EDITED TO ADD: A new #5 at the bottom!
1. Pretzel bites. Debbie made these on New Year's Eve and I'm not exaggerating when I say that I probably ate half of the amount that she brought to our house. After dreaming about them for weeks, I made them again last night. They weren't as pretty as hers were, but they were just as delicious.
One important note: Don't add ALL of the baking soda to the boiling water at once unless you really like cleaning your stove top. As I was dumping it in, I thought, "I wonder if this is a bad idea." It was, in fact, a bad idea.
Also, Debbie made the cheese sauce listed with this recipe and it was really good, but it started to get thick pretty quickly (which, of course, still didn't keep me from continuing to eat it). Last night, we just warmed a jar of cheese sauce and it was great.
One more thing . . . this recipe makes A LOT of pretzel bites. If you don't have friends to share them with, you might end up making yourself sick because you just can't stop eating them!
2. Melissa's CPK Guacamole. I made this right after she posted it in late October, and I cannot even count the number of times I've made it since them. We refer to it as "holy guacamole" because of how good it is.
The only thing we do differently is reduce the garlic powder and use a little garlic salt and I also add some chopped onion. Every time we make this, we start out thinking, "It's such a bummer that guacamole goes bad so quickly because we hate wasting what's left." That's never been a problem. For better or worse, the bowl is always clean.
3. Fire and Ice Pickles. To be fair, you don't actually "make" pickles with this recipe. You just take a jar of pickles and make it even better. Kyle's grandma makes these and I don't think I'll ever taste them and not think of her. They're so good. I already love pickles, but this just takes their goodness up a notch.
The only down side is that they're supposed to chill in your refrigerator for a week before you eat them. I have three jars in my refrigerator and I cannot wait to snack on them!
Because I try to recreate them every year, they never really stays the same and I rarely measure everything out. Here's a general idea of what I do.
3 - 4 TB butter or margerine
1 large can of mixed nuts (6ish cups) . . . I buy the big can from Sam's Club
2 TB Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp garlic salt
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 - 2 sm jars of sesame seeds, depending on how many you want in there.
Preheat the oven to 300. While the oven is preheating, divide the butter between to cookie sheets with lips. Put the pans in the oven until the butter melts.
When the butter is completely melted, remove the pans from the oven and add half of the nuts to each. Divide the Worcestershire sauce between the two pans and drizzle it over all of the nuts. Toss with the butter to coat. I love Worcestershire sauce, so my guess is that I use more than a TB per pan. Put them back in the oven for 20 - 30 minutes.
Something I learned: if you're doing anything else in the kitchen with vanilla while you're making these, be careful. Our sugar cookie frosting almost ended up with a beefy flavor because I wasn't paying close enough attention. The two bottles are very similar.
While the nuts are toasting, empty the sesame seeds into a dry frying pan and toast them over medium heat. Stir them frequently. This step isn't necessary, but I did it last year and thought it made a big difference. I love the crunch of a toasted sesame seed and I think it makes a difference in the finished product. The sesame seeds will just change color slightly.
When the nuts are done toasting, dump them all in a bowl and add the spices. Stir thoroughly until all of the spices are evenly dispersed. While the nuts are still hot, add the sesame seeds and toss thoroughly.
These are a great snack and perfectly for parties. Because this recipe make so many, it might also make a nice treat to put in a tin and give to friends.
EDITED TO ADD:
5. Queso Blanco Dip. Debbie made this at our house tonight. A. Mazing. Make it now. You'll thank me later.