Parmesan Ranch Snack Mix
Consider this my contribution to Superbowl party recipes. I’m just a month early.
My husband thanked me for being early because this is totally his thing.
I almost didn’t want to tell him that it takes less than five minutes to make a batch. Having it appear that I was on my feet for long hours and slaving away in the kitchen may help my chances of securing an extra long back rub or foot massage.
I combined one packet of dry ranch dip seasoning mix with canola oil, stirred, and then poured the green-flecked oil over a bowl of popcorn, pretzels, and nuts. If you don’t have ranch mix, most any type of prepared powdered salad dressing or dip mix will work. Or make your own seasoning mix with herbs, spices, and salt. For convenience and flavor, buying prepared mix was well worth the 99 cents.
I love popcorn and eat it almost every day, and made sure to include it in the mix. I quickly and easily make popcorn in the microwave by adding two to three tablespoons of kernels to a brown paper lunch bag, fold the top down twice, and heat for about ninety seconds on high power. Don’t add oil, butter, or anything else; just the unpopped kernels. When the popping sounds are less than every two seconds or so, it’s ready. Doing it this way is a cinch, it saves so much money not being dependent on pre-packed microwave popcorn packets, and I can control what goes into or onto my popcorn because in general, prepared microwave popcorn is far too fake-buttery and sodium-laden for my taste.
For the snack mix, I recommend using waffle-board stye pretzels because they do a good job trapping the coatings in their window pane-like crevices, but most any type of pretzels will do. Feel free to mix-and-match the dry ingredients based on what you have and enjoy. Add crushed saltines, oyster crackers, crumbled Ritz or Club crackers, potato chips, Doritos, tortilla chips, or whatever is taking up space in the pantry.
I also had leftover peanuts from the Peanut Chewy Payday Bars, and if I would have had cashews or Rosemary Chipotle Almonds, I would have included them. This is a great recipe for cleaning out the bottom of the bags of this-and-that, which seem to plague my cupboards.
Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, and toss to coat them with the oil-seasoning mix. Microwave on high power for two minutes, stopping after one minute to toss. The oil has a tendency to pool at the bottom of the bowl and it should be coating the goodies, not sunk at the bottom. Don’t be alarmed if it looks a bit on the oily side because it all gets absorbed. The cheese added next helps with that.
Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese, toss, and dig in. This didn’t last long here because my husband loves pretzels in any way, but especially ones that are coated with savory herbs, spices, and Parmesan cheese. The different textures from the popcorn and peanuts make this an addictive snack.
Ready in five minutes, crunchy, salty, and perfect for those spur of the moment munchies.
Almost too easy.
- ⅔ cup canola, vegetable, or olive oil
- 1 one-ounce packet ranch dip seasoning mix powder (I use McCormick Ranch Dip)
- about 4 cups popcorn, popped (2 to 3 tablespoons unpopped kernels)
- about 3½ cups pretzels (waffle-style pretzels recommended, I use Snyder's)
- ½ to 1 cup peanuts, almonds, cashews, or favorite nuts or mixed nuts, optional
- 3 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
- In a large microwave-safe bowl, add the oil, ranch mix, and stir to combine. Add the popcorn, pretzels, nuts, and optional ingredients (see below). Tip to make popcorn easily - add 2 to 3 tablespoons unpopped kernels to a brown paper lunch bag, fold the top down twice, and heat for about 90 seconds on high power - don't add oil, butter, or anything else, just the kernels.
- Toss to evenly coat the mixture; it may seem a bit on the oily side, this is okay and it absorbs. Heat on high power for 2 minutes, stopping after 1 minute to toss the mixture because the oil has a tendency to pool at the bottom of the bowl. Add the Parmesan and toss to coat evenly. Serve mix immediately. Mix will keep for up to three days in an airtight container or large ziptop plastic bag; but is best enjoyed same day, noting that cheese has been added and some may wish to refrigerate the mix if storing it longer term.
- Optional Variations - Can be added instead of or in combination with the other dry ingredients: Coarsely crushed saltines, oyster crackers, Club or Ritz crackers, rye crisps, Asian-style rice crackers, tortilla or potato chips, favorite gourmet or specialty crackers, cashews, almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds, pistachios. For a spicy version, add a pinch of chili powder or cayenne pepper, to taste.
Homemade Mary’s Crackers (vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, grain-free) – No dehydrator required in these easy homemade crackers and depending on the seasonings used from cinnamon-and-sugar to cayenne and garlic, they can be made sweet or savory
Rosemary Chipotle Roasted Almonds (vegan, gluten-free) – Fast, easy, with a bit of kick from the chipotle that’s balanced with soothing rosemary. These would be great in the Parmesan Ranch Snack Mix
Vanilla Cake Batter and White Chocolate Chip Caramel Corn – I adore caramel corn, cake batter, white chocolate, and vanilla. They’re all rolled up into one salty ‘n sweet snack. Easy-to-make and perfect to set out for holiday parties or for a girls-night-in on the couch
Spinach & Artichoke Dip (fat-free, vegan, gluten-free) – One of my favorite things to snack on at any party is dip, especially spinach and artichoke dip. This one can be served warm or cold, and is a lightened up version, perfect for those of us who love a few crackers with our bowl of dip
Cinnamon Sugar Chocolate Pretzels (no-bake, vegan, GF) – Who can say no to chocolate-covered pretzels with sprinkles that are ready in less than ten minutes. I made these the last time we were in Aruba and my husband and daughter are still talking about them. Perfect at the last minute for parties, tv nights, or a fun little hostess gift
Combos Pretzel and Salted Caramel Peanut Butter Bars (No-Bake) – A salty ‘n sweet bar, made with Combos pretzels, peanut butter, and generously drizzled with semi-sweet chocolate. No-bake, fast, easy, crunchy, and chewy all in one
Do you have a favorite party or snack mix?
I’d love to hear about your favorites because they’ll never go to waste around here. We love to crunch and munch.
Thanks for the MixerMaid Attachment Giveaway entries – just a one-day giveaway