Archive for the ‘snacks’ Category

Review: Lay’s Kettle Cooked Maui Onion Potato Chips

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

Ahh, kettle chips. Back in the day, I used to eat them thoughtlessly while enduring a meaningful sensation of roof-of-the-mouth-tear. The super crunchiness of kettle chips had a feeling and taste that were incomparable to anything else, even RRRuffles’ enervated ridges. The snack food possibilities in the early to late ’80s were somewhat unexciting, especially if you compare them with today, but I’m telling you…kettle chips were IT.

Well that was then, this is now.

Now I don’t like the roof-of-the-mouth-tear so much as I did when I was a kid. At least I don’t understand a feasible meaning for it. Cap’n Crunch cereals are almost off my eating list too. (if only it wasn’t so tasty right out of the box!) As far as food goes, if it rips the roof of my mouth, it better be darn good! The best even!

And that is where Lay’s Kettle Cooked Maui Onion Potato Chips come into play. Frito Lay you are truly a great maker of chips that I adore, but I know you are weak. Weak enough to not be a mouth-tearing disaster. I trust your product name as well as trusting a certain gentleness about your products. No offense, but you will never be Poore Brothers, and that is why I bought you.

Good call on my part.

Lay’s Kettle Cooked Maui Onion Potato Chips were not crunchatized as the Cap’n might do, but they were much crunchier than a regular potato chip. The Maui Onion flavor was gentle and satisfying with almost no fingertip residue. I would actually go so far as to say if Funyuns were a potato chip rather than a corn meal-based “onion flavored ring”, this would be the chip. So if you like Funyuns’ flavor, but prefer the texture of a kettle cooked chip, Lay’s Kettle Cooked Maui Onion Potato Chips may be the answer for you.

Frito Lay, you can’t fool me, but I will keep your Funyuns secret to myself.

[rating:3.5/5]

Macaroni Salad that will Cure a Case of the Mondays

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

Peter Gibbons: Hey, guys.
Michael Bolton: What’s up, G?
Peter Gibbons: Want to go to Chotchkie’s? Get some coffee?
Samir: Oh, it’s a little early.
Peter Gibbons: I gotta get outta here. I think I’m gonna lose it.

Female Temp: Uh-oh. Sounds like  somebody’s got a case of the Mondays.

Oh noes…a case of the Mondays is not good! Not on any day!

This macaroni salad on the other hand is good

Good enough to cure a case of the Mondays! (to those who don’t recognize the lines above, that was a quote snag from the movie Office Space.)

It’s so easy and has very pleasing results. Be gentle with the eggs unless you are a pro. If you don’t have a handy dandy egg slicer which, might I add, would not prevent you from having to slice the opposite direction anyways, then a patient hand is the key. Dice and cut the eggs how you please. None of the eggs will stay completely intact through the stirring process. Finely chop the celery stalks and green pepper too. Onion powder saves the day in this recipe, although some freshly cut red onion could add some more color and crunch.

Behold my chopped celery disguising as chopped green pepper and my beautifully yellow egg yolks next to their little chopped egg white pals.

Add 4 cups of mayo and you’re set.

I have never prepared macaroni salad before, so I misjudged mayo requirements while at the store. I also forgot my neat table for metric conversions and such so I thought this container would be plenty.  ;)

This container of mayo falls just short of 4 cups by the way.

But you know what? It’s Monday and it does not matter!

This makes a lot of salad, but if sealed properly could last up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

  • M-m-m-macaroni Salad
    • 1 lb. uncooked elbow macaroni
    • 6 hard-boiled eggs
    • 3 celery stalks, chopped
    • 1 green or red bell pepper, chopped
    • 4 C. real mayonnaise
    • 3 Tbsp. prepared yellow mustard
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/4 tsp. pepper
    • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
    • Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until tender.
    • Drain and set aside to cool. (rinse with cold water and set aside)
    • In a large bowl stir together the eggs, celery and pepper.
    • In a small bowl stir together the mayonnaise, mustard, pepper, salt and onion powder.
    • Combine into the bowl with the eggs and vegetables and stir macaroni until well blended.
    • Cover and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

I think this is the best macaroni salad I have ever eaten and I swear I’m not just saying that because I made it. I didn’t use level tablespoon measurements when dispensing the mustard, but I enjoyed the outcome. Four tablespoons of mustard must be when the magic happened. If you like the taste of mustard potato salad, then you’ll love over-lapping the three mustard tablespoons. I think I recreated that taste in macaroni salad form, but I liked it!

And with that, enjoy a Milton clip. That poor guy couldn’t even enjoy my M-m-m-macaroni Salad if he tried. Give the brother a slice of cake!!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWp-Rj5o9uA[/youtube]

Peanut Butter Balls

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Peanut Butter Balls…what an awesome snack. Healthy too. They are better the second day but good luck keeping them in the fridge that long to find out!

And, Peanut Butter Balls are so simple to make…

  • Peanut Butter Balls
    • 1 C creamy peanut butter
    • 3 C powdered milk
    • 1 C honey
    • toppings: crushed corn flakes, wheat germ or coconut
    • Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until well blended. (No mixer necessary, clean hands work great)
    • Roll mixture into 1 inch balls.
    • Roll balls into topping; coat well.
    • Eat right away or chill in a covered container for at least 2 hours.
    • *makes about 30 balls

With a little arm work, you’ll be amazed how these come together and like I mentioned Peanut Butter Balls get better with time so try to wait awhile to let them get cold.

Starting out…

And then the arm work part begins.

Start stirring, swiveling, jabbing, mashing, and any other motion that accomplishes blending. You may feel intimidated at first, but keep with it. Remember The Little Engine That Could? Same concept totally applies here.

Pretty soon you will get this…

Looks kind of crumbly right?

Well I guarantee if you squeeze the mixture up a bit as the balls are rolled, it really forms nicely.

Crushed corn flakes, wheat germ or coconut are great candidates for rolling the Peanut Butter Balls in.

Personally, I’d say the crushed corn flakes are the way to go. Yum!

Late Night Simplicity

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

Have you ever been up later than you know you should or want to be, trying to get those last few things done as the day disappears and you realize your stomach is not going to sleep until you do?

Naaah, that never happens, right?!?!

I think most of us have fallen victim to this a few times in our lives.

The snack needs to be quick and the snack needs to be satisfying.

Last night was a huge, juicy orange, but for tonight, I found myself the perfect solution.

These Ritz Crackers sandwiches were so tasty and so very simple.

Ritz recommends a five cracker serving size, but I felt eight crackers would better suit the lovely slice of Colby cheese that was broken into four squares. I was right.

I think that if timed, I could throw these Ritz cracker and Colby cheese sandwiches (for two) together in 15 seconds.

Serious. Time me.

Veggie Party Sandwiches

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

These sandwiches are a very easy and tasty combination of ingredients.

Veggie Party Sandwiches will work great for a party appetizer or as an awesome peek-in-the-fridge addition at home, but either way, they are going to go fast.

Here’s the recipe..

  • Veggie Party Sandwiches
    • 16 oz. cream cheese, softened
    • 1/2 large tomato, seeds removed, chopped as finely as possible
    • 1/2 green pepper, seeded, chopped as finely as possible
    • 1/2 medium onion, chopped as finely as possible
    • Olive oil to taste
    • Garlic salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 loaf 100% whole wheat sliced sandwich bread
    • Mix together the cream cheese, tomato, onion and pepper.
    • Add olive oil in small increments to soften the mixture until it’s in an easy-to-spread consistency.
    • Season with garlic salt and pepper.
    • Spread the mixture onto the one side of the sliced bread and assemble sandwiches.
    • Cut away the crusts and cut in quarters – either diagonally or vertical/horizontal.  It’s up to you.

Serve on a platter (or in a Ziploc in the fridge) and see them fly away.

With just a little mixture left, I ran out of whole wheat bread slices (without air bubbles) and opened a new loaf of much more dense whole wheat bread. Which needed to be compensated for, of course. Hence the super thickly-filled and colorful slices in the above picture.

More realistically, the spread can be a bit thinner and if the bread is square…triangles are great!

…because you know triangle sandwiches are way tastier. Yep.

The Best 7 Layer Dip.

Friday, February 6th, 2009

This 7 Layer Dip recipe that I’m about to divulge is simply the best. Even as I write this I’m wishing I had some. With at least a few hours in the fridge, the flavors become a medley of goodness that cannot be touched  by any 7 Layer Dip in the West…or something.

Serious.

With a flattish dinner plate as a base, let’s begin the layers.

Layer 1:

Layer 2:

Layer 3:

Layer 4:

Layer 5:

Oh yeah, there’s totally SEVEN layers!

Layer 6:

Completing the sweet, sweet combination…

Layer 7:

Tortilla Strips will take you furthest in leverage and coverage of all 7 layers in this 7 Layer Dip adventure!

  • 7 Layer Dip
    • 2 can jalapeno bean dip
    • 3 avocados, mashed (add lemon juice to reduce browning)
    • 2 oz. cream cheese, softened
    • 1 C. sour cream
    • 1/2 C. Miracle Whip
    • 1/2 pkg. taco seasoning
    • 1 can olives, sliced
    • green onions, thinly sliced
    • 1-2 tomatoes, chopped
    • 2 C. grated cheddar cheese
    • Spread bean dip evenly on plate.
    • Mix avocado and cream cheese together and spread evenly over bean dip.
    • Mix sour cream, Miracle Whip and taco seasoning until well blended.
    • Spread sour cream mix over avocado.
    • Sprinkle cheddar cheese over the top, then the tomatoes, olives and green onions.

Super Bowl XLIII & Fried Zucchini

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009


Before it gets too far past Sunday, I should post a couple Super Bowl thoughts of mine.

I was busy goofing around in the kitchen for most of the game, but I sat down and watched the 4th quarter…the quarter where all the action happened. The quarter where any Arizona fans got a little happy for the Cardinals. What a great little roller coaster ride the 4th quarter offered! For a small moment I thought the Cardinals had the win. But nooo…

Instead, The Steelers  won their sixth Super Bowl trophy.

BOO Cardinals, BOOO! (still, great game)

The point? Sometimes some things go better than other things go, such as this batch of Panko fried zucchini I threw together. Pretty tasty if you ask me.

Dipped in a little bit of Ranch dressing and you’re set.

Your home team may now lose.

Panko Fried Zucchini

Panko Fried Zucchini

10 Healthy Snacks for Kids (and adults)

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

Kids love to snack! Unfortunately, what many kids consider snacks are often loaded with sugar, fat and salt, so concerned parents often discourage snacking. The real question however, should not be how often kids snack, but what they are snacking on. In fact, studies have shown that kids who snack between meals are usually slimmer and better nourished than those who are restricted from doing so.

Snacks can and should be healthy. They should offer your child the same good nutrition as the regular meals you serve. Snacks should not be an excuse to eat poorly, rather, think of snacking as the perfect opportunity to put additional nutrition into your child’s diet.

The best bet for healthy snacks are fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products (such as milk, yogurt and low-fat cheese) and whole grains, nuts and seeds.

You’ll notice many of these are fruit oriented…which is my personal way of not offending the cheese hating from my own kid, but at the same time touching what others may like as well.

1. Mini “Pizzas”

America’s favorite snack doesn’t have to be made from junk food if made from nutritious ingredients. Make these with whole grain crackers, (wheat or rye) your favorite pizza sauce and grated low-fat mozzarella cheese. Spread about one-half to one Tablespoon of pizza sauce on each cracker. Sprinkle with cheese and add Italian seasoning if desired. Bake on a cookie sheet at 350° for about 5 minutes or until cheese melts.

2. Orange Shake

Place one cup of orange juice, one cup of ice cubes and 1/3 cup non-fat dry milk powder in a blender. Blend until smooth. (serves one)

3. Frozen Bananas

Peel bananas and cut in half crosswise. Insert wooden popsicle sticks. Freeze banana plain or roll in chopped nuts or carob sprinkles. Wrap banana in plastic wrap or small plastic bags . Freeze until firm.

4. Quesadilla Quickie

Place a small corn tortilla in a frying pan. Sprinkle a little grated jack or cheddar cheese on one half of the tortilla and your choices of chopped onions, tomatoes, chilis or salsa on the other. Heat until cheese melts, then fold and eat!

5. Peach Yogurt

Drain a 16 ounce can of unsweetened sliced peaches and spread fruit on a cookie sheet. Freeze until hard (about 2 hours). Put peaches in a blender with one cup of plain yogurt. Blend until smooth and eat at once. (serves 2)

6. Frozen Yogurt Squares

Mix 2 cups of fruit yogurt with one cup of cut up fruit and 2/3 cup of non-fat dry milk powder in a blender until smooth. Stir in 1- 1/2 cups of unsweetened granola or Grape Nuts cereal. Pour mixture into an 8″ square pan. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup more granola or cereal, pressing in. Freeze until firm (about 4 hours), then cut into squares and serve.

7. Pita Melts

Cut whole wheat pita bread rounds into halves and stuff with (low-fat) grated cheese. Heat in oven at 350° for about 3-5 minutes.

8. Sardine Snacks

Yeah, that’s right we all beat down sardines with words but they are pretty healthy for you. Sardines are loaded with protein and omega 3 fish oils, as well as high calcium, vitamin D and iron . Top whole grain bread or crackers with a sardine or two.

9. No Fat-No Salt Nacho Chips

Cut four 6″ corn tortillas into eighths. Spread out on a cookie sheet and bake at 400°  about 7-8 minutes or until crisp. Remove from oven and dip into salsa or top with grated cheese.

10. Banana-OJ Slush

Place one cup ice cubes, 1/2 cup banana and 1/2 cup orange juice. Blend until smooth.

Our top snacks around here seem to lean more towards the fresh fruits rather than vegetables and cheese. Which don’t get me wrong, vegetables, steamed or cooked any other way go over quite well nowadays, but if you have a picky eater in your home that dislikes cheese, then my top 10 list will will leave you partially, if not fully satisfied…and don’t you forget it!

April 26: National Pretzel Day

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

National Pretzel Day celebrates pretzels of all shapes and sizes.

So how do you like your pretzel?

Thick or thin?

Straight or twisted?

Crisp and crunchy, or soft?

Salted?

Unsalted?

With a dip? Mustard flavored, perhaps?

There is no shortage to types of pretzels and that’s all I have to say about that.

  • Chocolate and Vanilla Pretzel Rods
    • 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • 16 oz. pkg. vanilla flavored candy coating
    • 24 pretzel rods
    • Assorted sprinkles, if desired
    • Melt semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave, stirring every 15 seconds until melted. Do not overcook!
    • Dip half of the pretzel rods into the melted chocolate and lay on waxed paper to harden. Set remaining chocolate aside.
    • Add sprinkles (if desired) before the chocolate is set.
    • Meanwhile, melt vanilla candy coating in the microwave. (according to package directions) Cook 1 minute, stir, then cook 15 seconds at a time, until melted.
    • Dip the other half of the pretzel rods into the vanilla coating and lay on waxed paper to harden.
    • Dip a fork into the remaining vanilla candy coating and drizzle over the chocolate dipped pretzels.
    • Dip a clean fork into reserved chocolate (hopefully still melted) and drizzle over the vanilla candy coated pretzels.
    • Refrigerate the chocolate-dipped pretzels on a wax paper lined plate for about 20 minutes to harden. (The vanilla works like magic.)

Dipped pretzel rods are simple and fun to make. Depending on your preference, whether it be tons of colorful sprinkles or a cool opposite pattern effect…or straight up dipped with no messing around, you can’t lose. It’s trial and error time, people. And pretty much all errors win here.

But dang, this is a lot of topping…woops. Luckily I had some regular pretzels on hand. We mixed the remaining chocolate and vanilla together to make…um…chocolate-vanilla dipped pretzels…pretzels with a nice tan. I think the mix of the two flavors together tasted best, but all of the dips were good.

I was wishing I had some strawberries. This vanilla coating would be perfect for them. Not to mention, when the remaining levels of what’s left over get lower, you need smaller objects to dip. All simple physics. So if you’re out of pretzel rods, grab whatever you’ve got….cause this stuff is not flushable!

April 25: National Zucchini Bread Day

Friday, April 25th, 2008

Did you know there is a National Day for Zucchini Bread? It’s true…and that day is today.

Which got me thinking about my son’s recent requests for some breads or muffins using orange juice. He told me you can substitute orange juice for the water or milk in any bread/muffin recipe. I asked how he found this out and he said he learned it from the reading portion of his AIMS test, our state’s standardized test. Ha! I know he seeks and retains a lot of info, but how funny is that? Pretty cool too, seeing as how reading comprehension was my least favorite thing to test on when I was in school, even though I loved to read.

How can you deny your loved ones asking for a slightly healthier alternative?! You can’t. And I won’t. Let’s have a go at this Zucchini Bread made with orange juice and applesauce…

  • Awesome Zucchini Bread
    • 2 C sugar
    • 1 cup vegetable oil
    • 3 eggs
    • 2 tsp. vanilla
    • 2 C shredded zucchini
    • 1/2 C applesauce
    • 1/3 C orange juice
    • 3 C flour
    • 2 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1-3/4 tsp. nutmeg
    • 1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    • 1 C chopped walnuts
    • Preheat oven to 350°
    • In large bowl mix sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla. Beat until well blended.
    • Add zucchini, applesauce and orange juice; stir well.
    • In another bowl, combine flour with dry ingredients; baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon.
    • Add flour mixture to zucchini mixture; stir well.
    • Add nuts; stir gently to combine.
    • Pour into 2 greased and floured 9″ loaf pans.
    • Bake for 60-70 minutes; until toothpick comes out clean.
    • Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans onto wire rack and cool completely.
    • Makes 2 loaves

I made a slight change to the recipe and used 1 cup wheat flour and 2 cups white flour.

To ensure even cooking, half way through the cooking time I moved the left pan to the right side of the oven and vice versa. This is always a good idea when baking 2 pans of anything.

The bread browned very early on in the cooking process, but it was a dark colored batter to begin with. I admit I was a little worried. Then when the zucchini bread was done baking my husband said, “That’s the best smelling bread I’ve ever smelled…it smells like *sniff sniff* pizza and pancakes at the same time.” Maybe the oddest kitchen compliment I’ve ever received.

Either way, my conclusion is that this recipe makes a really awesome, moist zucchini bread that will not disappoint.



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