Tag Archives: strawberries

Fourth of July Strawberry Pretzel Jello Destiny

Now, I don’t believe in fate or destiny in the strictest sense of the word.  But there are sometimes when coincidences happen that seem too big to just be random.

For awhile now I’ve noticed that my post on my grandma’s rainbow jello salad is one of my most popular posts, and thought that I should post on something else jello-related.  People all over the web are apparently just dying to spend 24 hours making an artistic jello casserole.  So I was thinking about my other favorite jello dish, that my aunt used to make as a dessert for family gatherings – Strawberry Pretzel Jello “Salad”.

It’s this weird concoction of a pretzel crust (like a graham cracker crust but with a touch more salt), then a cream cheese and Cool Whip center, and a strawberry Jello topping.  It all comes together to be a surprisingly good layered dessert, and kind of a throwback to the jello-mold days of old.

Now here comes the coincidence.  Did anyone see the recipe from the winner of Rudi’s Gluten Free Bakery Contest?  It’s a layered dish with Rudi’s bread and ginger snaps as the base of the crust, a sweet goat cheese filling, and a sweet strawberry topping.  That looks exactly the same as the Strawberry Pretzel Jello “Salad”!

Rudi's Gluten Free Bakery Winning Dish

So I obviously am now destined to make this strangely addicting dish again, and luckily I have a get-together today that I can bring it to!  I modified this recipe slightly to make it healthier and gluten free, of course.  I also halved it, since I 1) don’t own a 9×13 pan, and 2) didn’t want to carry a giant pan on the mile walk to the party.

Strawberry Pretzel Jello Salad – Gluten Free Version

1/2 cup crushed Glutino gluten free pretzels

1/2 cup crushed Trader Joe’s gluten free ginger snaps

1 tsp. sugar

4 oz. Neufchatel cheese (could also substitute cream cheese, I was trying something new)

1/4 cup sugar

4 oz. Cool Whip

1/2 package strawberry jello

1 cup boiling water

1/2 package frozen strawberries (I substituted some fresh strawberries)

Mix first three ingredients and press in bottom of a 8×8 pan. Bake at 350 degrees (metal pan) or 325 degrees (glass pan) 8 minutes. Let cool completely.

Beat 1/4 cup sugar and cheese. Fold in Cool Whip. Spread over pretzels (at this point I transferred to a tupperware container for easy traveling).

Mix Jello and water until dissolved. Add strawberries. Stir into Jello, then set aside for 10 minutes.

Pour over cheese mixture (it will look too liquidy, but it will set up). Chill.

I’ll add a picture of it plated later, but for now it’s getting packed up and ready to party!

I also encourage you to test the Cool whip to ensure it’s thawed properly by dipping a few in as the crust bakes 🙂

I should have added blueberries to this to make it a true red/white/blue dessert.  But I think it looks pretty patriotic as it is 🙂 Happy Fourth of July!


Strawberry Jam Session

The kids I used to nanny for would get in the minivan sometimes after I had been in there running errands alone.  The music would be bumpin’ and they’d go “Anna – were you havin a jam session in here?!”  

Yesterday I had a real life jam session – strawberry style.  

I thought to myself – strawberries are so cheap, and store-bought jam always has high fructose corn syrup in it – you should just make some jam yourself!  So I did…

I started with two pounds of strawberries from the fruit market.

I hulled and rinsed them, then cut them into bite-sized pieces.  I put about 3/4 cups of sugar over them, along with about 3 T. of lemon juice, and put them in the fridge to marinate for about an hour.  Mind you, I had no idea what I was doing at this point – but I figured it would work out. 

After that I put them in a pot and brought the mixture to a boil.  This is where things got sweet (literally ;))  


It almost boiled over a few times, but I lowered the heat and stirred it down.  After about 40 minutes it got to be much more viscous and lava-like…

I let it sit and cool for awhile and then I had to have a taste.  So I put it on some of Udi’s bread, toasted, with butter: 

toast and jam


So good!  Not too sweet and just thick enough.  I put it in a leftover pasta sauce jar and have enough jam to last me a year!  (although I think it will only keep for about a week…)

So, lesson learned – don’t be afraid to have your own jam session.  And don’t buy into that Smuckers stuff 🙂