Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Pillsbury Biscuit Calzones

Is it just me, or does the end-of-the-year craziness have anyone else wishing for more hours in the day? I feel like I just posted my last recipe, when in reality it's been over 2 weeks! So I apologize again for the delay between posts. I'm hoping to be able to post more often in 2016!

Before I dive in to today's recipe, I just wanted to send a huge thank you to everyone who reads this blog and shares my recipes. This is still really new for me, and I appreciate any and all support. Lighter Bites has officially hit 250 likes on Facebook, and we are close to 100 followers on Instagram. In the grand scheme of things, that's not many people, but the support means the world to me. So thank you!

Now, the reason we're all here: FOOD. I mentioned in my last post that I love Pillsbury crescent rolls because they're so versatile - you can fill them with chocolate and make a dessert, or you can fill them with meat, cheese, etc and make a meal. I love filling them with ham and cheese or pepperoni and cheese and making mini healthy calzones.

I use Weight Watchers American cheese slices for the ham calzones and Weight Watchers mozzarella string cheese for the pepperoni calzones. Once these babies are baked and warm and gooey, you can't even notice that the cheese is low fat/low calorie.

These really are super easy to make. When I make these as a meal, I usually make four - I have two for dinner (one ham, one pepperoni) and put two in a tupperware for lunch the following day (they still taste good after being microwaved). The Pillsbury crescent rolls contains eight rolls, so if you don't think you'll use the remaining four soon, I suggest making eight calzones and refrigerating the ones you don't eat. Even in a Ziplock bag, the Pillsbury dough doesn't last very long in the fridge once it's been open. For this recipe, I made eight.

Anyway, on to this super easy, super fast recipe. All you have to do is separate the crescent rolls and lay them on a baking sheet sprayed with no-calorie cooking spray. Arrange the ham, pepperoni, and cheeses on the crescent rolls, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste.

Carefully roll up the crescents so that all the meat and cheese is sealed inside. They don't have to look pretty - sealing everything in is the bigger priority here. If the filling sticks out a little bit, it's okay.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 9-12 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for a minute or two, then dig in!


  • 8 Pillsbury crescent rolls, reduced fat
  • 4 slices reduced fat American cheese (I use Weight Watchers brand)
  • 4 low-fat mozzarella string cheese sticks (I use Weight Watchers brand)
  • 6 slices ham (I like to use honey ham)
  • 20 slices turkey pepperoni
  • Salt, pepper, and garlic powder (to taste)

Serving size: 2 calzones (1 pepperoni, 1 ham)
Weight Watchers SmartPoints value: 11


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly spray a baking dish with no-calorie cooking spray.
  2. Separate the crescent rolls along the pre-cut edges and lay out on the baking sheet. Top 4 of the rolls with 1 slice of American cheese each and 4 of the rolls with 1 string cheese each (you'll need to break the cheeses apart to get them to fit on the roll).
  3. On the rolls with American cheese, top each with 1 1/2 slices of ham (you'll need to fold or tear the ham to get it to fit). On the rolls with string cheese, top each with 5 slices of turkey pepperoni. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and garlic powder across the tops of all the rolls.
  4. Carefully fold the rolls so that the cheese and meat are sealed inside. Pinch edges together to seal. In some cases you may not be able to completely seal in the filling - this is okay. As long as it's mostly sealed you'll be fine.
  5. Make for 9-12 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve warm.

Note: nutrition information is for one ham calzone and one pepperoni calzone.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Pumpkin S'mores Puffs

Hello there! I hope everyone has been enjoying fall! It's been unseasonably warm over here, and I've been pretty busy as well! Every year I say I'm going to start my Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving ... and this year I actually did it! Plus, my weekends have been filled with friends and family and car shopping - all fun things, but they've been preventing me from being able to post here as often as I'd like.

So let's take a minute and celebrate fall with these Pumpkin S'mores Puffs.

I used Pillsbury Reduced Fat Crescent Rolls to make these. I love the crescent rolls, because depending on what you stuff them with, they can be a delicious appetizer, dinner, or dessert. These S'mores Puffs make an excellent fall dessert, or could even be served at brunch.

For this recipe, I stuffed them with pureed pumpkin, cream cheese, cinnamon, chocolate chips, and marshmallows. 

Topping the crescents off with graham cracker crumbs before you bake them to gooey perfection really gives them the S'mores feel.

Once they're done, let them cool - just slightly though - these are definitely most delicious when served warm. If you're preparing them in advance, you can refrigerate them until ready to serve - just pop them in the oven or toaster oven for a few minutes (or the microwave for 15-20 seconds) before serving to make sure the center gets all warm and gooey.



  • 1 package Pillsbury Reduced Fat Crescent rolls
  • 1/3 cup Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 tbsp fat free cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 packet Sweet'N Low (or no-calorie sweetener of your choice)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp chocolate chips (I used Nestle semi-sweet minis)
  • 1/3 cup mini marshmallows
  • 2 tbsp graham cracker crumbs

Serving size: 1 puff (recipe yields 8)
Weight Watchers PointsPlus value: 4


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray a baking sheet with no-calorie spray.
  2. Unroll the crescent dough and separate the triangles. Lay them on the baking sheet.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the pumpkin, cream cheese, sweetener, cinnamon, and chocolate chips. Distribute evenly among the 8 crescent rolls - be sure to spoon the mixture onto the center of the rolls, as this will make folding them easier.
  4. Top the mixture with mini marshmallows (there should be enough to place about 3-5 in each crescent). Once this is done, fold the dough over so that the mixture is sealed inside. If necessary, pinch the dough together lightly at the seams.
  5. Spray the tops of the rolls lightly with no-calorie cooking spray (this will help the graham cracker crumbs stick). Sprinkle the crumbs over the tops of the crescent rolls.
  6. Bake for 9-12 minutes - you'll know they're done when the tops are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

BOO! Brownies

Hello everyone! I know, I know, I haven't been keeping up on my vow to try to post one new recipe a week. I'm sorry! My job has been absolutely crazy and the weekends fill up so fast, especially as the holiday season approaches! (I can't believe I just typed that ... I'm SO not ready for the holiday season yet!) BUT, I'm hoping you forgive me because these brownies are about to rock your world.

These brownies are everything brownies should be. Chocolatey. Chewy. Ooey gooey. Fudgy. Stuffed with leftover chopped up Halloween candy. And an added bonus? They're low calorie.

To eliminate a bunch of the calories and fat associated with brownies, simply swap out the oil and eggs the recipe calls for and use a can of pumpkin instead (pumpkin puree - NOT pumpkin pie filling). If you're not a fan of the pumpkin flavor, don't fear: you can barely taste it once the brownies are baked. Honestly, if you didn't know there was pumpkin puree in here you'd never guess it. The consistency is fudgy and the brownies are delicious.

Then, because it was Halloween and because I grossly overestimated the amount of candy we'd need for trick-or-treaters, I took these brownies to the next level by mixing in chopped up Halloween candy. I used my favorites (and the nutritional stats provided are for the candy I used) but you can use whatever you want.

Pop 'em in the oven and you're good to go!

I promise you, it doesn't get much easier than this!

Until next time!


  • 1 box of brownie mix (I used Betty Crocker Fudge Brownies)
  • 1 15-oz can Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • Leftover Halloween candy (I used three snack size Kit Kat, three fun size Milky Way, and three bite size 3 Musketeers bars)

Serving size: 1/12 of recipe or 1/16 of recipe, depending on how big you cut the brownies
Weight Watchers PointsPlus value: 6 (if making 12 brownies) or 4 (if making 16 brownies)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the brownie mix and canned pumpkin. Set aside.
  3. Chop your chosen candy into small chunks. Add to the brownie mix and stir to combine.
  4. Pour the mix into the pan. Spread evenly. Bake at 350 degrees for 24-26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean.
  5. Let cool slightly, then cut into squares and enjoy!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese

So, I really hope it doesn't bother anyone that the main ingredient in this mac & cheese is, in fact, packaged mac & cheese. I've mentioned before that my goal is for my recipes to be easy, fast, and low-calorie - and I've also mentioned that I'm not a chef - so right now, I'm not in a position to create mac & cheese from scratch. Maybe someday, but for now, packaged mac & cheese it is.

But don't worry, it is GOOD.

I love Pirate's Booty white cheddar popcorn, and when I found out they made mac & cheese I knew I had to try it. The aged white cheddar shells are my favorite, and the white cheddar works really well with the hot sauce in this recipe.

I used poached chicken for this recipe because it's easy to shred. While you're boiling the water for the mac & cheese, put some water in a shallow pan. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and add it to the pan.

While you're preparing the mac & cheese (according to package instructions), flip the chicken every couple of minutes. Let it boil and cook until it's completely cooked through - you'll know it's done when you cut into the middle and it's not pink.

Once the chicken is cooked, use two forks to shred it, then set it aside. Finish preparing the mac & cheese - once the pasta is cooked, you need to drain it, return it to the pan, and then add the butter, milk, and packaged cheese sauce. Stir to combine, and then add the shredded chicken to the pot and stir.

Add the ranch dressing and hot sauce and stir to combine. If you like things really spicy, add 2 tablespoons of hot sauce. If not, only add one. I've made this twice so far, and my husband and I both prefer it with one tablespoon, not 2.

Finally, add the breadcrumbs. I like to pour half the breadcrumbs (1/8 cup) right into the pot and stir it. Then, I divide the mac & cheese into two bowls and sprinkle the remaining 1/8 cup of breadcrumbs over the top.

And that's it! You're done! Perfect weeknight meal for two (or one, and then you have leftovers for lunch).

Until next time!


  • 1 box Pirate's Booty Shells & Cheese Aged White Cheddar, prepared according to package instructions
  • 1/4 cup milk (for mac & cheese)
  • 1/2 tbsp butter (for mac & cheese)
  • One 4-5 oz chicken breast
  • Salt, pepper, and garlic powder, for seasoning
  • 1 tbsp fat free ranch dressing
  • 1-2 tbsp Frank's Red Hot sauce (depending on how hot you like it)
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs

Serving size: 1/2 recipe
Weight Watchers PointsPlus value: 12


  1. Prepare the mac & cheese according to package instructions. You'll need the milk and butter for this.
  2. While the water is boiling, season the chicken. Add some water (about 1") to a shallow pan and bring to a boil. Place the chicken in the water. Flip every 1-2 minutes until the chicken is cooked completely - you can check this by cutting into the center of the chicken and making sure it's not pink.
  3. Once the chicken is cooked, transfer it to a plate or cutting board. Using two forks, shred the chicken. Add the shredded chicken to the finished mac & cheese and stir to combine.
  4. Add the ranch dressing and hot sauce to the pot and stir to combine.
  5. Add half of the breadcrumbs to the pan and stir. Distribute the mac & cheese into two bowls and sprinkle the remaining breadcrumbs over the top. Enjoy!


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Sweet and Cheesy Jalapeno Chicken Wontons

Sometimes you have an idea for a recipe in your head and it just doesn't work out. In your mind, the ingredients complement each other perfectly, but when you actually create it, the flavors don't mesh and you wind up with a mess on a plate. Sometimes recipe ideas just don't work out.

But sometimes they do.

One of my friends recently had a Tastefully Simple party. Have you ever been to one of those? I love their products (the beer bread is to DIE for). Most of their mixes and dips require just one or two additional ingredients (hence the "simple" in the name). Anyway, when I was flipping through the catalog I came across this Sweet Pepper Jalapeno Jam and had to buy it.

I've had sweet pepper jelly before. It's amazing with crackers and cream cheese. And in wontons.

After I bought the jelly, I was brainstorming ways to use it. I knew I wanted to pair it with cream cheese, but wasn't sure what else. Then it came to me. Chicken. And onions. And wanton wrappers. Boom.

This recipe is only a few ingredients, but it does involve a little more preparation than some of the other recipes I've posted. Not much more, though. It's definitely worth it.

I cook the chicken by poaching it. You need to shred it for this recipe, and I find it's easier to shred when it's poached. I didn't add any spices to the chicken, but you can.

Once it's shredded, add it to a bowl. Combine with the onions, jelly, and cream cheese.

Next comes the moderately time-consuming part: stuffing and sealing the wontons. Start by placing a wonton on a clean, dry surface (like a cutting board). Scoop about a 1/2 tbsp onto the center of the wonton - be careful not to scoop too much, or else it will be really tough to seal the wrapper.

Once the filling is on the wonton, fold it in half so it's triangle-shaped, with the filling sealed inside. Moisten your fingers (it helps to keep a small cup of water next to where you're working) and press down on the edges of the wrapper to seal them. You can cook them like this, or press the two bottom corners together to get that wonton shape (and moisten and press to seal) and cook that way.

Spray a baking sheet with no-calorie nonstick spray. Arrange the wontons on the sheet, spray the tops with nonstick spray, and bake at 400 degrees. After 5 minutes, flip the wontons and bake for another 4 minutes.

Enjoy! Serve warm, either plain or with sweet Asian chili sauce.

Until next time!


  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded (about 4.5-5 oz)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion
  • 3 tbsp sweet pepper jelly (I use Tastefully Simple, but you can use any brand)
  • 3 tbsp fat free cream cheese
  • 20 wonton wrappers (I use the ones by Nasoya - check the produce or tofu section at the grocery store)

Serving size: 4 wontons
Weight Watchers PointsPlus value: 3


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the shredded chicken, onion, jelly, and cream cheese.
  3. Lay a wonton wrapper on a clean, dry surface. Scoop 1/2 tbsp of the chicken mixture onto the center of the wrapper (be sure not to overfill, or else it will be difficult to seal). Fold the wrapper in half to seal the filling inside. 
  4. Moisten the tips of your fingers and press the edges of the wrapper to seal. If you want to, you can then press and seal the two bottom corners together to give it a wonton shape (this isn't necessary, though - you can cook it in the triangle shape, too).
  5. Repeat for the remaining wrappers.
  6. Spray a baking sheet with no-calorie nonstick spray. Arrange the wontons on the baking sheet and spray the tops lightly with nonstick spray.
  7. Bake for 5 minutes, then remove from the oven, flip, and bake for an additional 4 minutes.
  8. Serve warm, either plain or with sweet Asian chili sauce.