February 28, 2010

4 Yummy Ways to Eat Pretzels

Towards the end of last year, Glutino had a pretzel recipe contest. The winning recipe would win a year supply of Glutino's pretzels. Sounds amazing, right? I love their pretzels and at $6-8 a bag, a free year's supply would have been a godsend (maybe I could have even moved out of my parents' house...haha...).

Anyways, I entered four recipes and none of them were chosen. The winning recipe was a Squash Casserole. When I was creating my recipes I was trying to think of the best flavors that complement pretzels. Most people eat them with cheese, mustard, or chocolate, so I based my recipes around those things. I think what turned out were incredibly tasty and wanted to share them with. Without further ado, here they are...

First up was good ol' fashioned Mac 'n Cheese. When I eat mac 'n cheese, I usually just make something from a box (I know, I know...), so I never had any fancy schmancy baked macaroni and cheese with bread crumb topping. I thought a crunchy pretzel topping would be perfect for the top of my first ever attempt at homemade Mac & Cheese...and it was!

Macaroni and Cheese with a Pretzel Crust

2 cups gluten free pasta (shells, elbows, spirals, whichever shape you prefer)
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp gluten free all purpose flour (Jules, Bob's Red Mill, etc)
1 ½ cup milk
2 ¼ cup freshly grated cheese (cheddar or my favorite, a mix of cheddar, gouda, and bleu)
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
½ cup finely crushed Glutino Pretzels

Preheat broiler.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

While pasta is cooking, in a sauce pan melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until cooked (should turn golden, about 2 minutes). Add milk slowly while continuing to whisk. Whisk constantly until mixture has thickened, about 2 minutes. Add cheese to mixture and stir until melted.

Drain pasta (do not rinse). Return pasta to pot and pour in cheese mixture. Stir until pasta is well coated. Add onion and garlic powder and mix.

Pour mac and cheese into an ovenproof dish and sprinkle pretzel crumbs on top. Broil about 1 to 2 minutes until pretzels are crisp, careful that they do not burn. Serve immediately.

Next, I worked that mustard flavor and created a crusted chicken.

Chicken with a Honey Mustard Pretzel Crust

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp pure honey
2 tbsp whole grain mustard
¼ cup milk
1 ½ cups of crushed Glutino pretzels
1 tsp ground mustard

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 baking pan. Wash, trim, and pound chicken breasts.

In a plastic bag (or food processor) crush pretzels into crumbs. Pour pretzel crumbs into a bowl. Sprinkle in ground mustard and stir to evenly distribute among pretzels.

In a separate shallow bowl, combine honey, mustard, and milk. Combine well.

Dip chicken breast in honey mustard mixture and coat thoroughly. Remove and dip chicken into pretzel crumbs, coating well. Place into greased baking pan. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts.

Bake chicken 45-55 minutes at 400 degrees. Enjoy as is, or serve with honey mustard dipping sauce or BBQ sauce.

Next up were a couple of desserts. When I was a kid, we made "truffles" allll the time. A giant bar of Hershey's Chocolate and Cool Whip and we were set. We rolled them in graham cracker crumbs, but hey, why not pretzel crumbs?

Pretzel Truffles

1 "Giant" Milk Chocolate Hershey Bar (7oz)
1 tub Cool Whip
1 ½ cups finely crushed Glutino Pretzels crumbs
mini baking cups

Melt chocolate bar over medium heat. In a large bowl, mix cool whip and melted chocolate until well combined. Refrigerate half an hour until mixture stiffens.

Place crushed pretzels in a bowl. With a tablespoon, scoop and drop chocolate into the pretzel crumbs and roll around until well coated. Place truffle into mini baking cup. Enjoy!

Last, but not least was mine and Babs' favorite! The ultimate of all things delicious. (Well, that's not really true, but it's up there!) Salted caramel is all the rage now, so I whipped up what I dubbed a "Salted Caramel Crunchie"

Salted Caramel Crunchies

1-14oz bag of wrapped plain caramels
1 TBSP water
1 cup broken Glutino pretzel pieces
sea salt
greased wax paper

Unwrap caramels and place in sauce pan with water. Melt caramels over medium heat.

Once completely melted, remove from heat and stir in pretzel pieces.

Drop caramel/pretzel mixture onto greased wax paper with tablespoon. Sprinkle with sea salt. Allow to cool completely before enjoying.

For chocolate lovers, these caramels can become chocolate covered salted caramel crunchies! Freeze for about 2 hours prior to dipping. Melt chocolate of choice and dip caramel crunchie in chocolate. Place on wax paper covered plate and allow to cool completely in refrigerator.


Chandice said...

Ok how amazing are you?! I am loving this post!!! Such good ideas Betsy! I am sending you an e-mail...can't wait to hear back from you! :)

Diana said...

oh these look delicious! I'm still excited about having pretzels to eat, but your suggestions are tempting, especially the mac and cheese!

Jenn/CinnamonQuill said...

These are really creative recipes, especially for me, because I love pretzels! The last two sweet ones are very appealing--nothing like the sweet & salty combo! I thin you did a great job!