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February 12, 2014
Melís Kitchen Cafe
Cheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries
by Melanie Gunnell

Valentine's Day is a family affair around these parts. Long gone are the days of Brian and me gazing into each other's eyes over a romantic dinner in a secluded booth at a five-star restaurant. Wait a second, did that ever happen? I'm pretty sure that hasn't happened in the history of ever. Maybe in 20 years, but for now Valentine's Day is a family holiday and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Along with our annual Valentine's Day scavenger hunt (not food related), we do a candlelight dinner. My four boys go crazy over this tradition. Just last night, I overheard my 8-year old say to his younger brother in a voice that could barely contain his excitement, "Only a few more days before we get to eat dinner in the dark!" Clearly I need to get candles that produce a bit more flame.

Here I thought I was teaching my boys the niceties of fine dining, and all along, they've just been ecstatic to eat dinner in a situation that approximates cavelike dwelling.

Over the years, I've served a fancy meal, an everything-heart-shaped meal, and an all pink or red meal (that one was a bit scary). This year, I have a few new ideas up my sleeve. First up are these delightful cheesecake-stuffed strawberries. After tasting them, the only coherent thought I could muster was, "Where have these been all my life?"

Not only are they a cinch to prepare, but they also taste absolutely amazing. It's like a heavenly bite of strawberry cheesecake with the emphasis on the strawberry, which is just fine with me. They look much more elegant than the preparation requires.

I don't know if I'll serve these as a sweet side dish or as a dessert option, but either way, come February 14th, they'll be on our table and I kinda sorta think they should be on yours, too.

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

Yield: Makes about 2 dozen strawberries

Ingredients

Directions

1. Remove the tops of all the strawberries and cut out a cone shape from inside the middle of each strawberry with a paring knife, making a little well to be filled with cream cheese mixture.

2. Mix together the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla extract with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Fill a ziploc bag with the cream cheese mixture (filling it into one of the corners). Twist the top of the bag and snip the corner of the bag with the filling.

3. Squeeze filling into each strawberry and sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve (no more than 3-4 hours is best).

Recipe Source: inspired by many recipes online including The Girl Who Ate Everything


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