Gluten/Dairy Free Chex Mix

Since my college finals days, I’ve been a holiday baker. One of my signature dishes is Chex Mix. This year, I set out to make a dairy free/gluten free version so that Jeremiah’s oldest nephew could enjoy it.

The gluten free cereal part was easy since Rice Chex and Corn Chex are both Gluten Free. We also knew we could get a fake butter – Smart Balance is the brand his family uses. It’s pretty much just a mix of different oils.

The gluten free pretzels was the hardest ingredient to find. We ended up going to Sprouts to get a bag of Glutino – gluten free pretzels. I love Sprouts – they make buying foods for people with specific dietary needs easy. It’s where we picked up the fake butter. Plus, we were able to buy about 1 1/2 cups of peanuts from the bulk area for about $.70. This is way cheaper than the grocery store packaged bags. We couldn’t use mixed nut because Jeremiah has a pretty serious allergy to cashews.

Here’s hoping you and your Gluten Free/Dairy Free family & friends enjoy this recipe.

Gluten Free ChexGluten & Dairy Free Chex Mix by Amber Bourek
3 c. Rice Chex
3 c. Corn Chex
3 T. Smart Balance Non-dairy Butter
2 c. Glutino (Gluten Free) Pretzels
1 c. Peanuts
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
3/4 tsp. seasoned salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder

Melt fake butter and stir in seasoning. Mix with dry ingredients. Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour – stirring every 15 minutes.

Notes:

  • I used a the Chex seasoning packet. It is the same ingredients as the seasoning listed above.

FrootLoops Bars

When I was a child, my Great Grandma Kingston used to always make Rice Krispies Treats for our birthday parties. My Great Grandma Reith would make homemade ice cream. I had party cool great grandmas, right?

I used to help my mom a lot in the kitchen. One treat that I always avoided helping with though was Rice Krispies bars. They were a hot gooey mess to stir and get to stick in the pan. As I got a little older, Kellogg’s started packaging and selling these treats in the grocery store. I tried making them once in college but I learned quickly it was easier to buy the pre-made ones. My rule is if someone can do it better than you for a cheap price, buy it. They are also great treats to ship to service men and women serving our country overseas.

A few weeks ago, I ran across this recipe in the Hy-Vee ad for Simple Cereal Bars. The ad featured FrootLoops, Frosted Flakes, and Apple Jacks bars. I decided if I wanted another treat flavor, I would have to give it a try. The directions suggested making it on the stovetop. My mother used to use the microwave so I thought this might be a bit easier. I selected my large oblong Rachael Ray pan. I also sprayed both the 13 x 9 pan and silicone spoon with non-stick spray. I really think both of these things helped. Recipe challenge accepted and achieved. Pick your favorite cereal and give it a try.

FrootLoops Cereal BarsFrootLoops Bars by Hy-Vee
1/4 c. of butter
6 c. mini-marshmallows
6 c. FrootLoops

Melt butter in a large saucepan on a low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat and pour in cereal. Stir until completely melted. Press into greased 13 x 9 pan. This recipe serves 12.

Notes:

  • My mother likes to make them with Cheerios. I think Golden Grahams might also be good.
  • Look for coupons for your favorite cereal and buy them when they are on sale (about every 6-8 weeks). This recipe takes a whole bag of miniature marshmallows and almost a whole box of cereal. As you know, I’m a big believer in always having a variety of cereals on hand and I love to save $.
  • I put the cereal bars in the fridge to harden before cutting.

Caramel Chex Mix

I got this recipe from my sister. I have no idea who gave it to her but I would say it is one of her signature dishes. She often makes it as part of her Christmas gift for important people in her life. But she has also made it for road trips to Oklahoma and long hotel stays like when my dad’s wife was in the hospital. One of the things I really like about this recipe is how my sister always adds different things to it and it still turns out good. I hope you enjoy this sweet snack.

Caramel Chex Mix by Stephanie Bourek

2 sticks of butter
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. Light Karo Syrup
1/2 tsp. of baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 boxes of Chex mix

In a sauce pan, melt butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup. Bring to a boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla. In a brown paper grocery bag, put two boxes of cereal. Pour hot caramel over cereal. Close and shake. Microwave for 2 minutes. Remove, shake, and microwave for another two minutes. Repeat one more time. Then, carefully pour onto wax paper covered cookie sheets and let cool. Once cooled, you can add candy pieces to mix.

Other possible cereal and mix in options:

  • Chex or Crispix
  • Golden Grahams
  • Cheerios
  • Fiber One Cereal
  • Pretzels
  • Twizzlers (cut into bit sized pieces)
  • M&Ms
  • Tiny caramel chews
  • Candy Corn
  • Nuts

Milk-less Cereal

When I was a kid, my sister and I had to agree on what cereal we were getting at the grocery store. My mother allowed us one box and we had to finish it before could by a new one. The other option was Corn Flakes. This was the cereal my father ate ever morning (and still does 40+ years later).

Stephanie loved cereals like Cheerios, Lucky Charms, and Frankenberry. I, on the other hand, enjoyed Apple Jacks, Fruit Loops, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Stephanie and I used to scope out the boxes at the grocery store. What were the new cereal choices? What box had the best toy? (But we weren’t allowed to dig through the box for it – you got the prize if it dumped out in your bowl.) We usually ended up with something healthy like Crispix or Triple because we could both agree to eat that cereal. If we picked Life, we mother would even eat a bowl or two. Probably our favorite – oh so bad for you cereal – was Ice Cream Cone cereal. We didn’t really like the “ice cream” but we loved the “cone” part of the cereal.

One of my favorite cereal memories was when Stephanie and I request Frosted Mini-Wheats. My mother tried to warn us that we would not like them but we didn’t listen. The commercials made them look healthy but sweet. That really wasn’t the case. If you have ever eaten Shredded Wheat, you know what I am saying! My mother held to her guns on not letting us get a new cereal. She finally agreed that if we could get something else to take the box, she would replace it with a new cereal. I can’t remember if Stephanie said we got Bob Colligan (our super sweet next door neighbor) or my Grandpa Fletcher to take the box off our hands. But trust me, we never made that mistake again!

Today, Stephanie and I always have several different kinds of cereal on hand at our homes. I bet on any given day we have at least 4-7 boxes in our cupboards. Most of Stephanie’s boxes are to make Caramel Chex Mix and I just like to eat different kinds every day.

If you saw my recipe for the Crunchy-topped Strawberry -Kiwi Parfaits, I got this recipe from the same flyer. It is probably one of the few times you can enjoy Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal without milk.

Crunchy Yogurt Parfaits

8 medium strawberries, sliced
1 1/3 c. fat-free strawberry Yoplait yogurt
1 c. Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Cut up six of the strawberries. Layer strawberries, cereal and yogurt in two containers and repeat. Top with a whole strawberry. Serve immediately.

Pots of Gold

My original hometown of Wisner, NE is a Irish community. That meant you had to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day or someone would pinch you. As a kid, I remember school letting out early on St. Patrick’s Day so you could go participate in the festivities. If it wasn’t raining, the city would paint a big Shamrock on Main Street. I believe the parade started at the City Auditorium and featured the high school marching band. We usually watched it from the curb at my dad’s service station. But my sister’s senior year, she was on the float as a candidate for Shamrock Princess. For dinner, we would sometimes get pizza with a green crust or a green twist ice cream cone. I’m pretty sure lots of people drank green beer but I wasn’t old enough to hang out at the bars to find that out for sure.

I was surprised at just how many recipes I have seen lately for St. Patrick’s Day. Sure, you expect to see recipes for Irish Soda Bread, Sheppard’s Pie, and Corned Beef and Cabbage. Today’s recipe is fun snack from the Betty Crocker website. But I think you could enjoy it anytime of year.

Pot o’ Gold Chex Mix

4 c. Lucky Charms cereal
2 c. Corn Chex cereal
1 & 1/2 c. pretzel rods
1 c. dry-roasted peanuts
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. butter
2 T. corn syrup
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/4 c. green M&Ms

In a large microwavable bowl, mix cereals, pretzels, and peanuts. In a glass bowl, mix brown sugar, butter and corn syrup. Microwave for 2 minutes, stirring after each minute. Stir in baking soda until it is dissolved. Pour over cereal mixture and stir until evenly coated. Microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Spread out on wax paper to cool. After 5 minutes, sprinkle with M&Ms. Break into bite-sized servings and place in gold foil muffin baking cups. Store leftovers  in an airtight container. Makes 20 servings (1/2 c. each).

Komen Munch

While at training for work in Dallas, I met a co-worker with a similar passion for cooking. Our training class asked what her best dish was that she makes. Her fellow co-workers from headquarters immediately replied, “that party mix you make.” They called it “addictive.” I, of course, had to have this recipe.

While enjoying a few vacation days, I decided to test some of the many recipes in my repertoire. I wanted to make this one for my fellow Komen co-workers with pink M&Ms I had left over from Valentine’s Day. Oh my goodness, this recipe is amazing! It combines salty, sweet, and crunchy. What mouth wouldn’t love that? Bon Appétit!

Komen Munch by Rebecca Gibson

20-24 oz. (one package) of Almond Bark
3 c. pretzels sticks
4 c. Golden Grahams
1.5 c. M&Ms (I used plain Milk Chocolate)
1.5 c. mini-marshmallows

In a large (popcorn/That a Bowl), combine pretzels and cereal. In a small bowl, combine M&Ms and marshmallows. In a microwaveable bowl, empty contents of almond bark package. Melt according to package instructions. Once bark is melted, our over pretzel mixture and stir. Add M&Ms mixture (do this so you don’t melt these ingredients) and stir. Pour onto wax paper coated cookie sheets and let harden. After it is harden, break into chuck sized pieces.

Notes:

  • This makes A LOT! If you aren’t sharing, half the recipe.
  • Rebecca suggest you change the name based on the color of M&Ms you use – Reindeer Munch, Cupid Crunch, Bunny Bites, etc. Love it!

Golden Grahams are actually healthier than I thought – only one gram of fat in a ¾ c. serving. I think you could probably substitute honey flavored Fiber One cereal or Cheerios if you think they are healthier. Another friend suggested Life or Chex cereal.