What is the number one reason you don't cook more at Penn? Time. What is the number two reason? Cost. As much as you may want to try that new recipe from Tasty that popped up on your timeline today, odds are it's going to require a trip to Fro Gro to purchase at least five slightly obscure and seemingly useless ingredients that you can't think of any other use for (looking at you, paprika). Why else do you think companies like Blue Apron have become so successful? The whole process of cooking can, frankly, be pretty wasteful.

Still, that doesn't mean you should resign to eating Sweetgreen every day for the rest of your life!! Whenever I cook, I always do so with only ingredients that I already have. You may wonder, "How TF does that work?" Well, I am here to show you, beginning with everyone's favorite version of food in bar form: cheesecake bars.

To make these, I perused my refrigerator and found a mountain of Chobani yogurt and applesauce that I had stockpiled in anticipation of getting my wisdom teeth removed. Greek yogurt is, honestly, a magical food. Although it might seem plain on the outside, it's actually a great source of calcium and probiotics, and can be used in more ways than you can imagine. After all, first impressions aren’t everything (unless we’re talking about OCR). Add Greek yogurt to pancakes, muffins, potato salad, soup or dip to make foods taste extra rich, without the heaviness of heavy cream or mayonnaise.

To make these Greek Yogurt Cheesecake Bars, I used the applesauce for the crust, which holds it together instead of butter, and the cheesecake itself contains the creamy Greek yogurt, which provides extra protein (so it's basically healthy). The swirl of strawberry jam on top of the bars makes them sweeter (and also Insta–worthy). 


Servings: 9 bars

What you’ll need:

  • 4 oz. applesauce
  • Graham cracker pie crust
  • Aluminum foil/parchment paper
  • Square baking pan
  • 5.3 oz. raspberry Greek yogurt (this is a regular size Chobani)
  • Strawberry jam
  • 4 oz. (½ a block) of room temperature cream cheese
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • A splash of lemon juice

Procedure:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Crumble up graham cracker pie crust*.
  3. Mix crumbs with applesauce until it begins to clump together.
  4. Press crust down in pan lined with aluminum foil.
  5. Bake in oven for 10 minutes (or until golden brown).
  6. Let crust cool while preparing the cheesecake filling. Whisk one container of Greek yogurt with the cream cheese.
  7. Add one egg white and whisk. Then add flour and lemon juice and whisk until smooth.
  8. Pour filling over the crust and swirl jam on top with a knife.
  9. Bake for approximately 20 minutes.
  10. Cool in refrigerator at least 1 hour (unless you enjoy warm cheesecake).
  11. Cut into squares and eat! Keep any leftovers refrigerated.

Tips and Tricks:

  • You could also crush up graham crackers and use them as the crust. If you’re lazy or already have a pie crust on hand, like I did, that will work as well.
  • Feel free to use any flavor Greek yogurt or jam that you like. Vanilla or lemon Greek yogurt with chocolate chips mixed in would also be great.
  • Avoid overcooking the cheesecake! Unlike other baked goods, cheesecake is finished cooking when it’s still slightly jiggling and shiny.

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