Vacation snack ideas will travel well so you can too

Saturday, June 16, 2018

By Susan McClanahan

For many families it is vacation time. Long car rides to the beach or to another wonderful destination might be a little more tolerable with a few snacks in the car.

Today I am sharing a few recipes for snack food items that will travel well in airtight storage containers and will keep several days. There are many more recipes in this column online, so be sure to go there to read vacation snack treat recipes.

Have fun and safe travels everyone!

Granola-To-Go Bars

This grab and go snack makes a hearty treat for a long day in he car. Chewy and sweet, these fruity bars that will have you craving more. Any dried fruits or nuts will work well in this recipe. Create your own favorite combination!

* 3-1/2 cups quick-cooking oats

* 1 cup chopped almonds

* 1 large egg, lightly beaten

* 2/3 cup butter, melted

* 1/2 cup honey

* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

* 1/2 cup sunflower kernels

* 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut

* 1/2 cup chopped dried apples

* 1/2 cup dried cranberries

* 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine oats and almonds in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring occasionally.

In a large bowl, combine egg, butter, honey and vanilla. Stir in sunflower kernels, coconut, apples, cranberries, brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir in oat mixture.

Firmly press into a 15x10x1-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake 13-18 minutes or until set and edges are lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 3 dozen.

Super Chunky Cookies

Chocolate lovers will go crazy over these cookies that feature loads of chocolate!

* 1/2 cup butter-flavored shortening

* 1/2 cup butter, softened

* 1 cup packed brown sugar

* 3/4 cup sugar

* 2 large eggs

* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

* 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

* 1 teaspoon baking soda

* 1/8 teaspoon salt

* 1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

* 1 cup milk chocolate chips

* 1 cup vanilla or white chips

* 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

* 3/4 cup English toffee bits or almond brickle chips

* 1/2 cup chopped pecans

In a large bowl, cream the shortening, butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in the remaining ingredients.

Drop by tablespoonfuls 3 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 2-3 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely. Yield: 6-1/2 dozen.

Bananas Foster Crunch Mix

Bananas Foster is a very popular dessert, and this crunchy, snackable version will be a big hit. It's heated in the microwave and takes just a few minutes to make.

* 3 cups Honey Nut Chex

* 3 cups Cinnamon Chex

* 2-1/4 cups pecan halves

* 1-1/2 cups dried banana chips

* 1/3 cup butter, cubed

* 1/3 cup packed brown sugar

* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

* 1/2 teaspoon banana extract

* 1/2 teaspoon rum extract

Place first four ingredients in a large microwave-safe bowl. Place butter, brown sugar and cinnamon in a small microwave-safe bowl; microwave on high for 2 minutes, stirring once. Stir in extracts. Pour over cereal mixture; toss to coat.

Microwave cereal mixture on high for 3 minutes, stirring every minute. Spread onto baking sheets to cool. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 2 1/2 quarts.

Firecracker Crackers

This is another recipe where the sky is the limit. You can omit the chili powder if you wish, or increase the amount for added kick. You can use regular Saltine crackers in place of the whole wheat if desired. There are many different ways to make these, so use your imagination to create your favorite combination of ingredients.

* 1-1/2 cups canola oil

* 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes

* 1 (1 ounce) package ranch dressing mix, or more, to taste

* 1 tablespoon chili powder

* 1 (16 ounce) package whole wheat Saltine crackers

Whisk the canola oil, crushed red pepper flakes, ranch dressing mix, and chili powder together in a bowl.

Divide the saltine crackers evenly into 2 1-gallon-sized sealable bags. Pour the oil mixture evenly over the crackers. Seal the bag and flip to allow the oil mixture to run over the crackers for 5 minutes; flip again. Repeat the flipping every five minutes to evenly coat the crackers for about 1 hour. Allow to sit overnight before serving.

Parmesan Ranch Popcorn

* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

* 2 tablespoons ranch salad dressing mix

* 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

* 1/4 teaspoon onion powder

* 1/3 cup butter, melted

* 3-1/2 quarts popped popcorn

Mix first four ingredients. Drizzle butter over popcorn; toss with cheese mixture. Store in airtight containers.

Ranch Snack Mix

This is a wonderful quick and easy snack treat. The recipe makes a large amount and doesn't involve any cooking. It's a cinch to package in individual snack bags, keeps its crunch and is a savory alternative to sweet snacks.

* 1 package (12 ounces) miniature pretzels

* 2 packages (6 ounces each) Bugles

* 1 can (10 ounces) salted cashews

* 1 package (6 ounces) miniature cheddar cheese fish-shaped crackers

* 1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix

* 3/4 cup canola oil

In two large bowls, combine the pretzels, Bugles, cashews and crackers. Sprinkle with dressing mix; toss gently to combine. Drizzle with oil; toss until well coated. Store in airtight containers. Yield: 32 servings (6 quarts).

Chewy Honey Granola Bars

This recipe combines the sweetness from the honey, chewiness from the raisins, a hint of chocolate and cinnamon, and a bit of crunch. These granola bars freeze beautifully, so you can make ahead and have ready to pull out when travel day arrives.

* 3 cups old-fashioned oats

* 2 cups unsweetened puffed wheat cereal

* 1 cup all-purpose flour

* 1/3 cup chopped walnuts

* 1/3 cup raisins

* 1/3 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

* 1 teaspoon baking soda

* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

* 1 cup honey

* 1/4 cup butter, melted

* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients. In a small bowl, combine honey, butter and vanilla; pour over oat mixture and mix well. (Mixture will be sticky.)

Press into a 13x9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake 14-18 minutes or until set and edges are lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Yield: 20 servings.

Peanut Butter-Graham Snack Mix

Rich and sweet, this makes a can't-stop-eating-it treat! Kids of all ages will enjoy munching on this delightful treat.

* 6 cups Golden Grahams cereal

* 4 cups raisin bran cereal

* 3/4 cup mixed nuts

* 3/4 cup pecan halves

* 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

* 1 cup creamy peanut butter

* 1/4 cup butter, cubed

* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

* 2-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

Combine the cereals and nuts in a large bowl. In a large heavy saucepan over low heat, melt the chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter; stir until smooth. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. Pour over cereal mixture and toss gently to coat.

Place confectioners' sugar in a large bag; add cereal mixture. Close bag and shake to coat. Spread onto waxed paper; let stand until set. Store in airtight containers.

Homemade Thyme-Sea Salt Crackers

These homemade crackers are decidedly light and crispy. An addictive snack on their own, they also pair well with a sharp white cheddar, add a chilled bunch of red grapes and you have a great start to a roadside picnic lunch.

* 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

* 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour

* 1 teaspoon salt

* 3/4 cup water

* 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided

* 1 to 2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme

* 3/4 teaspoon sea or kosher salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk flours and salt. Gradually add water and 1/4 cup oil, tossing with a fork until dough holds together when pressed. Divide dough into three portions.

On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut with a floured 1-1/2-inch round cookie cutter. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Prick each cracker with a fork; brush lightly with remaining oil. Mix thyme and sea salt; sprinkle over crackers.

Bake 9-11 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Cool completely and store in airtight container. Yield: about 7 dozen.

Sweet and Spicy Chipotle Pretzels

Pretzels are a great snack food. I love this recipe because it is sweet as well as spicy, but not too spicy. It's a great combination for munching.

* 4 cups miniature pretzels

* 1 egg white

* 1 tablespoon water

* 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

* 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

* 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

* 1/8 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper

Place pretzels in a large bowl. Whisk the egg white and water until frothy; stir in the brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice and chipotle pepper. Pour over pretzels; toss to coat.

Arrange in single layer on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until dry. Cool completely on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 4 cups.

Rosemary Walnuts

This recipe uses cayenne pepper and it adds an unexpected zing to the savory combo of rosemary and walnuts. These are a nice change from other sweet snacks. I personally prefer pecans, but you choose your favorite.

* 2 cups walnut or pecan halves

* Cooking spray

* 2 teaspoons dried rosemary, crushed

* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

* 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Place walnuts or pecans in a small bowl. Spritz with cooking spray. Add the seasonings; toss to coat. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Serve warm, or cool completely and store in an airtight container. Yield: 2 cups.

Really Good Snack Mix

Have you made snack mixes and your family ends up picking through a snack mix for their favorite ingredients and leaving the rest. Sometimes you just have to combine your favorite ingredients to suit your family favorites. This combination may be a start to the perfect snack mix.

* 3 tablespoons butter, melted

* 4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

* 1 tablespoon canola oil

* 1 teaspoon seasoned salt

* 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

* 2 cups Corn Chex

* 2 cups Crispix

* 2 cups bite-sized Shredded Wheat

* 1-1/2 cups salted cashews

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Mix first five ingredients; toss with cereals and cashews, coating evenly. Spread into a 15x10x1-inch pan coated with cooking spray.

Bake 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool completely before storing in airtight containers. Yield: about 7 cups.

White Chocolate Party Mix

This crispy combo of cereal, popcorn, pretzels, nuts and candies, then coated in white chocolate, could be a great long car vacation ride.

* 16 cups popped popcorn

* 3 cups Frosted Cheerios

* 1 package (10 ounces) fat-free pretzel sticks

* 2 cups milk chocolate M&M's (about 12 ounces)

* 1-1/2 cups pecan halves

* 1 package (8 ounces) milk chocolate English toffee bits or brickle toffee bits

* 2 packages (10 to 12 ounces each) white baking chips

* 2 tablespoons canola oil

In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. In a microwave or heavy saucepan over low heat, melt baking chips with oil; stir until smooth.

Pour over popcorn mixture and toss to coat. Immediately spread onto two baking sheets; let stand until set, about 2 hours. Store in airtight containers. Yield: 9 1/2 quarts.

Snack Mix Squares

A fun snack mix pressed into chewy bars, this treat is popular with kids of all ages. Individually wrap for a ready-to-eat snack on the go.

* 2-1/2 cups halved pretzel sticks

* 2 cups Corn Chex

* 1-1/2 cups M&M's

* 1/2 cup butter

* 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

* 5 cups miniature marshmallows

In a large bowl, combine pretzels, cereal and M&M's. In a large saucepan over low heat, melt butter and peanut butter. Add marshmallows; cook and stir until marshmallows are melted and mixture is smooth.

Pour over pretzel mixture; stir to coat. Press into a greased 13x9-inch pan. Cool until firm; cut into squares. Yield: about 3 dozen.

Chocolate and Banana Chip Snack Mix

This sweet snack is fun for kids and adults alike! Because who doesn't love chocolate and bananas together?

* 5 cups Chocolate Chex

* 4 cups Cinnamon Chex

* 1 cup salted cashews

* 1 cup dried banana chips

* 6 tablespoons butter, cubed

* 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

* 1/4 cup honey

* 2 tablespoons baking cocoa

* 1 teaspoon coconut extract

* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the cereals, cashews and banana chips. In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt butter. Add the coconut, honey, cocoa, extract and cinnamon; stir until blended. Pour over cereal mixture and toss to coat.

Microwave, uncovered, on high for 4 minutes, stirring every minute. Spread onto waxed paper to cool. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 3 quarts.

Tropical Nut Mix with Curry

This nutty concoction is an easy snack that will spice up the snack table at any party. You'll be busy keeping the bowl filled.

* 2 tablespoons curry powder

* 1 tablespoon butter

* 1 tablespoon olive oil

* 1 teaspoon ground cumin

* 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

* 2 cups salted roasted almonds

* 2 cups salted cashew halves

* 2 cups salted peanuts

* 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

* 1/2 cup dried mangoes, chopped

In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the first five ingredients. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 30 seconds. Add the almonds, cashews, peanuts and coconut; toss to coat.

Cook, uncovered, 5-6 minutes longer or until lightly browned, stirring after each minute. Add mangoes. Spread onto waxed paper to cool. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 7-1/2 cups.

Sweet and Salty Easy Snack Mix

Once you start eating this snack mix you just can't stop. Have fun with it by adding other goodies into the mix, like nuts, cereal, pretzels and more.

* 4 cups miniature cheddar cheese fish-shaped crackers

* 4 cups golden raisins

* 4 cups dried cherries

* 2 cups yogurt-covered raisins

* 2 cups miniature pretzels

Place all ingredients in a large bowl; toss to combine. Store in airtight containers. Yield: 4 quarts.

Popcorn and Licorice Munchie Mix

Why not enjoy concession-style snacks at home? This recipe combines sweet, salty and chewy treats to make a sweet and savory mix.

* 3 cups Corn Chex

* 3 cups Rice Chex

* 5 tablespoons butter, cubed

* 3 tablespoons white cheddar popcorn seasoning

* 1 package (3.3 ounces) butter-flavored microwave popcorn, popped

* 2 cups caramel-filled chocolate candies

* 1 cup red licorice bites

In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine Corn Chex and Rice Chex. Place butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 20-25 seconds or until just melted.

Whisk in popcorn seasoning until smooth. Pour over cereal; toss to coat.

Microwave, uncovered, on high for 2-3 minutes, stirring after each minute. Immediately spread onto waxed paper; cool completely. Stir in popcorn and candies. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 4-1/2 quarts.

Crispy Pretzel Bars

* 1 cup sugar

* 1 cup light corn syrup

* 1/2 cup peanut butter

* 5 cups Rice Krispies cereal

* 2 cups pretzel sticks

* 1 cup plain M&M's

In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the sugar and corn syrup. Microwave on high for 2 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Stir in peanut butter until blended. Add the cereal, pretzels and M&M's; stir until coated. Press into a greased 15x10x1-inch pan. Cut into bars. Yield: about 3 dozen.

Crisp And Nutty Mix

For long travel days on vacation, this power combination of ingredients will keep you going for hours.

* 1 cup Wheat Chex

* 1 cup Multi Grain Cheerios

* 1 cup reduced-fat Triscuits, broken

* 1 cup yogurt-covered pretzels

* 1/2 cup blanched almonds

* 1/2 cup dried apples, chopped

* 1/2 cup dried banana chips

* 1/2 cup dried blueberries

* 1/2 cup salted cashews

* 1/2 cup dark chocolate M&M's

* 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

* 1/3 cup sunflower kernels

* 1/3 cup salted pumpkin seeds or pepitas

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 2 quarts.

Note: Look for unsweetened coconut in the baking or health food section. You may also find it in the frozen department.

Sesame-Ginger Popcorn

Enjoy this Asian twist to popcorn as a go-to snack food.

* 1/4 cup butter, melted

* 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

* Dash soy sauce

* Dash ground ginger

* 3-1/2 quarts popped popcorn

* Rice cracker mix (with wasabi peas)

* Honey-roasted peanuts

Mix first four ingredients; toss with popcorn. Stir in cracker mix and peanuts. Store in airtight containers. Yield: about 3-1/2 quarts.

Fruit and Cereal Snack Mix

Tart dried cranberries and cherries are a nice contrast to the sweet cereal in this kid-friendly snack. It's a great take-along treat.

* 8 cups Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal

* 3/4 cup dried cranberries

* 3/4 cup raisins

* 1/2 cup dried cherries

* 1 package (2-1/2 ounces) dried apple chips, broken into large pieces

Place all ingredients in a large bowl; toss to combine. Store in airtight containers. Yield: 2-1/2 quarts.

Nutty Berry Trail Mix

* 1 can (15 ounces) mixed nuts

* 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

* 1 package (9 ounces) raisins

* 1 package (6 ounces) chopped dried pineapple

* 1 jar (5.85 ounces) sunflower kernels

* 1 package (5 ounces) dried cranberries

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients; mix well. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 10 cups.

Peanut Butter and Marshmallow Cereal Treats

* 30 large marshmallows

* 3 tablespoons butter

* 1 tablespoon peanut butter

* 6 cups Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch cereal

* 1-1/2 cups milk chocolate M&M's

In a large saucepan, combine the marshmallows, butter and peanut butter. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until melted. Remove from the heat. Stir in the cereal and M&M's.

Pat into a 13x9-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool. Cut into bars.

Have a great week, and until next time, happy cooking.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: