Nik Snacks

Bite it and write it. That's what I do.

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On 7:00 AM by Nikki @ NikSnacks in , , , , , , , , ,    No comments

Hot Sausage Grilled Cheese-it tastes JUST like a holiday sausage ball. 

Have you made sausage balls before? They only seem to appear during end-of-year holiday celebrations and they are the first things to disappear from the appetizer table. Made with Bisquick, ground sausage and shredded cheese, they're the easiest thing to make. But this grilled cheese is easier.

Recipe is below. You're welcome.

Yield: 6 sandwiches

6 oz. bulk hot breakfast sausage
1 stalk celery, small dice
1/4 cup onion, small dice
3 tsp sage, ground
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
6 slices whole wheat bread
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded 
1. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add sausage, celery, onion and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooks; Season with sage. Drain excess fat.

2. With a butter knife, spread butter on one side of each slice of bread. Place 2 slices, buttered side down, on work surface. Divide sausage and cheese evenly on both slices. Top with remaining slices, buttered side up.

3. Heat the skillet over medium heat. Add sandwiches and cover; cook, turning once with a spatula, until golden brown and the cheese has just melted, about 3-4 minutes per side.

4. Slice and serve immediately.

As a special treat, I recognize that not everyone is into sausage, so look below and see what holiday treat you are! Comment below (I'm fudge!)



On 7:00 AM by Nikki @ NikSnacks   1 comment


I'm forever grateful to be able to make a living as a freelance food writer and recipe developer. In 2019 I tapped into another part of myself to become a better writer. Here are my favorite pieces from this year.

I wrote 22 restaurant reviews in 2019 and my favorite review is for Well Café And Juice Bar in Greensboro


The most flavorful (aka best) restaurant I reviewed in 2019 was Da Reggae Café, also in Greensboro.

In no rank or order, here is a list of every restaurant I reviewed in 2019 (which you can find here):

Fitz on Main
Country Barbeque
Da Reggae
El Torito Taqueria
Monk's Cheesesteaks
Hibachi Fusion Express
Becky's And Mary's
Well Cafè And Juice Bar
Skipper's
StumbleStiltskins
Pedro's Taco Shop
Rockaway Eatery
Harbor One
Church Street Café
421 Grill And Market
Mad Hatter
May Way Dumplings
Raaz Indian Kitchen
Stephanie's II
Pavilion Italian and Greek Cuisine
Sweet Old Bill's
La Super Michoacana

I contributed copy and developed recipes for the spring and summer issues Walmart's in-house magazine for associates and managers in US & Canada called Walmart World



I developed FIVE recipes for the National Onion Association  and the most popular recipe, Southern Savory Onion Pie, remains my most popular pin on Pinterest with over 40K pins PER MONTH!

I got to explore my personal life through food and the Black American experience by trying new-to-me food: chitterlings



I became an honorary Aggie for the day and participated in becoming a fish-plate-eatin'-parade-watchin'-spiked-kool-aid-drinkin'-#GHOE-participatin' lady in October.



I started the year as Editorial Coordinator of a regional magazine and while my final article didn't turn out how I wished, the research involved introduced me to Philly, Charlotte, Washington DC and New York in a way I'd not seen before

Speaking of Philly: a recipe I developed 4 years ago went viral (for not-so great reasins initially) on Twitter and ended up being teased on the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer with a double page spread in the food section. Technically, I have now won the internet. Where's my prize?


LASTLY, It's important to note that I make my living with more than just writing, criticising and reviewing. I'm also a food tour guide and culinary consultant and influencer.

2019 is my 5th year as a full-time freelancer and 12th year as a blogger. I'll be entering the next decade the same way I came into this one: a happy, healthy working media professional who has come a long way, baby.


To my knowledge, there is only ONE Thanksgiving song.
Over the river and through the woods
To grandmother's house we go;
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh,
Through the white and drifting snow, oh!

But there are 100s of ways to cook traditional Thanksgiving dishes and sides. Every Thanksgiving looks different for me and my family. Up until 2007, my grandmother made the entire meal and all we had to do was sit around and wait for the food to be finished. Most times we had family visit. One year when I was in college, I opted to stay on campus to earn a little extra money as a resident advisor and didn't eat with my family.


For 12 years, we've been trying to adopt a new Thanksgiving tradition and ever year looks different. More often than not, we've gone out to eat on Thanksgiving Day, ALWAYS opting for a local, independent choice. For the past two years, I've enjoyed the day with my boyfriend's family (one of which, we ended up eating dinner out). This year, my boyfriend and I are hosting dinner at our home and inviting my immediate family to share the day with us.

He's frying the turkey (Lord, bless him; he's never fried a turkey before)
I'm making everything else. (Lord, bless me; he's never fried a turkey before)

I thought I'd share some Thanksgiving-inspired recipes (which have been updated with more tips and tricks for holiday meal success)
You may want to add to your holiday table: From cranberry biscuits to a monte cristo sandwich and a biscuit trifle created from leftovers (cake and pie are lovely when layered), there's something for everyone.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

Sweet Cranberry Biscuits

Pear Preserves

Sweet Potato Pie

Slow Cooker Beer Macaroni + Cheese

Corn Custard Pie

Turkey Roulade
Monte Cristo Sandwich
Triple Berry Biscuit Trifle


On 7:55 PM by Nikki @ NikSnacks in , ,    2 comments


Photo courtesy: Pizza Hut

Another day, another brand collaboration, right? This time, "itz" the Stuffed Cheez-It Pizza, the union of Pizza Hut and Cheez-It. Described as a jumbo, crispy, Cheez-It-flavored square baked and stuffed with cheese or cheese plus pepperoni, served with a side of marinara dipping sauce, this creation — which sounds like a calzone, according to Eater — will be available at Pizza Huts starting today (September 17, 2019)

The concept was born when Pizza Hut realized that Cheez-Itz were popular among the chain’s largest fan base: college students. According to a press release, customers crave “these kinds of mashups between beloved food brands.”

I'm not a college student but I love both things, so I'm they're target.
Pick me! Pick me!

I don't normally blog about restaurants and what they're serving but I have made an exception for two of my favorite things: Pizza Hut and Cheez-Itz.


It has been documented that pizza is my favorite food, but what most don't know is that Pizza Hut is my favorite national pizza chain. Pan crust ONLY, though.

And while there are only a few actual snacks on my blog, one of my favorites just happens to be Cheez-Itz. I put them in this snack mix, I buy them before I go on trips and I have been known to carry a bag of them around in my purse. Needless to say, I JUMPED at the chance to try the new pizza at Pizza Hut.


BUT HOW DOES IT TASTE, NIKKI?

First of all, they look like giant Cheez-Itz. Even down to the crimped edges and hole in the center. I opted for the pepperoni and cheese stuffed ones, imagining a couple of slices of pepperoni layered between cheese that when I broke the crust, I'd get that lacy cheese pull that commercials use to sell everything from American to Queso Blanco.



This was NOT that. At first, the crust was a little greasy and flimsy. It was too hot to eat so I (not so) patiently waited to dig in. The pepperoni consists of little bits and reminded me of the pizza flavored Toaster Breaks from the late 90s. The cheese is more creamy and less stringy than I has hoped, suspending the pepperoni bits in its wake.


While in my haste to try this new menu item I burned my fingers a little bit, but not before wishing I had ranch dressing instead of the house marinara in which to dip this bastardization. Just like the original cheese crackers, the crust is VERY salty and has that sharp cheddar taste. Best eaten at room temperature, these little pockets are good for a mid-afternoon snack or an appetizer before consuming copious amounts of beer or other carbonated beverages.

If Pizza Hut and Cheez-It wants to develop this product for the toaster or toaster oven, I'm in. But I do not think I will order it again. I'll stick to keeping my love for pizza and cheesy snack crackers separate. But equal.

On 11:42 AM by Nikki @ NikSnacks in , , , , , , , , , ,    No comments
There's a super secret party in a super secret place, where everybody knows about it, but only a few are able to experience it.

It's called Lambstock.
In a secret-not-so-secret location in the hills of Southwest Virginia, the minds of chefs from all over the region and beyond come together for three days of eating, drinking and having a good time. It's the best time I've ever had.


The first time I was invited, I felt as if I'd been knighted. I had heard stories of late-night running in the woods, camping beneath the stars and a non-stop cadre of food, cooking techniques and people coming together. Julia Child said "The best people are food people" and she is right. There are no other people I want to be around for the rest of my life. New friendships were forged right alongside burning embers of coals.


The afternoon sun beams down through a grove of trees; blue smoke filters, dancing through each stream of light. It wafts out from pits of fire, wood and glowing gray ash. 


A pig’s head roasts on a grill. Its teeth and jawbone jut from its mouth, like in Lord Of The Flies. One hand douses it with a thick red sauce and the lid closes down. A row of ducks hanging by wires jiggle, twirl and drip on a spit until they burst open above glowing coals and an earthen vessel filled to the brim with leafy greens. 

Someone pays homage to a whole dressed lamb by kissing its hindquarters before breaking it down with a boning knife and a hacksaw. The soundtrack to this scene is a funk/soul band whose electric guitars and rhythmic grooves echo throughout the valley and rise up to the top of the hill where guests in tents rest and await their next move.
This is Lambstock. Woodstock for chefs. And it’s invite-only.




Read more about this special, private experience HERE at Triad City Beat


This post and recipe was created specifically for #BackToSchoolTreats. I was sent samples by some of the sponsors but all words, photos and opinions are mine.

These S'mores Breakfast Bars are a great start to a great day, reminiscent of long summer nights filled with toasted marshmallows and gooey chocolate treats.





Summer is winding down, and we are celebrating with #BacktoSchoolTreats hosted by Terri from Love and Confections and Christie from A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures. All week-long 30 bloggers will be sharing 100+ fantastic recipes for both parents and kids, with breakfasts, snacks, desserts, and drinks to get you back in the school routine. Thank you sponsors for providing the prize packages. Don't forget to enter the giveaway HERE!



Thank you to #BacktoSchoolTreats Sponsors: Dixie Crystals, Sweets & Treats, Torani, Taylor & Colledge, and Flahavan's for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BacktoSchoolTreats recipes. All opinions are my own. The #BacktoSchoolTreats giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning.

The last thing you want to do is think about school, I know. But guess what: the first day of school will be here before you know it. And on top of that, meal and snack planning isn't that bad when you've made a couple of batches of these bars to eat for breakfast when you're in a hurry.



I gotta admit: These bars did not go gentle into that good night. I had to fight with them a little to get them out of the pan. Kind of like... when you have to tussle with your child or teen about getting out of bed and to school on time? Yeah, a little bit like that. After I portioned each bar and placed each one on a piece of wax paper, the struggle was NOT real any longer. It was easy to pack them up in containers to be eaten later.

When I was a kid, I would have LOVED to have something like this for breakfast instead of a bowl of cereal, oatmeal or a heavy biscuit or bagel. There's plenty of sugar in here to fuel you through snack time and if eaten with some milk or juice, you're really good to go until the next meal!



S'mores can be eaten year-round, but there's nothing like having them all summer long. Whether you roast them over an open fire, puff them up in a microwave or sneak them under a broiler, the marshmallow is held in high regard. Mini chocolate chips work best but if you want to chunk it up with big ol' pieces of dark chocolate, I am not going to discourage you. As a matter of fact, I'm going to encourage you to do that and add raisins if you like. Get wild! Add M&Ms! Sky's the limit!


But joking aside, I'm really looking forward to munching on these the next few mornings.



S'mores Breakfast Bars
1 1/2 cups granola OR old-fashioned quick oats (not instant)
1 1/4 cup mini marshmallows 
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup sunflower seed butter or other nut butter
2 Tablespoons milk or cream
1/2 Teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350°F; lightly coat an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with nonstick spray or olive oil. 
2. In a bowl, toss together the oats, marshmallows, chocolate chips, salt and ground cinnamon. Set aside. 
3. In a second bowl blend together the honey, sunflower seed butter, milk and vanilla. Pour honey mixture over the oat mixture and stir until completely coated. 
4. Pour mixture into prepared pan and press firmly. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until beginning to brown and turn bubbly. Remove from oven, let stand for 10 minutes.
5. Cut into bars while still warm. Let cool completely before removing from the pan. Store in air tight container. Bars will last up to a week.



Check out these #BacktoSchoolTreats recipes from our Bloggers:

Back to School Breakfasts:
Air Fryer Almond Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins from Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks
Apple and Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal from Jen Around the World
Cherry Almond Scones from The Redhead Baker
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Overnight Oats from Tara's Multicultural Table
Chocolate Oatmeal Surprise from Girl Abroad
GF Banana Bread Muffins from Frugal & Fit
Rainbow Sprinkle Pancakes from A Day in the Life on the Farm
S'mores Breakfast Bars from Nik Snacks

Back to School Snacks:
ABC 123 Snack Mix from Big Bear's Wife
Banana Sushi from Simple and Savory
Blueberry Granola Bars from Karen's Kitchen Stories
Granola Trail Mix Snack Packs from Home Sweet Homestead

Back to School Desserts:
Apple Slice Donuts from For the Love of Food
Cereal Milk Macaron from A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures
Funfetti Cookie Dough Bars from The Spiffy Cookie
Funfetti Vanilla Dirt Cups from Love and Confections
Gluten Free Lemon Cream Bars from The Mandatory Mooch
Loaded Chocolate Chunk Bar Cookies from Hardly A Goddess
Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes from Daily Dish Recipes
Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies from Kelly Lynn’s Sweets and Treats
Spiced Honey Hazelnut Cookies from Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Back to School Drinks:
Affogato Vanilla Milkshake from Family Around the Table
Apple Pie Latte from The Beard and The Baker
Hot Buttered Caramel Rum from The Domestic Kitchen




On 6:00 AM by Nikki @ NikSnacks in , , , ,    No comments

This post and recipe was created specifically for #BackToSchoolTreats. I was sent samples by some of the sponsors but all words, photos and opinions are mine.

Mom and Dad can get a sweet start to the work day with these Caramel Macchiato Iced Coffee Cubes. Add them to hot or iced coffee for a special treat in the morning OR for an afternoon pick-me-up before picking up the kids.





Summer is winding down, and we are celebrating with #BacktoSchoolTreats hosted by Terri from Love and Confections and Christie from A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures. All week-long 30 bloggers will be sharing 100+ fantastic recipes for both parents and kids, with breakfasts, snacks, desserts, and drinks to get you back in the school routine. Thank you sponsors for providing the prize packages. Don't forget to enter the giveaway HERE (scroll to the bottom for the Rafflecopter)!



Thank you to #BacktoSchoolTreats Sponsors: Dixie Crystals, Sweets & Treats, Torani, Taylor & Colledge, and Flahavan's for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BacktoSchoolTreats recipes. All opinions are my own. The #BacktoSchoolTreats giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning.

This recipe harkens back to my days as a barista at Starbucks. Ah, the caramel macchiato... a made up drink by the coffee giant. Probably the most popular drink right after the Frappucino. It's a layered beverage: vanilla syrup, steamed milk topped with an espresso shot (or three) and garnished with a crosshatch of caramel drizzle.

I cut out the fancy middle man with this recipe.



These ice cubes are layered, too! Fresh, brewed coffee mixed with Torani Caramel Syrup and each ice cube portion in the tray is topped with a spoonful of heavy cream.



The cream really does rise to the top. Now, if you make these and the cream mixes with the coffee mixture, making homogenous--that's fine! It won't detract from the sweet goodness of the caramel or the coffee. Add these to your hot brew to cool it down or use them as ice cubes for your iced coffee. No matter how you decide to use them, you'll be happy you took the time to make them for yourself. They're already a hit in my house.




Caramel Macchiato Iced Coffee Cubes Yield: 48 ice cubes Ingredients 24 oz. freshly brewed coffee 10 oz. Torani Caramel Syrup 8 oz. Heavy cream or half-and-half Instructions 1. Let brewed coffee cool to room temperature. 2. Add Torani Caramel Syrup and stir to combine. 3. Pour coffee into two 24-cube ice cube molds and slowly pour 1 tsp of heavy cream on top of each cube. 4. Freeze until solid, 4-5 hours. 5. Transfer frozen coffee cubes to an airtight container or freezer bag. Store for up to 2 months.


Check out these #BacktoSchoolTreats recipes from our Bloggers:

Back to School Breakfasts:
PB&J stuffed French Toast from The Domestic Kitchen

Back to School Snacks:
Chocolate Covered Honeycomb Candy from Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks
Funfetti Rice Krispies Treats from Kelly Lynns Sweets and Treats
On the Go Granola Pouch from Jen Around the World

Back to School Desserts:
Afternoon Lemon Squares from Girl Abroad
Back to School Sugar Cookies from Love and Confections
Fruity Cereal Bars from A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures
Mini Pearls of Wisdom Cookies from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Pumpkin Donut Muffins from The Nifty Foodie

Back to School Drinks:
Caramel Apple Iced Tea from Jolene's Recipe Journal
Caramel Apple Smoothie from Home Sweet Homestead