8/25/25 ChefElla's Fresh Fruit with Fruit Dip

While lunchtime at school is fun, it seems like you barely have enough time to eat your whole lunch.  With so little time at lunch, trying to eat a whole apple, banana, or orange can really slow you down.  The answer, cut fruit, but apples and pears brown so quickly after they are cut, and who wants to eat a banana or orange every day?  In my recipe for fresh fruit I will give you the secret to keeping apples and pears from turning brown, and even give you my secret fruit dip recipe to make you want to finish every last piece in your lunch.  Enjoy your lunch and have a great school year.

Wash your hands.

For this recipe you will need a stand or hand mixer, measuring cups and spoons, a rubber spatula, a knife, a cutting board, and a medium bowl.

If you are not allowed to use a knife or the mixer by yourself you can ask an adult to help.

ChefElla’s Fresh Fruit with Fruit Dip (Yield 2 Cups of Dip)

8 oz.         Cream Cheese, Light

6 oz.         Vanilla Yogurt

1 Cup         Powdered Sugar

½ tsp         Vanilla

Soaking Water

1 Cup         Water

1 Tbl          Lemon Juice

Fruit Options:

Sliced Apples, Pears, Bananas, Strawberries, Raspberries, Sliced Cantaloupe, Honeydew, Oranges, Grapes, or your favorite fruit.

Make sure you wash your fruit under running water before you cut it up for your lunch.

To prepare the apples or pears ahead of time:

1.     Mix water and lemon juice in a medium sized bowl.  The lemon water will keep the fruit from browning.

2.     Using a melon baller scoop out the stem and bottom of the fruit.  Cut the fruit in half and scoop out the seeds.

3.     Put the fruit on your cutting board flat side down.  Cut the halves into slices or wedges.  Let the fruit sit in the liquid for at least 20 minutes to keep it from browning.  Drain and put fruit into a serving container.  If you are making the fruit the night before let the fruit sit in the lemon water overnight, drain in the morning before school and put fruit into a serving container.

To prepare the Fruit Dip:

1.     Add cream cheese, yogurt, powdered sugar, and vanilla in your mixing bowl.

2.     Put the mixing bowl on the stand mixer, and mix on low speed until the powdered sugar is mixed into the wet ingredients.  When the powdered sugar is blended.  Mix on high speed for 30 -45 seconds.  Remove the mixing bowl from the stand.

3.     Scrape all of the ingredients together in the bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure all of the ingredients are blended well.  Scrape the fruit dip into a bowl, cover, and store in the refrigerator. 

4.     Pack cut fruit and a small container of the fruit dip in your lunch.

You can also try other flavors in your fruit dip like almond extract instead of vanilla.  Try some orange or lemon juice, or you can even try some pureed strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries in your dip.



Ella’s helpers can help in the kitchen by:

Scooping out the ends of the apples and bananas.

Washing the fruit.

Measuring out the ingredients.

Adding the ingredients to the bowl.

Measuring and mixing the soaking water.

2/11/15 ChefElla's Valentine's Strawberry Shortcakes

There is nothing more fun than giving your friend's and family something nice for Valentine's Day, except making something for them.  I don't know why everyone eats and gives strawberries on Valentine's Day, maybe it's because they are red, or maybe it's because they are shaped like hearts, but either way they taste good.  Nothing tastes better than a good strawberry shortcake, and nothing makes it taste better than when someone makes it for your.  So enjoy making your shortcake, and enjoy your Valentine's Day. Who knows, maybe someone will make some strawberry shortcake for you.

1.  Wash your hands.

2.  For this recipe you will need measuring spoons and cups, a large bowl, a small bowl, a knife, a cutting board, a whisk, cookie sheets, a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, a rolling pin, a heart shaped cookie cutter, and a stand or hand mixer with a bowl and whisk.

If you are not allowed to use a knife or the oven by yourself you can ask an adult for help.

ChefElla's Valentine's Strawberry Shortcakes (Yields 12-14 servings / 24-28 three inch biscuits)



1 ¼ Cups                All Purpose Flour, also known as AP Flour

½ Cup                    Whole Wheat Flour

½ tsp                       Salt

1 Tbl                        Baking Powder

3 Tbl                       Sugar

1 ½  Cups                Heavy Cream

1 Tbl                         Vanilla (You could substitute orange, almond, or lemon extract if you prefer)


1 lb.                          Fresh Strawberries, Small Dice

         -Wash strawberries.  Cut off the green or stem parts.  Place strawberry, cut side down

         and quarter the berry.  Cut quarters into pieces.

2 tsp                        Granulated Sugar

Whipped Cream (optional)

-If you would prefer to buy whipped cream it will work just as well.

1 ½ Cups                Heavy Cream

3 Tbl                       Granulated Sugar

1 Tbl                        Vanilla


3.  Preheat your oven to 425F.  Line your cookie sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.  Spray aluminum foil with pan spray.

4.  In your large bowl mix AP flour, whole wheat flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar.  Add heavy cream and vanilla.  Mix with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.  As soon as the flour and cream start to blend into a dough ball begin using your hands to mix.  The dough will be sticky but you want to make sure all of the flour gets mixed into the dough.  There is no need to be rough with it.  Just keep folding it over until all of the flour is mixed in.

5.  Sprinkle some AP flour onto your counter.  Place the dough ball on the counter.  Sprinkle a little more flour on the dough ball.  Begin to pat the dough ball out into a disc shape.  If the dough begins to stick to the counter lift it up and sprinkle a little more flour underneath.  Begin to roll out your dough with your roller.

6.  If the dough begins to stick on top or underneath sprinkle with a little flour as necessary.  Roll the dough out until it is about ½ inch in thickness.  A little thinner is ok. 

7.  Start cutting out your biscuit hearts.  Try to keep the cutter close to the last cut out piece to decrease waste.  If the cutter sticks just rub a little flour on it.  Cut out all of the biscuits and place them on your cookie sheet.  Take the left over dough and gently mold it back into a disc shape.  Roll out to ½ inch.  Cut out biscuit hearts and place onto your cookie sheet.  Throw out remaining dough, or cut into pieces and bake them for a snack. 


8.  Pour a little heavy cream into a small cup.  Dip two fingers into the cream and spread a thin layer of cream over the top of each biscuit.

9.  Bake biscuits for 10-12 minutes, or until they are a light golden color on top.

10.  Mix diced strawberries with sugar in a small bowl and refrigerate.

11.  To make whipped cream, pour cream, sugar and vanilla into your stand mixing bowl.  Using the whisk attachment, mix the cream for one minute on a higher speed.  As the cream begins to stiffen slow the mixer to a medium speed.  Watch the cream mix until it begins to set or become pudding like in appearance.  Stop the mixer occasionally to test the consistency.  Test the consistency by pulling the whisk out of the whipped cream.  If the whipped cream stands up on its own (stiff peaks) it is done.  If it is not done, mix a little longer and test again.  Do not over mix or the cream if you do it will look a little like cottage cheese and turn into butter (literally).  Refrigerate when done.

12.  To make your strawberry shortcake, take a heart biscuit and spread a little whipped cream on it.  Put the heart, cream side up, on your plate.  Top the biscuit with some of your strawberry mixture.  Top the strawberries with a spoonful of whipped cream and top the shortcake with another heart biscuit.  If you really like whipped cream you can top your strawberry shortcake with more whipped cream.

Happy Valentine's Day.