Reindeer crack, Mac and beef soup, Chocolate caramel pretzel bars

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The holiday season is upon us. These recipes will be some of your favorites.

Reindeer crack
3 C salted pretzels
2 C bugles
2 C Fritos
1 C Chex Mix
1 C roasted peanuts
1-1/2 C M&Ms
1 pack of white chocolate bark or melting chocolate
 In a large bowl, pour pretzels, Fritos, bugles, Chex Mix, peanuts and M&Ms. Place melting chocolate or bark in a bowl and microwave for 90 seconds. Stir and, if needed, heat an additional 15 seconds until it’s smooth and creamy. Watch it closely and keep stopping to stir. It burns easily if you use this way. I recommend using a double boiler. It’s easier and you always get perfect melted chocolate.
 Drizzle melted chocolate over mixture in bowl and mix around to coat it all. Once fully coated, take a large cookie sheet and pour coated mixture onto sheet and spread it out and allow to cool completely. Once cooled, break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.
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Mac and beef soup
2 TBS vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. ground beef
2 Tsp. chili powder
2 Tsp. dried oregano
1 Tsp. salt
1/2 Tsp. black pepper
2 cans condensed cream of tomato soup
1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
32 oz. beef broth
4 C water
2 C uncooked pasta
 Heat vegetable oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, green bell pepper and garlic, and saute until onion mixture begins to soften – about 5-6 minutes. Add ground beef, crumbling it with a wooden spoon. Cook until there is no longer any pink. Drain off excess fat.
Add chili powder, oregano, salt and pepper, and cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Add condensed cream of tomato soup, diced tomatoes with their juice, beef broth and water. Bring to a boil and add pasta. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until pasta is just al dente. Adjust seasoning and serve.
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Chocolate caramel pretzel bars
12-oz. pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips
good quality chocolate divided into pieces
8 oz. mini pretzel twists, half of a regular 16-oz. bag
11-oz. bag Kraft Caramel Bits or homemade caramel
sea salt for sprinkling
Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt 8 ounces of chocolate chips gently in microwave (on low heat, stirring every 15 seconds) until smooth. Spread chocolate evenly over parchment. Immediately add pretzel twists over the top (it’s OK if they overlap!) and gently press them into chocolate.
Add caramel bits to a microwave safe bowl with 2 tablespoons water and melt according to package instructions (on high for 2 minutes). Stir well and drizzle melted caramel over top of all pretzels. Melt remaining 4 ounces of chocolate and drizzle over caramel. Sprinkle with sea salt. Refrigerate until hardened. Cut or tear into pieces.
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 Two little five-year-old boys are talking. Billy asks, “Does your family say a prayer before eating?” Tommy Joe replied, “No we’re southern and my mother knows how to cook.”
If you would like to share a recipe with me, just send it to the J-T or email it to me.
(Melanie Behrens – melb@marysvillejt.com)



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