Frozen Treats A Treasure For This Summer's Dining

IN THE KITCHEN

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One of my favorite parts of summer: the cool, refreshing frozen or chilled desserts that can be concocted.

Years ago, when my family was in Ganado (on the Navajo Reservation), there was a wave of a frozen dessert with strawberries that washed over the apartment complex where we were living.

I don't know what it was called, but I have searched in vain for the recipe for years.

In addition to the strawberries, it had a crushed graham cracker base and loads of something sweet and creamy, but I don't think it was whipped topping or cream cheese -- but I could be wrong.

Anyway, in the search for that elusive recipe, I have come across some interesting dishes to chill a hot night. Kraft Foods products are, more often than not, at their heart.

As if to prove my point, the most recent edition of the company's free publication "Food & Family" has some fabulous frozen dessert recipes.

Oreo and Fudge Ice Cream Cake

1/2 cup fudge ice cream topping, warmed

1, 8-ounce tub Cool Whip, thawed and divided

1, 4-serving size package Jell-O Chocolate Flavor Instant Pudding & Pie Filling

8 Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

12 vanilla ice cream sandwiches

Pour the fudge topping into a medium bowl. Stir in 1 cup of the whipped topping with a wire whisk until it's well-blended. Add the dry pudding mix stir until well blended, approximately 2 minutes. If the consistency is too thick to spread, stir in 1/4 cup of milk.

Roughly chop cookies into chunks and stir into pudding mix.

Using a 24-inch-by-12-inch piece of foil, arrange 4 of the ice cream sandwiches side-by-side and top with half the pudding mixture, repeat. There will be no pudding mix on the top layer.

Use the remaining whipped topping to "frost" the top and sides.

Pull the foil up around the cake, closing in tent-fashion and freeze for about four hours before serving. Let stand at room temperature a few minutes before serving. Store any leftovers in the freezer.

Fruit Smoothie No-Bake Cheesecake

1-1/2 cups Honey Maid Graham Cracker Crumbs

1/4 cup butter, melted (1/2 a stick)

2 tablespoons sugar

4, 8-ounce packages Philadelphia Neufchatel Cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1, 12 ounce package frozen mixed berries, thawed and drained

1, 8-ounce tub Cool Whip, thawed and divided

Line a 13-inch-by-9-inch baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of the pan.

Combine cracker crumbs, melted butter and 2 tablespoons sugar and press into bottom of pan. Refrigerate.

Beat softened cheese and remaining sugar until well-blended. Smash berries with fork and stir into cheese mixture. Gently fold in 2 cups of the whipped topping. Spread all over crust and cover.

Refrigerate until firm, about four hours and serve with remaining whipped topping.

Using fresh, mixed berries, you will need three cups berries and 3/4 cup of sugar.

Frosty Orange Dream Squares

40 Nilla Wafers, crushed fine to make about 1-1/2 cups

1/4 cup butter, melted

2 cups cold milk

2, 4-ounce packages Jell-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding & Pie Filling

1, 8-ounce tub Cool Whip, thawed and divided

2 cups orange sherbet, softened

Line a 13-inch-by-9-inch baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of the pan.

Combine cracker crumbs, melted butter and 2 tablespoons sugar and press into bottom of pan. Set aside

Add milk to dry pudding mix and beat with whisk for 2 minutes or until well blended. Gently stir in half of Cool Whip. Spoon mixture over crust and refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Combine remaining Cool Whip with sherbet until well blended, and then spoon over pudding mix.

Freeze at least 3 hours or overnight before serving. Put any leftovers back in the freezer.

Cookies and Cream Freeze

4 squares Baker's Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate

14 Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

1, 8-ounce package Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened

1/4 cup of sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 8-ounce tub Cool Whip, thawed

Melt baking chocolate per package directions, set aside.

Line loaf pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan

Arrange 8 of the cookies evenly on the bottom of the pan, then crumble remaining cookies and set aside

Combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until well blended and then stir in whipped topping.

Put about 1-1/2 cups cream cheese mixture in a bowl and combine with melted chocolate.

Cover cookies in pan with remaining cream cheese mixture, then sprinkle crumbled cookies on top and gently press into cream cheese mixture. Top with chocolate mix.

Cover loosely with foil and freeze for at least 3 hours.

Frozen Chocolate "Souffl├ęs"

3 cups milk

1, 8-serving package, or 2, 4-serving packages Jell-O Chocolate Flavor Instant Pudding & Pie Filling

2 cups Cool Whip, thawed

16 Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookies, chopped (about 2 cups)

8 maraschino cherries

Combine milk and pudding mix, add whipped topping.

Using eight 8- to 9-ounce paper cups, put two tablespoons chopped cookies in bottom of each. Cover evenly with half the pudding mix, top with more chopped cookies and then remainder of pudding mix.

Cover with foil and freeze at least 5 hours or until firm.

Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving and let stand at room temperature to soften slightly. Peel away paper and serve on chilled dessert plates, topping each with a cherry.

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