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Veggie Ranch Cups

Sometimes it can get a little old putting out the same veggie tray at every party. But at the same time, you want to have some sort of healthy option for your guests (and sometimes yourself). Well, fillo cups to the rescue again. Although these have most of the same ingredients you would find in a regular veggie tray, these are a little easier to handle in a party setting. Instead of using bottled ranch dip, the seasonings in the ingredient list makes a ranch dressing without the extra sodium or fat.

15 mini fillo shells
1/2 cup finely diced celery
1/2 cup finely diced red pepper
1/4 cup shredded carrots
1/4 diced tomatoes
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Arrange the fillo shells on a plate or cookie sheet.
Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and spoon into the fillo shells.

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 15
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 30.4
Total Fat: 0.7 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 19.8 mg
Total Carbs: 5.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.8 g
Protein: 1.6 g

Veggie Ranch Cups-001


Baked Fried Pickles

Lately, whenever The Man and I go out to eat somewhere they have fried pickles on the menu. We both love them, but they’re not so great for you. Then I found a recipe on Pinterest for Baked Fried Pickles. The recipe comes from Full Flavored Food and it’s pretty amazing.

I thought I would try to add some dry ranch mix into the breadcrumbs. Yeah, don’t do that. It was way too salty, but if you just follow her recipe they turn out perfectly!

Baked Fried Pickles-001

Man Cups

I love using these little fillo cups to make snacks for parties. And although The Man likes all of them that I’ve posted, a lot of times they tend to be a little more on the, well, girly side. So I decided to make some especially for The Man. Not surprisingly, they were the first ones to disappear at the party!

1 small boneless skinless chicken breast, diced
3 slices bacon, diced
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
15 mini fillo shells

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Arrange the fillo shells on a cookie sheet.
In a skillet, cook the diced chicken and diced bacon until the chicken is golden and the bacon crispy. Set aside for few minutes to let it cool. Mix the bacon, chicken, cheese, and barbecue sauce together. Spoon into the cups and bake for seven to ten minutes. Let them cool for a couple of minutes before eating them.

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 15
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 40.2
Total Fat: 1.9 g
Cholesterol: 8.0 mg
Sodium: 86.2 mg
Total Carbs: 2.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.0 g
Protein: 3.6 g

Man Cups-001

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Shaken Together

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

These are a little higher in calories than I would normally post, but they’re so rich that you’ll only eat one or two. They’re wonderfully creamy and chocolatey. The flavor kind of reminds me of peanut butter blossom cookies. The marshmallows really change the texture, I don’t know how exactly to describe it, but they were delicious.

3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup mini marshmallows
18 mini fillo cups

Arrange the fillo cups on a plate or cookie sheet.
In a microwave safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips, peanut butter and marshmallows. Microwave in 15 second intervals until everything is melted and smooth. Spoon into the cups and serve.

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 18
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 82.6
Total Fat: 5.3 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 27.9 mg
Total Carbs: 9.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.9 g
Protein: 1.4 g

chocolate pb cups-001

Blackberry Cream Cups

Awhile back our local grocery store had blackberries on sale, so I tried to make a blackberry meringue pie. Unfortunately it didn’t turn out at all the way I was hoping it would. Since then I’ve really had the taste for something with blackberries in it. So when we hosted our next party, I decided to try again. This time I went with the mini fillo shells because they are perfect for parties and I’ve really enjoyed coming up with fillings for them. These are a little bit of work, you’ve really got to watch the pot once it starts boiling because it get thick fast. In the directions it says you can spoon the filling into the cups. Well, you can also put the filling in a frosting bag with a wide tip and pipe it into the cups. The Man helped with this part and I think he kinda had fun with it. The only problem with this method is that the filling is a little runny, so it’ll work but you’ll have to move quickly from one cup to the next. We problem would have been able to fill a few more cups if it wasn’t for the filling that dripped out between cups.

30 mini fillo cups
5 oz fat free cream cheese
3/4 cups frozen blackberries, thawed (with juice)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch

Arrange the fillo cups on a cookie sheet or plate.
Whisk the cornstarch into the water. In a small pot, whisk together the cream cheese, blackberries with juice, sugar, and cornstarch water. Slowly bring it to a boil, stirring constantly. Afterr it starts boiling it will get very thick very fast. When it’s about the same thickness as a pudding, take it off the heat. Spoon it into the mini cups and let them cool. The cream will thicken as it cools.

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 30
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 29.5
Total Fat: 0.5 g
Cholesterol: 0.8 mg
Sodium: 39.4 mg
Total Carbs: 5.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.2 g
Protein: 1.2 g

Blackberry Cream Cups-001

Creamy Southwest Chicken Bites

Since Christmas is just a couple days away (where did December go?!) and New Year’s not too long after that, I’m going to take  little break from posting recipes.  As much as I love cooking and sharing my creations with everyone, I want to spend the time with my husband.  But I’ll leave you with one last recipe for the year and the promise that I have more in store for 2013, along with a couple other surprises!

With us being right in the middle of the holiday season, a lot of us are either hosting parties or need to bring something to a party. These are perfect! Filo cups make it easy to make silverware (and plate) free snacks, so less clean up. And you can get a head start on your New Year’s resolution to eat healthier because they’re only 30 calories for each one and loaded with veggies. The greek yogurt makes them creamy, without adding extra fat. You can tailor them to your taste by adding extra chili powder or a diced jalepeno.

30 mini filo cups (2 packages)
2 boneless skinless chicken breast, diced
1/2 cup diced onion
1 large red pepper, diced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
3 green onions, diced
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Arrange the filo cups on a baking sheet.
In a large skillet, cook the chicken, onion, red pepper, cilantro, green onions, lime juice and zest, garlic powder, and chili powder. When the chicken starts to turn golden brown and the onions are transparent, remove from the heat and add the mozzarella cheese and greek yogurt. Stir until everything is well coated.
Spoon evenly into the filo cups.
Bake at 350 degrees for eight minutes.

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 30
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 30.5
Total Fat: 0.7 g
Cholesterol: 6.3 mg
Sodium: 31.0 mg
Total Carbs: 3.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.3 g
Protein: 3.2 g

Creamy Southwest Chicken bites (1)

Breakfast Cookies: Oatmeal-Chocolate-Cranberry-Pecan Cookies

It’s that time of year when I start channeling Betty Crocker and do a couple all night cookie baking marathons. This year it looks like there’s going to be at least seven types of cookies, so somewhere around thirty dozen cookies. I’ve done five of them so far and I thought I would share one of them with you guys. I stumbled upon the combination a few years ago when I was playing around with an oatmeal cookie recipe. Cranberries can be rather tart (like in my Cranberry Nut Pie), but it’s balanced out nicely with the cookie and chocolate. I call these Breakfast Cookies because they’re great for a grab and go when you’re in a hurry.

1 1/2 cups softened butter
2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 cup white sugar
3 1/2 cups flour
2 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the sugar and butter together. Add the flour, eggs, baking powder and soda, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Mix until everything is thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips, pecans, and dried cranberries. The dough is going to be very stiff.
Drop by rounded teaspoons on to cookie sheets and bake for 12 minutes or until the cookies start to brown. Let them sit on the cookie sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

Nutritional Info
◦Servings Per Recipe: 60
◦Amount Per Serving
◦Calories: 160.2
◦Total Fat: 7.2 g
◦Cholesterol: 18.6 mg
◦Sodium: 33.9 mg
◦Total Carbs: 25.7 g
◦Dietary Fiber: 1.2 g
◦Protein: 1.8

Breakfast cookies

Easy Hummus

A friend of mine introduced me to hummus a few years ago and I loved it. The store bought stuff is good, but it’s easy to make your own and you can flavor it however you would like. Besides, regular hummus has about 70 calories for two tablespoons. A serving of this stuff is almost four tablespoons and only 53 calories per serving. You can expand upon this recipe if you feel like experimenting, try blending in some red bell pepper, more chili powder or a little lemon juice, maybe even all three. You can serve this with crackers, chips, or veggies. I like it on a Mediterranean style pizza (more on that in a later post).


1 16 oz can of reduced sodium garbanzo beans, undrained
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt


Without draining it, pour the can of beans into a food processor. Sprinkle the onion, garlic and chili powder on top. Blend until smooth. Taste and depending on your preference, add the salt and blend again.

Nutritional Info
•Servings Per Recipe: 8
•Amount Per Serving
•Calories: 53.1
•Total Fat: 0.9 g
•Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
•Sodium: 176.7 mg
•Total Carbs: 10.3 g
•Dietary Fiber: 2.4 g
•Protein: 2.9 g

easy hummus

Honey Wheat Bread in the Bread Machine

There is nothing better in cooler weather than a nice thick slice of warm bread. This bread is a bit denser than regular bread, but I like it that way (unfortunately the hubby doesn’t like it that dense). It’s got a bit of sweetness and it doesn’t really taste like wheat bread.

I love using my bread machine to make bread because (much like the slow cooker) I can just toss the ingredients in there and let it go. Just a few hours later and you have fresh, homemade bread. The only downside is that I can’t really give much direction because different machines can work differently.

The calorie count is a little higher than I’d normally like for bread, but it could fit into your diet depending what you’re eating with it.


1 1/2 cups warm water
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 packet yeast


Layer the ingredients in the bread maker according to the machine’s instructions. Run a “wheat” cyle and enjoy!

Nutritional Info
•Servings Per Recipe: 12
•Amount Per Serving
•Calories: 215.2
•Total Fat: 3.1 g
•Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
•Sodium: 0.6 mg
•Total Carbs: 44.7 g
•Dietary Fiber: 5.5 g
•Protein: 6.0 g

Honey Wheat Bread

Recipe Tweak: Salty Caramel Cups

This was originally a Pampered Chef recipe that tasted good, but it had 100 calories and 6 grams of fat per cup.  As much as I liked them, I thought they could use a little improving.  I made a few swaps in the recipe and cut the calories in half.  The fat grams were reduced from 6 grams to 1.6 grams.  The bite size makes them great for potlucks or cookouts.  And as far as the “guy tested” requirement for recipes I put on this blog?  I took them to one of my husband’s Army functions, about 25 guys said they liked them and didn’t even realize that they were reduced fat!


2 cups pretzel sticks
5 tablespoons light butter, melted
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup sugar free cool whip, thawed
6 ounces fat free cream cheese, softened
1/4 sup sugar free caramel syrup
1 square (1 ounce) semi sweet baking chocolate


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Crush the pretzels into very small pieces and combine with the powdered sugar and melted butter.  Lightly grease a mini muffin tin and put about 1 tablespoon of the pretzel mixture in each cup.  Press down hard in the center to form a small indentation.  Bake for six minutes.  When they are done let them cool for a minute or two in the muffin tin then let them sit on a cooling rack for about five more minutes, or until completely cooled.

Finely chop the chocolate square until it’s almost the consistancy of a powder.  Mix with the cream cheese, caramel syrup and cool whip.  Put the mixture in a ziplock bag and cut the corner off.  Pipe equally among the cups.

Nutritional Info

  • Servings Per Recipe: 24
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 50.0
  • Total Fat: 1.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 5.4 mg
  • Sodium: 123.9 mg
  • Total Carbs: 6.8 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 0.2 g
  • Protein: 1.3 g