Recipe: Firecracker Treats

Here’s a treat that will make your Fourth of July party really pop—Firecracker Treats made with a collection of kids’ favorite candies and goodies, including a surprising candy explosion! Stack them up like TNT and watch your party guests go crazy for them!

Firecracker Treats

20 red Fruit Roll-Ups
licorice ropes, cut into 40, 3-inch strips
3-4 packages Pop Rocks candy
1/4 cup butter
1 package miniature marshmallows
1 (13 0z.) package fruity puffed rice cereal

Directions
Unroll Fruit Roll-Ups flat, leaving the plastic lining on the backside. Lightly grease a cookie sheet and set aside. In a large pot over low heat, melt butter completely. Add marshmallows to pot and stir frequently until completely melted and smooth. Turn off heat. Add cereal to marshmallow mix and stir until completely incorporated. Immediately transfer to prepared cookie sheet and press out into a thin, even layer. Allow to cool for about five minutes, then place a strip of cereal mixture onto each Fruit Roll-Up, leaving about 1 1/2 inches on either side. (See photos below.) Press mixture flat and place two strips of licorice rope in the middle, allowing about an inch to show over each side to create the fuses. Sprinkle a think layer of Pop Rocks candy over the middle and then carefully roll the entire mixture into itself to create a long column. Seal the Fruit Roll-Up around itself, keeping the plastic liner in place to help shape it without getting sticky. With a serrated knife, cut the column in half to create two firecrackers. Remove plastic lining and serve.

HINT: Spray a thin layer of cooking spray into your palms and rub them together before working with the cereal mixture; it will keep it from sticking to your hands!

HINT: If you have leftover Pop Rocks, sprinkle more over the top of each treat right before serving.

HINT: Stick with the original Fruit Roll-Ups by Betty Crocker. Other’s don’t unwrap as evenly.

Enjoy!

Recipe: Fruit Pizza & Veggie Pizza

Here’s a secret: if you show up to any party with this fruit or veggie pizza, you are guaranteed another invitation. These two simple recipes are absolute crowd pleasers and one of my favorite ways to showcase fresh summer fruits and vegetables. You can dress them any way you want with whatever you have on hand and you’ll always have a home run. Try them and let me know what you think!

Fruit Pizza

1 batch sugar cookie dough
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups fresh sliced fruits & berries

Directions
Roll out cookie dough to half-inch thick on a baking sheet, round or otherwise. Bake according to directions and allow to cool. Wash and slice fruit and allow to drain juices on a paper towel. In a mixing bowl, whip cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Spread evenly on the cooled crust, then top with sliced fruit and berries. Serve immediately or chill.

Veggie Pizza

1 package seamless crescent roll dough
parmesan cheese
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream or greek yogurt
3 teaspoons season salt
3 cups sliced vegetables
olive oil
salt
pepper
fresh chives for garnish

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread out dough evenly on a prepared baking sheet and top with a thin layer of fresh parmesan cheese. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown on top. Remove and cool to room temperature. Change oven temperature to broil. Arrange vegetables evenly on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil until oil begins to bubble and a few of the edges begin to brown. Remove and allow to cool. In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, and season salt. Spread evenly over cooled crust. top with an even layer of vegetables and top with fresh chives for garnish. Serve at room temperature.

Recipe: 5 Favorite Marinades

Grill season is officially here, and there’s nothing more delicious than juicy, flavorful meat and vegetables fresh off the grill. On the other hand, there’s nothing worse than a dried out, flavorless, charred piece of meat or vegetable off the grill. A great marinade can make all the difference between the two. Marinades help seal in the natural juices, while infusing flavor. Today I’m sharing my five favorite marinades with you. That’s enough for an entire season of delicious grilling!

Italian Dressing Marinade
Use for: Chicken, Fish, Vegetables

1 bottle Italian salad dressing

Directions
That’s right, a simple bottle of italian dressing makes an easy, delicious marinade for chicken, fish, and vegetables. I especially love it with zucchini and onions, and it’s ideal for kebabs. Use a a full bottle, reserving 1/3 cup to brush on during grilling. Let your meat or vegetables soak in the dressing anywhere from 3-12 hours in an airtight container. The longer it marinates, the stronger the flavor. Discard extra marinade before grilling and use your reserved dressing to baste meat and vegetables as they cook.

HINT: Vegetarian friends can mix in a dry package of Italian dressing mix to add extra flavor to veggie burgers.

Sweet Soy Marinade
Use for: Turkey or Chicken

2 1/2 cups lemon-lime soda
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup peanut oil
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon horseradish
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions
Combine ingredients and marinate 2-3 pounds of meat for 6-12 hours in an airtight container. The longer it marinates, the saltier the flavor, so adjust according to your taste. Discard extra marinade.

Savory Steak Marinade
Use for: T-bone, Ribeye, Flank, or Skirt Steak

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions
Combine ingredients and marinate steaks for 3-12 hours in an airtight container. (Overnight works great.) Discard extra marinade before grilling.

Honey Lime Marinade
Use for: Chicken and Vegetables

3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 lime, juiced
1 clove garlic, minced

Directions
Combine ingredients and evenly coat chicken or vegetables in an airtight container. Allow to marinate for 1-4 hours before grilling.

Smoky Savory Marinade
Use for: Pork, Chicken, Turkey, Beef, and Vegetables

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke

Directions
Combine all ingredients and add meat or vegetables to marinate for 1-4 hours in an airtight container. Discard the excess marinade after grilling.

HINT: The liquid smoke is key in the recipe to create a rich, barbecue taste. Don’t skip it!

Those are my five favorites that are about to go into heavy rotation at my house. Do you have a favorite marinade that you’d like to share? Leave your thoughts in the comments section!

{Image via Trucs de Food}

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