Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Best Jello Salad

Here's my current favorite Jello Salad, recipe courtesy of my friend Jeanne (who saved me on the 4th of July when I was trying to make it from memory - not a good idea  - for the whole gang and needed clarification.  She was in Hawaii - I had forgotten the time difference - and returned my call, apologizing for the delay in her response, but it was only 7am there.  She's a gem).

(I usually double the recipe when I am making it for a group.)

Jeanne Leak's Jello Salad

1 small pkg. cook-style vanilla pudding (can use sugar-free)
1 small pkg. cook-style tapioca pudding (can use fat free)
1 small pkg. Jello (can use sugar-free, any flavor)
3 cups water

Mix all together and bring to a boil.  Let cool 2 to 3 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

Mix cooled Jello, making sure to blend well (no chunks - I use a big whisk).

Fold in fruit of your choice (mandarin oranges, strawberries, or my favorite, raspberries)
and 1 (8oz) Cool Whip (can use light - NOT fat free).

You can serve immediately, or refrigerate for later.

It's a little reminiscent of the Jello salad that has cottage cheese, WITHOUT the cottage cheese.  The tapioca pudding absorbs the jello, and you end up with brightly colored tiny soft balls of tapioca.


Chocolate Raspberry Crash Cake

I usually try to make German Chocolate Cake for Bill's Birthday, but was a little pinched for time yesterday. I quickly perused Pinterest for a quick, easy and YUMMY alternative (with ingredients I already had on hand), and found this recipe and decided to give it a try (making a few adjustments). I had invited our neighbors over for cake and candles, so I hoped it would be good!

It was yummy. And pretty to look at. Definitely a keeper.

I didn't get any great pictures of the cake (focused on the Birthday part of things), so these will have to do:

Chocolate Raspberry Crash Cake

1 Dark Chocolate Fudge cake mix, prepared per package directions; baked in a 9x13 pan; cooled
2 sm. boxes instant chocolate pudding
3-1/2 cups milk
2-1/2 cups whipping cream
3 Tbs. confectioners sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 pkg. frozen raspberries, thawed (fresh raspberries would be awesome if you have them!)

While the cake is baking, prepare instant pudding using 3-1/2 cups milk (I like the pudding just a tad thicker - you could use the 4 cups milk per package directions if you would like).  Put in refrigerator to set.

Whip the cream with the confectioners sugar until stiff peaks are just about to form. Add vanilla and whip a few seconds more (I like fairly stiff whipped cream, too). Refrigerate until ready to assemble cake.

When ready to assemble, cut cake into small squares. Using approx. 1/3 of the cake, pull out and break up cake pieces to cover the bottom of a trifle bowl.

Using 1/2 of the prepared pudding, spoon onto cake layer and smooth out with back of spoon.

Spoon approx. 1/3 (or slightly more) of the whipped cream on top of the pudding, carefully spreading to edges.

Sprinkle on 1/3 of the raspberries.

Repeat layers starting with cake pieces.

Add one more layer of cake pieces, and top with remaining whipped cream and berries.
(Since my frozen berries didn't look that awesome, I didn't put any on top).

Keep in freezer for about 15 minutes before serving.

I think this cake would be best assembled within 30 minutes of serving. All the components can be prepared well ahead of time, and assembly takes 5-10 minutes, depending on how meticulous you are.