No-Bake Cinnamon/Apple Cheesecake

I have stacks and stacks of cookbooks. I used to cook only from recipes and that worked out really well but it lost its thrill after a while. Then I started experimenting! Turning your kitchen into a test kitchen is a risky proposition. If you don’t pay attention, you can really make a mess and do something I was taught never to do – waste a lot of food!

I’ve been following the Zone Diet for about a month now and it is really working out well for me, but one day I had a craving for something rich and sweet. I wasn’t in the mood for another ZonePerfect bar, so I stepped into the test kitchen and this is what I came up with:

No-Bake Cinnamon/Apple Cheesecake

Let me start by saying that this is a rich, sugar-free dessert that complies with Zone Diet guidelines. Losing weight doesn’t mean you have to give up the good things in life!

2 Pkgs Sugar-Free Jello Pudding, Cheesecake Flavor
2 Pkgs Philadelphia Neufchatel Cream Cheese
2 C Skim Milk
¼ C Splenda
2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
½ C Bran Cereal
½ C Shelled Walnuts
1 Can No Sugar Added Apple Pie Filling

1. Place Bran cereal and walnuts in a food processor/chopper and chop just long enough to break walnuts down. I prefer a lumpy texture, but a fine mixture would work just as well. Once this mixture is ground, pour it on the bottom of an ungreased 8×11” baking pan or a springform cheesecake pan. Spread it evenly to cover the entire bottom of the pan. This will be your cheesecake crust.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine pudding mix, cream cheese, milk, Splenda and cinnamon. Beat until smooth with electric mixer. Mixture should be thick. This will be your cheesecake filling.

3. Using a spoon or spatula, carefully pour the mixture into your pan, over the walnut/bran layer. Cover with plastic wrap and let cool in refrigerator until set (approx 2 hours).

4. Once your cheesecake filling has set (is somewhat firm), pour the apple pie filling into a bowl. Using two knives and a scissor motion, chop the apple slices into smaller pieces that will spread well. This will be your cheesecake topping.

5. Pour topping over cheesecake filling and spread gently with the back of a spoon or a rubber spatula.

Makes eight perfect Zone Diet servings