(Photo stolen out of laziness - thanks Google images)
So a while back, the store had Philadelphia Cream Cheese on sale for 99cents a bar. SUPER DEAL, so I bought a case. The best-by date was Jan 4, and I figured hubby eats cream cheese on a bagel every morning for breakfast, so a bar a week for that, a little extra for when I eat some too, and enough for a cheesecake for the new year. Well, I apparently didn't eat my share, and hubby didn't eat bagels for about 2 weeks, so I was suddenly left with 7 bars of cream cheese, with an impending due-date.
Things I've learned about cream cheese:
1) "Best By" is NOT "expires" and the cream cheese is still good to go for at LEAST a week or two.
2) Cream cheese does NOT freeze well - it still tastes kinda the same, but is NOT creamy upon defrosting... it's kinda grainy and definitely not my favorite.
3) Cheesecake apparently doesn't freeze top notch either, unless you "do it right" - and I'm not sure how that is, so we're not trying.
4) You get a lot of good ideas when you say something like "I have an overabundance of Cream Cheese. Other than Cheesecake... what can I do with it?!?!" on Facebook.
Other ways to use cream cheese (other than bagels and cheesecake, but no better for you really) are:
1) Put it in your mashed potatoes (thank you Gramma!) - we did this tonight, and it was DELICIOUS. Like, best mashed potatoes ever. Like, now a standard ingredient in mashed-potato-ness.
2) Make a cheese ball. From what I know, finely grated cheese, cream cheese, little seasoning, mix, roll in nuts - Gourmet! Or you can try an ACTUAL recipe like the one at my fav food blog. OR for a third option: cream cheese, splash of OJ, chopped dried cranberries and chopped pecans rolled into a ball (courtesy Aunt Liz)
3) Mix with milk until the consistency of sour cream, and make dip (like you'd do with sour cream)
4) Layered dip - my friend Anne-Marie suggested cream cheese, chili, cheddar, microwaved until the cheddar melted with fritos - sounded yummy! Or you can go with the 7 layer Mexican standby (and one of my fav's)
5) Mix with milk and use in Scalloped Potatoes (another Gramma suggestion, so I'm sure it's delish)
6) Cheese SPREAD (I think) - Mix cream cheese with spices and then cover with pesto and grated parmesan cheese. Eat it with crackers. Also good with sundried tomatoes in the layers - Courtesy of Mary-Ann :)
7) Breakfast pastry. Essentially, croissants laid out, with cream cheese icing and pie filling on it, and strips of croissant on top. Haven't made it in a LONG time, but it was DELICIOUS with Peach Pie filling when I did.
This week's cream cheese uses:
Stick 1: Added to Mashed Potatoes for dinner tonight (1/3 stick) and dip/cheeseball for visitors tomorrow (2/3 stick)
Sticks 2 and 3: Cheesecake for Sunday's Visitors. (leftovers will be sent home with them. I hope they like cheesecake)
Stick 4: Bagels for hubby to go to work with
Sticks 5 and 6: Cheesecake for visitors next Saturday
Stick 7: Breakfast Pastry for after Church next Sunday
On the shopping list this week... more cream cheese.