For some reason, I’ve always had a bit of difficulty making those “instant” or “just add water” recipes. Ironically, I can perfectly turn out a complicated recipe that takes all day to make, but I can’t seem to make instant 5-minute rice properly, nor does the instant oatmeal always turn out just right. But one of my biggest disasters usually comes in the form of Jello. If you’ve ever tried to make Jello and botched it, you know just what I’m talking about.
Just the other day, I thought I would make a batch of Jello. It had been a few years since I’d screwed it up last, and I had put several successful attempts under my belt in the meantime. I figured I was good to go with a packet each of strawberry and strawberry banana Jello. Heading over to the pantry, I checked out our selection of canned fruit. All we had was pineapple and mandarin oranges, neither of which could very well be used in Jello. So I checked out our freezer stock and found a bag of frozen peaches and strawberries. That’ll work, I decided.
I made the Jello as usual, and defrosted the fruit on the defrost setting in the microwave. Big mistake. As my mom told me later, I should have let them defrost completely, dry the fruit with paper towels, and then add it to the Jello. But of course, I just stuck them right into the Jello liquid, made a place in the fridge for the bowl, and went about the rest of my workday.
A couple hours later I come back to check on my masterpiece and find it’s still runny as ever. Hmmm. Perhaps the fridge isn’t very cold today. I check on it a few hours later. Hmmm. That’s interesting. Still runny.
That night for dinner, I inform the family that, despite the fact they’d been tantalized with the bowl of Jello in the fridge for half the day, we wouldn’t be having it tonight. Or any night, for that matter. After a further explanation of exactly what I did wrong (again), I set about looking for a way to salvage my mistake and not waste the food.
After almost an hour of online searching and coming up empty (either very few people screw up Jello, or they don’t try to salvage it once it’s beyond repair), I come up with an idea to use the Jello. Smoothies!
Thankfully, I had some other ingredients on hand suitable for thickening loose Jello. I kind of “winged it” and just dumped a bunch of ingredients into the blender and punched the button. Now all I had to do was wait patiently, which, if you know me, is not one of my most developed virtues.
After a minute or two of rough blending, I test my new creation. Not bad. Actually, it tasted quite delicious. I almost enjoyed it better than I would have enjoyed the Jello with Cool Whip the previous evening. I give my sisters a try. They give it the OK, so I continue making smoothies until the Jello was all used up.
The whole batch ended up making way more smoothie mixture than we could drink, so my mom suggested I freeze the rest. That’s exactly what I do. The next evening, we thaw it a little bit, and all enjoy a delicious (albeit VERY chilly) frozen smoothie.
But this whole story won’t do you much good unless I share the recipe with you, which, of course, I’m going to do. So, for any of you who have ever botched a batch of Jello, fear not! It needn’t go to waste.
Jello Salvage Smoothies
1 1/2 – 2 c. runny Jello, made as if it were going to be a perfect Jello but instead never congeals
1 c. frozen fruit (in addition to whatever fruit you might already have in the Jello)
1/2 c. Cool Whip
1/3 c. yogurt (I used a fruit flavor)
1/2 c. half and half
Put everything in a blender and blend for 1-2 minutes. Drink and enjoy. Can be divvied into smaller cups and frozen for future use.