My first real job out of college, I worked with a woman that LOVED to cook. I got this recipe from her. I always mess it up in some way, but, really, it always tastes awesome -- salty and sweet, tart and fruity, smooth and crunchy. My family calls it a dessert, but my husband's family calls it a salad. I leave it to you to decide!
Dissolve jello in 2 cups warm water. Add thawed strawberries. Mix well and set to chill for 2 hours or until the jello is starting to firm up. You need to be able to pour the jello on top of cream cheese mixture without getting the pretzels underneath mushy..
Preheat oven to 350*F. Crush pretzels till you have four cups. Melt sticks of butter. Combine pretzels, the ½ cup of sugar, and butter. Press into the bottom of a 9" x 13" pan. Bake at 350*F for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
Soften cream cheese. Beat the 1 cup of sugar, cream cheese, and cool whip together. Spread evenly over pretzel crust. Set aside till jello is ready to be added.
When jello is ready, pour evenly over top of the cream cheese mixture. Place in refrigerator till ready to serve.