Monday, June 11, 2012

Mandarin Orange Dessert Squares

My family and I were invited to a very impromptu BBQ this past weekend. 

Now, I'm not talking about the, "Hey, we're having a BBQ with a small group of friends tomorrow about lunchtime. We'd love if you could come" type of invitation. I'm mean the, "Hey, we're having a BBQ at one o'clock TODAY. We've invited the entire neighborhood over for a swim. You need to be here - and no is not an option!"

As I looked at the clock, it was 9.45am. You're kidding, right? Naturally, I did what any domestic goddess would do in this situation.

I panicked.

You see, I was raised to never, EVER show up to someone's home empty handed. It's something that has been instilled in me from a young age. It doesn't matter if you come bearing a box of chocolates or a shaving kit, you better have something for the hosts who graciously opened their home to you. 

Unfortunately, I didn't have time to run to the store for flowers and I would prefer to make something rather than buy something, but that still didn't help me, because I still didn't have time to run out.  

After a few deep breaths, I powdered my nose, reapplied my lipstick, threw on my apron and hit the recipe box to see what I could find with the ingredients I did have on hand. 

And found this. It's easy, light, refreshing, and also quite pretty upon completion. 

Thank goodness for that because I'm not sure how the hosts would have felt about receiving a bottle of fabric softener. 

Or a box of Barbie Band Aids.


18 graham crackers 
1 box vanilla pudding
1 cup cold whole milk
2 cups Cool Whip, thawed
2 (10 ounce) cans mandarin oranges, drained
⅓ cup peach jam
2 Tablespoons orange juice 

Line an 8-inch square baking dish with half the graham crackers. Break them apart if need be to fit into dish; set aside. 

In a bowl, mix vanilla pudding and milk together for a few minutes until pudding starts to get thick. Fold in Cool Whip until fully incorporated. 

Pour half the pudding mixture over graham crackers. Repeat the layering process by placing another layer of graham crackers over top and top with remaining pudding mixture. Using an offset spatula will help to ensure an even layer.

Top with mandarin oranges.

In a small bowl, microwave jam and orange juice on high for about a minute until melted and smooth. Drizzle glaze over top of mandarin oranges.

Chill (both you and the dessert) for at least 3 hours before serving. 

Yields: About 9 servings.

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