If there's one thing Old Man Winter of 2014 has taught me while keeping me holed up in my apartment for three months, it's homemade anything is usually better than store bought, not to mention way less expensive. Over the holidays my sister and I made Chex Mix, the way my great aunt used to do every Christmas. My aunt would buy pretty tins and plastic globes that looked like giant ornaments and fill them with her version, and I fondly remember it being my second favorite gift each Christmas. (First favorite was whatever equivalent of a Red Ryder BB Gun I'd asked for, which was usually something like a leather-bound journal or a van Gogh calendar. I was a nerd.)
The warm fuzzy memory is problematic, though, because mine will never taste as good as hers. Actually, mine will never even taste as good as my sister's. Hence the reason things made with the magic ingredient of love are always the best!
But since my great aunt has passed and my sister lives in Georgia, I'll have to make do with my version, because either way, it's still a great salty snack to keep around!
Chex Mix, aka Party Mix, needs three base ingredients, and then you can add whatever else you want: Rice Chex, Wheat Chex and Corn Chex. Here's a list of measured ingredient for how I like to make mine:
2 cups Rice Chex
2 cups Wheat Chex
2 cups Corn Chex
2 cups mini pretzels
2 cups Cheez-Its
2 cups plain Cheerios
1 cup mixed nuts (especially pecans -- they soak up the butter the best!)
I've also made my mix with cheese bunnies or goldfish, and bagel chips add a nice crunch. It's fun to get creative and switch up ingredients every now and then!
For the seasoning, you'll need:
6 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
Other recipes call for slightly different measurements, and the original recipe calls for seasoned salt. I don't like to add salt because a lot of what I put in mine is already salted, and I think it's overkill. However, sometimes I'll add a dash of chili powder or South African smoke seasoning (from Trader Joe's) to give it a kick. I encourage you to get creative!
First, heat your oven to 250°F.
Next, put all your dry ingredients in a big bowl. Mix your seasoning ingredients together, and give it a little whisk to ensure they're mixed well. Pour your seasoning over the dry ingredients, and using a spoon or spatula, turn over the dry ingredients several times so everything gets a good coating. Some pieces will be coated better than others, and those are the ones you get to search for later on when you're ready to eat it. :)
Now, some people cook their mix in the microwave. I am not a fan of this because you just can't achieve optimal crunchiness in the microwave. So I use the oven, which takes much longer, but your results will be so much better.
Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil (for easier clean-up) and spread out the mix as evenly as possible.
Slide the sheet onto the top rack of the oven then set your timer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, gently stir the party mix, turning over whichever pieces you easily can. This is so it will toast evenly. Don't spend too much time worrying about this because A) you don't want to lose your heat in the oven and B) you will most definitely lose a few pieces into the fiery abyss below, causing your fire alarm to go off, and your dog will shake violently and have diarrhea later on. So, you know, use your discretion on what's most important.
Total toasting time is 1 hour, which means you'll stir this three times, every 15 minutes until you've reached an hour.
As long as you seal it in a tin or Tupperware, this is a yummy snack that will stay for weeks! I made this batch the first week in February, and I still have some leftover. By spring it will be gone, and I'll be eating celery instead to get ready for beach season.