I implemented a cholesterol-cutting weight loss regimen recently. I never craved sweets so much as I have since I’ve sworn off them. Here are easy, low calorie summer beat-the-heat recipes. Whip one up tonight and be sure to save room for dessert. If calories are no object, skip the low fat, low sugar varieties and go for the good stuff.
Albert’s Tropical Dream Pie– I named this after my husband because he loves cream pies more than any dessert in the world. He can never decide between banana, pineapple or coconut, so I figured, why not do all three? Nobody wants to bake in the heat, so start with ready-made graham cracker crust. In a large mixing bowl, combine one can crushed or tidbit pineapple, one eight-ounce container of whipped topping, one box instant pudding (banana, coconut pistachio or vanilla), one cup flaked coconut and one sliced banana.Blend all ingredients and fill pie crust. Top with banana slices immediately before serving.
To reduce calories and sugar and add protein, substitute yogurt for pudding. You can also use half of the pudding and replace pudding with yogurt. You will have extra pie filling; place it in a casserole dish or make a second pie and give it to an elderly neighbor.
Quick fruit-in-season Cheesecake- In a bowl, dissolve one box reduced-sugar lemon gelatin in a cup of hot water. Blend in first one eight-ounce package reduced-fat Neufchatel cream cheese and then one eight-ounce carton of whipped topping, If you prefer vanilla-flavored cheese cake, omit the gelatin and water and use one package of reduced-sugar vanilla pudding and one cup low fat milk. Add a dash of nutmeg. Fold in berries or fresh sliced fruit in season. This recipes is delicious with raspberries, blueberries, peaches and strawberries. Decorate with more fruit immediately before serving. Make this recipe in a ready-made graham cracker crust or casserole dish. No graham cracker crust? Line a dish with vanilla wafers or sandwich cookies or crushed graham crackers.
Festive Fruit Trifle– Trifle is a to-die-for concoction that is similar to some tiramisu recipes. I saw Lidia Bastianich make one on PBS Create. Hers was from scratch and looked yummy but time consuming. I don’t have a huge test kitchen with seven people on my staff. I need a quick recipe. To make easy trifle, you will need whipped topping, instant pudding, fruit and pre-made shortcake sponge cakes (the round yellow kind, also called dessert shells) or Hostess Twinkies. You can also use angel food cake or even stale cake.
Tear off bits of sponge or angel food cake and place in the bottom of a dessert dish. If you are using Twinkies, slice them carefully lengthwise and arrange in a layer on the dish. Blend pudding and half of the topping. Spoon a layer of pudding mixture over the cake. Next, arrange a layer of berries or sliced fruit. Bananas, peaches, mango, raspberries, kiwi and pineapple work well. If you want to make your trifle extra special, layer fruit in different colors. Over the fruit, place a layer of topping. Decorate with fresh fruit or drizzle fruit syrup over the top.
If desired, repeat layers. You can make this dessert omitted the fruit. Substitute butterscotch or chocolate chips with corresponding pudding flavor. This one isn’t diet-friendly. You can also substitute vanilla ice cream for pudding, for a refreshing frozen dessert (store in freezer).