Furikake Party Mix

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Fab Foodstuff: Furikake Party Mix! Popular in the Hawaiian Islands, furikake is a seasoning with leanings toward seaweed, sesame seeds, sea salt, and a pinch of sugar. It can be sprinkled on anything from popcorn to tuna. By taking a classic snack mix and adding a candied Japanese twist, you may leave the former far behind for awhile. To prove a point, I gave out jars of Furikake Party Mix to some friends of mine for taste-testing. After one bite, they eagerly devoured its contents within a couple days and then asked for more. Proof positive as far as I’m concerned.

FURIKAKE PARTY MIX

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

2 tablespoons organic soy sauce

6 cups Crispix cereal

5 cups gluten-free pretzel twists

2 cups honey roasted peanuts

2 cups wasabi peas

1/2 cup furikake seasoning

2 tablespoons red pepper flakes

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 225°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside. Melt the butter and sugar over medium-low heat, about 3 minutes. When the sugar is melted, remove pan from stove and add vegetable oil, pure maple syrup, and organic soy sauce. Mix well. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine Crispix cereal, gluten-free pretzel twists, honey roasted peanuts, and wasabi peas. Slowly pour the butter mixture over all; gently turning the ingredients to coat well. Sprinkle on the furikake seasoning and red pepper flakes. Toss again to mix things up equally. Divide the cereal mixture between the two baking sheets. Bake for one hour, turning every 15 minutes to keep from scorching. (It may be necessary to alternate the pans between upper and lower oven racks for even browning.) The cereal will begin to dry as it bakes. After one hour, allow the Furikake Party Mix to cool before storing in airtight jars or containers.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter Z

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Home Cooking: Zebra Pretzel Snacks! This treat makes everyone smile! You only need three ingredients, it takes merely minutes to make, and it’s very kid-friendly! With that being said, “What’s black and white and has a salty, sweet taste?”

ZEBRA PRETZEL SNACKS

1-pound of mini square or round pretzels

14-ounce bag of Hershey’s Hugs

1-pound bag of M&M candies

Preheat oven to 250°. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or Silpat. Place pretzels in single layer forming even rows. Top each pretzel with one unwrapped Hershey’s Hugs. Place tray in oven. Bake for 4 minutes. Watch! Remove when candy begins to melt. Moving quickly, gently press a candy piece onto each Hug. Allow to cool completely in refrigerator to firm up chocolate. Remove and store in airtight container.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter I

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Foodstuff Redefined: Insanely Delish Chocolate PB Truffles! Now here is a dessert that will bring raves from friends and family. Some swear these truffles are filled with crunchy toffee. Others insist it contains chunks of Butterfingers. This is when you just smile demurely and ask, “Do you like it?”. (Don’t worry, you can tell by the way they lick their fingers.) This is one time I wish I could magically snap my fingers and send each one of my readers an insanely delicious sample!
INSANELY DELISH CHOCOLATE PB TRUFFLES 
Ingredients:

2 cups natural peanut butter, crunchy

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups powdered sugar 

1 1/2 gluten-free pretzels, crushed with broken bits

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

2 12-ounce bags semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Crushed pretzels for garnish 
Instructions:

Combine peanut butter, butter, and vanilla extract in a food processor. Pulse until mixed and creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar until well combined. Transfer dough to a large bowl. Fold in crushed pretzel bits and mini morsels of chocolate to make a cookie dough consistency. Chill 10 minutes. Using a melon ball scoop, take dough and form into a ball. Place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Repeat until all dough is used. Caution: Do not taste the dough. You may find yourself nibbling on it too often. lol. Refrigerate dough balls for 30 minutes. As they are being chilled, combine semi-sweet chocolate chips and vegetable oil in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat on High one minute. Stir and repeat until microwaved chocolate is smooth. Do not overcook in microwave. Using a spoon, dip one ball at a time in the melted chocolate. Coat entirely. Place the truffle back on the baking sheet. Repeat. Dust with crushed pretzels. Refrigerate the truffles for 30 minutes, or until chocolate is firm. Share and Enjoy!

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter N

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Sunshine Eats: Nutella Fudge Brownies! If you haven’t been introduced to Nutella lately, allow me to take a moment to introduce you. Nutella is a distant cousin to peanut butter, the difference being its two main ingredients of heart-healthy hazelnuts and nutritious cocoa chocolate. Like peanut butter, portion control is key. That being said, love it or leave it. A little Nutella goes a long way, in my opinion. I topped a batch of fudge brownies with Nutella frosting and crushed salted pretzels for a super-yummy dessert. I have grandkids, after all, and my job is to spoil them silly. 
NUTELLA FUDGE BROWNIES 
Ingredients for Pretzel Crust:

1 1/2 cup pretzels 

1/3 cup brown sugar

3 tablespoons butter, melted
Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray an 8″x8″ square pan with nonstick oil. Set aside. Using a food processor, pulse pretzels into small pieces. Add brown sugar and pulse until mixed. Pour in melted butter and continue until mixed. Press pretzel mixture into prepared pan. Bake 12-14 minutes until crust is firm. Remove and set aside. 
Ingredients for Fudge Brownies:

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup sugar 

1/2 cup butter, melted

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup Nutella Hazelnut Spread
Ingredients for Frosting:

1/3-1/2 cup Nutella Hazelnut Spread

Crushed pretzels for garnish

1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
Instructions:

In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and sea salt. Set aside. In a larger mixing bowl, combine sugar and melted butter, stirring thoroughly. Add one egg. Mix well. Repeat with second egg. Add vanilla extract and 1/3 cup Nutella Hazelnut Spread. Stir until smooth. Slowly add dry ingredients, mixing well. Pour batter onto prepared crust. Spread evenly. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow fudge brownies to cool 30 minutes. Frost with Nutella Hazelnut Spread, according to taste. Garnish with crushed pretzel pieces and sea salt.  

Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Special Edition: Dried Beef Pretzel Dip

Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Special Edition: Dried Beef Pretzel Dip! Try a new creamy variation of the traditional chipped beef cheeseball. In lieu of the cream cheese, substitute Greek yogurt instead. Make it super lo-cal by serving it with fresh veggies and whole-grain crackers. The blend of parsley and dill give it an irresistible twist only lighter! 
DRIED BEEF PRETZEL DIP
Ingredients:

16 ounces of Greek yogurt 

16 ounces of light mayonnaise 

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

2 teaspoons dill weed

2 teaspoons parsley flakes 

1/2 teaspoon onion powder 

2 2.5-ounce packages lean smoked chopped beef, cut-up
Instructions:

In a medium size mixing bowl, combine yogurt and mayonnaise. Blend until smooth. Add seasoned salt, dill weed, parsley flakes, and onion powder. Stir until combined. Fold in cut-up smoked beef pieces. Refrigerate one hour before serving. Easy peasy. 

Eating My Way Through the Holidays: Special Edition 

Eating My Way Through the Holidays! What’s cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Home For the Holidays: Dried Beef Pretzel Dip! Try a new creamy variation of the traditional chipped beef cheeseball. In lieu of the cream cheese, substitute Greek yogurt instead. Make it super lo-cal by serving it with fresh veggies and whole-grain crackers. The blend of parsley and dill give it an irresistible twist only lighter! 
DRIED BEEF PRETZEL DIP
Ingredients:

16 ounces of Greek yogurt 

16 ounces of light mayonnaise 

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

2 teaspoons dill weed

2 teaspoons parsley flakes 

1/2 teaspoon onion powder 

2 2.5-ounce packages lean smoked chopped beef, cut-up
Instructions:

In a medium size mixing bowl, combine yogurt and mayonnaise. Blend until smooth. Add seasoned salt, dill weed, parsley flakes, and onion powder. Stir until combined. Fold in cut-up smoked beef pieces. Refrigerate one hour before serving. Easy peasy. 

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet; Letter Z

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Home Cooking: Zebra Pretzel Snacks! This treat makes everyone smile! You only need three ingredients, it takes merely minutes to make, and it’s very kid-friendly! With that being said, “What’s black and white and has a salty, sweet taste?”  
ZEBRA PRETZEL SNACKS
1-pound of mini square or round pretzels 

14-ounce bag of Hershey’s Hugs

1-pound bag of M&M candies
Preheat oven to 250°. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or Silpat. Place pretzels in single layer forming even rows. Top each pretzel with one unwrapped Hershey’s Hugs. Place tray in oven. Bake for 4 minutes. Watch! Remove when candy begins to melt. Moving quickly, gently press a candy piece onto each Hug. Allow to cool completely in refrigerator to firm up chocolate. Remove and store in airtight container. 

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet; Letter R

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Ranch Pretzel Twists! You’re thinking snack-city. I know, right? Except this version of baked pretzels is made with one of the healthiest foods around: Chia Seeds! They’re a good source of vitamins and minerals in a balanced diet. With every bite you’ll practically be doing the “Happy Dance”.

RANCH PRETZEL TWISTS
Ingredients:
15-ounce bag of pretzel twists 
1 cup pure vegetable oil
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 
1 packet Ranch seasoning mix
1 tablespoon chia seeds
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 275°. Empty pretzel twists into a gallon storage zipper bag. Mix thoroughly all the remaining ingredients except chia seeds. Pour over pretzels and close the bag. Toss the bag to evenly coat all pieces until the oil is absorbed. Empty contents onto a baking sheet coated with non-stick spray. Try to form a single layer. Lastly, sprinkle the chia seeds over the pretzels. Bake 10 minutes. Then turn pretzels over and bake an additional 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool before storing in sealed container.