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Mix It Up With Jenny - Picnic Perfect

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Chocolatey Peanut Pretzel Bars

(Family Features) - I don't know about you, but I love going on a summer picnic. Getting outside in the fresh air is such a fun way to enjoy good food and good company.

Whether your picnic spot is by the lake, in a park or in your own backyard, there are a few tricks you can use to make pulling off your picnic a breeze.

  • Keep it cool. Well-chilled coolers will keep drinks refreshing and cold dishes at a safe temperature. If you don't want to use bagged ice, try reusable gel packs. For a money-saving idea, rinse out 2-liter soda bottles and fill them 3/4 full of water. Freeze them over night and use them to keep things cool. And by the end of the day, you'll have plenty of cold water to drink!

  • Keep it dry. In addition to a generously sized picnic blanket, take a tarp along, too. If the ground is damp, put the tarp under the blanket to keep picnickers dry. And if it rains, the tarp can be a quick cover-up.

  • Keep it clean. Take moist towelettes for sticky fingers and faces; plastic bags for trash and wet or muddy clothing; and protect food from insects with lightweight cloth napkins. (You can keep them from blowing off by sewing old keys or heavy buttons to the corners.)

  • Keep it simple. Choose foods that are easy to make and easy to take. Pasta salads with vinegar-based dressings can be made the night before and will stand up to summer heat. Finger foods like Chocolatey Peanut Pretzel Bars can be made in a disposable aluminum pan you can take with you, or cut them up at home, put them into cupcake liners and transport them in a resealable storage container.

For more picnic perfect recipes, visit www.VeryBestBaking.com

Jenny Harper is Consumer Test Kitchen Project Manager for the Nestlé Test Kitchens and VeryBestBaking.com.

Chocolatey Peanut Pretzel Bars

  • 2 1/2 cups Nestlé Toll House Refrigerated Chocolate Chip Cookie Tub Dough, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups (9 ounces) Nestlé Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels, divided
  • 1 cup mini-pretzels (about 1 1/4 ounces), broken into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup honey-roasted peanuts
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    1. PREHEAT oven to 350º F. Grease 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
    2. PLACE 2 cups dough in prepared pan. Using fingertips, pat dough gently to cover bottom.
    3. SPRINKLE 1 cup morsels, pretzel pieces and peanuts over dough. Drop 1-inch pieces of remaining 1/2 cup cookie dough over peanuts. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of morsels and gently press down.
    4. BAKE for 23 to 27 minutes or until browned around edge. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.

Calories: 240g     Total Fat: 7g
Cholesterol: 10mg     Protein: 4g
Carbohydrates: 28g     Sodium: 130mg

Makes 2 dozen bars
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SOURCE: Nestlé USA, Inc.

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