Holidays can easily be the dieter's downfall. And as for kids, they always want sweets. When they (or you) discover something as rich and fun to make and eat as Watergate Salad, you know you're in trouble. While this isn't an entirely healthy dish, it's a lot better version than some, with less calories and more good stuff. It's also not quite as sweet, and that's a good thing. You can cut the sugar and fat some more by using sugar-free pudding and fat-free whipped topping, but it makes a small savings at the expense of a little of the flavor. Note: although this is called a "salad", don't let that name fool you. It's a fruit and pudding dessert, pure and simple.
1 small package pistachio instant pudding mix (3
to 3-1/2 oz)
Drain the pineapple, reserving the juice. Drain the fruit cocktail separately, reserving juice for some other use.
Mix the fruit and the marshmallows in a large bowl. Chop the banana into 1/2 inch cubes and stir into the canned fruit mixture. Chop the walnuts fairly fine and add to the fruit.
Place 1 cup of the reserved pineapple juice in another bowl. If there's less than 1 cup, add enough fruit cocktail juice to make a cup. (The fruit cocktail juice can be saved and added to Jell-O, fruit ades, punch or fruit juice drinks.) Whisk the pudding mix into the juice. When thoroughly mixed, add to the fruit and stir gently to mix.
Fold in the whipped topping. Refrigerate for at least an hour for dessert to set and flavors to meld.
Makes about 8 cups, or ten 3/4 cup servings. (Ha! Lots of luck limiting it to this size serving).
This dessert will keep in the refrigerator for two days. If you will need to keep it a third day, leave out the banana. You can stretch this dessert nicely and cheaply for more servings for a crowd by adding one or two more bananas, and/or another cup of marshmallows.
You may also leave out the fruit cocktail and add a second or third banana for a cheaper and possibly more nutritious dessert.
Be forewarned: if you have an irresistible sweet tooth, even this reduced-calorie version can be a dieter's downfall. It also usually contains a fair amount of saturated, partially hydrogenated fat, lots of sugar and artificial flavors, which are better kept to a minimum or used as an occasional or holiday treat.