Saturday, May 12, 2012

Party Crackers


I first tried these savory saltine crackers at the Taste & Toast Thursday's farmer's market at Tivoli Village.  One of the vendors was offering samples.  One taste, and I was hooked.  Smart vendor! She had the snacks pre-made, in bags, and ready-to-eat, and she was selling the mix, "The Original Savory Saltine Seasoning", to make your own at home.  I bought the mix and made some for my husband.  He loved them and found them, like I did, to be addictive.  It took a supreme act of will to stop munching!

I wasn't wild about all the additives in the mix, so I decided to try making my own version.  I was surprised to find several different recipes online, and after trying a couple, I found my favorite.  It's not entirely additive-free; the ranch dressing mix has some.  But at least it's a little better, and using the Smart Balance oil helped with boosting the nutrient value, if not reducing calories.  The chili pepper flakes give the crackers some bite, but the heat is tempered by the Parmesan.  Just enough... but not too much.  

These are super easy to make and very tasty.  I brought them to a 60th birthday party, and they were gobbled up.

Ingredients:
  • 3 sleeves whole grain saltine crackers
  • 1 cup canola oil (I used Smart Balance Omega 3 oil.)
  • 1 packet ranch dressing mix
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon crushed chili pepper flakes
Directions:
  • Pour oil into a gallon-size zip-top plastic bag.
  • Add ranch dressing mix, Parmesan cheese and chili pepper flakes.
  • Stir to combine thoroughly.
  • Add crackers.
  • Seal bag without releasing the air.
  • Gently shake crackers in bag so that oil mixture coats crackers.
  • Let rest for 10 minutes and shake again.
  • Let rest for another 10 minutes and shake again.
These taste best, and are less greasy, if they are allowed to sit overnight before serving.

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