Sometimes something light and refreshing is just what I need. I have come to love an old classic again. Gelatin salads, or fluffs (that have whipped cream), were very popular when I was young but have seemed to lose popularity over the years. The title of salad is a loose one. A gelatin salad generally has some fruit, but gelatin is definitely the star. They are one of the easiest ways to have a summer (or anytime) dessert without the oven. This recipe is a fluff, which I prefer. It is just the perfect little treat at the end of the day.
I have tried lots of variations of lots of recipes during these hot summer months, and this one is definitely my family’s favorite. My father-in-law even said he was hoping I’d have some when we came over for dinner one night…that’s a win in my book!! We all love this gelatin fluff (or salad if it makes you feel better). Call it what you want, but I know you will love it too. ~Kathy
1 large package (4.6 oz.) Cook and Serve Vanilla Pudding
1 large package (6 oz.) Cherry Jell-O
2 ½ c. water
12 oz. Cool Whip, thawed
2 heaping c. strawberries, stems removed and sliced
2 c. mini marshmallows
In a sauce pan, combine dry pudding mix, Jell-O powder, and water over medium heat until it comes to a boil, stirring to ensure all the powder is dissolved and well combined.
Remove from heat and pour carefully into a large mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to cool slightly.
Refrigerate until it has thickened (about 4 to 6 hours, but overnight is fine).
Once it has thickened, using a hand mixer beat until smooth and creamy.
Fold in Cool Whip (one and a half 8 oz. containers). This may take a couple of minutes to get well incorporated.
Let me tell you a little story about how we stole a cheesecake from my sister. It was totally by accident, I swear. It was the day before Christmas Eve that we drove to my sister Tracy’s house for our side of the family’s Christmas celebration. Tracy lives about two and half hours from us so we’re talking about a fairly significant road trip here. When we got there, we put the food items we brought in their spare fridge in their garage. Fun was had, gifts were opened, food was eaten and then returned to the garage fridge until time to go home.
Fast forward to time to load the car. My husband grabbed our food from the garage fridge before heading home. We arrived home very late so we left the food in the car, since it was plenty cold outside. The next morning, we realized we had an extra cake carrier, containing a creamy, dreamy pumpkin cheesecake that was meant for Tracy’s in-laws Christmas that day. Oops! Luckily, Tracy found it hilarious that we accidentally stole her cheesecake… after the initial shock wore off.
My poor husband felt so bad that he offered to drive it all the way to their house. Tracy insisted it was not necessary but my nephew was not so easily consoled. He was looking forward to that cheesecake. (Can’t say I blame him…it was beyond delicious. I tried really hard to feel guilty as I ate it). As consolation, I offered to make him any cheesecake flavor he wanted for his upcoming birthday. That’s where this Lemon Cheesecake comes into play. This was the birthday cheesecake he chose.
His birthday was a month ago and I’ve made it again since then, plus I plan to make it for Easter as well. It’s the kind of dessert that’s both rich and refreshing at the same time…it leaves you wanting more! The crust is buttery, the filling is creamy, and the topping is an extra punch of sweet, tart lemon. Worth every bit of effort to make all three components. It’s sure to impress everyone who tastes it! In fact, I am impressed every time I make it, if I do say so myself. It’s hard to be humble. ~Erin
Lemon Curd Topping Ingredients:
The zest of 4-5 lemons
1 ½ c. sugar
¼ lb. (1 stick) real butter, room temperature
4 large eggs
½ c. fresh lemon juice
A scant 1/8 tsp. salt (a generous pinch)
3 c. finely crushed graham crackers (I crush them in a gallon baggie with a rolling pin.)
½ c. sugar
1 1/3 sticks of real butter, melted
24 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 ¼ c. sugar
3 eggs, room temperature*
The zest of 5 lemons (avoid the white pith)
¼ c. fresh lemon juice
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
Instructions for Lemon Curd Topping:
In a medium sauce pan, combine the lemon zest with the sugar.
Cream the butter into the sugar/zest mixture.
Add the eggs, one at a time, until fully combined; then stir in the lemon juice and salt until combined.
Cook over low/medium heat until thickened (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly, or until it coats the back of a spoon. It may simmer slightly but don’t let it come to a boil.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool; transfer to the refrigerator to cool for at least 4 hours.
Run through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth if bits of egg are present in the curd.
Instructions for Crust:
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a large baggie, crush graham crackers a few at a time (I use a rolling pin to crush them) until you have approximately 3 cups.
Add to a medium bowl and stir in the sugar until well combined.
Stir in the melted butter until crumbs are well-coated.
Press graham crackers into the bottom and up the sides of a nine-inch spring form pan.
Bake for around 15 minutes.
Removed from the oven and set aside to cool.
Instructions for Filling:
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer.
Add eggs, one at a time, thoroughly incorporating each one before adding the next.
Stir in lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla and combine thoroughly.
Add the filling to the crust and bake in the preheated oven for 50-55 minutes.
Remove from the oven an allow to cool for 30 minutes at room temp. Transfer to the fridge to cool for at least 4 hours. Removed the sides of the spring form pan and spread on the lemon curd topping before slicing and serving.
At my house, it’s definitely not close to being spring. I absolutely love the intermountain west, but this has been a LOOOONG winter. There is NO sign of green grass here. Seriously, we are still completely covered in snow!!! I start to crave warmer days and “summer food”. So until the snow is gone, these Coconut Lime bars are helping fill my need for warmth. Travel through food when necessary, I say! You can eat these bars as soon as they are done, but I highly recommend letting them chill several hours before devouring! ~Kathy
Ingredients for Bars:
1 stick butter, softened (8 oz)
1 1/3 c. light brown sugar, packed
½ tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. lime zest
2 1/8 c. flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
3/4 c. coconut toasted
3 oz. white baking chocolate, finely chopped
Ingredients for Frosting:
1 pkg. cream cheese, softened (8 oz)
¾ c. powdered sugar
2 tsp. fresh squeezed lime juice
1 tsp. lime zest
4 oz. white baking chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
½ c. toasted coconut
Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish.
Start by making sure butter is extremely soft, just shy of melting. Mix together softened butter and brown sugar in a large bowl. Add in eggs, one at a time. Stir in vanilla and lime zest.
In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt. Add to butter mixture and mix, just until combined. Gently fold in coconut and white chocolate.
Spread the batter into prepared pan. Bake for 19-23 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
For the frosting, beat the softened cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add in powdered sugar and lime juice. Mix in zest and cooled melted white chocolate, combine well. Spread over cooled bars and top with toasted coconut. Chill 4 hours or overnight before serving.
My sisters and I have a love for all things cranberry. I even love the cranberry ‘sauce’ that you must carefully remove from its can so that it retains that perfect can shape. With the holiday season about to be in full swing, I’m already planning which family get-together (or rare weekend at home) can be an excuse to make one of my favorites. This Christmas Cranberry Cobbler is the perfect combination of tart cranberries and a sweet cobbler topping. It’s great by itself or topped with a couple of scoops of your favorite vanilla ice cream. I’ve even been known to eat it for breakfast….cranberries are fruit, after all. ~Tracy
2 12 oz. bags of fresh cranberries
½ c. + 2 T. granulated sugar
½ c. packed brown sugar
zest from 2 med. oranges
juice from 2 med. Oranges
2 tsp. Corn starch
Ingredients for topping:
1 ½ c. all-purpose flour
⅓ c. brown sugar
⅓ c. granulated sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 ½ tsp. Baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 stick butter
⅓ c. boiling water
Ingredients for sprinkle on top:
¼ tsp. Cinnamon
1 T. granulated sugar
Rinse cranberries and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Add orange zest and juice to cranberries. Stir in sugar, brown sugar, and cornstarch and combine the entire mixture. Set cranberries aside.
In a separate medium mixing bowl for topping, combine flour, cinnamon, both sugars, salt, and baking soda.
Chop the butter into small pieces and use a pastry cutter to combine it with the flour mixture until all is crumbly.
Add boiling water and mix with the flour mixture until forms a thick doughish batter.
Spoon the cranberries in a 9×13 casserole dish that you have sprayed with cooking spray. Be sure to transfer all of the juices.
Dollop spoonsful of the batter over the top of the cranberries covering the top.
Combine the ¼ tsp. of cinnamon and the tablespoon of sugar and sprinkle evenly over the top of the batter.
Bake in a preheated oven at 375 for approximately 40 minutes.
Allow to stand and thicken for approx. 15 minutes before serving.
Our mom makes this at many holiday meals. If you are from the South (or the Midwest, as we are) this is considered a side dish. Let’s be honest though, it’s a dessert that’s socially acceptable to eat along with your meal. What’s not to like about that?! Whether you choose to enjoy this as a side or as a dessert, you’ll find no judgement here. It contains fruit, so it makes sense it could be either one, right?! Right. ~Erin
1 (6 oz.) container plain non-fat Greek yogurt
1 (20 oz.) can pineapple tidbits packed in juice, drained
1 (23.5 oz.) jar mandarin slices, packed in juice, drained
8 T. unsweetened coconut flakes
2 ounces (1/4 of a regular sized container) of Fat Free Cool Whip
1 ½ c. mini marshmallows
Mix Greek yogurt with pineapple tidbits.
Gently stir in mandarin oranges, coconut, Cool Whip and mini marshmallows.
Tip: If not serving immediately, set aside marshmallows and stir in just before serving.
WW Freestyle Info.: This recipe makes 7 half cup servings. Each serving is 4 points.
I started making these little roasted apple bites years ago because, at the time, I didn’t like the texture of a raw apple. Yes, I have weird texture issues. I’ve learned to like apples in all forms now but I still love them best cooked… preferably in a pie, let’s be honest. If I don’t have a good excuse to make a pie though, these are the next best thing. These can be done in the oven or the air fryer (my favorite is this Go Wise Air Fryer available here*). I use the air fryer more often than not because it cuts down the cooking time and they come out perfect. Plus, it’s summer and I only turn on my oven if absolutely necessary. Regardless of how you choose to cook them, I hope you try this simple recipe. And by “simple,” I mean REALLY simple. I hesitated posting the recipe because it is, in fact, so simple. It’s literally 2 ingredients (3 if you count the cooking spray you spray the pan or basket with) but so many friends have requested the recipe, I decided it needs shared with the world. These make a great topping for ice cream or yogurt (shown here) or just a great snack by themselves! Enjoy! ~Erin
4 to 6 sweet/tart apples (My favorite variety is Pink Lady but Jazz or Honey Crisp work well too.), peeled, cored, and chopped into bite-sized pieces
¼ to ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
Nonstick cooking spray
Instructions for conventional oven:
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Spray a large sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Spread the chopped apples in one even layer.
Spray them lightly with cooking spray, then sprinkle with cinnamon. Start with ¼ tsp. of cinnamon and add more if needed. (4 apples will probably only need ¼ tsp. but 6 apples or more will obviously require more cinnamon.)
Toss to coat evenly.
Bake 40-45 minutes, stirring occasionally until the edges begin to brown.
Remove from the pan and immediately store in a container with a lid. This will help them keep their moisture.
Instructions for air fryer:
Spray the fryer basket with cooking spray.
Place the chopped apples in the basket and sprinkle them with the cinnamon; toss to coat.
Cook at 400°F for 12-14 minutes or until edges begin to brown, pulling the basket out and tossing/stirring the apples every 5 minutes or so. This will help them brown evenly.
Immediately store them in a container with a lid. This will help them keep their moisture.
WW Freestyle Info.: This recipe makes 4 to 6 servings at ZERO points each.
*This post contains affiliate links. We earn a small commission on purchases made via these links.
I’ve seen recipes floating around for Huli Huli chicken. I was intrigued by the name as much as anything else. Huli Huli Chicken is a traditional Hawaiian dish, generally grilled over mesquite wood or charcoal, basted with a slightly sweet sauce. The whole chicken is cooked on a spit over the grill. Huli means turn, so the rotating spit is where the dish got its name.
Instead of a whole chicken (who has time to cook one of those!?) I used thighs, but boneless, skinless chicken breasts (pounded out to an even thickness) would be a great substitution.
Marinating, then basting while grilling the chicken and pineapple, provides great flavor that can’t be found elsewhere! Now obviously I’m no Hawaiian food expert, but this recipe seems to have come straight from the islands! ~Kathy
1 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and sliced into 6 to 8 wedges
In a large freezer ziptop bag, mix marinade (everything except chicken and pineapple); mix well.
Reserve a ½ cup of marinade for basting; set aside.
Place chicken thighs in bag and place in refrigerator for 3 hours.
Grill chicken over medium heat, until internal temperature is 165˚F and no longer pink; baste both sides with reserved marinade while grilling. (Be sure not to contaminate marinade with raw chicken.)
Cut pineapple in strips for grilling.
Brush with marinade and grill over medium high heat for a few minutes per side.
Can also be cooked in oven at 375˚F.
Serve chicken with pineapple.
*Chili sauce is found in the condiment isle, near the ketchup.
WW Freestyle Info.: This recipe makes 4 generous servings of marinated chicken thighs. Each serving is 6 points. If use boneless, skinless chicken breast in place of thighs, each serving is only 1 point (for the marinade).
In case you haven’t noticed, choosing your birthday cake is a big deal in our family. It often takes weeks of contemplation and meditation to make the choice. My husband has a tendency to lean toward the fruit flavors, so his latest birthday cake request was this lemon beauty. Generous amounts of lemon and big blueberries can almost make you think you’re eating something healthy. ~Tracy
1 c. soft butter
1 ¼ c. sugar
½ c. brown sugar
4 eggs at room temperature
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 c. buttermilk
Zest and juice from 3 lemons
3 c. sifted all-purpose flour
1 T. baking powder
1 small package (3.4 oz.) Vanilla Jell-O Instant Pudding
½ tsp. salt
2 c. blueberries
1 T. flour
12 oz. cream cheese
½ c. softened butter
3 ½ c. powdered sugar to start; you may need to add more as you mix
1 tsp. vanilla
Zest and juice from 2 lemons
In large mixing bowl or bowl of your electric stand mixer, beat butter until creamy. Add in sugar and brown sugar and cream well together.
Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, mixing slightly after each. When all eggs are incorporated, beat on medium-high speed for 2 minutes.
Add buttermilk, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Mix well.
Add dry ingredients (pudding, flour, salt, baking powder) and mix just until incorporated.
Toss the blueberries in the 1T. of flour. Gently fold into batter.
Pour batter equally into 3 prepared* cake pans. You can use 2 pans if you prefer, but you will need to adjust the cooking time.
Bake at 350ºF for approximately 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow each cake to cool for 10 minutes, then remove / turn them out of the pan.
Cool cakes completely before attempting to frost. Cakes are easier to frost of you allow them to sit in a freezer for a few hours after removing them from their baking pan.
*For this cake, I use 3 9” round cake pans. I recommend lining the bottom of each pan with a circle of parchment paper. Spray the top of the parchment and the sides of the pan with a flour baking spray to ensure easy removal from the pan.
For the frosting, cream together cream cheese with butter.
Gradually add powdered sugar and salt and cream together with cream cheese mixture.
Add zest and juice from 2 large lemons and 1 tsp. of vanilla. Mix on medium speed. You may need to add a little more powdered sugar to achieve the right frosting consistency. Making homemade frosting is not an exact science. If you accidentally feel like you’ve gotten your frosting too thick, add 1 T. of milk to thin.
Instructions for Layering Cake with Frosting:
Be sure cakes are completely cooled.
Stack layers of cake with your preferred amount of frosting between each layer. Use remaining frosting to cover top and sides of cake.
I’m a huge fan of fruit salad, but so many have a ton of added ingredients that crank up the calories. Sometimes simple is best, and the kick of lime makes this beautiful dish a refreshing sweet/tart treat fit for any meal, whether served at your table or, better yet, a picnic blanket. ~Robin
12 oz. strawberries, chopped (this was a whole 16 oz. package weighed after I removed stems and chopped them)
10 oz. pineapple, chopped (about half a pineapple)
1 Granny Smith apple, chopped (Granny Smith is the only apple tart enough, and there’s a nice crispness that works well for varied texture here too.)
5 oz. seedless black grapes (about 25 grapes), halved
1/8 c. sugar
3 limes’ juice (about 6 T.)
Wash and chop all fruit; combine.
Add sugar, then add the juice of 2 limes, stir well, and taste. Then add a 3rd lime’s juice if you like it more tart.
Chill at least 30 minutes for the sweet and tart flavors to mix well.
Can be chilled overnight as well if you want to make it ahead.
WW Freestyle Info.: 1 cup = 1 point; 1.5 cups = 2 points; 2 cups = 3 points (for green, purple, and blue plans)
These little apple pies are wonderfully portable and perfectly portion controlled. Just a few ingredients required! My kids like to take these in their lunches and, actually, so do I. For extra decadence, drizzle your pie with a tiny bit of caramel ice cream topping! ~Erin
1 (14.1 oz.) refrigerated pie crust (I use Pillsbury.)
6 sweet apples, peeled & diced (I use Pink Lady but Honeycrisp or Jazz would be good too.)
1 tsp. cinnamon
4 T. apple butter (Musselman’s is the best.)
Sprinkle the apples with cinnamon and bake for 20 minutes, or until apples start to get tender.
Remove the apples from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 425°F.
Transfer the apples to a medium sized bowl & stir in the apple butter; set aside.
Unroll one pie crust and, using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut the crust into 8 even slices like you would cut a pizza.
Place each dough slice into the muffin tin and fill them with the apple mixture.
Fold the ends of the dough over the top of the apples and spritz each mini pie with a few sprays of butter. (Or dot with real butter if you aren’t counting Weight Watchers points!)
Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until crust is lightly browned.