2 quarts plain yogurt
Place 4 layers of cheesecloth (or a coffee filter, or a couple layers of paper towels) in colander set over a bowl. Add the yogurt and let drain overnight in the refrigerator. The desired consistency is that of soft cream cheese.
Wow. Pretty easy, huh? Here's a couple dorky facts about it:
1. Yogurt cheese takes on the flavor of whatever you mix it with. That means you can "thin out" the fat calories from ice cream, peanut butter, mayo, etc. by mixing them with yogurt cheese.
2. If you are on a diet, yogurt cheese can help you stick to it because it tastes rich- no sodium or chemicals are added as they are in commercially " lite" foods.
3. If you make yogurt cheese from sweetened yogurt (like vanilla or lemon) most of the sugar will drain out with the whey but it will still have a sweet taste. Although, it's not as good for you as plain.
Now, here's some things you can do with yogurt cheese. I'm totally copying and pasting here, people.
1 BAGEL & CREAM CHEESE: spread a bagel with plain yogurt cheese. Variation: mix in a teaspoon of jam or spreadable fruit.
2 DANISH: split an English muffin in half, toast it, and spread with sweetened yogurt cheese. Sprinkle with cinnamon and heat under broiler until bubbly.
3 PEANUT BUTTER: mix 1 tablespoon peanut butter with 1 or 2 tablespoons yogurt cheese (the yogurt cheese takes on the peanut butter flavor).
4 MAYONNAISE: mix 1 tablespoon commercial mayonnaise with 1 or 2 tablespoons yogurt cheese (the yogurt cheese takes on the mayonnaise flavor).
5 BAKED POTATO TOPPING: add sour cream flavor buds, chives and/or herb mix to yogurt cheese.
6 WHIPPED CREAM: mix 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla to vanilla yogurt cheese.
7 ICE CREAM: mix 1/4 cup commercial ice cream and 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt cheese.
8 LEMON TART: place a thin cookie in the bottom of a cupcake paper; spoon in lemon yogurt cheese; top with slice of fruit. Chill.
9 CHOCOLATE MOUSSE: add 1 packet low-calorie chocolate drink mix to 1 cup yogurt cheese.
10 VANILLA FROSTING: mix 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla with 1 cup vanilla yogurt cheese. Chill. Spread on cake just before serving.
Most of the time I will substitute it for half of the sour cream or mayo in a recipe. It's great and healthy. It's a good way to sneak in some plain yogurt, which my kiddo's won't touch, without them even noticing. Try some of the above recipes. I know I'm going to! Yum!
And just so you know, while I was typing this up my 18 month old got ahold of our Smart Balance butter and decided to eat about half of it. He also managed to smear it all over the floor in the school room, and all over his brothers bed. Awesome. :)
Running the race,