Recipes from Rita

No Broom Sticks

15 oz bag of pretzel sticks

1 tablespoon lemon pepper

One half a package of dry Ranch dressing mix

Shake of ground Cayenne pepper if you want (leave out if making for kids)

6 oz buttery popcorn oil

Put the pretzel sticks in a big bowl. Whisk together the lemon pepper, dressing mix and oil – it won't all dissolve. Pour over sticks and mix well. I used my hands.  Let sit 10 minutes. Mix again. Let sit 5 minutes. Mix again. Let sit 5 minutes. Mix again. Pour into a big baggie – you may have a bit of dressing left in the bowl. Leave the bag open a couple of hours, then seal. As the pretzels sit, they will absorb the dressing.  Makes about a gallon.

Praline crunch snack mix

Lee Ochs, Director of Jungle Jim's cooking school, shared this recipe when I was prepping for a class. It was absolutely addictive. The staff kept coming back for "just a little more"….here's my adaptation.

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

Preheat oven to 250. Spray a cookie sheet with sides or a 9x13 pan. Combine cereal and nuts in large sprayed bowl and set aside.

Either on the stove or in microwave, 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 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  Cool completely and break into pieces. Store at room temperature. Makes 8 cups

Tips from Rita's Kitchen:

Keep those Jack-O-Lanterns from shriveling:

Keep your carved creation looking unpuckered by mixing 2 tablespoons vinegar and a teaspoon of lemon juice into 3 cups of water. Brush over carved areas.