Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas Trash

This is the second year we have made Texas Trash (Modified Chex Party Mix) by the bucket load to give to anyone and everyone that we want to say 'Thank You' or 'Merry Christmas' to.  My husband and children can't get enough of it, and I like that it is a salty treat that breaks up the endless stream of cakes, cookies and candy that seem to accompany the holiday season.  

Teachers, choir directors, neighbors, etc, usually get their fair share in a pretty tin (I love the Container Store's selection), and the postman, trash guys and Terminix man get theirs in disposable tupperware containers with ribbon.

I bug my mother-in-law for her recipe every year, which is a modified version of the original recipe.  What's funny is I modify her modified recipe, and after making a dozen of these 'double modified' batches, I figured it was time to write both recipes down.

Here's the recipe my wonderful mother-in-law, Alice, has emailed me at least 3 times.

The Original Chex Party Mix (recipe on the back of Chex cereal boxes)

3 cups Corn Chex cereal
3 cups Rice Chex cereal
3 cups Wheat Chex cereal
1 cup mixed nuts (Alice uses 1 cup lightly salted peanuts plus 1 cup pecan halves)
1 cup bite-size pretzels
1 cup garlic-flavor bagel chips (Alice does not use these)
6 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (Alice uses slightly less)
1 ½ teaspoons seasoned salt
¾ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
(Alice melts the butter in a big roasting pan, then add the seasonings.  Mix all the cereals and nuts together and then mix in with the butter and seasonings to coat.  Bake for 1 hour at 250 degrees, stirring every 15 minutes.  Spread on paper towels to cool.  Store in airtight container.)
The recipe says to use a large microwavable bowl and mix the cereals, nuts, pretzels, and bagel chips together; set aside.  In small microwavable bowl, microwave butter uncovered on high about 40 seconds or until melted.  Stir in seasonings.  Pour over cereal mixture, stir until evenly coated.  Microwave uncovered on high 5 to 6 minutes, thoroughly stirring every 2 minutes.  Spread on paper towels to cool.  Store in airtight container.

My mother-in-law's trash is delicious!   We love it, but after some trial and error, decided we liked it amped up a bit (basically our version has more butter and double the seasonings). We also let the kids help a lot which leads to some less-than precise measuring and generous pouring of anywhere from 1/8- 1/4 cup more of each of the first 7 ingredients.  That may be why we were craving more seasoning! 

Christmas Trash
Warning: this tasty treat contains tree nuts, gluten, dairy, and is definitely NOT low in salt or fat. That's what makes it so good!

3 cups Corn Chex cereal 
3 cups Rice Chex cereal
3 cups Wheat Chex cereal
1 cup lightly salted peanuts 
1 cup pecan halves
1 cup bite-size pretzels or pretzel sticks
1 cup garlic-flavor bagel chips 
1 stick (8 Tbs) butter
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 teaspoons seasoned salt
1½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder

Melt the butter in a big roasting pan in the oven while it preheats to 250 degrees.  While the oven is preheating and the butter is melting, combine the cereal, nuts, pretzels and bagel chips in a large bowl (I don't even bother to stir them together, just dump them in, and as I mentioned before, we measure generously with heaping cup-fulls of all the cereals, pretzels and nuts).  Once the butter is melted, add the seasonings into the pan and whisk to combine with the melted butter.  I pour the butter and seasoning mix out of the roasting pan and into the large bowl over the cereals.  Then I pour the cereal and seasonings back into the roasting pan.  I find this extra step helps coat everything a little better than just putting the dry ingredients on top of the butter and seasonings and trying to mix it up from the bottom of the pan. Using a large spoon, gently fold everything together to ensure even coating, then bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes at 250 degrees, stirring every 15 minutes.  Spread on paper towels to cool.  This is when everyone sneaks a taste or two :)  Then we box up leftovers in air tight containers.