Cream Cheese Rules the Dairy Aisle, and Here’s Why

Cream Cheese On White Surface

Photo by: Tara Donne ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Tara Donne, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Cream Cheese On White Surface

Of all of the treasures in the dairy aisle, the best one is hard to pick. Eggs are pretty great because they’re essential to breakfast sandwiches, egg salad and cake, and you can eat them for pretty much any meal, but they lose a few points for versatility because you have to cook them. Cheddar cheese is awesome because it’s good melted on just about anything and makes a killer sandwich, but you can’t really turn it into a dessert. Yogurt wins for being healthy (usually), but that’s really all yogurt has going for it.

But cream cheese? Cream cheese is the dairy aisle MVP because it’s so versatile. What else can you smear on a bagel, whip into frosting, swirl into mashed potatoes or turn into a hot, cheesy dip? Cream cheese is the best, and here are 11 reasons why.

Cream Cheese Frosting: Cathy Lowe

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Tara Donne

Tara Donne, Tara Donne

Cream Cheese Frosting: Cathy Lowe

Cream Cheese Frosting (above) is the best part of any carrot cake, hummingbird cake or red velvet cake, but try it on your favorite banana cake, chocolate cake or coconut cupcakes, or serve it with strawberries.

FNK_KidsCanMakeTurkeyAndBasilCreamCheesePinwheelSandwiches_H

FNK_KidsCanMakeTurkeyAndBasilCreamCheesePinwheelSandwiches_H

Chef Name: Food Network Kitchen Full Recipe Name: Kids Can Make: Roasted Turkey and Basil Cream Cheese Pinwheel Sandwiches Talent Recipe: FNK Recipe: Food Network Kitchen’s Kids Can Make: Roasted Turkey and Basil Cream Cheese Pinwheel Sandwiches, as seen on Foodnetwork.com Project: Foodnetwork.com, SUMMER/APPETIZERS/PASTA Show Name: Food Network / Cooking Channel: Food Network

Photo by: Renee Comet ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Renee Comet, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Chef Name: Food Network Kitchen Full Recipe Name: Kids Can Make: Roasted Turkey and Basil Cream Cheese Pinwheel Sandwiches Talent Recipe: FNK Recipe: Food Network Kitchen’s Kids Can Make: Roasted Turkey and Basil Cream Cheese Pinwheel Sandwiches, as seen on Foodnetwork.com Project: Foodnetwork.com, SUMMER/APPETIZERS/PASTA Show Name: Food Network / Cooking Channel: Food Network

Spread tortillas with whipped cream cheese and add veggies and deli meat for a fun lunch or after-school snack; it’s so easy, kids can make it themselves.

Move over, mayo. Everything salmon burgers — burgers flavored with “everything” spices, just like everyone’s favorite bagel — get topped with a smear of cream cheese sauce, plus lettuce, tomato and onion.

Photo by: Brian Kennedy ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Brian Kennedy, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

If you haven’t been adding cream cheese to your macaroni and cheese, do it. Immediately. It’ll change your life. Cream cheese makes the mac extra rich and creamy and adds a little tang, too.

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Food stylist: Adrienne Anderson Prop stylist: Leslie Siegel

Photo by: Andrew McCaul

Andrew McCaul

Food stylist: Adrienne Anderson Prop stylist: Leslie Siegel

And guess what? You can use cream cheese to make lightened-up pasta recipes, like Low-Calorie Fettuccine Alfredo (now do you see why cream cheese is the best?). A little bit of low-fat cream cheese, or Neufchatel cheese (which tastes pretty much the same as the full-fat kind), plus low-fat milk and Parmesan cheese make this fettuccine so creamy, you’ll forget it’s lighter. You can even make a vegan version, using soy cream cheese.

CREAMY MASHED POTATOES Ree Drummond The Pioneer Woman/Home On The Range Food Network Yukon Gold or Russet Potatoes,Butter, Cream Cheese, HalfandHalf, Cream, Salt, Pepper, Milk,CREAMY MASHED POTATOES Ree Drummond The Pioneer Woman/Home On The Range Food Network Yukon Gold or Russet Potatoes,Butter, Cream Cheese, HalfandHalf, Cream, Salt, Pepper, Milk

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

CREAMY MASHED POTATOES Ree Drummond The Pioneer Woman/Home On The Range Food Network Yukon Gold or Russet Potatoes,Butter, Cream Cheese, HalfandHalf, Cream, Salt, Pepper, Milk,CREAMY MASHED POTATOES Ree Drummond The Pioneer Woman/Home On The Range Food Network Yukon Gold or Russet Potatoes,Butter, Cream Cheese, HalfandHalf, Cream, Salt, Pepper, Milk

If you want to make the world’s creamiest mashed potatoes, add cream cheese after you mash them.

The next time you have a craving for lox and cream cheese, add them to a frittata or omelet — with a bagel on the side.

French_Toast-013.tif

French_Toast-013.tif

Prop Stylist - Anna Beckman Food Stylist - Alison Attenborough

Prop Stylist - Anna Beckman Food Stylist - Alison Attenborough

One more beyond-the-bagel way to eat cream cheese for breakfast: Stuff your French toast with it.

FN.com Off the Menu, St. Patrick's and Bacon/ CC Healthy

Photo by: Kate Mathis ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Kate Mathis, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

FN.com Off the Menu, St. Patrick's and Bacon/ CC Healthy

Bacon-Ranch Cream Cheese Wellington is a cross between baked Brie in pastry and a more kid-friendly cream cheese log. The result is elegant enough for entertaining, but the bacon and ranch flavors mean kids will love it too.

And finally, the most-important use for cream cheese: cheesecake. There are endless ways to make it, but cream cheese is essential.

Essential Reading for Cream Cheese Lovers:

How to Make Carrot Cheesecake

5 Fun Ways to Make Cheesecake

9 Things You Never Thought to Do with Cream Cheese Frosting

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