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Snacks

Churro Fries

Churros and fries. Two of my favorite things! Put them together and BOOM you have an amazing snack. So the truth behind these little treats is that I could not find the appropriate pastry tip. I was full on in the process of making these when I searched my collection of tips and could not find the right one. So I improvised and grabbed a smaller version and what happened next was magical. My husband came into the kitchen and he was like what are you making, french fries? I responded “Um, no…churros” We both looked at each other and agreed that churro fried are genius and delicious. They are super easy to make. The dough is tough though. The original recipe I adapted from mentioned a cloth pastry bag and I absolutely agree. It’s a must when working with this recipe. If you use a plastic one, it will bust. Once you drop these pieces of heaven into the oil it will not take very long to cook. I suggest removing them just as you see a hint of golden brown color come through to avoid overcooking them. Let them rest for a minute, cover in sugar and cinnamon, and enjoy. You can also eat them with chocolate drizzled on top, which is extra amazing.

Ingredients

For the Cinnamon and Sugar Mixture

For the Dough

Instructions

  1. Combine 1/2 c of sugar and cinnamon together in a bow and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, whisk together the water, remaining sugar, salt, and 2 tbsp. vegetable oil. Bring the mixture to a boil, remove from the heat and add in the flour. Mix until a dough ball forms.
  3. Prepare the pastry bag and tip. Add the dough and set aside.
  4. In a large heavy-bottom pot, add the oil. To rise about 3 inches. Heat the oil to 375 degrees. Squeeze about 4 inches of dough out and cut with scissors. Let cook until lightly golden. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and place on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Let the churros sit for a couple minutes to drain oil and then cover with the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Just a Taste.

Queso Dip

What to choose…what to choose?! It was a tough call with the first Cino de Mayo themed post this morning, but I figured you cannot go wrong with cheese! This queso dip was so easy and so good. My husband and I literally stood over the skillet testing it because it was that addicting. The spices kick up the flavor and heat. I was really happy with the outcome of this dip. It’s reminiscent of that velveeta and salsa melty cheese dip but taste a lot better and doesn’t include a ton of chemicals. All of that is to say this dip is much better. If you love cheese you are going to love this dip. You can make this entirely on the stove top if you want, but I highly recommend adding some queso fresco on top, popping it under the broiler and let the magic happen. This cheese gets all toasty and really enhances the dip eating experience. I mean how could you make cheese better? Add more cheese of course!

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Melt butter in medium skillet. Add flour and whisk together cooking for about a minute until the flour mixture is golden brown. Slowly add in the milk, whisk together to eliminate any clumps that form.
  2. Add in the american cheese and whisk together to melt. Add in a little milk to thin if needed. Add in the tomatoes and spices to taste. With the spice, I added a few sprinkles, and then tested. I found about a 1/4 of each or so was good. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let boil a bit to thicken. Crumble some queso on top and pop it in the oven under the broiler until the cheese gets toasty.

Notes

Soft Whole Wheat Pretzels with Easy Cheesy Beer Dip

These soft pretzels were a happy accident. I was fully prepared to make your standard soft pretzels when…gasp!….I had no more all-purpose flour. Be sure to check your pantry before you start baking!! I happened to have white whole wheat flour, so I gave it a shot. Drum roll…….(spoiler it’s on the blog so I’m sure you know the outcome)….. they were delicious! The texture was perfect, the flavor was great, I could not have been happier (and relieved). The test was when my mother tried one. She is the first to call out “did you use whole wheat flour? I can tell.” She actually enjoyed them. Also, my son took a whole one and nearly devoured the entire thing. Whole wheat pretzel test, passed!

I think that pairing it with some easy cheesy beer dip helped. While my son didn’t try the dip, my mother and I enjoyed it. I had to make sure I had pretzels left for the shoot it was that good. I will be honest, at first we weren’t sure about the dip. I added a healthy dose of sriracha and boom! It turned from questionable to amazing. Really, the pretzels are amazing on their own, but when you can incorporate a cheesy dip to go with it, I say go for it. Because cheese.

Soft Whole Wheat Pretzels

Soft Whole Wheat Pretzels

Ingredients

Additional Items Needed

Instructions

  1. Combine the water, sugar, salt, and yeast in the bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed to dissolve the yeast. Add in the flour and melted butter and combine just until the dough comes together. Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed for about 5 minutes. The dough should be smooth yet sticky and pull away from the bowl. Grease a large bowl with the vegetable oil. Move the dough to the greased bowl and turn over to coat both sides. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 50-55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line 2 large sheet pans with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Set aside. In a large pot, bring 10 cups of water and 2/3 cup of baking soda to a boil.
  3. Meanwhile, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 24 inch rope. Make a U shape with the dough. Grabbing the ends, cross the two pieces over each other, twisting once. Press the ends into the bottom of the U, slightly, to make the pretzel shape.
  4. Place 2 pretzels at a time into the boiling water. Boil for about 30 seconds and then remove from the water with a slotted spoon. Place on the baking sheet and brush the tops with an egg wash. Sprinkle with coarse salt and bake for about 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Notes

Adapted from Annies Eats

Easy Cheesy Beer Dip

Easy Cheesy Beer Dip

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook for about a minute or so, Slowly whisk in the milk and beer and cook until the mixture thickens. Add in salt, pepper, dry mustard and Worcestershire and cook about a minute more. Remove from the heat and add in the cheese, whisking until melted. Add in sriracha to taste. Serve warm!

Homemade Caramel Corn

 

Happy Thirsty Thurs-yay! I’m briefly diverting from my standard Thursday beverage post to bring you this caramel corn recipe and for a very good reason. It’s National Caramel Corn day today. Yes, that is correct, there is a day to celebrate the deliciousness that is caramel corn. I’ve made this version at least several times (recently) and it’s always a hit. It actually won first prize at my company pot luck and was recently called a “piece of artwork” and “evidence that we live in a decadent society”. When it comes to caramel corn, I think it’s appropriate to be a bit self-indulgent. Especially with this recipe because it’s so freaking good. The process to make this is slow and steady. It does require a bit of patience and ample amounts of taste testing to ensure it’s doneness. But it’s absolutely worth the effort. Really….go make some….seriously!

Instructions

  1. Preaht the oven to 250 degrees and line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Prepare the popcorn your preferred method. I've done stove top and recently used my air popper. Both ways have come out perfectly.
  3. Divide the popcorn between two large bowls and set aside.
  4. In a saucepan, melt the unsalted butter. Once the butter is melted add in the salt, corn syrup and brown sugar. Heat the mixture, stirring frequently until the mixture comes to a boil. Let the mixture boil for 5 minutes untouched.
  5. Once the mixture has boiled, remove it from the heat. Add in the vanilla and baking soda. At this point the mixture will bubble/fizz up a bit.
  6. Pour half of the caramel over each bowl of popcorn. Mix (quickly) to incorporate the caramel, covering as much of the popcorn as you can. I used my wooden salad spoons for this.
  7. Once the caramel is incorporated pour the popcorn onto the two baking sheets breaking up as much as you can. Do not worry if you have clumps remaining, you can break these up as you cook the caramel corn.
  8. Cook the caramel corn for 40-50 minutes stirring every 10 minutes. At the 40 minute mark I begin to test the popcorn for doneness. You want the outside to be crunchy yet soft in the middle. The caramel will harden as it cools so be sure not to overcook.
  9. Let cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Notes

This recipe is from Annie’s Eats.

Jalapeno Popper Twice Baked Potato

Oh Jalapeno Poppers. Where do I even begin with these. To me, they represent some of the best snack food. They are spicy, savory, cheesy…what more is there to love? I had found (and have since made a gazillion times) this fantastic dip recipe on Annie’s Eats. This was the inspiration for my creation of the twice baked potato.The beauty of this recipe is that it’s easily adjusted. You can add more/less ingredients depending on the size potato you use. Toss some extra love aka cheese in there to make them just a touch more indulgent. Want some additional crunch? Bulk up on those Panko breadcrumbs. This makes a fun side dish or even a nice lunch if you are looking for something different. This was the perfect edition to our Super Bowl spread and definitely something I plan to make again. You can adjust how spicy the dish is by adding more/less of the jalapeno peppers. I tend to like the heat but not over the top spice. Alternately, you can chop/dice the jalapeno so  you’re not biting into a full wheel of spiciness.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat the over to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet. Rub them with oil. You can also sprinkle them with a bit of salt if you would like. Bake for 1 hour or until they are cooked through. To check doneness, pierce with a fork. If it pierces easily, you can remove them from the oven.
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, you can prepare the jalapeno popper mix. With a wooden spoon, combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, chilies, jalapeno peppers and shredded cheeses in a bowl.
  4. Once the potatoes are cooked through, remove from the oven and let cool. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F. Once cooled to the touch, cut the potatoes in half and remove the inside with a spoon, leaving enough to support the potato.
  5. Add the potato to the jalapeno popper mix and combine thoroughly. Add mixture back into the potato skins. Top with panko breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. Spray each top with a bit of cooking spray.
  6. Return sheet pan to the over and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Until heated through.

Notes

Original Concept from me. Jalapeno mixture recipe from Annies Eats.