Chex Mix… but better

Warning: I like to ramble and enjoy a good side story. It will happen throughout this blog post and the recipe. You’ve been warned.

Ok, so my mom passed away 18 years ago. Which seems like a weird place to start a blog post about Chex Mix, but here we are. My friend’s mom felt bad that I wasn’t getting care packages from my mom any more, so she sent me a care package with a bunch of fun stuff and “Chex Mix.” Bless her. Her heart was in the right place, but putting Chex, pretzels, Cheese Its, peanuts, and Cheetos (what?) in a bag and mixing it up without any spices does not Chex Mix make.

Chex Mix should not contain Cheetos. Stick to the basics: Chex, Cheese Its, pretzels, melba toast, and peanuts.
Goldfish is an acceptable substitute if you don’t have Cheese Its.

I was not about to just throw out perfectly good snack foods. So I whip up a batch of Chex Mix spices and decide that since there’s Cheetos in there it needs something extra. So I throw in a little of this and a little of that and mix it all up and stick it in the oven. (At that time I was an Chex Mix oven purist) And while it was baking I decided that it didn’t smell yummy enough, so I mixed up some more spices and added those in part of the way through.

A little of this and a little of that….
Spices 2: Return of the Spices

The result was the absolute best Chex Mix I have ever had. And 90% of the people who have it agree. (If you don’t like spicy things then you’d fall in the 10% of people who don’t like it and that’s OK too.) I’ve got friends who look forward to “Chex Mix Season” where I bake batch upon batch of it and share it with everyone. I started a business for awhile, but baking 100 10oz bags of “Mix it Up Party Mix” was enough for me to realize that that’s not what I wanted to do. So now I just send it off to friends who have moved away or friends who I have moved away from, bring it to the office (oops, can’t do that any more), make it for parties (man I miss those), and, more recently, drop it off on people’s front porches.

I even made a gluten free version for a friend when she found out she had Celiac Disease. That was “fun”, but I sure did learn a lot. Leave me a comment if you want that recipe.

Anyways, that’s the story of my spicy Chex Mix. And now, for the first time, I’m going to share the recipe with y’all. Try it this holiday season and let me know how it goes. Or try it any time. Really, it’s great year round.

P.S. Do not eat it all in one sitting. You will want to, but don’t. You end up with really bad heartburn that you have to make your husband/partner/roommate go out at 2 in the morning to a 24 hour pharmacy to get Tums and Pepto Bismol.

Recipe

Ingredients
4.5 cups Corn Chex
4.5 cups Rice Chex
0 cups Wheat Chex because Wheat Chex is gross
1 generous cup each: Cheese its, peanuts (you can use mixed nuts if you want, but the peanuts are the best part so why add unnecessary nuts?), pretzels, and broken up melba toast

Spices (Round one)
6 tbsp melted butter
1 ½ tsp seasoned salt
¾ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp each: onion powder and crushed red pepper flakes
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp hot sauce
a generous pinch chipotle chili pepper (don’t actually pinch it. Use a knife or teaspoon and guesstimate. You do not want to rub your eye and get spicy stuff in there.)

Spices (Round two – the Spicening)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
½ tbsp (aka 1 ½ tsp) hot sauce
½ tsp each: garlic powder and crushed red pepper flakes
¼ tsp each: seasoned salt and onion powder
a generous pinch chipotle chili powder


Directions

  1. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. In a medium bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. About 45 seconds on high. Stir until it’s all melted. Throw it back in the microwave for another 15 seconds if there’s still unmelted butter.
  3. Add the Round One spices and stir until homogeneous (that’s just a fun word to say so I had to include it.)
  4. Drizzle the butter and spices over the dry ingredients and then toss to mix. If you do not know how to toss a bowl of Chex Mix then use a spoon. Then watch this gif (not jif, we’re not cooking with peanut butter here) and practice with a bowl of popcorn and butter so you can do it next time.

(I hate using spoons because you inevitably end up crushing some of the good stuff and then you have even more crumbs at the bottom that you can’t eat. Or you can, but they’re so coated with spices that it is like heartburn in a bite.)

  1. Microwave it for 2 minutes on high. I know, I know, I use to be an oven purist for making Chex Mix, but I promise it’s just as good in the microwave. And it’s loads faster. It comes out seeming wetter than in the oven, but if you let it dry it’s just as good.
  2. While the microwave is doing it’s thing, mix the Round Two spices. They’ll be thick since there’s no butter this time, but that’s OK. If you need to thin them out a little bit add some extra Worcestershire or hot sauce. Depending on what hot sauce you use you can go up to a tablespoon. I’ve been using Frank’s RedHot sauce lately and it really doesn’t need the whole tablespoon. The hubs loves it, but I can’t handle that much spice. I use to use Louisiana Hot Sauce and that I could use a tablespoon. 🤷‍♀️
  3. When the microwave is done, drizzle (as best as you can) the Round Two spices over the mix and then toss again. Make sure to toss really well as the Round Two spices don’t like spreading out. If you’ve got a stuffed up nose stick your face close and you’ll clear out your sinuses. If you can’t smell anything at this point you have COVID. Go get tested and wear a damn mask. I’m being serious, that’s how I found out I had COVID. Wear. A. Damn. Mask.
  4. Microwave for 2 more minutes. This is a great time to clean up the kitchen.
  5. Toss and microwave for 2 more minutes (yes, again). This time you can use the time to layout a clean dish towel or 2 layers of paper towels for the mix to dry on. In an effort to be less wasteful I usually I have a couple of designated chex mix dish towels that get washed afterwards.
  6. Spread out the chex mix on the towel/s and let it dry for about 10 minutes. Around 5 minutes you can start sneaking tastes. Aw, who am I kidding, I usually start sneaking tastes at about 1 minute.
  7. Store in a Tupperware for up to x days/weeks/months? I dunno, it’s never lasted more than a week around my house.

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