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Paula Deen Cuts the Fat, 250 Favorite Recipes All Lightened Up, Exclusive: Three-Cheese Ring with Pepper Jelly

By Paula Deen

My favorite condiment to serve with a cheese ring is a sweet and spicy pepper jelly. By using a two-part pectin system for making jelly the sugar-free way, I didn’t have to give up on the pepper jelly. Instead of using sugar to gel, it uses calcium. I tried it here to great success. This pepper jelly is seriously good. If you’re watching your sugar intake, this is a great new way for you to make your homemade jellies.


Cheese Ring

  • 3 ounces low-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup regular or light mayonnaise
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 5 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions (white and light green parts), plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans

Pepper Jelly

  • 1 ½ teaspoons pectin powder (from two-part pectin system such as Pomona’s Universal Pectin)
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped red, yellow, or orange bell peppers
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped jalapeño peppers
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons calcium water (from two-part pectin system such as Pomona’s Universal Pectin), prepared according to package directions


  1. To prepare the cheese ring: In a food processor, pulse together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, cottage cheese, and 3 cups of the Cheddar. Add the scallions, garlic powder, black pepper, and cayenne. Process until smooth and creamy. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and stir in the remaining 2 cups Cheddar and 1⁄2 cup of the pecans.
  2. Grease a 4-cup ring mold lightly with cooking spray and spoon the mixture into the mold. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.
  3. Meanwhile, to make the pepper jelly: In a small bowl, combine the pectin powder with 1⁄2 cup of the sugar and mix well.
  4. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the bell peppers, jalapeño, vinegar, and lemon juice to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Add the prepared calcium water and stir well. Bring the mixture back to a boil, add the pectin-sugar mixture, and stir vigorously until the sugar has fully dissolved. Add the remaining 1 cup sugar, stirring to combine for 1 to 2 minutes. Keep the mixture at a hard boil, without stirring, for 1 minute more.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool to room temperature. Pour the jelly into a jar or bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, until the jelly has set.
  6. Unmold the cheese ring and garnish with the remaining 1⁄2 cup pecans and some scallions. Serve with the pepper jelly.

Makes one 4-cup ring mold/Makes 1 ½ cups pepper jelly


More about Paula Deen Cuts the Fat, 250 Recipes All Lightened Up

Paula Deen has lost over 40 pounds and has maintained her weight loss for over two years by swapping out ingredients to reduce fat and calories. Paula’s key to weight loss is moderation and accountability, and one day a week she still enjoys good old southern cooking with biscuits and all. One does not have to give up taste when reducing calories, and these recipes are a testament to that. Paula shares 250 of her favorite recipes lightened up. This brand-new, New York Times best-selling cookbook presents lightened up versions of fifty of her classic southern recipes and presents new recipes that cut the calories but not the delicious taste.

The New-York Times Best-Selling cookbook, Paula Deen Cuts the Fat, 250 Favorite Recipes All Lightened Up, is now available now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target, and your local bookstores!

Paula Deen - As a young girl growing up in Albany, Georgia, Paula Deen never dreamed she would become an American icon. As a young mother, Paula was living the American dream — married to her high school sweetheart and raising two adorable boys — when tragedy struck. Her parents died, her marriage failed and she began a prolonged battle with agoraphobia. With her boys in their teens and her family near homelessness, Paula took her last $200, reached deep inside her soul and started The Bag Lady, a home-based catering company that marked the start of Deen's professional cooking career. With sons Jamie and Bobby delivering lunch-and-love-in-a-bag, beginning in June 1989, Paula turned her life around by sharing what she knew best, traditional Southern cooking.