1. It was my sweet husband's birthday "cake" on his birthday a few weeks ago, and
2. This recipe is my own creation!!! It is probably the first recipe that I invented completely on my own, with inspiration from several sources. I even searched google but I did not find a recipe that was exactly like this. So this is a ONE AND ONLY recipe! And it is SO, SO good!
So here's how I was inspired: My husband loves the strawberry "cheesequake" blizzards from Dairy Queen but always complains how there are not enough cheesecake bites in the ice cream. So when I asked him a few weeks before his birthday what kind of cake or dessert he wanted me to make for him, he suggested "strawberry cheesequake blizzards." HA. Well I got to thinking- what if I could have strawberry cheesecake ice cream, but add in chunks of real cheesecake, layer it with strawberry sauce on top of a graham cracker crust and then top with a layer of cool whip and garnish with crushed graham crackers? And that is how the Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Layered Pie was born! Or at least in my head :)
So I originally intended on making homemade ice cream but I ran out of time. I had some pretty good substitutes:
I made two batches: one with Blue Bell's Strawberries and Homemade Vanilla ice cream, and one with Kroger's "Private Selection" New York Style Cherry Cheesecake ice cream that I got at Fry's. I unfortunately could not find a strawberry cheesecake ice cream! But, these substitutes were AWESOME.
So, for the cheesecake bites, I did a couple of things. I first bought a frozen Sara Lee's cheesecake, intending to cut it into chunks. UNTIL a couple days later I saw these at Walmart! Sara Lee cheesecake BITES!!! I bought two containers, one Original and one flavored Strawberry Cheesecake! How perfect! And these little babies are delicious! They are so dang good. When I make this again, I think I will only buy these.
So here is where I am making it, and I have just topped the ice cream layer with cheesecake bites, strawberry sauce and graham cracker crumbs. Mmm :)
Here is it finished. Doesn't look too impressive from the top.... but when you cut a piece...
It's beautiful!!! And SO good! My husband loved, loved his birthday "cake." Both flavors were very, very good but overall I think we liked the cherry cheesecake kind better. It tasted more "cheesecakey." We had a TON of leftovers but it sure enough got eaten over the course of a week or two... :)
Strawberry and Cheesecake Ice Cream Layered Dessert
Yields: one 9x13 pan
1 half gallon strawberry (or cherry) cheesecake ice cream
2 containers of Sara Lee cheesecake bites in original or strawberry cheesecake flavor (or 1/2 frozen cheesecake cut into small, bite-sized pieces)
3 cups graham crackers, crushed
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 small container Cool Whip
Optional: Strawberry sauce (see recipe below)
Prepare oven to 375 degrees F. Take ice cream out of freezer to soften. To make graham cracker crust, blend 2 cups of graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter in large bowl. Press mixture firmly into a 9x13 pan. Bake for 8 minutes. Let cool.
When crust is cool, make sure ice cream is soft enough to spread. If it's not, microwave for about 30 second intervals, stirring in-between to get it nice and smooth. Once it's ready, let the layering begin!
Layer half of the cheesecake bites, strawberry sauce and one-third of graham cracker crumbs over the cooled crust. Then, spread half of the ice cream over the top. Repeat process, with cheesecake, graham crackers and sauce, then the rest of the ice cream. Cover with aluminum foil and freeze for about an hour. After an hour, take out and spread Cool Whip over top. (This is done so that it is easier to spread the Cool Whip rather than spreading it while the ice cream is very melty). Finish by sprinkling remaining graham cracker crumbs on the top. Cover and freeze for 3-4 hours more, or until completely frozen.
When ready to serve, let it sit out for about 15 minutes, allowing it to soften a bit. And enjoy!