Thursday, November 4, 2010

Things Have To Change: Thanksgiving Pretzel Salad

I ran across this recipe while I was in line at the grocery store.

And this recipe is linked to Ingredient Spotlight @ Eat At Home.

You know, the tempting racks of celebrity news: Who's marrying (sleeping with) who, who's pregnant, and who is having plastic surgery....Gossip, gossip, gossip.

If it wasn't for the media our lives would be so boring.

But right in the middle of the gossip was this incredible looking Pillsbury Holiday Cookbook.

You know me and food, forget about all the media hype; I want a good recipe.

Jell-O. Do you remember eating this as a kid?

One of the foods that was used for healing (Jello-O water), fun (finger Jell-O), and just for a dessert (Jell-O with bananas, pears, strawberries, etc...).

My mom used to make a Jello-O dessert that used cherry Jell-O, and I can't remember what kind of fruit, but it had little mountains of sweetened cream cheese dropped in it. I remember trying to get very little Jell-O with my cream cheese mountain (SSHHHH....).

And then my dad had a favorite Jell-O salad that used lime Jell-O with shredded cabbage and carrots in it. Yeah, it may sound yuckie, but actually it was really good. He would spread Miracle Whip on top and enjoy. A very, very refreshing treat in the summertime.

I do know one thing though: Things have definitely got to change around here.

I can hear my treadmill crying through the floor, "Please come walk on me. I am so lonely down here in the basement."

And there is my kitchen that SCREAMS for a face-lift, and at the same time pukes out fattening dishes like; pineapple up-side down cake, cookie dough cheesecake, and Oreo ripple coffee cake.

So I am being pulled in two different directions. Healthy exercise, and I am going to punish you kitchen.

UGH!! Which way do I go??

And then I have this little guy who is so concerned about what and how much I eat, that he is willing to try and help cut my calories (he told me so). He begs, "The less you eat, the less calories you have to worry about. Let me help you. Give me some of your food."

Now how can anyone resist a face like that?

His name is Harley, but highly resembles Scooby Doo.

The Pillsbury cookbook that I picked up was very user friendly.

The recipes were all tear-out cards. How convenient. Tear them out and place them directly into your recipe box.

This salad looked so inviting, and every ingredient can be changed to sugar-free, low-fat, or low-cal. Easy as pie....

The pretzel crust that was placed in this recipe finally gave me the opportunity to get that huge tub of pretzels off my kitchen counter.

Thank God it is gone....

For the pretzel crust:

2 1/2 c. pretzel sticks (I measured 2 1/2 c. crushed pretzels)
3 TBS packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2/3 c. unsalted butter, melted (I used regular butter)

I had to get a picture of this. I think it is so cool to be able to see the layers in a pan or dish.

Just one of those things that makes me tingle.

Thanksgiving Pretzel Salad

2 c. boiling water
2 pkgs (4 servings) cranberry gelatin
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 c. cold water
1 can (11 oz.) mandarin orange segments, drained, juice reserved
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 c. granulated sugar
1 container (8 oz) whipped topping, thawed

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 13x9 inch glass baking dish with cooking spray.
Place pretzels in resealable food-storage plastic bag; smash with rolling pin or flat side of meat mallet until crushed. In medium bowl, mix crushed pretzels, brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Stir in butter. Press mixture onto bottom of baking dish. Bake 9-11 minutes or until set. Cool on colling rack.
Meanwhile, in large heatproof bowl, pour boiling water on gelatin; stir until gelatin is dissolved. Add enough cold water to reserved juice to equal 2 cups; stir into gelatin. Refrigerate until partially set, about 1-2 hours.
In medium bowl, beat cream cheese and granulated sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Fold in whipped topping. Spread mixture evenly over cooled pretzel crust.
Finely shop mandarin orange segments (I left mine whole); gently stir into partially set gelatin. Carefully pour over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Cut into squares.

Calories per serving without ingredient adjustment is 300 calories.
Just imagine how much lower it could be if you changed your ingredients to low-fat, sugar-free, and low calorie.


Good Luck~Happy Eating~Enjoy

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