Marcella loves to experiment with new recipes almost as much as I do, so you can just imagine the fun we have when we do get together. It’s not unusual for us to stay up past midnight just looking through her large collection of cookbooks.
Recently, she sent me a recipe called Strawberry Cheesecake Salad. Just the title made me smack my lips. What’s better than the flavors of strawberries and cheesecake?
This is one of those stir-and-serve salads that’s really more of a dessert than a salad. After mixing together the first three ingredients, I tasted it and I could have stopped right there. It was wonderful. Of course, I must admit it was a little better after adding the fresh strawberries and bananas.
When Marcella sends me a recipe she’ll usually say, “I just wanted to see what you might do with this one.” She knows I will probably change it a little.
This particular recipe called for miniature marshmallows but I didn’t have any on hand so I started looking through the kitchen pantry to see what I could use instead. I found some glazed walnuts and added them. Great choice. Even though these walnuts are sweet, they added a slightly salty taste to the mixture and gave it a crunch, which I liked.
This is such a versatile recipe. You can try a different flavor of pudding or yogurt. I made one version with piña colada-flavored yogurt. I added some drained crushed pineapple, frozen coconut and roasted macadamia nuts then dipped small scoops into miniature filo cups.
A few days ago, Marcella sent me a recipe (if you can call it that — it only calls for two ingredients) that I can hardly wait to experiment with called Ice Cream Bread. You just stir together two cups of any flavor ice cream with one and a half cups of self-rising flour and bake it in a loaf pan. I can just imagine breads of all flavors lining my counter top. I wish she were here right now — we would certainly get to work on it.
The following is my version of Strawberry Cheesecake Salad. Since I enjoy it as a dessert, I replaced the word “Salad” with “Delight.”
STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE DELIGHT
1 box cheesecake instant pudding mix
Two 6-ounce Yoplait strawberry yogurt (NOT low-fat or fat-free)
8 ounces Cool Whip
Bananas (as many as you want), sliced
Strawberries (as many as you want), sliced
½ cup chopped glazed walnuts (or more if desired)
Combine cheesecake pudding mix with yogurt and Cool Whip. Whisk until blended. Refrigerate until time to serve. Just before serving, stir in sliced bananas, strawberries and glazed walnuts. Mix well. Serve immediately.
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