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Turn crumbs into tasty dessert

By on April 24, 2008

pineapple dessert

Have you ever had bits of potato chips, cereal or pretzels left over after a night of munching? Maybe the chips have been pulverized into crumbs or are partially stale, or there isn’t enough cereal for a full serving. There’s no need to toss the foods or feed them to the birds. Put them to good use in creative and frugal recipes. Add leftover cereal and chips to meatloaf, muffins, bread, desserts, yogurt and ice cream. Here are a few recipes to get you started.

Layered Pineapple Pretzel Dessert
tutorial follows article

2 cups pretzels, crushed
1 cup butter, melted
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
1 cup granulated sugar
1 (8-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 (20-ounce) cans crushed pineapple (reserve juices–will equal just shy of 2 cups of juice)
2 (3.4-ounce) packages instant vanilla-pudding mix
1 (20-ounce) can pineapple rings, optional
1 (12-ounce) jar maraschino cherries, optional

Preheat oven to 350 F. Place crushed pretzels in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Evenly pour melted butter over entire top of crushed pretzels. Set aside to cool. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool. Cream together cream cheese and sugar. Fold in whipped topping. Spread over cooled pretzel crust. Combine reserved pineapple juice and pudding mixes. Mix in crushed pineapple. Spread over whipped topping layer. Refrigerate until ready to serve.Optional: Garnish with pineapple rings and maraschino cherries placed in the center.

Potato-Chip Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
6 ounces butterscotch chips
2 cups potato chips, crushed

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cream butter, sugars and eggs. Mix in remaining ingredients in order. Drop by teaspoonfuls on greased cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

Cornflake Chicken

1 cup cornflake crumbs
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
6 to 8 chicken legs (with skin)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray baking pan with cooking-oil spray. Using a rolling pin, crush cornflakes in a plastic zipper-type bag. In a large bowl, mix cornflake crumbs, Parmesan, salt and pepper, and mix well. Lightly beat eggs and milk in a bowl. Dip each chicken leg into egg mixture and roll in cornflake mixture until well coated. Place chicken in baking pan. Lightly spray cooking-oil spray over the chicken legs. Bake for 1 hour.
Optional: cayenne pepper or poultry seasoning, to taste.

Toasted O’s Cookies

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
1/2 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
1-1/2 cups Toasted O’s cereal (or Cheerios-type cereal)
1 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 375 F. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars. Stir in the peanut butter, egg and vanilla. In a separate small bowl, stir together the baking powder, baking soda, salt and flour. Fold the flour mixture into the first mixture in the large bowl. Add the oatmeal, cereal and butterscotch chips. Mix to combine. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10 minutes.

Cereal Muffins

1-3/4 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
1-1/2 cups Fruit Loops or Apple Jacks cereal, whole

For topping:
1/2 cup Fruit Loops or Apple Jacks cereal, crushed
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400 F. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add melted butter, egg, milk and 1-1/2 cups whole cereal. For topping, mix crushed cereal with melted butter. Spoon muffin batter into paper-lined muffin tins. Sprinkle crumb topping on batter. Bake for 20 minutes.

Pineapple pretzel dessert tutorial
Make sure your oven is preheated to 350 degrees F.
crushed pretzels

Using a rolling pin, I crush my pretzels in a zipper lock plastic baggie.

pretzels in pan

My pretzels are in the baking pan. I melt 2 sticks of butter in a glass measuring cup in the microwave. And I slowly pour melted butter over the crushed pretzels. I let it cool. Meanwhile my oven is preheating.

pan in the oven

Without grabbing a handful of pretzels to munch on, I place my pretzel crust into the oven.

cream cheese

I place my block of cream cheese into my mixer.

add sugar

I add my cup of sugar.

mix cream cheese

I cream the sugar and cream cheese together.

add whipped topping

I didn’t feel like grabbing a rubber spatula to fold the whipped topping in. So I just tossed it into the mixing bowl.

mix whipped topping more

And on low speed, I mixed.

mix more

And mixed more until combined. Looks good huh? It needed a taste test. yum. One more taste. Perfecto.


I remove the pretzel crust from the oven and let it cool. Confession time. I could have crushed the pretzels better. But I made this at 1am. My husband tried to stay up to taste it. He’ll have to wait until tomorrow.

baked crust

I drain my pineapple juice from 1 can. I set the drained pineapple left in the can aside for a moment. I then decide to add the drained juice from the second can of pineapple, so I don’t waste it. But this means I need to add another box of pudding, so it’s thick enough. So just under 2 cups of drained juice added to two packages of pudding. If you want, you can use the drained juice from 1 can of pineapple and you’ll still drain the juice from the 2nd can of pineapple, but it won’t be used in the recipe. So, you either want just shy of 1 cup of juice, two cans of drained pineapple, 1 box of pudding. OR you can use like I did in this tutorial and drain the juice of both cans of pineapple, which gives just under 2 cups of pineapple juice and combine that with 2 boxes of pudding. Clear as mud?

add pudding mix

I add my 2 boxes of instant pudding mix to the almost 2 cups of drained pineapple juice. I whisk to combine it.

pineapple and pudding

I add my 2 cans of crushed pineapple that is left in the cans to the pudding mixture. And I whisk it together. It’s going to have a custard like consistency. I set the bowl aside.

add cream cheese mixture

I resist eating the pineapple pudding mixture. I add the cream cheese mixture to the top of the cooled pretzel crust. I just sorta dollop it evenly on the top.


Then I evenly spread the cream cheese mixture. And lick the spoon and scrape the bowl and lick the spoon again like I haven’t eaten in a month. Then quick look to see if my husband saw me. Nope. He’s sleeping.

spread pineapple

I spread the pineapple mixture on top.

Then I garnish with pineapple rings and cherries.

Note to newspaper column readers. The recipe printed in the paper said 2 cans of pineapple and reserved juice from one can and one package of pudding. This would leave an extra cup of drained juice that you can drink or save for whatever reason. You drain both cans. To clarify, it can be made with 2 cans of drained pineapple and one slightly less than 1 cup of pineapple juice that you drained. I didn’t want to waste a cup of juice in this tutorial, so I mixed drained juice from two cans of pineapple and two pudding mixes. I updated my changes in the recipe up above to match what I did. Some column readers didn’t have any directions for where the drained pineapple was added. My apologies. The crushed pineapple is added after the juice and pudding mix are combined. I hope this clears that up. 🙂


One Comment

  1. Ginger M.

    4/24/2008 at 2:28 pm

    Some great ideas you have here. Salty pretzel+ rich cream cheese + sweet pineapples sounds like a winning combination.

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