Monday, January 16, 2012

Best EVER Banana Pudding - Lighter Version

This is one of my all time favorite potluck recipes. I rarely have brought this creamy banana pudding pan home with more than a spoonful of pudding left.  I love that it goes together in about 10 minutes and can be lightened up without compromising a bit of its rich, decadent flavor.

I've made this a bazillion times and there are a few things I've learned: 
1.  I make sure to have the cookies spread out in the pan before starting the filling.  The filling thickens up very quickly and can be hard to spread if you let it sit while putting the wafers in the pan.
2.  Make sure your cream cheese is good and soft.  Otherwise, you'll have a hard time getting it smooth.
3.  Mix everything together before adding pudding mix.  This way you only dirty one bowl and get the smoothest pudding.
4.  Put the bananas on the pudding right before serving to keep the bananas from turning brown on you.

Recipe
Adapted from AllRecipes.com
1 (8 ounce) package low fat or fat free cream cheese, softened
2/3 (14 ounce) can fat free sweetened condensed milk
1 small package sugar free/fat free instant vanilla pudding mix
1 small package sugar free/fat free instant banana pudding mix
3 cups 1% or skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large container lite frozen whipped topping, thawed
3-4 bananas, sliced
1/2 (12 ounce) package vanilla wafers

1.  Spread vanilla wafers across the bottom and up the sides of a 9 x 13 pan.  You'll want to do this first because the filling sets up very quickly.
2.  In a large bowl beat cream cheese until fluffy.  Beat in sweetened condensed milk, skim milk and vanilla extract until smooth.  Add pudding mixes and continue beating until thoroughly combined.  Fold in about 1 1/2 cup whipped topping.  Spread over vanilla wafers.  Chill overnight.
3.  Before serving top with sliced bananas and then whipped topping.  Sprinkle a few crushed wafers on top for garnish.

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