|Vanilla and Blueberry Cheesecake Pudding|
Do any of you follow any reality food television or food competitions? There are several food competition shows now that seem to be getting more and more popular. There are really only two food competition shows that I've watched and they are "The Next Food Network Star" and "The Taste." There are some of my favorite cooks and chefs that came out of the series that I adore, including Guy Fieri, Aaron McCargo Jr., and Melissa D'Arabian! One of the things that I loved about Melissa was that she always seemed like the underdog on the show but she always came out on top and ended up winning the competition. Her show and her books focus on delicious yet inexpensive meals to feed your family, which is a great concept.
Supermarket Meals is Melissa D'Arabian's second book. As you may expect from the title, this cookbook features healthy recipes whose ingredients that you can find at your local supermarket. Oftentimes when people think of trying to find something healthy or make something healthy, they either think salads or something bland; many authors are trying to re-educate people about healthy and how flavorful that it actually can be so that it's easier to incorporate into your everyday life.
So far I've made three recipes from her cookbook: Vanilla and Blueberry Cheesecake Pudding (see below), Dulce de Leche Brown Rice Pudding, and Caramelized Brussell Sprouts, Pine Nuts and Penne. The pasta with brussell sprouts was so intriguing that I went out and bought a huge bag of brussell sprouts, and the dish was a delicious surprise. I never thought I'd be one that went out and bought brussell sprouts! Future recipes that are already in my lineup include Portabello Steak-Frites with Sweet Potatoes, Eggplant Meatballs with Marinara, and Cheesy Eggplant Parmesan among others.
One of the other things that I do like is that Melissa provides alternative recipes based on a basic recipe and creates a "blueprint" of all the different components and ways to alter it, like salads! This helps switch up some basic recipes so that you don't get burnt out on a single recipe and shows you how you can rethink recipes to get your creativity flowing in the kitchen.
I like that she includes nutritional information with the amount of servings, including calories and fat. I do wish that she included the grams carbohydrates for those that might be watching those, which may be my only critique-- though you can kind of guesstimate with the grams of sugars that she did provide.
The Vanilla and Blueberry Cheesecake Pudding sounds enticing enough to make you try it, right? First thing you have to know is that this is a lighter recipe so it would be as thick and creamy and rich tasting as what you'd expect. What I got from this recipe was almost a flan texture and a subtle cream cheese flavor, but I found it lovely. The star of this particular recipe was definitely the blueberry sauce! The lemon juice really helped to round out the flavors and was absolutely delicious! I imagine you can substitute out the blueberries and try different fruits as well... perhaps strawberries or peaches next time around?
I did change this recipe a little from the original. The original asked for vanilla almond milk, but I don't drink almond milk for medical reasons, so I used regular milk and added in some vanilla extract. You're welcome to try the original version, just substitute vanilla almond milk for the regular milk and omit the vanilla extract. I also substituted the graham crackers and used gluten-free hazelnut wafers.
This book review is sponsored by Blogging for Books. While I received a complimentary copy for review, the opinions in this review are entirely my own.
Vanilla and Blueberry Cheesecake Pudding
slightly adapted from Melissa D'Arabian's Supermarket Healthy (pg. 279)
For the blueberry sauce:
1 Tbs. sugar
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 c. fresh or frozen blueberries
For the cheesecake pudding:
3 Tbs. sugar
2 Tbs. corn starch
Pinch of kosher salt
1 1/2 c. cold 2% milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. low-fat cream cheese, softened
crushed graham cracker crumbs (or crushed gluten-free hazelnut wafers, for gluten-free)
For the blueberry sauce:
Combine all ingredients except blueberries in a small saucepan. Over medium heat, stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add in the blueberries and stir for 1-2 minutes until the berries soften. Crush the blueberries using a fork or spoon and let cool.
For the pudding:
Whisk the sugar, corn starch, and kosher salt together in a medium saucepan. Add in milk, then over medium-high heat, whisk 3-4 minutes until the mixture is thick and starts to bubble. Turn off heat, add in the vanilla and cream cheese, then whisk until the cream cheese is melted and the mixture is combined.
Divide the pudding into 4 ramekins or bowls, top with the blueberry sauce, and refrigerate 4 hours until it firms up. When ready to serve, top with graham crackers or crushed wafers. Pudding will last up to 3 days in the fridge.
Makes 4 servings