Nutella + Pretzel Crisps, Brown Sugar + Bacon, Pink Sauce

Welcome to the sweethottness food combinations edition.

I like to cook, but definitely don’t try new recipes nearly as often as I’d like, mostly due to budget and time constraints; as a result, my go-to meals cycle through pretty frequently. My husband and I typically operate in the cheap, simple, quick, moderately tasty mode. Our grocery lists remain fairly stagnant from shopping trip to shopping trip. But one key to breaking up potential culinary monotony is devising new combinations of food items. Here are a few combos that stand out:

Pretzel Crisps + Nutella 
I didn’t think it got much better than Nutella and bananas (and yes, in case you were wondering, I still sing this song in my head to make sure I’m spelling correctly). But then I dipped a pretzel crisp into the creamy, chocolatey, hazlenut goodness that is Nutella and literally felt my taste buds twerk.

Alright, so I’m being overly dramatic here, but trust me, it’s good. Have you ever had a pretzel crisp? It’s basically a small pretzel that’s flat — like if a pretzel had sex with a chip-like-cracker and birthed a tasty baby. The ingredients are no different from a regular pretzels, but somehow this slight difference in layout is absolutely transformational. I thought I had a good thing going with the hummus + pretzel crisp combo, but Nutella is definitely the trump here — opposites attract, and you’ve got the whole smooth-crunchy, savory-sweet complementary thing going on. Be warned, though, dear reader: self-control is quite difficult to maintain when consuming this delectable pairing.

Brown Sugar + Bacon
This combo is probably already a thing, but it’s only recently become a norm in my household. Sorry if I’m behind. This is truly revolutionary. Again, it’s the salty-sugary friendship coming together to form a beautiful union in your mouth. And is baking your bacon a thing? Because that’s what we do — it’s way less messy. Just turn your toaster oven up to 450 and pop those slabs on a foil-lined pan for a few minutes. Clean-up = throwing away the foil. But back to this combination: the best is when the brown sugar truly browns and gets those slightly smoky, molasses-y burnt undertones that harden overtop of the juicy meat. Mmmm, son. That’s how it’s done.

Pink Sauce
I wish I had a better name for this one, but I don’t. Conor and I got this idea from some friends of ours a year ago or so when we were all trying out vegetarianism. We ate pasta pretty much 6 out of 7 nights during that season and having a different type of sauce to serve over our noodles was a welcome change. Combine one part marinara with one part alfredo sauce and, voila, you’ve got the magic pink potion. Add some garlic and fresh basil and you’re golden. The creaminess of the alfredo tempers the acidity of the tomato-base creating yet another beautiful balance between two unlike food items.

The moral of the story, my friends, is this: a strategic mix and match can do wonders. Get creative.