Ah yes, delicious strawberries

The strawberries in the grocery stores are just too good to pass up, so today I have recipes that use the fruit.

Strawberry Cheesecake Shake

1/2 c. Milk

1/2 c. cottage cheese

sweeten to taste

1/2 tsp. vanilla or almond extract (optional)

2 c. frozen strawberries

Place the milk, cottage cheese, sweetener and extract in blender and blend until completely smooth and all lumps are gone (30 seconds). NOTE: DO NOT ADD FROZEN FRUIT UNTIL COTTAGE CHEESE IS BLENDED SMOOTH.

Then add frozen strawberries (or frozen fruit of choice) a few at a time, blending in-between each addition until all are added and shake is smooth. Try it with frozen blueberries, frozen berries or frozen peaches.

Fruit Pizza

1/2 package of refrigerated sugar cookie dough

8 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese, whipped

1/3 c. powdered sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 Tbls. water

1/4 c. apricot preserves

Fruit of your choice (sliced bananas, sliced strawberries, sliced kiwi, seedless grapes cut in half, blueberries, melon balls sliced in half)

CRUST: Spread the sugar cookie dough over a 14-inch pizza pan. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 12 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Cool in the pan.

TOPPING: Blend the cream cheese with the sugar and vanilla until completely mixed. Spread in a thin layer over the cooled crust.

FRUIT LAYER: Creatively arrange the fruit in circles while slightly overlapping the slices around the crust.

GLAZE: Bring the water and preserves to a boil, stirring constantly. Lightly brush this glaze on top on the fruit to preserve the color. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Balsamic Strawberries with Ricotta Cream

1 c. ricotta cheese

1 Tbls. honey

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

3 Tbls. balsamic vinegar

1 Tbls. plus 1 tsp. brown sugar

1 lb. strawberries, hulled* and quartered

1 Tbls. fresh basil, cut into fine ribbons

*To hull a strawberry, remove the stem and leaves.

Place the ricotta in a medium bowl or the bowl of a food processor. Add the honey and vanilla. Process for 1 minute (or mix using a hand mixer) until the ricotta is smooth. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Meanwhile, combine the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, then cook for three minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and allow to cool completely.

Once cool, gently stir in the strawberries and basil.

Layer the strawberries and ricotta into four glasses and serve immediately. Garnish with additional basil, if desired.