Putting the “Crack” in Crackers

RitzRitz versus Saltines?

Or is there really even a comparison?

Ritz are those elegant, round buttery bites of class; they’re deserving of top-quality cheeses and special occasion dips. They are classic and timeless, like a little black dress. I’ve never met a person who doesn’t love a Ritz cracker and don’t want to.

SaltinesThen there is the other classic cracker we all know and love: saltines. Square and salty and reminiscent of most everybody’s childhood, the ultimate soup cracker. Not as classy as the Ritz, they’re homier and are best with things like cheddar cheese, tuna salad, and, of course, peanut butter.

Round and buttery or square and salty? They’re both irresistible; I could eat a whole sleeve of either right now. It doesn’t really matter which box ends up in the shopping car: there is a place in the pantry for both!

Here are two easy recipes that use both crackers. There’s nothing better than buttery Ritz crackers for a crunchy topping, so this recipe needs to be committed to memory. The other is a fun thing, something we used to call “Camper’s Crackers” because you could make them up, put them in a backpack, and start hiking, the agitation of your gait contributing to the recipe. Enjoy!

Ritz Cracker Topping
(1-1/4 Cups)

35 Ritz crackers (that’s one “sleeve”)
¼ Cup melted butter
Dash of seasoned salt

Put the crackers in a ziploc bag and crush them with a rolling pin – they should look like coarse breadcrumbs. Transfer to a bowl. Pour in the melted butter and seasoned salt. Toss well.

Use to top fish fillets before baking or as a topping for casseroles like macaroni and cheese.

Backpack Crackers
(4 servings)

35 Saltines (that’s one “sleeve”)
1/4 Cup canola oil
2 Tablespoons ranch dressing mix (your own or storebought)
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Place the saltines in a big ziploc bag. Whisk the oil, ranch dressing, and pepper flakes in a bowl. Pour over the crackers and seal the bag. Shake the bag well – but not so aggressively that you break the crackers! Let the bag on the counter and give it a good shake several times over the next day. After 24 hours, the cracker will have absorbed all the oil and ranch goodness.

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