Meal Planning Monday ~ I am an Ice Cream Evil Genius!

I am an ice cream evil genius!

This week’s blog post is by Christine Luken.

A few weeks ago, I bought my husband an ice cream machine for his birthday. He loved it! I’m pretty sure his exact words were, “You are the best wife, ever!” Yes, that man LOVES his ice cream. If you haven’t been to the store lately to buy ice cream, you may not have noticed that it is expensive!! I try to buy food that is all natural, without high fructose corn syrup and other chemical additives. So Bryer’s is my ice cream brand of choice, but at over $6.00 for a half-gallon that’s hard to swallow.

Not only does making my own ice cream save me money, it also tastes SO much better than store-bought. Plus, I can control the amount of sugar and fat that goes into it. My absolute favorite ice cream is Ben & Jerry’s Mint Chocolate Cookie, now discontinued.  :(  It’s essentially mint ice cream with Oreo cookie pieces, so I figured I’d try my own version. I peered into the ice cream maker as it churned around, rubbing my palms together in anticipation. One bite of the finished product and I exclaimed, “I am an Ice Cream Evil Genius!” (Insert evil laugh here.) My husband came into the kitchen to see what the fuss was about. After trying my creation, he agreed I was indeed an ice cream evil genius.

Our Cuisinart ice cream maker – which is awesome – came with a recipe booklet. For most of my batches of ice cream, I’ve used some variation on the recipe for the Simple Vanilla Ice Cream. In the next few weeks, I’ll be experimenting with frozen yogurt recipes!

Simple Vanilla Ice Cream

• 1 cup of whole milk
• ¾ cup of granulated sugar
• Pinch of salt
• 2 cups heavy cream
• 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract

Use a whisk or hand mixer to combine milk, sugar, and salt. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate 1 – 2 hours or overnight. Turn on your ice cream maker and pour the mixture into the frozen bowl and let mix until thickened, about 15 minutes. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the freezer. Makes about 5 cups.

A few notes:
• You can use lower fat milk. I’ve used both 2% and skim milk and really can’t tell the difference from whole milk.
• You can use Splenda, Stevia, or another sugar substitute. I make all of my ice cream with Domino Lite, which is a half-sugar and half-stevia blend. Don’t tell my husband, he thinks I’ve been using regular sugar! Follow the directions on sugar substitute package for adjusting the amount for recipes. With the Domino Lite, you use ½ cup for every cup of sugar in a recipe.
• I bought some great ice cream storage containers by Zak Designs that I love! Each container holds almost the whole batch of ice cream, which is fine because Nick and I can’t help eating some as soon as it’s ready. Plus, they’re insulated with a freezable gel lid to keep contents cold for up to 90 minutes, so you can take your ice cream to a party or picnic and not worry about it melting on the way.

Mint Chocolate Cookie Ice Cream
Using the above recipe, substitute 1 ½ tsp. peppermint extract for the vanilla. You’ll also need a To-Go Cup of Oreo Mini’s. Put the mini Oreos in a sandwich bag and crush them. Leave some larger chunks. After the ice cream has churned about 10 minutes, add ½ of the crushed Oreos. Add the rest of the Oreos the final minute or two of churning. This will ensure you have some larger bites of cookie.

Cherry Ice Cream
Using the above recipe, substitute 1 ½ tsp. almond extract for the vanilla. Add ½ cup of finely chopped cherries to the mix and refrigerate for 1 – 2 hours or overnight. Churn ice cream according to the directions above. I used fresh organic cherries from the co-op, and it turned out awesome!

Heath Bar Crunch Ice Cream
Add one crushed Heath Bar to the ice cream in the last few minutes of churning. Heath Bar pieces are sold in the baking aisle as well. One bag will make 2 – 3 batches of ice cream. This one is my husband’s favorite variety. Feel free to experiment with other candy bars!

Classic Cookies & Cream Ice Cream
This recipe is the same as the Mint Chocolate Cookie ice cream, except you use 1 Tbsp. vanilla instead of the peppermint extract.

Strawberry Ice Cream
Use the Vanilla Ice Cream recipe and add 1 cup of chopped strawberries before refrigerating. It’s better to chop them into smaller pieces, because frozen strawberries are hard as a rock!

If you’ve got a great homemade ice cream or frozen yogurt recipe, please share the link in the comments!


  1. Tracie says:

    Mmmm. I have never made my own ice cream. I really need an ice cream maker, and some time to experiment.

  2. I love Cuisinart. Their products last forever. Oh – try adding some chocolate chips to that cherry ice cream – it’s fabulous.

  3. tabitha vos says:

    this would be perfect to have on so many levels. Yes ice cream is crazy high, I also like the fact I could make this and know what and how much I am putting in it.. would be perfect for me since I am trying to lose some weight!

  4. Beeb says:

    Hahahaha, I love the Dr. Evil photo! You’re not kidding that ice cream is expensive. My worry would be that if I bought an ice cream maker, I might eat ice cream every day. LOL!! Thanks for sharing these recipes, anyone who is a fan of Mint Chocolate Cookie will jump for joy!

  5. I agree, ice creams are getting expensive. I will check this ice cream maker in the store. My hubby and kids are ice cream lover. They eat every night.

  6. Scott B says:

    I’ve always wanted to try to make my own ice cream. This ice cream maker sounds like a step in the right direction.

  7. Debra says:

    We make our own ice cream in an old school ice cream maker that’s probably 20 years old. We managed to get a mechanical crank on it instead of having to hand crank – and lots of Kosher/sea salt! I didn’t know that Cuisinart made one – have to check it out!

  8. OK, I pinned this post! We just got an ice cream maker and I can’t wait to try it out!

  9. Ronnie says:

    Ooo yummy! I would make a butterscotch ice cream with swirls of caramel. And then maybe a few healthier options, like non dairy ice cream with coconut milk. Yum yum!

  10. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! I just picked up this kind of ice cream maker at a thrift store over the weekend for $5. My hubby just asked last night, if I had found any recipes. Now, I can say, “yes!”

  11. Heather M says:

    I feel your pain on losing your favorite Ben and Jerry’s. I love LOVE LOVED Bovinity Divinity until the darn graveyard swallowed it…ALIVE. Sadly I can’t find white and dark chocolate cows BUT great idea. I need to find a way to make it in my ice cream machine. You are so right on the cost and ingredients of ice cream. Why do they have to make it so hard? It only takes a few simple ingredients.

  12. I want to try making the cherry. Sounds so good!

  13. Joanne says:

    I love that!! It’s an awesome color also!

  14. I haven’t made ice cream in ages, but the newer machines sound like they make the process easier than in the past. I love all types of ice cream and would try the cherry and strawberry flavors. I’m hungry right now!

  15. Cyndie says:

    I love love home made ice cream. My fave would be peach. SWEET machine you have there.