Cook's Corner: Salad or dessert, you decide

Published 3:26 pm Wednesday, April 25, 2007

By By Lisa Tindell – news writer
I hope that you got some use from the sugar-free dissert recipes I shared with you last week.
I am happy to help those folks who call asking for specific types of recipes. I realize that more and more people are developing health problems and must limit, or even completely cut out, the use of sugar in their diets.
I'm not sure about artificial sweeteners. For some reason, if I go to a restaurant and they offer only un-sweetened tea, then I usually just squeeze a lemon in it and I'm done - and I'll make a mental note not to go to that restaurant again.
I have, however, decided to cut back on my sugar intake these days. The desserts I shared with you last week are ones that sounded pretty interesting.
If you aren't one of those people that need to limit your sugar, then this week's column is filled with things I'm sure you'll love. I have found some good recipes that will put a smile on a lot of faces when you serve the dishes. I have even found some that travel pretty well if you've got a covered-dish luncheon or family reunion to go to.
This first recipe may sound a little strange. As a matter of fact, I have a couple of recipes here that sound strange. When I mentioned buttermilk and dessert in the same sentence, Lydia seemed a little confused. Then I told her about strawberries and pretzels together. Boy, she was really confused. Both of these dishes I have had in the past and have enjoyed them immensely. They do travel pretty well if you don't have a long way to go. These recipes have salad in their names which would indicate they are served at the beginning of the meal. That's fine if you want to do that, but I like to save a little room and have them for dessert. Either way, they are both good at any time of the meal, day or night.
Strawberry and Preztel Salad
Three-fourths cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 and one-half cups crushed pretzels
1 (6 ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin
2 cups boiling water
3 cups strawberries, chilled
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 cup white sugar
1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter or margarine with the brown sugar. Mix in the pretzels and pat mixture into the bottom of one 9×13 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water and stir in the strawberries. Chill until partially thickened. In a small bowl beat the cream cheese and white sugar together until smooth. Fold in the whipped cream. Spread mixture over the top of the cooled crust, making sure to seal the edges. Chill then pour the gelatin mixture over the cream cheese layer. Chill until firm.
This is a pretty dish as well as being tasty.
This next recipe is one that I have eaten many, many times. Thanks to my friend Connie, there is rarely a church social or luncheon that we don't get to enjoy this wonderful dish. You can bet this is one that I make sure I get a helping of at the beginning of the meal. And if the stars are aligned and there should happen to be any left when I've finished my fried chicken, I'll get another helping.
At any rate, this dish also travels fairly well if you're not going a long distance..
Buttermilk Salad
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, with juice
1 (6 ounce) package apricot or peach flavored gelatin mix
2 cups buttermilk
1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
Place the pineapple in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Stir in the gelatin mix until completely dissolved. Remove to a bowl, and chill until partially set, about 1 hour. Stir in buttermilk, and chill again until thickened. Fold in whipped topping, and refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours.
This next dessert sounds a like a little fun. The kids would probably even like this one.
Sea Foam Salad
2 (15 ounce) cans pear halves
1 (3 ounce) package lime flavored gelatin mix
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons milk
1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
In a small saucepan, heat 1 cup reserved pear juice to boiling. Pour over lime gelatin in a small bowl; stir until dissolved. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with milk until smooth. Blend in gelatin mixture. Chill in the refrigerator until partially thickened, about 20 to 30 minutes. In a small bowl, mash pears until smooth. Fold pears and whipped topping into gelatin mixture. Pour into a mold. Chill until set, about 2 to 3 hours. Dip mold in warm water for approximately 5 seconds. Invert onto a serving plate.
I hope that you'll enjoy these recipes. I'll let you decide if they are salads or desserts. I certainly think they could serve as either one. If you make them, I'm sure you'll agree.
If you have an idea or if you're looking for a particular recipe, let me know. I'd love to help you out by sharing your idea or finding what you're looking for. Drop me a line at or give me a call at 867-4876.
Until next week, Happy Cooking.

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