2 cups crushed pretzels (about 8 ounces)
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar, divided
6-ounce box strawberry gelatin (Jello)
2 cups water, boiling
8 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
8 ounces whipped topping (such as Cool-Whip)
32 ounces frozen strawberries, thawed, liquid drained and sliced or quartered
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine pretzels, butter, and 1/4 cup sugar to create the crust mixture. Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of a 13×9″ baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes. Set aside and allow the crust to cool completely.
In a large bowl, combine the strawberry Jello with the boiling water. Stir until the Jello is completely dissolved. Cover bowl and place in the refrigerator to allow it to cool just until it begins to set (but is still liquid).
In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and remaining sugar (3/4 cup) until smooth. With a spoon, fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture. Spread the mixture evenly over the cooled pretzel crust, ensuring that the mixture completely covers the crust, all the way to the edges of the dish. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Remove the baking dish from the refrigerator and arrange the strawberry slices/pieces on top of the cream cheese/whipped topping mixture. Gently spoon the cooled Jello evenly over the strawberries.
Cover the baking dish and refrigerate 4 to 6 hours or until the Jello layer is set and firm. Cut into squares to serve. Top with additional whipped cream and fresh strawberries, if desired.