Football season has arrived. The air is crisp, the weather is beautiful, and now that I live with a boy, football, be it fantasy or the real thing, rules my life. Saturdays are the highlight of my week. Saturdays mean tailgates. There are several things every tailgate needs, but the most important are beverages.
That’s not what this post is about.
This is about food.
Which is the second most important thing a tailgate needs. Here are my two favorite munchies:
Grandma’s Crunchy Crackers
Perhaps this recipe did not originate in my grandmother’s kitchen, but I like to think it did. These are rich, buttery, mouthwatering crackers. And they are super easy to make.
- 1 C butter, softened
- 8 oz extra-sharp cheddar cheese; grated (I can’t find extra-sharp grocery store brand cheese anymore, so I go with Cabot or Vermont brands. If you have not yet made the switch to extra sharp, please do so immediately.)
- 2 C flour
- 1 t salt
- ½ t of cayenne pepper –OR- Old Bay seasoning (Don’t know Old Bay? You must not be from around here. You can find it either with the spices, or with your grocer’s fish.)
- 2 C Rice Krispies cereal
Preheat the oven to 350.
Beat the butter and cheddar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
I know you’re wondering how 2 sticks of butter and ½ a pound of cheddar cheese can be considered “light and fluffy.” I am too. But please do not question my grandmother’s directions.
Slowly add the flour, salt and cayenne or Old Bay. Get the mixer going again just until the dough is combined.
Stir in (by hand, you can do it!) the Rice Krispies.
Use teaspoons to drop little dough balls on a baking sheet. You can flatten them with the tines of a floured fork if you’re my grandma, or your hands, if you’re lazy (read: me).
Bake for 14 minutes.
Next come these beauties.
I find that after I’ve eaten 10-12 cheese crackers, what I really need is dessert. And these hit the spot.
You will need and equal amount of pretzels, kisses, and M&Ms.
The trick is that the kisses must be unwrapped. If you are looking for a mindless activity after a stressful day, I recommend it. If you have a half that makes you whole, he or she can do this for you as well. Children would also be perfect for the job, if you realize that several kisses will be popped right into their mouths.
Preheat the oven to 160. That’s it. Just 160.
Place an unwrapped kiss on a pretzel on a baking sheet.
Pop the sheet in the oven for 3 minutes. No more, no less.
As soon as you have the sheet out of the oven, smush an M&M into each kiss.
Place them in the fridge for a few minutes until they set.
Warning: These babies come together pretty quickly. Should you heat your oven just a bit too high or leave the kisses in a bit too long, the stars will not align and the kisses will fall off the pretzels. So don’t mess around. You’ll be sorry if you do.