Balsamic Pretzel Bites

My goodness. Putting a bowl of these in front of me requires me to exercise self-control like I’ve rarely been forced to do before. Balsamic pretzel bites are a totally different take on the usual salty, often cheesy, tasty morsels. The balsamic glaze takes about 20 minutes to make, but it’s so worth the effort. You want the glaze to be a bit thick, thick enough that it sticks to the back of a spoon. The tart sweetness of the balsamic vinegar works perfectly on pretzels.
You can use any glaze actually. You don’t have to use ‘just’ balsamic. I’m contemplating trying some of the same glazes I use even on the grill, such as peach mango habanero, or sweet and spicy apricot. It often pays to think outside the box!

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Balsamic Pretzel Bites
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 4 cups pretzel bites
  • Balsamic glaze, divided, from below
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
For the balsamic glaze
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
Instructions
  1. Place the pretzels in a large bowl.
  2. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of balsamic glaze over the pretzels.
  3. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the cheese and seasoning and toss to coat.
  4. Serve drizzled with remaining glaze and sprinkled with the remaining cheese.
For the balsamic glaze
  1. Combine vinegar and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Whisk until the brown sugar dissolves.
  3. Reduce heat and let simmer until reduced by half, about 20 minutes.
  4. Let cool slightly before using.

Andean Popcorn

I love Andean popcorn. It’s somewhat similar to the popcorn we enjoy here in the states in that it has a fantastic flavor, even a hint of a butter. The kernels, though, are different. They do not explode and puff up like popcorn has been grown to do here. Instead, they kinda… just go… pop. No big explosion. No fluffy white insides. The kernel is thin, and very crunchy. You just pop (no pun intended) the entire thing into your mouth and enjoy.
Andean PopcornI recall street vendors up in the mountains of Peru, in the city of Huancayo, selling bags of popcorn along the street on market day. I think a bag was 10 soles which then was less than a US nickel. Well worth the price! They were fried in screaming hot oil then salted. That’s it. You did (and do) have to be careful of the kernels when they first come out of the fryer, though. They are very, very hot. So let them cool a bit before diving in!

I popped the cancha in the same popper I use for ‘regular’ popcorn. It takes a bit longer as the heat needs to get really good and hot, but it’s well worth the wait. If you can’t find cancha in a South American market near you you can order it using the Amazon link at the bottom of this post. It’s great stuff!

Andean Popcorn
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Peruvian
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dried cancha corn
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Sea salt
Instructions
  1. Add the corn and oil to your popcorn popper and let pop until completely done.
  2. Remove and immediately add salt. Do not be shy with the salt.
  3. Let cool slightly before serving. The kernels will be very hot directly out of the popper.

 

Pickled Hot Dogs

When I made these pickled hot dogs, a little voice in the back of my head kept asking if I was making Vienna sausages. To which I replied, No. They may sort of look like Vienna sausages (if they came in a jar), but oh my, they are something completely different. Pickled hot dogs are just delicious. A little spicy (I added habaneros from our garden), a little garlicky, and a great hit of pickling spice and vinegar.
Pickled Hot DogsAs much as it’s quite alright to just eat these yummy dogs right out of the jar, and I certainly have, they are even better grilled. I grilled them just like regular ole dogs, put them on buns, and gobbled them down. You don’t want to add a bunch of toppings, though. You don’t want to bury the great pickled flavor. And while you’re at it, try a quick and easy batch of grilled pickles!

Love hot dogs as much as I do? Check out my free eCookbook that is packed with tons of hot dog recipes.

Pickled Hot Dogs
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 jars
 
Ingredients
For the jars
  • 2 clean pint jars with lids
  • 12 hot dogs, or so
  • 2-4 jalapeno or habanero peppers, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
For the pickling brine
  • 1 1/4 cups white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon pickling spice
  • 2 teaspoons hot pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Instructions
For the pickling brine
  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer.
  3. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
For the jars
  1. Pack hot dogs into jars. My hot dogs were a little long so I cut the ends off first.
  2. Pour in the cooled pickling brine.
  3. Add pepper slices and garlic in the empty spaces.
  4. Add lids and seal.
  5. Place in fridge for at least 24 hours before using.

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Sriracha Bugles

The Ragin’ Cajun Cheddar Ranch Bugles I made not long ago were a huge hit. Everyone loved them.

Bugles are so yummy and addicting.Sriracha hot sauce is also yummy (spicy) and addicting. So I decided to combine the two into a single terribly good snack – Sriracha Bugles.
Sriracha BuglesI made these just hot enough for people to notice. Sriracha has such a great spicy flavor, but some folk might be afraid of it. So, I added enough flavoring so it’ll be noticed, but not so hot that people are running around screaming about their mouths being on fire. Of course, if I was making a batch of Sriracha Bugles just for myself I would probably double or triple the amount of seasoning.

Sriracha Bugles
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 (14 1/2) ounce bag Bugles original snacks
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2-4 tablespoons Sriracha seasoning
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Place Bugles in a large bowl.
  3. Drizzle with oil.
  4. Add Sriracha salt or rub and toss to coat evenly.
  5. Place Bugles on a large baking pan and bake 5 minutes, stirring once or twice
  6. Serve warm or cooled.

 

White Chocolate Frito Popcorn

Everything that is yummy is in this white chocolate Frito popcorn. Crunchy fresh-popped popcorn. Milk chocolatey M&Ms. White chocolate. And Fritos. What more can you ask for?

White Chocolate Frito PopcornDon’t have Fritos? Substitute shelled peanuts.

I pop my popcorn in a West Bend 82306 Stir Crazy 6-Quart Electric Popcorn Popper. It’s the easiest thing in the world for making a big batch of popcorn.

White Chocolate Frito Popcorn
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-12
 
Ingredients
  • 8 cups popped popcorn
  • 2 cups Frito's, crushed
  • 1 lb white chocolate (or almond bark)
  • A few handfuls M&M’s candies
Instructions
  1. Tear off a large sheet of wax paper and place on a flat surface.
  2. Make sure all of the popcorn kernels are fully popped. Remove any grannies (unpopped) ones.
  3. Place popcorn and Fritos into a large bowl.
  4. Melt the white chocolate per package instructions and pour over the popcorn mixture.
  5. Stir to coat.
  6. Pour mixture out onto the wax paper and spread out evenly.
  7. Sprinkle with M&Ms and let cool completely before serving.

 

Muddy Buddies

Boy, oh, boy, I’m not sure how to even describe these little tasty treats. Sure, they’re chocolatey, and peanut buttery, and crunchy, and sweet. The first time you bite into one of these muddy buddies your eyes will get big and you’ll grin from ear to ear. Caution: You’ll want to eat these with someone else in the room to help you stop or they’ll all disappear. Anita took a batch of these to work and they were gobbled up very quickly.

Muddy BuddiesI’ve never had chocolate Chex before. They’re mighty good! And even better when coated in chocolate and peanut butter!

Muddy Buddies
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 1 (14 1/2) ounce box Chocolate Chex® cereal
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. Place cereal in a large resealable bowl.
  2. Melt and combine the chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter in a double boiler. You can also microwave them, in 30 second intervals, stirring often. I prefer a double boiler, I just find it easier to melt everything without over doing it.
  3. Pour melted mixture over the cereal and fold gently to coat the cereal.
  4. Sprinkle the cereal with the sugar. Seal the bowl and gently shake and roll the bowl around to coat all of the cereal.
  5. Place a large piece of wax paper on your countertop. Pour the cereal onto the paper, spreading it out evenly.
  6. Let cereal cool completely before serving. Serve unused treats in the fridge.

 

Cheez-It-alianos

Oh boy, don’t even try to grab a handful of these Cheez-It-alianos treats out of my bowl! I want them ALL to myself! These are definitely Cheez-Its taken to an all-new savory level. The Ranch and Italian seasonings go so well with the cheddar cracker flavor. You’ll find yourself licking your fingers and the bowl.

Cheez-It-alianosYou can substitute pretty much anything you like for the Italian seasonings. The original recipe used hot pepper flakes, but I went for a more savory flavor. Also, if you don’t have Cheez-Its on hand, try this same recipe with oyster crackers!

Cheez-It-alianos
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetiser
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-12
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 250 F.
  2. Pour Cheez-Its into a large bowl.
  3. Drizzle with oil and stir to coat.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and stir well.
  5. Pour mixture out onto a baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes.
  6. Stir and bake another 5-15 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Let cool before serving. Crackers will get crunchy again after cooling.

 

Caramel Crunchy Cheetos

These caramel crunchy Cheetos were such a big hit at Anita’s office that I decided to post the recipe today. I have to admit, they are highly addicting. They’re like candied Cheetos. Great crunch and sweetness, similar to caramel popcorn in ways. I made these little treats with Crunchy Cheetos, but I wouldn’t hesitate to make them with Cheddar Jalapeno Crunchy Cheetos to get a nice mix of heat and sweet.

Caramel Crunchy Cheetos

Caramel Cheetos
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Add some salted peanuts for a different spin!
Ingredients
  • 2 cups light brown sugar (or 1 cup Splenda brown sugar)
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 (20 1/2 ounce) bag Crunchy Cheetos
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 250 F.
  2. Spray a large bowl, a large sauce pan, and a deep roasting pan with non-stick spray. You may also want to spray your utensils as you go since these are quite sticky!
  3. Add the brown sugar, butter and corn syrup to the sauce pan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and let boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the baking soda. The mixture will become light in color and will be somewhat foamy.
  5. Pour the Cheetos into the large bowl. Pour the caramel mixture over the top. Stir the Cheetos to coat. You don't have to worry about getting every one fully coated as they will get tossed more in the oven.
  6. Pour Cheetos mixture into the roasting pan and place into the oven.
  7. Bake at 250 for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and pour onto wax paper. Allow to cool.