Berry Jell-O Cheesecake

Neufchatel cheese is JUST like cream cheese but with 1/3 less fat (and ultimately 1/3 less calories). I prefer this over low-fat/fat-free cream cheese because there are fewer ingredients. All of the modified-food-whatevers freak me out a bit and I’d rather go with something that has 5 ingredients instead of 22. I bought some neufchatel cheese a while back to make an herb spread (will post that recipe in the near future). It was on sale so I bought two thinking I’d use it up in no time.

Then life happened and the next thing I knew the cheese’s best-by date was just around the corner. I was torn about what to make with it – while cheesecake would be good, I didn’t want to go through the hassle of making a pie crust. I searched online and found a recipe that used jell-o and neufchatel cheese – it was settled. I found a quick and easy sugar-cookie recipe for the crust and then topped with the creamy, jell-o goodness. I turned out to be quite tasty and I would make it again. However, the jell-o part is not as creamy as cheesecake, so if you are looking for something heavy this is not the recipe for you. This dessert is light and sweet – pefect for a summer BBQ.

Berry-Jello Cheesecake
Dish: square baking dish – 9 to 12 servings

Cookie Crust
-1/3 cup and 2 TBSP all purpose flour
-1/8 tsp baking soda
-1/8 tsp baking powder
-3 TBSP butter, room temp
-2 TBSP sugar
-1/8 tsp vanilla

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Add dry ingredients into a small bowl
3. Beat butter, sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat well.
5. Press into a square baking dish (you may need a little more flour to do this).
6. Bake 8-10 minutes or until the edges are golden.

Jell-O Cheesecake Filling
– 2 0.3 oz packets of sugar-free, flavored jell-o
– 2 cups of hot water
– 16 oz. container of neufchatel cheese
– splash of vanilla
– fruit (if you’d like) – we used frozen berries

Directions:
1. Mix the jell-o with the hot water until well dissolved.
2. Carefully beat in the neufchatel cheese (this can get messy, so be careful!)
3. Add in a splash of vanilla and finish beating.
4. Mix in any fruit you’d like
5. Pour over cooled cookie crust.
6. Refrigerate for a few hours, or until set.
7. Enjoy!

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