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RECIPE BOX: Cheesecake-filled strawberries satisfy a sweet tooth without offering a lot of calories

Cheesecake-filled strawberries are perfect for parties and showers.

Cheesecake-filled strawberries are perfect for parties and showers.

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Cheesecake-filled strawberries offer the taste of cheesecake without all the calories.

Cheesecake-filled strawberries

Start to finish: approx. 30 minutes (all active)

2 pints of strawberries

One block of Neufchatel cream cheese

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

3 to 4 tablespoons of powdered sugar (to taste)

Graham cracker crumbs

Rinse and hollow out strawberries, using a paring knife.

Slice a bit off the bottom of each strawberry so that the strawberry can stand up without falling over.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, vanilla and powdered sugar and beat until creamy.

Put filling into a piping bag or a Ziploc bag with the end snipped off.

Squeeze filling into each strawberry.

Sprinkle or sift the graham cracker crumbs over the tops of the filled strawberries.

Serve immediately or serve chilled.

Just thinking about having a slice of cheesecake makes my mouth water. I’ve always been a huge fan of cheesecake. I’ve tried all kinds of cheesecake — chocolate, turtle cheesecake and I’ve even had a key lime pie cheesecake.

I won’t lie to you, the key lime pie cheesecake was OK, but not my favorite. I think you should either have key lime pie or cheesecake, and maybe not mix the two together.

As we all know, cheesecake isn’t always a low-calorie dessert. But maybe today’s recipe can help fill a strawberry cheesecake craving without offering as many calories as a regular slice of cheesecake.

The recipe does call for cream cheese, but, if you use Neufchatel cream cheese instead, it is 1/3 less fat. If you are watching your calorie intake, then note that you are getting more strawberry than filling and graham cracker crust.

The good people here at the Rockdale and Newton Citizen offices threw a baby shower for me last week, and we had all kinds of yummy foods to nibble on. One of those sweet treats was cheesecake-filled strawberries.

I’ve seen this recipe floating around on the Internet, mainly on www.pinterest.com, but I haven’t had the opportunity to make it yet.

Lori McClane, our receptionist here at the Rockdale office, made some for the shower. Let me tell you, those cheesecake strawberries were mouthwatering, to say the least. I heard several folks ask for the recipe and once you try them, you’ll know why.

If you have recipe ideas for Julie, email her at julie.wells@rockdalecitizen.com.