Monday, July 16, 2012

Pineapple Cheesecake Apple Salad (Dessert)

I'm not really sure if this delicious dish qualifies as a salad or dessert!  I suppose it might depend on at what point of the meal you enjoy eating it. If you take a few bites of this sweet, tart dish between bites of your savory main dish, I suppose it's a salad. If you save all the bites of crunchy apple wrapped in cheesecake flavored fluff, it's more like a dessert. Any time you decide to dig in, it's delicious.

I first had this dish at a family potluck at the lake several summers ago. I took a bite expecting something like a waldorf salad.  My taste buds detected the crunchy, tart apple pieces and the sweetness of the pineapple, but it took a few more bites to put my tongue on just what made this dish so incredibly dessert-like. The secret ingredient? Cheesecake flavored pudding mix. The best part? This pudding flavor from Jell-o comes only in a sugar free, fat free version. Mixed with fruit and some fat free (or low fat cool whip) and you've got a low calorie dish that can easily replace many of the fat laden dishes that often appear on potluck tables around the country.

I have taken this dish to many gatherings over the years and it always disappears quickly. I decided to make a batch today because I thought the sweet tartness would be a good ending to our pork carnitas dinner. Tonight we'll enjoy it as "dessert".  We're still recovering from the extra calories we consumed while on vacation a week ago so any low calorie treats I can fit on the menu are welcomed.

This dish is one that is relatively inexpensive to put together if you're in need of a dish to bring to a potluck gathering. I picked up cans of pineapple for 50 cents a can using store specials and coupons. The pudding is a little trickier to find. I usually can find it at Walmart for under $1, but I have not had as much luck finding this particular flavor at local Kroger or Meijer. I almost always have a container of $1 Cool Whip on hand in my freezer. I've made it with both fat free and low fat; I can't tell a huge difference in the end result. I picked up a couple of Granny Smith apples on my last grocery trip for around $1.

Here's the recipe:

Pineapple Cheesecake Apple Salad
1 can crushed pineapple
1 pkg cheesecake flavored pudding mix
2 large Granny Smith apples, chopped
1 container Fat Free or Low Fat Whipped Topping

1. Place crushed pineapple (and juice) into a large mixing bowl.
2. Add pudding mix and stir to combine.
3. Add chopped apples and mix.
4. Fold in whipped topping.
5. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. (actually tastes better the next day!)

Pineapple Cheesecake Apple Salad
Tart, crunchy apples, sweet pineapple held together by cheesecake fluff. . .YUMMY!

What's your favorite recipe that can be placed into two categories?

Weekly Menu Plan July 16-22

Wait a minute! How did it get to be the middle of July already? Didn't the kids just get out of school? Didn't summer just start?

Our days have been full and blessed and seem to have been flying by! We thoroughly enjoyed our weeks of VBS ministry in June, gathered with family for vacation at the start of July, and have been getting back into the groove of summer with sleeping in, visits to the pool, and having friends over this past week. The 4H fair is this week, and my oldest will be participating in a few events at the fair.

It's a good thing I've kept up with my monthly and weekly meal plan to help keep food on our table this summer! As I've mentioned before, meal planning is a bit different in the summer. I find myself planning more simple meals, sandwiches or grilled items, because it seems to better fit our schedule and tastes.  I've been trying to make better use of the crock pot this summer so that dinner can be ready when we come home from our afternoon summer adventures. Also, I don't always have our vegetables and fruits planned out, but we eat a lot of them in the summertime. We've been stopping at various farm markets and just picking up whatever looks good.   We had some super sweet corn this past weekend, so I definitely want to enjoy that again this week some night.

I'm also finding the need to better plan out our lunches and snacks or I find myself staring at the pantry at noon saying, "Looks like it's peanut butter, peanut butter and jelly, or peanut butter and honey today, kiddos!" While they don't mind a PB sandwich a few times a week, they get bored (as do I) with the same thing day after day. So, I've started planning out what we can have for lunch, sort of like I do for breakfast. I have a list of options and we sort of just pick from that.


So, here's what's cookin at our house this week:

MONDAY - Pork Carnitas, Rice and beans, avocado salad, pineapple cheesecake apple salad
TUESDAY - Pizza, Salad (treat at the fair after judging)
WEDNESDAY - Teriyaki Turkey Burgers on Hawaiian Sweet Buns (saw this in a magazine and plan to tweak it a bit for our tastes), Sweet Potato Fries, Blueberry Cobbler
THURSDAY - Sweet and Sour Chicken, Rice, Sesame Green Beans
FRIDAY - Grilled Italian Sausage, Pasta with sauteed zucchini, yellow squash, and garlic, watermelon
SATURDAY - Jazz and Rib Fest
SUNDAY - Grilled fish, Rice Pilaf (some sort of salad or veggies from Farmers Mkt)

Cereal, cinnamon swirl toast
Sausage links, chocolate chip pancakes
yogurt, pumpkin muffins
Sausage, egg, cheese burritos
Banana and peanut butter burritos

Peanut butter sandwiches, grilled cheese sandwiches
Leftover pizza
Turkey Hot Dogs
Black Bean Nachos
Sloppy Joes

Granola Bars
Snack Mix (Honey Kix, pretzels, nuts, M&Ms, raisins, Bugles, marshmallow bits)
Pretzels/Cheese Crackers
Crackers with spreadable cheese

What's on your table this week? Do you always follow your summer menu plan?

Need some inspiration? Check out what's on the tables of families around the country this week over at Menu Plan Monday at