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Cheap and Easy Snacks for Barbecues/Potlucks

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I like the idea of cooking over fire, but I fail in execution. Last time I was in charge of watching the veggie burgers at a barbecue, I completely forgot about them until they were half charcoal. If you’re not blowing town this labor day weekend, chances are you’re going to end up at a barbecue or potluck. Instead of standing over the grill for the afternoon, free yourself up to shot gun beers or play lawn darts by making one of these cheap and easy  snacks. The only culinary prowess you need is basic understanding of knife use and safety.

Mango and black bean salad

2 cans of black beans
1 red pepper
1 or 2 mangoes
1 jalapeño pepper
Little bit of onion
Italian dressing, or combine olive oil, cilantro, lime juice and garlic

Chop all of the vegetables into bit sized chunks. Combine them in a bowl with the black beans. Cover the mixture with the Italian dressing or olive oil/cilantro blend.

Rotel Dip

1 can Rotel brand tomatoes with green chilies
2 packages of cream cheese

Put the tomatoes and cream cheese into a blender. Press start. Serve with tortilla chips. Normally, I’m not loyal to food brands. I can’t tell the difference between Gold Medal and Krasdale flour. The Rotel tomatoes is one of the few cases where I can assure you the Rotel tomatoes taste better than any store brand or natural brand. Finding the can is probably the hardest part of this recipe.

3 bigger tomatoes
1 cucumber
Fresh garlic, one or two cloves or to taste
Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil

Cut the tomatoes and cucumbers into tiny little chunks, about the size that would fit up a baby’s nose. (I usually cut out the seeds from both to avoid any sliminess). Mix the cut tomatoes and cucumbers in a bowl. Chop up the garlic into tiny pieces, and then stir in with the tomatoes and cukes. Squirt in a few drops of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, just enough to cover the whole thing If you don’t have balsamic vinegar, you can use apple cider vinegar or the Italian dressing that’s been sitting in your fridge for months. Serve with hunks of any type of bread'”French bread thinly sliced is tasty and cheap.

Cinnamon Chips
1 package flour tortillas,
Melted butter or vegetable oil
½ cup sugar
Several heavy dashes of cinnamon

Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a bowl. Cut the tortillas into 1/8s. Spread the pieces into a single layer on a cookie sheet (or whatever baking pan you have). Sprinkle the butter/oil over the pieces. Then douse the tortillas with the cinnamon and sugar. Bake at 350° until they’re crispy a bit brown on the edges.

The chips are good on their own, or you can make a dip for them: smash a banana in a bowl. Then chop two chocolate bars or a handful of chocolate chips into super fine pieces. Stir the chocolate in with the smashed banana. Add chopped nuts if you have some around.

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Kiley E - Ragamuffin Researcher

Kiley E - Ragamuffin Researcher

After years of denial, Kiley has finally admitted to baring a striking resemblance to Velma from Scooby Doo. Instead of traveling in a van hunting ghosts, she prefers wandering on foot in search of tacos, cheap beer, and fake birds. Growing up in Portland, Kiley enjoyed the balance of urban and green spaces. Then she spent her four years at Ithaca College, and found herself craving more sprawling asphalt in her life. So she moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where most of the buildings look like they're about to collapse. Kiley's favorite activities include: getting lost, crafting, sewing, biking, and geeking out at museums. Her love of taxidermy probably makes her a terrible vegetarian, but she doesn't care.

1 Comment

  1. Mackenzie
    September 7, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    I’m pretty sad that our conversation on how to make Rotel dip was good enough for the family cook book but not for this. Oh well, your recipe was better.