Uncommonly Good

Larrupin Party Mix ~ Great Gift From the Kitchen

I love homemade Party Mix.

Party Mix

It’s the perfect mix of crunchy and salty snacking. And, while it’s a treat to bite down on the occasional peanut or pecan, Kix cereal is my favorite. I pick out handfuls of Kix and eat them one at a time. Just a bit of sweet in that crunchy air-filled puff.

Party MIx

For years my mom would make a roasting pan full of this stuff and parcel it out to all of us during the holidays. Eventually I got her recipe and started making my own.

It’s the perfect thing to make and divvy up for gifts. Fill any jar, cover the lid with a scrap of fabric, and secure the fabric with a rubber band. Finish it up with a tidy bow of ribbon, string, yarn, or whatever suits your fancy.

I think the recipe came from Marge, our across-the-street-neighbor on 40th Street. It’s similar to the recipe on the back of Chex cereal, but not really.

Chex cereals
Wheat Chex, Rice Chex, Corn Chex

It calls for a half-a-box of three different kinds of cereal, but mom doubles it so she doesn’t have to make room for three extra boxes of cereal in the cabinet. She has a pretty small kitchen.



After comparing all the recipes with the ingredients I had on hand I decided about 25 cups of dry crunchy stuff would go with the seasoning mix.

Chinese Crispy Noodles

Chinese Crispy Noodles

I used a LARGE stock pot to mix it in. When it came time to add the seasoning oil I split the crunchy ingredients into two stock pots to be sure I could stir it all the way to the bottom and get it mixed well. Mom’s roasting pan works great, it’s shallow enough to spread out and easy to mix during the baking.

Soy Nuts

Roasted, Salted Soy Nuts

If you want to microwave it, you can mix it in any large container. Then transfer it to a container that fits inside your microwave. Be sure to leave room to stir it every two minutes.  You may have to do it in batches.

Janz Revised Party Mix

Dry Crunchy Stuff

4 Cups Wheat Chex
4 Cups Rice Chex
4 Cups Corn Chex
4 Cups Cheerios
3 Cups Chinese Crispy Noodles
3 Cups Roasted, Salted Soy Nuts
3 Cups Nuts (2 cups roasted peanuts; 1 cup walnut pieces)

Party Mix Seasoning

1 Cup Olive Oil
2 T Worcestershire Sauce
8 splashes Tabasco
1 t Lawry’s Seasoned Salt (no MSG version)
1 t garlic granules
1 t celery powder


Preheat oven to 200°.
Dump all the dry crunchy ingredients into a large oven-safe container. A roasting pan or large stew pot works well.
Stir the oil mixture continuously and drizzle over the cereal mix. Stir the crunchy ingredients frequently to distribute the seasoning mix evenly. Put in the preheated oven for 1 hour. Stir every 15 minutes.
To microwave stir every two minutes for 6 minutes.
Let Party Mix cool and store in air tight containers.

Mom’s/Marge’s Original Party Mix

1 C Oil
2 T Worcestershire
4 drops Tabasco
1 t Savory Salt
1 t Garlic Salt
1 t Celery Salt
1 C Pecans
1 can cashews
1/2 box Cheerios
1/2 box Rice Chex
1/2 box Kix
1/2 box Pretzels

My hacks:

  • I love Tabasco, so I added more, but I still couldn’t taste it. The recipe on the back of the cereal box suggests adding 2 T red pepper sauce for a kicked up version. So unless you splash in half-a- bottle, it probably won’t add much heat.
  • I didn’t have garlic salt or celery salt so I made substitutions. I figure less salt is better anyway.
  • I had nice pretty pecan halves and walnut pieces. I decided to save the pretty pecans for something else and used the walnut pieces here.
  • No cashews in the cupboard.
  • I like using all the flavors of Chex so I do.
  • Crispix! Not on my shelf today, but I love it. That will go in my next batch along with…
  • Kix! My fave! Again, not on hand. 😦 So I’ll get a box for the next batch.
  • Pretzels… not so much. I always pick around the pretzels in my mom’s  Party Mix so I  leave it out of mine. They don’t absorb as much of the flavor as the other ingredients so it just tastes like a boring pretzel to me.

About the cost~

If you just buy all these boxes of cereal off the shelf this can be pretty expensive, so clip coupons and watch for sales. Chex frequently has coupons for $1 off 3 boxes and my Homeland doubles the coupons. Save the coupons and watch for a sale and your wallet will thank you! Walgreen’s has frequent sales with different cereals priced at 2 boxes/$4. Add that to a dollar off coupon and cereal that’s usually over $3/box comes down to $1.50.

I don’t see Kix and Crispix coupons as often, which is why I didn’t have those on hand.

Soy nuts are about $2.69/lb. in the bulk nuts and grains area at Homeland. We snack on them a lot, and so this year I added it to my Party Mix. It’s a good addition.

I buy raw Spanish peanuts because the roasted peanuts I find are already salted. I spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet, low heat, for an hour or so. For this recipe I had a canister of roasted peanuts in the shell. I shelled them all and threw them in.

By the way, about a month ago I made a small batch (12 cups dry crunchy ingredients) using the recipe on the back of the cereal box. I was lacking a cup or two of  crunchy ingredients so I used a handful-ish of Wheat Thins.

That didn’t work out.

The flavors of the cracker clash with the seasonings of the Party Mix. I picked around the crackers, much to my dogs’ delight.

So far this year I’ve added three new ingredients: Soy Nuts, yes; Chinese Crispy Noodles, yes; and Wheat Thins, no. Two out-a-three ain’t bad.

What would you add to your special recipe?

December 14, 2011 Posted by | Gifts from the Kitchen, Snacks | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Snow Day Minestrone

Thursday, with an ice storm underway and the snow moving in, my daily Chow email came with a recipe for Minestrone.
Minestrone is a hearty Italian peasant soup, made with the vegetables of the season and it sounded perfect for Snow Day. (When the grown-ups have Snow Day it is an official designation and should be capitalized, unlike snow days when the schools close but most of the grown ups still have to work.)

I found there is no “original” recipe for minestrone, but the ingredients were determined by the season and region in which it was made. Minestrone can be a brothy soup with vegetables that still have some crunch to them; or it can be cooked for hours, breaking down all the vegetables into a thick medley of amazing flavors. This recipe leans toward the brothy version.

I skipped the butter in the original recipe and went with just olive oil. I found other recipes that started with diced bacon and then adding the vegetables to to bacon and drippings. I’ll try that next time. This is how my Snow Day Minestrone played out.
Early in the day I put 1 cup dried Great Northern Beans (they were the only dried beans I happened to have) in a large saucepan, covered them with water, and brought it to a boil over high heat. Then I got the newspaper and settled down. About 30 minutes later I remembered the beans and ran to the kitchen in time to hear the sizzle of the last of the water evaporating. Fortunately, I caught them before they started to burn, so I refilled the pot and put them back on the stove. This time with low heat. I let them cook for another hour or so and when some were tender and others were still al dente I removed the pot from the heat. You can skip this step if you want to used canned beans.
Act One:  Saute
For the soup, I put my pot on the stove and turned the heat to medium. I tossed in the onions, celery, and red pepper with a splatter of olive oil.  Season with a bit of salt and pepper, tasting as you go. I let them soften and then added the garlic
and stirred it into the mixture for a minute or so. Next came the diced potato and carrot. I scraped the bottom of the pan to include all the good stuff that sticks to the bottom. When everything looked good I poured in the can of tomatoes and the juice and added the bay leaf. I let that cook together a couple of minutes.
Act Two: Simmer
I stirred in the liquid from the cooked beans. I added the green beans and liquid, half the zucchini, the peas and stirred occasionally until zucchini softened, about 10 minutes. Next came the broth, the pasta—I used small shell
macaroni— and half the parsley and let it simmer about 5–8 minutes.  Finally came the cooked beans, the leftover liquid, and the last of the zucchini. And just for fun I threw in a handful of alphabet pasta. The whole pot continued to simmer until the pasta was ready and the last of the zucchini still had a little crunch to it.

Epilogue: Serve

Remove from heat and stir in the remaining parsley, taste and adjust seasoning. Serve with grated Parmesan, freshly ground pepper, and my personal favorite, Tabasco sauce. Garnish with crunchy garlic seasoned croutons.

The Players

1 cup dried Great Northern beans
2 T olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced and diced somewhat chunky
2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 small russet potato, medium dice
2 medium celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, peeled, thinly sliced
1 medium bay leaf
1 (14.5-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
15 oz can green beans
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced
1/2 cup frozen peas
4 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup small shell macaroni and 1/2 C alphabet pasta
1/2 C finely chopped Italian parsley (about 1/2 bunch)
Grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese, for garnish
Garlic Seasoned Homemade Croutons

January 31, 2010 Posted by | Soup | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment


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