5 Easy Snacks to Make at Home: No Refrigeration Needed

A Healthy Trail Mix Recipe and 4 Other Easy Snacks

5 Easy Snacks to Make at Home: No Refrigeration Needed

As the school year begins, it’s always fun to have some new recipes for easy snacks to make at home. I wanted to share some of the snacks that I call grab & go favorites. These really are easy snacks to make at home and they are totable and require no refrigeration. This is a definite plus as the school year begins on a sweltering note in many parts of the nation. My healthy trail mix recipe is a good example, and one which kids enjoying making. Easy snacks to make at home are fun traditions to start with family and friends. I really believe the kitchen is the heart of the home and when you gather there making something that tastes good and is good for you, you’ll be making memories that last long after the food is gone. And don’t think these easy snacks to make at home are just for kids. My healthy trail mix, homemade granola and the other recipes I’m sharing fit handily in an office drawer or the glove compartment of a car without worrying about spoilage. These easy snacks to make at home are just the ticket when it’s your turn to bring the team’s snacks. Orange slices don’t cut it any more! Use these recipes as a guide. Change them up to suit your, or your kid’s taste; then you can claim them as your special recipes.

Cherry Oat Granola

What’s not to love about this homemade granola? Eaten out of hand, as a cereal with milk, or as a topping for homemade yogurt, it’s a winner. The oats help lower cholesterol and the cherries are chock full of anti-oxidants.

Have you ever wondered how to make yogurt from scratch?  Years ago, before it was available at grocery stores everywhere, yogurt was made at home. I’ve learned to make yogurt from scratch from my mom’s heirloom recipe, and I love sharing my family’s history for how to make yogurt from scratch.

Granola

Mix together and set aside

  • 4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 generous cup favorite nuts, chopped coarsely if necessary
  • 1/2 to 1  cup seeds: try sesame, flax, millet, chia, hemp, pumpkin or sunflower, or a combination

Coating

Whisk together

  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, grape seed oil or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Stir in after baking

  • 1-1/2 to 2 cups dried cherries or favorite dried fruit

Preheat oven to 325. Line cookie sheets with foil and spray foil. In a large bowl, pour coating over oat mixture and mix well. Pour into pans in single layers. Bake 35 minutes or so, until it looks golden. Stir a couple of times as it bakes. Let cool. Granola gets crisp as it cools. Stir in fruit. Store at room temperature in covered container. Can be frozen up to one month.

Variations that are good for you:

  • Millet (you recognize it as an ingredient in bird feed) gives a crunch and contains protein and iron.
  • Chia, like flax, is a great source of Omega 3’s, but doesn’t have to be ground to get the benefit. It also absorbs water and curbs appetite.
  • Hemp seeds. So, I know what you’re thinking….you won’t go off into la-la land after ingesting hemp seeds. They are hulled and safe to eat. The bonus: they’re a complete protein and full of Omega 3’s.

Tip from Rita’s kitchen: Old fashioned oats work best in baked granola, as they keep their shape better while baking.

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Cherry oat granola
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Granola topped yogurt

Healthy Trail Mix

This healthy trail mix recipe is from my newest healthy cookbook and guide for young athletes,  co-written with colleague Dawn Weatherwax, titled Sports Nutrition Guide for Young Athletes. The dried fruit adds a bit of sweetness. This healthy trail mix recipe can be doubled or tripled.

Mix together and store in airtight container.

  • 1/2 cup mini unsalted pretzels
  • 1 cup dried cranberries or your choice
  • 1 cup dry roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup dried banana chips, broken up if desired
  • 2 cups plain popped corn

Goldfish Snack Mix

You can use reduced fat crackers if you like.

  • 1 bag  Goldfish crackers, 6.6 oz.
  • 2 cups  cheese snack crackers
  • 2 cups salt free pretzel sticks, broken up
  • 1-1/2 cups shoestring potatoes
  • 1 cup dry roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup butter, margarine or light margarine
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt

Preheat oven to 250. Spray a large cookie pan or two small ones. Mix together crackers, pretzels, shoestring potatoes and peanuts.  Melt butter and stir in Worcestershire and seasoned salt. Drizzle over cracker mixture, mixing well to coat. Pour onto pans in single layers. Bake 45-60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool and store at room temperature in covered container.

Tip from Rita’s kitchen: Just toss together animal crackers and colored goldfish. Put in a whole wheat pita pocket half to resemble a boat.

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Goldfish snack mix

Praline Pecan Crunch

During a test run of this recipe at my cooking school, the aroma of this snack wafted through to the corporate offices. The staff kept coming back for “just a little more”… Praline pecan crunch can be included as a light dessert in easy snacks to make at home. It’s a wonderful follow up to healthy dinner recipes any night of the week.

  • 16 oz box oatmeal squares cereal
  • 2 cups pecans, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped (or your favorite nuts)
  • 1/2 cup dark or light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon each: baking soda and salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon, apple pie or pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 250. Spray a large cookie pan or 2 small ones.  Combine cereal and nuts in large sprayed bowl and set aside.

In a saucepan, combine sugar, syrup and butter. Bring to a boil and stir in vanilla, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Pour over cereal mixture and stir to coat.

Pour onto cookie sheet and bake 45 minutes to one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool completely and break into pieces. Store at room temperature in covered container.

Tips from Rita’s kitchen:

Baking soda keeps a long time, but if you’re not sure how old it is put a couple pinches in a little vinegar or lemon juice. If it’s fresh, it will foam up right away.

Always store extracts in the pantry, not the refrigerator. They get better with age!

Two Way Slow Cooker Snack Mix

I get the best recipes from readers of my Abouteating.com site! This one came from a young mom who stopped me at the grocery store when we were both in the cereal aisle. “What I like about this recipe is that you can adapt it to be gluten or dairy free.  Even vegans can enjoy this snack mix”,  she told me.

I called Lea & Perrins to confirm that their sauce is gluten free. There are anchovies free Worcestershire sauces for vegans, as well.

  • 5 cups rice cereal
  • 1 cup Cherrios  cereal (or Puffins for gluten free)
  • 1 cup pretzel sticks, regular, salt free or gluten free
  • 1 cup dry roasted or regular peanuts (or soy nuts if peanut allergies exist)

Coating:

  • 1 stick, 1/2 cup butter  (or dairy free/vegan butter)
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce (for vegan, use an anchovies-free Worcestershire)
  • Couple dashes Tobasco sauce to taste (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon each: garlic salt, onion salt and seasoning salt
  • In a large sprayed slow cooker, combine cereals, pretzel sticks and nuts.

Melt butter and stir in Worcestershire, Tobasco, garlic salt, onion salt and seasoning salt.  Pour over cereal mixture and stir to coat.

Turn slow cooker to high and cook uncovered for 45 minutes, then turn to low to cook for an additional 45-60 minutes, uncovered. Stir several times during cooking.

Pour onto cookie pans lined with paper towels and let cool. Store at room temperature in covered container.

Do you have favorites for easy snacks to make at home? Share in the comments below.

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