It’s a party in a pan
One day, it hit me: pumpkin funnel cake. What an idea! I would surely be hailed as a pop culinary genius. But just in case, I googled “pumpkin funnel cake.”
As it happened, many people beat me to the punch. I concluded that in this nutty post-Internet world, there’s no such thing as an original idea.
A few years later, inspiration struck again: Party Mix meatloaf. What is Party Mix, you might ask? Have you never strolled the chip aisle? Have you never put a dollar bill into a vending machine? I suppose a definition is in order:
Party Mix (par-tee miks): A chip blend comprised of tortilla chips, nacho chips, bar-b-q corn chips, pretzel sticks (or small pretzel rounds) and cheese “crunchies.”
The snack — which is manufactured by Herr’s, Utz, Keystone and others — is quite salty, and coats your fingertips in a seemingly glow-in-the-dark shade of orange. (Not that you mind.)
Put it this way: A bag of chips is just a bag of chips, but Party Mix? That’s a party.
To my surprise, nothing came up when I googled “Party Mix meatloaf.” I would check back periodically over the next 18-odd months, and still found nothing on the Google. It was time to put up or shut up. Time to name it and claim it.
Find the recipe for Party Mix meatloaf (which I conceived and consulted on, but did not develop) HERE.
Throw your own party
While staging a “food porn” photo of the finished loaf, I photographed each step for posterity. Scroll on …
Left: A bag o’ Party Mix. Right: Reserve a 1/2 cup of coarsely crushed Party Mix (for the topping), while finely crushing the remainder (for the meatloaf mix) within the bag (for less mess).
In a bowl, combine ground turkey with crushed Party Mix; added seasonings; finely diced red pepper; and sauteed onion and celery.
Here it is combined and ready for the loaf pan.
Here’s the mixture in the baking dish. (Maybe I over-photographed the process?)
Um, OK, here it is baked.
After baking, top with shredded Extra Sharp White Cheddar, and return to oven to melt.
Top evenly with reserved coarsely crushed Party Mix as shown, and serve!
More genius ideas to come
There you have it. As a serving suggestion, be sure to surround the loaf with … more Party Mix chips. And maybe even some balloons and streamers. These will be visual reminders that, to quote Kool and the Gang, “There’s a party goin’ on right here.”
My next brilliant idea for a gimmicky junk-food tie-in recipe? Just between you and me, I have a doozy. Three words: Franken Berry Cheesecake.
(The imagination reels. Crushed Franken Berry cereal is the basis for the crust, kinda like graham crackers. Strawberry-flavored gelatin powder is blended into the cheese mixture. After overnight refrigeration, the monster face is “drawn” with strawberry Twizzlers; fresh-cut strawberries and blueberries; marshmallows (for “teeth”); and Oreos (with the top cookies removed) plus Junior Mints for “eyes.” It will cure diabetes!
Wait. Did I say “cure”? I mean “cause.”
Even the sainted “Peanuts” gang was not above peddling empy-calorie snacks to children. At Christmas, yet.