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Any time is snack time

Evan-Amos/Wikimedia Commons.

Make your own version of a popular cereal snack mix. The only problem you will have is trying to keep from getting into it every few minutes.


February is National Snack Food Month, among other food-related titles. Most of us are always up for some snacks to enjoy, so I chose this theme to explore.

Of course, several cookbooks could be filled with all the choices we have for snacks, but hopefully, the few presented here will be some of the best.

I just had a snack, but it wasn’t homemade. It was one of those foil-wrapped Swiss truffles that come in a bag, and I love the milk chocolate variety. Being that it is snowing, and I have a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle on my coffee table, I was just too lazy and too cozy to get busy in the kitchen to make any snacks. I will save my energy for making dinner. If you are looking for some good snacks to make, I hope you find one or more right here.

Chocolate peanut butter snacks

I love this recipe, but much prefer to dip the cracker sandwiches in white chocolate.

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 teaspoon honey

48 butter crackers (like Ritz)

2 cups chocolate chips

2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

Sea salt

1. Combine peanut butter and honey until well-combined. Spread on 24 butter crackers and top with the remaining crackers, thus making a little round sandwich.

2. Melt chocolate chips and shortening together in microwave for 1 1/2 - to 2 minutes at 70 percent power. Stir well.

3. Dip each peanut butter cracker into the melted chocolate using a fork and then place onto a wax paper lined tray to dry. Makes 24 snacks.

Salted caramel popcorn bars

Adapted from Orville Redenbacher’s recipe. Makes for a tasty after-school snack.

Cooking spray

1 bag (76.3 g each) Orville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Naturals Simply Salted Microwave Popcorn *See note

1 cup broken pretzel pieces

2 tablespoons butter

20 caramels (from 11-oz. pkg), unwrapped

1 tablespoon water

Dash of salt

3 cups miniature marshmallows

1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter

*Note: White popping corn may be used in place of the microwave popcorn. Pop 1/2 cup kernels according to package directions. Use popped corn in recipe and increase salt to 1/4 teaspoon.

1. Spray a large mixing bowl, rubber spatula and 13-by-9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Prepare popcorn according to package directions. Remove all unpopped kernels and place popped corn in the prepared bowl. Add pretzel pieces to bowl and mix together.

2. Melt butter over medium heat in medium saucepan; add caramels, water and salt. Heat 5 minutes or until caramels melt completely, stirring occasionally. Add marshmallows and peanut butter; heat 1 to 2 minutes more, stirring until blended.

3. Pour caramel mixture over popcorn mixture. Toss with rubber spatula to coat. Press into baking dish; cool completely. Cut into 24 bars.

Jalapeno cheese turnovers

1 package (17-oz.) frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed

1 package (8-oz.) cream cheese

1 cup roasted garlic hummus

6 slices cooked bacon, chopped

2 large jalapenos, seeded and diced

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 1/2 cups shredded white cheese *See note

1 egg, for egg wash (can be omitted, if desired)

Parmesan cheese, for topping

*Note: Mozzarella works great, but you can also use Monterey Jack (perhaps even Pepper Jack).

1. Preheat oven to 400. For filling: warm cream cheese in microwave for 30 to 40 seconds until soft enough to stir. Add hummus, bacon and jalapenos and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

2. Roll out each sheet of puff pastry to twice its size with a lightly floured rolling pin. And cut it into 18 equal square pieces (9 pieces per sheet; most boxes have 2 sheets).

3. Top each turnover with a heaping spoonful of filling and sprinkling of cheese.

4. Whisk an egg well and brush on the egg around all edges (or just use water for this). Fold over into a triangle shape and crimp with a fork. Slice 2 to 3 air vents per turnover to allow steam to escape.

5. Egg wash the tops and top with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and a very thin jalapeno slice. Bake for 22 minutes until golden. Makes 18 turnovers.

Cat’s party mix

This is my own version of the popular Chex Mix. I like the flavor to be rather bold. Sometimes I add a package of Gardetto’s, as I like those little slices of crispy brown bread.

1/2 cup butter

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (at least 3; I often use a lot more)

1 1/4 teaspoons seasoned salt (or use half this and half garlic salt)

Dash onion granules or powder

Dash or two of Louisiana hot sauce

2 cups Wheat Chex

2 cups Rice Chex

2 cups Corn Chex

2 cups toasted oat rings, such as Cheerios

1 cup pretzel sticks

1 cup salted, mixed roasted nuts

1. Preheat oven to 250. Meanwhile, melt butter in small saucepan. Add seasonings and whisk together.

2. Mix the cereals, pretzels and nuts in a large mixing bowl. Slowly pour the sauce over, stirring constantly.

3. Pour mixture into a jelly-roll pan or a large, shallow baking pan. Bake in preheated oven for about 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Allow mix to cool before storing, then store in an air-tight container. Makes about 10 cups snack mix.

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