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THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on,
the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Snacks

RECIPE: Make & Bring Sweet & Savory Nut Clusters

Homemade Nut Clusters

Sweet and savory nut clusters, with pumpkin
seeds added for the holidays. Photo courtesy


If you’ve been invited to Thanksgiving but not asked to contribute, you may still want to bring a gift that isn’t a bottle of wine.

Something like these Sweet & Savory Nut Clusters from QVC’s chef David Venable can be a gift to the hosts be enjoyed later. Package them in a decorative tin or jar.

Or, they can be served with after-dinner coffee by those who are too stuffed for pie.

For any occasion, they can be served with a slice of Gorgonzola as the cheese course, or as a garnish for a green salad along with crumbled Gorgonzola.

Ingredients For 8-10 Servings

  • 1-1/2 cups raw pecan halves
  • 1 cup whole raw almonds
  • 1-1/2 cups raw walnut halves
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse-ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Optional: Gorgonzola or other blue cheese
  • Optional: green salad with vinaigrette
  • Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 325°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

    2. TOSS the pecans, almonds, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds with the beaten egg white in a large bowl, until coated.

    3. COMBINE the brown sugar, sea salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and rosemary in another bowl and toss with the nuts until evenly coated. Pour in the honey and fold until coated.

    4. SPREAD the mixture out on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until toasted. Serve as desired.






    TOP PHOTO: Almonds with a sriracha kick.
    Photo courtesy Blue Diamond. BOTTOM
    PHOTO: Bean & Tortilla Chips from Food
    Should Taste Good.


    Brands we enjoy and have previously reviewed are busy launching new lines. Here’s what we tasted lately.


    Companies that have jumped on the “hot” bandwagon have figured out how to make products hot enough to please hotties, but not so hot that they loses sales from the other segments.

    These “bold” roasted almonds are delightful, and not as intense as the can indicates, or we would not have been able to eat them (medium salsa is the hottest we go).

    Consider them as stocking stuffers. Almonds are a healthful nut, so this is a guilt-free snack. The line is certified kosher by OK. More information.

    Our favorite line of tortilla chips, known for deftly combining other foods with corn-based tortilla chips, is now adding beans to the mix.

    Food Should Taste Good Black Bean Chips and Pinto Bean Chips combine nutritious, fiber-filled beans to deliver real bean flavors.

    Food Should Taste Good Bean Chips are gluten free, have zero grams trans-fat and are certified kosher by OU. More information.

    We must shout out to the line of tortilla chips in flavors galore. Beyond Cantina chips, there are Cheddar, Falafel, Guacamole, Harvest Pumpkin, Jalapeño, Jalapeño With Cheddar, Kettle Corn, Lime, Multigrain, Olive, Sweet Potato, The Works and White Cheddar.

    Love those chips!




    Who says tofu isn’t flavorful? Nasoya, the country’s largest producer of tofu, has added a new flavor to its line of TofuBaked.

    Chipotle TofuBaked is ready to eat, sliced cold into salads or sandwiches, or heated for scrambles, omelets and Tex-Mex favorites (burritos, fajitas, tacos). Recipes on the website include Seven Layer Chipotle Dip, Southwest Breakfast Bake and Chipotle Tortilla Soup.

    We’re also fans of Ginger TofuBaked.

    The product is USDA certified organic and certified kosher by Star K.

    More information.

    Quite hot, if not crazy hot, these chips are also quite tart, with as much vinegar as heat.

    In addition to red chili pepper flavor, there are hints of Cheddar cheese. We think it’s a winner for hot stuff lovers.

    The line is certified kosher by KOF-K and certified gluten free. More information.

    Runa Clean Energy has no sugar added iced teas, which, thanks to the guayusa from which the tea is brewed, has a natural sweetness as well.

    The line is certified kosher by OU, Fair Trade Certified and a Certified B Corporation.

    In 8.4-ounce/250 ml cans, flavors include Berry, Orange Passion and Original. More information.



    popchips-crazy-hot copy-230

    TOP PHOTO: Spicy tofu, ready to eat from Nasoya. BOTTOM PHOTO: More hot stuff, this time in crunchy potato chips from Popchips .




    RECIPE: Fried Feta Cheese With Olives

    Fried Feta Cheese

    Warm, crispy cubes of feta cheese, with a
    side of spicy marinated olives. Photo courtesy
    Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.


    We really enjoyed this dish last night, served with beer and hard cider. Four of us polished off the 18 pieces of cheese and the spicy olives in 10 minutes, and we look forward to making it again.

    The recipe was sent to us by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. Find many great cheese recipes at


    Ingredients For 18 Pieces
    For The Fried Feta

  • 1 8-ounce block feta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Grapeseed oil or canola oil, for frying
  • Sea salt
    For The Olives

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 cup mixed olives
  • Pinch red pepper flakes

    1. HALVE the feta horizontally to create two 1/2-inch-thick blocks (or as many as can be cut from your piece). Cut each block roughly into 1-inch cubes to yield about 18 pieces total.

    2. WHISK the egg with the flour and water in shallow bowl. Place the breadcrumbs in a shallow, rimmed dish. Working with a few pieces at a time, dip the feta cubes in the egg mixture, coat with the breadcrumbs and place on a plate. Refrigerate while preparing the olives.

    3. HEAT the olive oil on low in a medium sauté pan. Add the garlic, orange zest and fennel. Sauté for 2 minutes, taking care not to the brown garlic. Add the olives and pepper flakes; toss to coat. Sauté for 1 minute. Transfer the olives to a serving bowl. Wipe the pan with a paper towel.

    4. REMOVE the feta from the refrigerator. Pour a thin layer of oil in the bottom of the same sauté pan and heat over medium until hot. Test by adding a few breadcrumbs to pan; they should sizzle. Gently place 8 to 10 feta cubes in the pan. When the cubes begin to brown, about 1 to 2 minutes, use a fork to turn each cube to brown the other side. Continue to cook 1 to 2 minutes.

    5. REMOVE the cubes with a spatula; place on a seving plate. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Repeat with the remaining feta cubes, adding additional oil if necessary. Serve immediately with the olives.



    Feta is Greece’s most famous cheese*, a pure white, aged curd cheese that crumbles easily. While the cheese has been made since antiquity, the modern name came into the Greek language in the 17th century, from the Italian word fetta, slice, referring to slicing the cheese from the brick.

    Authentic feta is a sheep’s milk cheese, or a mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milks. Outside of the European Union, where it is protected designation of origin (PDO) product, it can also be made of cow’s milk. The cheese is semi-hard, with a flavor that can range from mild and milky to salty with a very tangy acidity.
    *Here are other Greek cheeses.


    Feta & Olives

    Quality feta cheese is never over-salted. Photo courtesy


    Authentic feta is formed into bricks and salted and cured in a brine solution. It is aged in wood barrels for 60 days, creating a creamy, tangy cheese with citric notes.

    Only 2% of the feta consumed in the U.S. actually comes from Greece. Much of it is saltier feta from Bulgaria and other countries. Some feta is simply too salty. You can soak oversalted pieces it in water or milk to remove some of the saltiness.

    Find more favorite types of cheese in our Cheese Glossary.

    We don’t know what we’d do without our olive pit “ashtray.” It makes the ugly olive pits disappear. We got it at the Museum of Modern Art decades ago, and can’t find anything like it online.

    But we did find this one and this one, made from ceramic. It’s great gift for the olive lover who entertains.



    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Better For You Candy & Treats

    Every time we dip into a bag of Bare Fruit Apple Chips, we wonder: Why isn’t everyone eating these?

    So before Halloween, we’re recommending them as the better-for-you treat, for the people you love. Everyone else can get those miniature junk candies from the supermarket. (Sorry if we have maligned your favorite candy bars; but honestly, you hardly taste the chocolate for the sugar/corn syrup.)

    Consisting simply of baked apple chips—no added sugar—these sweet, crisp chips satisfy the desire for sweetness an crunch. They’re fat-free, gluten free, fiber-filled.

    The apple chips are made from non-GMO project verified Washington State apples. And they’re certified kosher by Earth Kosher, an organic and kosher certifier.

    There are four flavors of all-natural apple chips, 90-100 calories per ounce (half cup serving), depending on the flavor.:

  • Fuji Red Apple Chips
  • Granny Smith Apple Chips
  • Sea Salt Caramel Apple Chips
  • Simply Cinnamon Apple Chips
    There’s also an organic line, including each of the flavors above plus a combination of all of them in one bag, Medley Apple Chips.

    There’s also an organic line, including each of the flavors above plus a combination of all of them in one bag, Medley Apple Chip
    This time of year we particularly like Simply Cinnamon Apple Chips, but will gladly eat whatever is closest. Who needs apple pie when you can have Bare Fruit Apple Chips?

    But you may think that Caramel Apple is better for Halloween. Plan ahead for stocking stuffers, and keep a supply in your glove compartment, desk drawer, gym bag, etc.




    TOP PHOTO: It’s like apple pie in a crunchy chip. Phot6o courtesy Bare Fruit. BOTTOM PHOTO: Out of the bag. Photo courtesy Love With Food.

    You can get Bare Fruit products on or find them at retail via the company’s store locator. The “BUY” tab on the company website takes you to their Amazon store.

    They’re available in individual .53-ounce bags and in 1.69-ounce bags, three portions’ worth.

    After success with the apple chips, Bare Fruit came out with a divine line of coconut chips:

  • Chocolate Bliss Coconut Chips
  • Sea Salt Caramel Coconut Chips
  • Simply Toasted Coconut Chips
  • Sweet ‘n Heat Coconut Chips
    Loved ‘em all, but Chocolate Bliss truly is.

    Most recently, the company has introduced crunchy banana chips. We haven’t yet had the pleasure of trying them, but you can let us know how you like them:

  • Cinnamon Banana Chips
  • Cocoa Dusted Banana Chips
  • Simply Baked Banana Chips


    These crunchy popcorn nuggets are popped without oil. Photo courtesy Halfpops.



    If you grew up loving CornNuts, as we did, take note of the non-fried, gourmet version.

    Some people dig through the popcorn bowl to find those crunchy, half-popped kernels that taste even better than the fully popped corn. Smaller than a fully popped kernel, they’ve got the soft popped portion on the inside while the kernel remains crunchy on the outside.

    Halfpops is an entire bag of them. We like this fiber-filled half-popped popcorn even better than the conventional full-popped. It was love at first bite for us. These little nuggets are a go-to snack whenever we need something crunchy and salty.

    These are healthy, whole grain snacks. They’re all-natural, with zero sugar or preservatives. As a whole grain product, each bag contributes 3g fiber/serving. Halfpops are certified gluten-free and are also nut-free.


    Halfpops are currently available in four flavors:

  • Natural Butter & Sea Salt
  • Aged White Cheddar
  • Caramel & Sea Salt
  • Chipotle Barbeque
  • Each one-ounce serving contains 130 calories and 260 mg salt. And we love each flavor Don’t decide: Try them all!

    They’re certified kosher (dairy) by OU. Get yours at There’s also a retail store locator on the website.



    TIP OF THE DAY: 20 Uses For Pumpkin Seeds (And Other Winter Squash Seeds)

    If you’re carving a jack-o-lantern, you may elect to discard everything inside. Separating the pumpkin seeds (pepitas in Spanish) from the sticky fibers may seem more trouble than it’s worth.

    In our childhood, we could spend an hour meticulously separating those seeds from the jumbo pumpkin, just for the joy of making homemade pumpkin seeds (the ones from the store were so over-salted). As a busy working adult, we realized the value of time and bought unsalted pumpkin seeds to flavor at home.

    But you can separate the seeds while watching TV, or delegate the task to the kids. The recipe for homemade toasted pumpkin seeds is below. And, good news for squash lovers: The seeds from all other winter squash—acorn or butternut, for example—can also be used.


  • Bagels: Sprinkle on top of the cream cheese.
  • Cereal: Toss on cold or hot breakfast cereal, or blend into granola.
  • Garnish: Atop cottage cheese, French toast, pancakes, waffles, yogurt.


    Raw pumpkin seeds, cleaned and ready for toasting. Photo courtesy

  • Muffins: Add to muffin batter (apple, corn, pumpkin or spice muffins), or sprinkle on a buttered muffin.
  • Pancakes: Add to pancake batter.

  • Garnish: Add to salad, soup, yogurt.
  • Sandwich: Sprinkle on a sandwich or wrap, add to grilled cheese.
  • Squash salad: Top a green salad with roasted squash and garnish with the seeds. For an entrée salad, add grilled chicken or other protein.

  • Garnish: Top pasta, rice and other grains, roasted/grilled vegetables, salad, soup.
  • Goat cheese log: Roll a log of fresh goat cheese in the pumpkin seeds, or a seed/nut/fruit mix with pistachios or chopped pecans, and small dried fruit of choice (chopped dried cherries, cranberries, raisins). Serve on a cheese tray, or cut into rounds and serve with a green salad.
  • Mole Sauce: For beef, chicken, tacos. Here’s a recipe.
  • Pesto Sauce: Substitute pumpkin seeds for the pine nuts.

  • As is.
  • Brittle: See the recipe below.
  • Candied Pumpkin Seeds:. A lighter alternative to brittle. Coat the seeds with brown sugar and butter plus cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice. Add a dash of salt and roast at 250°F oven for 45 minutes. Cool completely before serving.
  • Dip. Garnish store-bought hummus with whole seeds, or pulse the seeds and mix in smaller pieces. You can do the same with bean dip, Greek yogurt dip, spinach dip, etc.
  • Garnish: cakes, cupcakes, fruit salad, ice cream, pudding.
  • Mix-ins: Add to brownies, carrot cake, fudge, popcorn (and popcorn balls!).
  • Pudding: Add along with raisins or dried cherries/cranberries in rice pudding, or use them as toppings.
  • Trail Mix Or Chex Mix: Mix with Chex or Rice Squares, dried blueberries, cherries and/or cranberries; nuts, raisins, sunflower seeds


    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/roasted pumpkin seeds elise simplyrecipes 2301

    Pumpkin seeds, toasted and seasoned. Photo
    courtesy Emily | See photos of the step-by-step process.




  • Raw pumpkin seeds
  • Olive oil (substitute canola oil)
  • Salt or seasoned salt
  • Optional savory seasonings: cayenne, cumin, curry, garlic, Worcestershire sauce
  • Optional sweet seasonings: allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, cinnamon sugar, vanilla sugar

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Place the pumpkin seeds and clinging fibers in a colander and rinse them under cold water. Remove the seeds and pick off the remaining fibrous strands. Wipe the seeds with a damp towel and let air-dry as needed.

    2. SAUTÉ the seeds in a bit of oil until they are lightly browned. Transfer to a baking sheet.

    3. SPRINKLE with salt and other spices as desired (err on the side of less spice rather than more). Bake about 10 minutes, until crisp. Drain on paper towels. After they cool, you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one month.


  • 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
  • 1/2 cup light-brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

    1. BUTTER an 11-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet; set aside.

    2. MELT the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the sugar and honey. Bring to a boil and cook about 6 minutes, without stirring, until the mixture is a medium amber color and a candy thermometer registers 280°F.

    3. STIR in the pumpkin seeds. Cook until the mixture reaches 300°F about 2 minutes. Pour onto the greased baking sheet. When completely cool, break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.

    Adapted from Martha Stewart.



    TRIVIA: For National Popcorn Month

    For National Popcorn Month, here’s some trivia from The Popcorn Factory, based on a survey conducted online by Toluna Quick Surveys:

  • Favorite Flavor: Caramel corn is favored 2:1 over the second most popular flavor, cheese. If you add in the Butter Almond Toffee flavor (caramel and almonds), its 3:1. Here are the stats: Caramel 19.82%, Cheese 9.91%, White Cheddar 9.91%, Butter Toffee Almond 8.27% and Butter 8.17%.
  • Pronunciation: 27% say caramel in three syllables—car-a-mel—while 44% pronounce it car-mel. Really, people? Look it up: it’s pronounced as it’s spelled: car-a-mel. Carmel is a city in Monterey County, California. Clint Eastwood was the mayor, 1986-1988.
  • Sharing: 76% like to share their popcorn, 24% like to snack alone.
    The favorite time to eat popcorn:


    Caramel Corn

    Caramel corn is the #1 flavor. Photo courtesy The Popcorn Factory.

  • While watching a movie, 65%
  • As an after-dinner snack, 11%
  • While relaxing or participating in a hobby, 6%
  • At a social event, 2%
  • As a special reward, 2%
  • With a meal, 1%
  • Other, 3%
    Check out the history of popcorn, an all-American snack. Air-popped without butter, it’s a low-calorie, high-fiber whole grain snack. You can add a bit of plain or flavored olive oil, and all the herbs and/or spices you like.



    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: CrunchDaddy Popcorn

    Back in 2012, we reviewed a startup company with 10 flavors of savory or caramel corn: CrunchDaddy Popcorn.

    You know it’s not just good: In the ubiquitous world of popcorn, their business just keeps growing. The company has expanded distribution, evolved their product flavors and traded most of the original brown kraft paper bags for lustrous poly bags in burgundy and forest green. They recently sent us new samples, and they were dee-licious.

    The new number one seller is Bourbon & Bacon Crunch, made with a brown sugar and Kentucky bourbon caramel with bits of smoked bacon. It outsells the other flavors by three to one. The alcohol evaporates completely during the cooking process, so it’s kid- and pregnancy-friendly.

    The second best seller is Salted Caramel Crunch, with a butterscotch caramel made with sea salt, Myers’s Dark Rum and honey.

    Sure we liked the top two; we like everything from CrunchDaddy. But our personal favorites among the four caramel corns sampled are:


    Bacon Bourbon Caramel Popcorn

    The best seller: caramel corn with bacon and bourbon. Woo hoo! Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

  • Butter Rum & Cranberry Crunch. What was once a holiday special is now available year-round. When we bite into the antioxidant-rich cranberries and the fiber-laden popcorn, we think we’re eating guilt free. Oh, except for the sugar. We’ll be ordering lots of these as holiday gifts.
  • Caramel & Peanut Crunch. If only CrunchDaddy would leave the peanuts whole instead of chopped, it would be the Platonic ideal of Cracker Jacks.
  • But if none of these rings your bell, here’s the full menu:

    Sweet Flavors

  • Bourbon & Bacon Crunch
  • Butter Rum & Cranberry Crunch
  • Caramel & Peanut Crunch
  • Chesapeake Peanut Crunch
  • Honey & Cinnamon Crunch
  • Salted Caramel Crunch
    Savory Flavors

  • Bombay Market Crunch
  • Maryland Crab Feast Crunch
  • Movie Night Popcorn (butter and salt)
  • Smokey Cheddar Crunch
  • White Cheddar & Horseradish Crunch

    Bacon Bourbon Caramel Popcorn

    Great for gifting! Photo courtesy Crunch Daddy


    Whether for Halloween gifts, Thanksgiving party favors, stocking stuffers or 1-gallon tubs for family gifting, options include:

  • 1 quart poly bag (lustrous red or green), $7.69 (we finished ours in two days)
  • 1/2 gallon tub, $13.75
  • 1 gallon plastic tub, $29.05
    Not all flavors are available in all sizes; and bag colors vary.


    The name does not mislead: This is the crunchiest popcorn we’ve had. Caramel corn can get soggy from the moisture in the caramel. We were so impressed: How do they keep those big, fluffy kernels so crunchy and crisp?

    All of the popcorn is popped in canola oil. Get yours at

    And crunch happily through the season.




    TIP: How To Remove That Burnt Popcorn Smell

    October is National Popcorn Poppin’ Month. We love popcorn, a whole grain snack that’s low in calories when seasoned simply with spices and herbs. You can also use your FDA-sanctioned two daily tablespoons of heart-healthy olive oil.

    But chief among our kitchen foibles is burnt microwaved popcorn. It not only imparts a horrendous lingering odor; it also stains the inside of the microwave with yellowish blotches. We sought help from

    Ready to begin? Gather your weapons.

    For The Odor

  • Fresh-ground coffee
  • White vinegar
  • Mug and small bowl as a saucer
    For The Stains

  • Dish detergent
  • Bowl or small bucket
  • Soft cloth or paper towels
  • Nail polish remover (100% acetone)
  • Soapy and clean water
  • Optional: rubber gloves
    Now get to work.


    Heirloom Popcorn Kernels

    Because burnt popcorn is so ugly, we elect to show only beauty, like these heirloom kernels. Photo by Katharine Pollak | THE NIBBLE.


    To rid your home of that burnt popcorn smell, there are two approaches: the coffee method and the vinegar method. Ground coffee absorbs odors, and vinegar neutralizes them.
    The Coffee Method

  • Fill a coffee mug or small bowl with 2 tablespoons of ground coffee and ½ cup of water. Set the cup in a small bowl to catch any overflow as it boils, and microwave on high for 2 minutes.
  • Carefully remove the hot mug. Repeat as necessary with fresh ingredients.
    The Vinegar Method

  • Fill the bowl halfway with vinegar. Heat it in the microwave until it develops a good amount of steam. Stop the heating and let the steam diffuse for 10 minutes.
  • Wipe out the microwave with water and a soft cloth or paper towels. A vinegar smell may remain in the microwave, but it will dissipate in a day or two and is far more pleasant than the burnt popcorn smell.
  • If the odor gets into the vents of a microwave, it may just take some time to air out. If you can take it outside and open the microwave door to fresh air—or set it in front of an open window—do so.
  • To neutralize the smell in the kitchen, add half a cup of vinegar to a quart of water and simmer on the stove for a 10 minutes.You can also burn a cinnamon stick in an ashtray.
  • If the odor still lingers, check out the article, Removing Smoke Smells, on

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/popcorn beauty bellechevreFB 230r

    No burnt popcorn here! Photo courtesy Belle Chevre | Facebook.



    This method should remove most, if not all, of the discoloration of the inside walls of a microwwave.

  • Mix a few drops of dish detergent with hot water in a large bowl or small bucket. Dip the cloth in the soapy water and wring it out thoroughly.
  • Wipe down the inside and outside of the microwave to remove any surface dirt and grime.
    If you have manicured nails, put on rubber gloves for the next step:

  • With a clean cloth or paper towel, apply nail polish remover to the walls and scrub away the yellowish stains. Wipe any residue from the walls with the soapy water and rinse.
  • You may need to repeat a couple of times depending on the severity of the discoloration.



    RECIPE: Blueberry Trail Mix

    blueberry trail mix

    A snack of different names: blueberry trail mix, snack mix, party mix. Photo courtesy U.S. Highbush Blueberry Counci.


    Are you astonished by the sudden jump in price of fresh blueberries?

    That’s because blueberry season is over. But there is a substitute: dried blueberries. Use them in and on:

  • Bundt and pound cakes, cookies, muffins
  • Cereal
  • green salad
  • Fruit salad
  • Pancakes
  • Sauces
    Make a blueberry trail mix snack with the recipe below. You can also use it to top desserts and cereal.

    Ingredients For 4 Cups

  • 1 cup dried blueberries
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or other favorite nut
  • 1 cup thin pretzels, broken
  • 1 cup granola or other cereal
  • Optional: chocolate chips, mini M&Ms, other candy of choice, dried cherries or cranberries

    1. COMBINE the blueberries, walnuts, pretzels, granola and any optional ingredients in a large bowl. Toss to blend.

    2. STORE in an airtight container, but consume within a week.
    Find more blueberry recipes at



    FOOD FUN: Mac & Cheese Potato Skins

    The fun thing about mash-ups is that the combinations are endless. But we didn’t have to go too far to find this great combo: mac and cheese potato skins.

    We sighted them on Tony Roma’s Facebook page and promptly made some macaroni and cheese so we could then whip up a batch of potato skins.



  • 8 russet potatoes (about 3 inches long, total weight 2-1/4 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick), melted
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups (about 4 ounces) shredded sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • Mac and cheese
  • Garnishes: crumbled crisp bacon, minced chives

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/mac and cheese potato skins tonyromasFB 230sq1

    Mac and cheese potato skins. Photo courtesy Tony Roma’s.



    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/russet norkotah 2 230r

    Russet potatoes. Photo courtesy Burpee.



    1. SCRUB and thoroughly dry the potatoes. Preheat the oven to 400°F with a rack in the middle.

    2. PIERCE each potato several times with a fork or the point of a sharp knife. Place the potatoes directly on the middle rack and bake until the skins are crisp and a knife easily pierces the potatoes, about 50 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. While the potatoes bake and cool…

    3. MAKE the macaroni and cheese.

    4. SLICE each baked potato in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh, leaving a 1/4-inch layer of potato on the inside of the skin. Reserve the scooped potato; you can use it for gnocchi, mashed potatoes, potato cakes or potato soup.


    5. BRUSH the insides of the potatoes with melted butter and season with salt and pepper. Then do the same with the skin sides. Set the oven to broil.

    6. SPACE the potato halves skin-side up on a baking sheet. Broil until the butter foams and the skins start to crisp, 2 to 3 minutes (watch carefully to avoid burning). Then flip and broil until the top edges just begin to brown, 2 to 3 minutes.

    7. FILL each skin with macaroni and cheese and crumbled bacon. Garnish with bacon and chives and serve immediately.



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