Citrus and Cream Salad aka Fluff

Citrus and Cream Salad -- A Pinch of Joy
Citrus and Cream Salad -- A Pinch of Joy

Many families expect a certain dish to be on the table at every gathering.  Citrus and Cream Salad  started as a favorite of a particular relative who could be counted on to show up to the family potluck with a big dish of it in hand.  Fruit, cottage cheese,  and your favorite Jell0 all wrapped in whipped topping – everyone loved it!    When the original contributor moved on to new and different foods, others began filling the gap by making the dish THEIR signature.  It is simple, foolproof even!  Easy to transport already made or quick to make on the spot.   Looks good and tastes even better. 

If you live in the middle  USA, this dish is known as “Fluff” something.  At our table it is  “that Fluff Stuff”.  Fluff  refers to the bowl of whipped topping on the ingredient list and referenced by “cream” in the real name.  All the other ingredients could vary, but fluff is the mainstay.  The dish can be eaten as dessert or salad –or  a main dish.  Or as a meal in itself.   Started by grandmas long ago and contributed forever after to family gatherings by beginning and uncertain cooks and those of considerable skill who know what counts as a no-fail potluck dish.   Citrus and Cream Salad is a classic.

Precise measurements don’t matter for this recipe.  Use what you have.  Cottage cheese carton missing a spoonful or two – doesn’t matter. Neither does large curd or small curd (I prefer the large curd for cottage cheese any time.  That’s just me).   Whipped topping on hand is a full carton plus a half cup in another container – use it all.  Pineapple doesn’t match the size can given – use two smaller ones or even just one if that is all that is on the shelf.   My favorite flavor of gelatin with this dish is orange, but lemon or lime works just as well.  The color will be orange, light yellow or green – your choice.  I like the crunchy walnuts and usually put in a  handful more than the recipe says.  This is also a perfect dish for kids to make (or younger kids to help make).  Just be sure the mixing bowl is large enough to handle the ingredients and stirring needed.  Curb enthusiastic stirring as whipped topping needs “folding” motion or a gentle stir to mix ingredients not a “whupping” that removes the air. 

Citrus and Cream Salad aka Fluff

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 10 servings

Serving Size: 1/2 cup

Citrus and Cream Salad aka Fluff

A family potluck classic -- the secret is out!

Ingredients

  • 20 ounce can pineapple tidbits, drained
  • 11 ounce can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 2/3 cup English walnut pieces
  • 24 ounce container cottage cheese
  • 8 ounce container whipped topping
  • 1.5 ounce package of sugar free gelatin (orange, lemon or lime)

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in large bowl in order given, sprinkling gelatin over the top.
  2. Fold together gently until well mixed.
  3. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour before serving. Can be made the night before.
http://www.apinchofjoy.com/2014/04/citrus-and-cream-salad-aka-fluff/

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Grilled Brie and Pear Sandwich

Grilled Brie and Pear Sandwich from A Pinch of Joy

Grilled Brie and Pear Sandwich from A Pinch of Joy

The grilled brie and pear sandwich caught my eye immediately!   Last Thursday, the women on my block went to lunch for our regular monthly get together.  We try out new restaurants  and visit old favorites.  Sometimes we go shopping afterwards or to a movie, but mostly we just talk and catch up with one another.  This time we went to a new to us restaurant with a wonderfully eclectic menu.  I don’t usually order sandwiches but grilled brie and pear just sounded so  MMMMMMM!  It was indeed!   I had to come home and create the spirit of this wonderful melty inside, crusty outside grilled brie and pear  sandwich for Wheels and Bytes – and me!   

IngredientsBegin with wonderful crusty artisan sourdough bread sliced into eight large slabs.   Add a circle of brie sliced thinly, a ripe large Bosc pear sliced the round way, butter, a bit of jam and, just to experiment, a whisper of mustard. 

  Cheese

Butter two slices of bread.  That’s how many will fit in your 10 inch skillet at one time  with room to turn the sandwiches.  If you have a grill to do all at once, go for it.  I haven’t tried it but this is probably a sandwich that would work well in a Panini press, too.   Place the slab of bread butter side down in the skillet and shingle with brie slices.  Slather a spoonful of jam across the brie. 

  Pears

Add the pear slices.  We experimented with just a bit of mustard on one half of each sandwich.  Top with another slab of buttered bread with the butter side up.  Toast over medium heat for as long as it takes the bottom bread to turn toasty brown.   Be patient and let the cheese warm and begin to melt while the bottom toasts.  When it is ready, carefully turn the sandwich.  Let it brown on the second side.   Press down to “seal” the sandwich together, remove and serve warm.

I used strawberry jam because that is what I had open in the refrigerator.  Raspberry jam would be good.  The restaurant used a wonderful fig jam.  Just enough to give a slightly sweet flavor.  The mustard experiment?  We liked the whisper of tangy mustard that played off the sweet jam and creamy brie.  But the half without was pretty darn good too!    A wonderful Sunday supper or perfect for a relaxing Saturday lunch. 

Now I know a great casual restaurant nearby for an evening out.  And we have a special sandwich for an evening in.   Win – win!!

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Grilled Brie and Pear Sandwich

Yield: 4 large sandwiches

Serving Size: 1 sandwich

Grilled Brie and Pear Sandwich

Creamy Brie with smooth pear and just a hint of sweet jam on sourdough bread, grilled to toasty sandwich perfection!

Ingredients

  • Eight large slices of sourdough bread
  • 8 ounces brie cheese, sliced thinly with rind on
  • 1 large pear or two small pears, sliced crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons jam such as strawberry, raspberry or fig
  • Four tablespoons softened butter
  • 2 teaspoons mustard or honey mustard, optional

Instructions

  1. Butter one side of each slice of bread. Place butter side down in large skillet.
  2. Build each sandwich by layering slices of brie, spreading jam over the cheese and adding slices of pear to cover the cheese. If desired, spread a bit of mustard over the pear slices.
  3. Top with another slice of bread, butter side up.
  4. Brown over medium heat until toasted and golden in color.
  5. Turn carefully and repeat for second side.
  6. Serve immediately.
http://www.apinchofjoy.com/2013/10/grilled-brie-and-pear-sandwich/

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Breakfast to go . . .

Oatmeal and fruit baked breakfast

Oatmeal and fruit baked breakfast  A Pinch of Joy

After pinning a few breakfast cookie recipes, I decided it was time to actually try one.  Only none of the recipes was going to work.  Either I was missing an ingredient – or they sounded too bland – or maybe I was just being too picky.  So I did what I usually do and mooshed two or three recipes together.  Some nuts from this recipe for crunch and protein.  The cinnamon and vanilla from that recipe for flavor.  And then it hit me – what’s a day without chocolate?  These need some chocolate chips – not too much, but just enough to add a bit of contrasting texture and taste.  The recipe was quick to assemble and baked nicely.  The recipe is below – feel free to make it as is or moosh your own version. The first four ingredients make the base, but feel free to change out nuts, dried fruits and spices.

Tasting it was – well, an adventure.  The texture was soft chewy.  The mix of flavors was nice – and the chocolate chips added just the perfect touch.  It would indeed make a quick breakfast to grab two or three and go.  Not crumbly – so no mess in the car.  Stayed fresh for a couple of days – at which time our supply was gone. To keep them any longer, freezing would be best.    I’ll do that next time.  And maybe try butterscotch chips.  Yes, we did like them.  So what was wrong?

The name.  Even with chocolate chips, these are NOT cookies.  They look like cookies, they bake like cookies – but unlike ducks that are ducks because they look like ducks and quack like ducks — these aren’t cookies. Once you get that idea out of your mind, these are a good breakfast!  (Or an afternoon pick me up.)   A healthy baked item that you can grab and eat on the go!

From the Archives in celebration of A Pinch of Joy Second Anniversary

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Breakfast to go . . .

Breakfast to go . . .

Ingredients

  • 2 mashed bananas
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce OR 1 4 oz. single serve container of apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 2 cups quick cooking oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup craisins
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 2 Tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons walnut pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar or sugar substitute

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients together thoroughly and let set for 5 minutes to let oatmeal absorb moisture.
  2. Drop by tablespoonsful onto a greased cookie sheet.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes until firm. Bottom should be golden brown.
  4. Yields 18-24 depending on size.
http://www.apinchofjoy.com/2013/08/breakfast-to-go/

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