Too Much Cream Cheese

July 4th is coming up this weekend.  Say 4th of July and the mind instantly conjures images, smells and memories for us all.  For me, it is images of family gathered around the porch or the boat dock laughing and having fun.  It’s swimming, watermelon juice dripping off my chin, Dad grilling hamburgers, homemade ice cream and, of course, fireworks-so many fireworks.  It will be a little different this year if you intend to celebrate by watching city fireworks, but you can still find a spot to hang out and watch from your vehicle.

Growing up, we lived at the lake.  We would spend a good chunk of the day swimming off the boat dock on our property.  We would eat watermelon and snacks all day waiting for the main course, Dad’s hamburgers at dinner.   We would load up and go buy fireworks for our own show before it got too late.  Getting the fireworks has always been a special thing between me and Dad.  Picking up the ones we know we like.  Discussing what new ones we want to try.  Then after dark, Dad would start lighting the fireworks.  The Fourth of July hasn’t changed much for us.  Every year, we still get together for food, family time, swimming and then fireworks at the house. These days, we still swim just in a pool now.  We munch on snacks all afternoon while waiting on Dad’s hamburgers.  And we still go get fireworks around 7 or so.  Dad doesn’t light many fireworks anymore.  Those duties have been taken over by the younger men in the family.  I must admit though, fireworks don’t hold the same thrill for me now.  Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy the show.  However, I am older.  It’s the family time I cherish and if we ever decided not to have any fireworks, I would be ok with it.

I don’t know if you have been picking up any of the free food boxes from the area, but if you have, you may have an abundance of huge blocks of cream cheese.  This week, I would like to share some recipes for using some of it in fun, festive foods for the 4th.  Make your grocery list and join me in the kitchen for easy recipes using cream cheese!  

Cheeseball

16oz cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese

1 cup cook bacon, crumbled

1 cup green onion

1 packet Ranch dip

Nuts, more green onions, bacon etc. for rolling if desired

Add all ingredients to medium bowl and mix well. Taste and adjust ingredients if desired.  Most cheeseballs are coated in nuts or bacon, more cheese or green onion, etc.  If you wish to coat your cheeseball, place plastic wrap on counter and sprinkle as much or as little of the desired coating on plastic wrap.  Then place cream cheese on plastic wrap on top of coating.  Carefully rotate cheese mixture until completely coated.  If you don’t want coating, spoon mixture onto sheet of plastic wrap and fold plastic up and over cheese mixture, shaping as you go to form ball.  Refrigerate at least two hours before serving.  I like to eat mine with celery sticks or mini peppers. Yum!

 

Red, White and Blue Cheesecake Salad

16oz cream cheese softened

½ cup monk fruit sweetener, more or less to taste

1 cup heavy whipping cream

16oz strawberries cut into bite sized pieces

14oz blueberries

12oz blackberries

6oz raspberries

Beat cream cheese with electric mixer until smooth.  Add in monk fruit and heavy whipping cream. Beat with electric mixer until thick and creamy. If too thick, extra cream or milk can be added. Fold in fresh berries. Store in fridge or serve immediately.

Note: for this recipe, it doesn’t matter so much whether you use powdered or granulated monk fruit.  However, I will say powdered monk fruit seems to make a creamier dessert.  Also, this is designed to make a lot.  Be prepared to share or you will have a lot of leftovers.

Recipe adapted from lowcarbyum.com.

 

Strawberry Cheesecake Cups

Strawberry Layer

2 cups fresh strawberries, chopped plus a few extra strawberries for garnish

1 Tbsp. powdered monk fruit sweetener or other sweetener of choice

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Cheesecake Layer

2 cups heavy cream room temperature

8oz cream cheese room temperature

½ cup powdered monk fruit sweetener or sweetener of choice

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

In small bowl, lightly mash strawberries with fork or slice them.  You want decent chunks, but you need to at least slice to get strawberries to start them juicing. Mix in sweetener and lemon juice, then set aside.  In separate bowl using stand mixer, whip together 2 cups heavy cream, sweetener, cream cheese and lemon juice. Whip continuously until mixture thickens to very thick consistency.  In 10 small cups, using half strawberry mixture spoon layer of strawberries into bottom of each cup.  Spoon equal amounts of cheesecake mixture into each cup on top of first layer of strawberry mixture.  Spoon equal amounts of strawberry over the cheesecake layer.  Refrigerate at least an hour and serve cold.

Note: If you want to use larger cups, feel free to use multiple layers.  You can either have fewer cups or make double the batch!

Recipe adapted from thekelliekitchen.com.

 

Gluten Free Low Carb Fruit Pizza

Crust

1 cup almond flour

cup coconut flour

cup powdered erythritol

½ cup unsalted butter, softened

¼ tsp baking powder

2 tsps. pure vanilla extract

1 large egg

Topping

¼ cup full-fat cream cheese, softened

2 Tbsps. unsalted butter, softened

¼ cup powdered Erythritol

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

½ cup heavy whipping cream

Sliced strawberries and blueberries for topping

Preheat oven to 350 °F and line large baking sheet or round pizza pan with parchment paper. In large bowl, mix together cookie ingredients until thick dough forms.  Press into large circle on baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until golden.  It doesn’t really have to be a circle though.  You can press it out into the pan however you desire.  In medium bowl, beat together topping ingredients until smooth. Spread icing evenly over cooled cookie.  Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  Top with sliced strawberries and blueberries just before serving to prevent the crust from getting too soggy from the juice of the berries.  

Recipe adapted from ketodietapp.com