It’s Sunday! I love Sundays. I love sunny Sundays. I love naps on sunny Sundays, preferably outside, preferably in a hammock. I love grocery stores on Sundays with all the people in their church clothes buying fried chicken. I love church on Sundays and the people at church on Sundays and the sense of hope at church on Sundays. I love spring sunny Sundays because there is no Sunday football. I love the intentional efforts of most people to rest on the last few moments of the weekend before work week on Sundays. Sundays are simple and cozy. I like them a lot.
In my later years of life, I’ve felt drawn to [theologically sound] church plant type churches, newer churches that are a bit more contemporary. I love contemporary worship music, small groups, the sense of Biblical community, and many of the things that contemporary churches do well. However in my earlier years, I grew up in a traditional small country church. Know what I miss about churches like that? Dinner on the Ground! If you didn’t grow up in small country church world, Dinner on the Ground isn’t actually on the ground at all. In my church, and most, it took place the fifth Sunday of every month, four in a year, one every quarter, and was usually followed by “5th Sundee Singin.”
Dinner on the Ground is a church wide potluck on the church grounds, usually the fellowship hall. Everyone brings a dish and everyone eats. When I was growing up, there was always grocery store fried chicken, at least three different plates and versions of deviled eggs, gallons and gallons of sweet tea, too many casseroles to name, several pound cakes, and way too many other options to fill your styrofoam plate. This recipe reminds me of Dinner on the Ground. I never had it at Dinner on the Ground, but many offerings found on the dessert table are made in 9×13 casserole dishes. I can think of at least three my grandmother makes often to take to these church gatherings (Banana Split Cake, Chocolate Sin, Pineapple Delight). This recipe is simple, yummy, not a calorie killer, and totally Dinner on the Ground/potluck worthy! It’s also made the night before, stress-free!
For further funny explanation about the Southern tradition of Dinner on the Ground check out this post on the Stuff Southern People Like Blog. It’s hilarious (and true)!
- 2 small packages of sugar free french vanilla pudding
- 1 small package of sugar free cheese cake pudding
- 3 1/2 cups skim milk
- 12 oz (1 and 1/2 of 8 ounce packages) of fat free cool whip
- 2 packages of graham crackers
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 6 tablespoons milk
- 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 cup powdered sugar
Blend milk and dry pudding mix for about 2 minutes. Fold in whipped topping. In a 9×13 glass pan, layer graham crackers to cover the bottom of the dish. You can break them to fit into odd spaces. Pour half of the pudding/whipped topping mixture on top and smooth out. Put another complete layer of graham crackers on top. Spread the remaining pudding over the crackers. Put the final layer of graham crackers on top with the bumpy side down (to ensure the frosting goes on smoothly).
For the frosting, microwave the butter and milk just enough so that the butter is melted into the milk, it doesn’t need to boil. Add cocoa powder and powdered sugar, stir together until smooth. This frosting will be somewhere between a frosting and a glaze, not thick but not completely liquid. Pour the frosting over the top of the graham crackers and smooth out with a rubber spatula or frosting spreader. Refrigerate overnight and serve!
The graham crackers end up having the texture of thin layers of cake! It’s totally no-bake, easy, and delish! Kid and adult friendly.