Recipe for frozen yogurt without a machine coming up just as soon as I explain who Chuck is.

If you’ve seen the TV spy comedy drama Chuck, you may be able to appreciate this post. Otherwise, this will probably seem incredibly dorky to you, but I won’t hold your questionable taste against you. :)

My husband has been a devoted Chuck fan since the show first started and through when it was threatened with cancellation and was subsequently saved by a Subway campaign started by his (and now my) favorite TV critic, Alan Sepinwall (to whom the first line of this post pays homage). I started getting into the show during season 2, and I have to say, by the time the Intersect 2.0 entered the picture, I was firmly hooked.

When I discovered that one of my out-of-town friends is a fellow Chuck fan, I told her we must have a Chuck party next time she’s in town. And that is exactly what we did this past Monday.

My first mission was to secure a tub of cheese balls (which was all Chuck ate for a time while he was in a funk), which I remembered seeing at Target. My sister obviously couldn’t be here for this but wanted to contribute by sending me a pattern to make my own cheese-ball boxes (I didn’t have card stock on hand, so I used old manila folders and then used my rotary cutter to make the ridges). (Update: Get the DIY tutorial here.) She even made me little signs in the Chuck font to label each of the dishes in the style of the episode titles. I told her next time Chuck is threatened to be canceled she should put together DIY Chuck party packages.

We had hot dogs in tribute to the Wienerlicious where Sarah (Chuck’s CIA handler and love interest) worked as her cover.

Chuck vs. Wienerlicious

And, of course, how could we have a Chuck party without the product that saved the show… Subway.

Chuck vs. Subway

After the first season, for some reason the Wienerlicious that Sarah used to work at got turned into a frozen yogurt place. Playing off the names Pink Berry and Red Mango, the show’s writers cleverly named this yogurt place the Orange Orange. So I thought fro-yo would be perfect for dessert, but the only problem was, I don’t have an ice cream maker.

After digging around a bit, I found a recipe for how to make ice cream without a machine and decided to give it a try. It didn’t turn out with quite the tang of actual fro-yo, and I had a little trouble getting it to freeze to the right consistency. We ended up eating it more soft-serve style, with toppings on the side. Add to that a bit of Jeffster and a lot of Awesome (and an Awesome junior!), and I think it turned it turned out nothing short of perfect.

Frozen Yogurt Without a Machine
Adapted from David Liebovitz and 101 Cookbooks
Serves 3-5

2 32-oz tubs of regular yogurt (or use Greek yogurt if you don’t want to drain)
1 cup white sugar (this turned out a tad too sweet for me but may be right for some)
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Scoop the yogurt into a colander lined with cheesecloth and set over a bowl to catch the drippings. Let yogurt drain overnight in the fridge. From 2 32-oz tubs, I ended up with 4 cups of thick, creamy yogurt after draining.

2. Mix in the sugar and vanilla. Stir well.

3. Chill a bowl or a baking dish in the freezer and then pour the drained yogurt into it. Put the yogurt into the freezer. I found that my yogurt took a while to freeze in a bowl, so midway through I switched to a shallower baking dish.

4. After 45 minutes to an hour, take the yogurt out and stir it vigorously with a spatula, whisk, or immersion blender. The more you break up the ice crystals as they’re forming, the smoother the frozen yogurt will turn out. Set back into freezer after stirring.

5. Continue to stir the yogurt about every half hour. I found that this was a bit frequent and would soften the yogurt again before it had enough time to freeze. Next time I may wait longer between stirs.

6. Keep checking and stirring periodically until the yogurt reaches the desired consistency. My yogurt took 4-5 hours to reach a soft ice-cream-like stage around the edges, with the middle still being rather soft.

7. Serve with toppings like crushed nuts, berries or other fruit, shredded coconut, chocolate shavings, crushed candy bars, and mint leaves. Best eaten immediately. Even better while watching Chuck.