Cooking can be a serious drag. No, really, it is not always fun to prepare an entire meal. Lucky for you, this is the exact reason that snacks exist. While it may be easy to run to the store and grab a bag of chips or a box of cookies, doing so will not win you any points toward impressing anyone. The way to solve this fundamental snack problem is simple: make your own.
Snacks come in all shapes and sizes, and the first snack in this recipe happens to be kind of mushy. Don’t worry, it has a really fancy name: hummus. What, you’ve heard of it? Great! Then you know that it is made from garbanzo beans, which you can find in canned form at any grocery store. Depending on how much hummus you want to make, you should grab 1 or 2 cans of garbanzo beans. Having a party? Use 2. Sitting around by yourself, watching episodes of crime dramas or documentaries about serial killers? Just use 1.
You will need a food processor or blender to make your hummus, of course. That is how it gets mushy. Drain your beans of the liquid in the can, but save the liquid and set it aside before putting them in your mushy-maker of choice. The liquid is what you will add during the blending process to get your hummus to the consistency you desire. This is entirely up to you. Similarly, what you add to season your hummus is also entirely up to you. I add a dash of lemon juice, salt, pepper, onion powder, minced garlic and some sweet, smoked paprika. You will also want to add some olive oil to make sure it has a smoothness about it and for some extra flavor.
When you are done blending your hummus into the perfect mush and have added all the spices and flavors you want, you are actually ready to serve it. Eat it with chips or bread, or vegetables if you are into that sort of “healthy stuff.” It pairs well with just about anything, but it also works fine as a stand-alone dish. Try finishing it off with a dash of some of your coolest-looking spices on the top to make it look nice and fancy, then serve it to your friends or enjoy it by yourself in a dark room, illuminated only by the sad glow of the television set in front of you.
Sweet potato fries
But hey, there are other snacks too. If you aren’t into mushy or you just want something to go with it, you can try making your very own sweet potato fries. The main ingredient you will need for this tasty snack is, of course, sweet potatoes. You should get fresh ones, 2 or 3 depending on how many fries you feel like you need to make. These are also easy to find at the grocery store. You should peel them and cut them into the general shape of fries. I don’t know how you like your fries shaped. I won’t judge you; do what feels right.
Grab a bowl and our old friend olive oil and toss the fries in, drizzling the olive oil over them. Don’t add too much, or they will get kind of mushy too. As far as spices go, you can do a lot of very different and interesting things with sweet potato fries. If you want something spicy, you can add some salt and pepper and maybe paprika or crushed red peppers. If you want something safe, just use salt and pepper. My favorite way to make them is a mixture of sweet and salty, with salt (of course), brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
When you have fully seasoned your fries, you should lightly grease a baking sheet and spread them over it. If you want to save yourself some cleanup, you could cover the baking sheet with tinfoil, but you should still grease it lightly. Otherwise your fries may stick to your baking sheet. Oh, wait, did you preheat the oven? You were supposed to preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Don’t forget that part. Your fries are not going to taste good if you don’t cook them.
Leave them in the oven (which you preheated, right?) for 20–30 minutes. When they come out they should be soft, but if they are too soft you can stick them under the broiler for a little bit to crisp them up. Just make sure you check on them, or they may burn. You’re not supposed to burn them, FYI. They may be pretty hot, so let them cool when you take them out of the oven. Once they are cool enough for you to touch without harming yourself, you are free to enjoy your snacks and, if you are lucky, make yourself look like a totally cultured amateur chef in front of some guests.