Friday, December 7, 2007

Holiday Treats

Thanks to my good friend Susan for her annual cookie package! Yum! My fave is the peanut brittle, but everything is delicious.

Here is what I made yesterday for my Dad (and Mom). They don't read this blog, but these treats are never really a surprise to them.

First are these fantastic Herbed Cheese-and Cracker Bits. The recipe is from the Food Network's Paula Deen , and actually are not made with butter (her recipes almost always have a half or whole stick of butter in them). Actually I think these are the sort of thing that is either repellent and disgusting to some, or savory and delicious to others. Members of our extended family fall into both camps. We love them and I only make them for special holidays and the Super Bowl. My parents love them and every gift list they always put down that they want those "yummy salty crackers". The oiliness soaks in over time. I use canola oil so they are sort of healthy, right?

Cheesy Snack Crackers

This recipe is from the Food Network, but I'm going to write it up here for you. If you can't find cheese Ritz Bits, I think you can substitute oyster crackers:

Herbed Cheese and Cracker Bits
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

2 (9 1/2-ounce) boxes cheese crackers (recommended: Ritz Cheese Bits, not peanut butter flavor)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 (1-ounce) package salad dressing mix (recommended: Hidden Valley Original Ranch)
1 heaping tablespoon dried dill
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon celery salt

Place the crackers in a large sealable freezer container. In a bowl, mix the oil, salad dressing mix, dill, garlic powder, and celery salt. Pour this mixture over the crackers, cover the container, and invert it to coat the crackers with seasoning. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours, turning the container every so often to keep the crackers coated. Let the mixture come to room temperature before serving. Store in the covered container in refrigerator.

Secondly, I went into granola production. My Dad gets the largest container of it. It makes the house smell like delicious cinnamon and vanilla. Although there are a lot of ingedients in granola, it is not difficult to make. It keeps for a long time and makes a great gift. Seriously, I think the key to granola is being generous with the nuts. I'd say I put in like 3 cups of various types. This batch has almonds, cashews, pecans, and walnuts.

Holiday Granola

Susie’s Granola

Part 1

3/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup brown sugar ( I prefer dark)
1/4 to 1/2 cup honey (Also try maple syrup as a sweetener)
2 T. cinnamon
2 T. vanilla (add when removed from heat)

Part 2 (Approximate measurements)

5 cups old-fashioned oatmeal (not instant or quick cooking)
1 cup wheat germ (or ground flaxseed or both)
1 cup salted sunflower seed kernals
1 cup (or 2 or 3cups) chopped nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews) more = better
Also add whole grain cereals as available. I like All Bran or Fiber one

Part 3

2 cups or more dried fruit as desired (cranberries, raisins, cherries, dates, apricots, bananas, apples)

In your very biggest mixing bowl, stir together cereals and nuts.

Heat liquids with cinnamon until hot and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Mix wet and dry ingredients thoroughly. Spread in large baking pan or jelly roll pan. You might need to use 2 pans. Cook at 325 for 40 - 50 minutes stirring every 10 minutes until nicely toasted. (Cooking time depends on amount of mixture and type of pan used) Don’t overbrown or the flavor will be off!

Remove from oven and add dried fruit. Stir as it cools to break up clumps. Mixture hardens as it cools. Sometime during the cooling process I transfer the mixture back into the very large mixing bowl because it is less messy to stir this.

Store in an airtight container. It can also be stored in the freezer. Eat with fruit and yogurt or as a healthy cereal. Yum!

1 comment:

CresceNet said...
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