola, it's breakfast-worthy and my absolute favorite way to eat cottage cheese.
- 1 cup low fat cottage cheese (I used 2%)
- 1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1 large egg
- 2.5 tablespoons sugar
- 1.5 tablespoons flour
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ tablespoon lemon zest
- Optional: yogurt, strawberries, and granola for topping.
Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 6-inch springform pan. Alternatively, you can double this recipe and use a larger pan, like an 8 or 9-inch cake pan.
Combine cottage cheese and yogurt in a blender and process until very smooth (I do this first to ensure the cottage cheese mixture is completely lump-free). Add the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth and combined.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until the top pulls away from the pan and looks smooth and solid. The entire thing should be slightly jiggly, but not sloshy.
Let cool completely before refrigerating for several hours or overnight.
Spread or sprinkle on desired toppings before serving. I topped mine with some homemade granola and a really quick strawberry compote--just a few frozen strawberries brought to a boil in a small saucepan with a tiny splash of water, a tiny bit of a water + cornstarch mixture, and a pinch of sugar. If I'd had red wine, I would have added that instead of water. Quick and easy!
This recipe is easily doubled for baking in a larger pan.
Adapted from here.
And now for more cheesecake recipes…(I used to hate cheesecake! HOW do I have so many cheesecake recipes?! #questionsthatneedanswers)
The only way to up your cheesecake breakfast game is to put it in crepes:
My other way favorite way to eat cheesecake is in a cake. With apples. And brown butter crumbs:
With cookie dough stuffed inside? Can’t go wrong:
Stuffed inside cookies? Also can’t go wrong: