Thursday, 15 December 2011

KISSing in the Christmas Kitchen: Day 4

NOTE: Christmas is a busy season: it's full of special events, visits with friends and family, and lots of entertaining. It's also a lot of work. It's easy to let things get out of hand, which is why I have a few strategies for KISSing (Keep it Simple, Silly) in the kitchen at Christmas time. This week I'm sharing 5 of my quick-and-easy kitchen ideas for the holidays.

Homemade Nuts & Bolts

Christmas shouldn't be all about the sweet ... I believe there's room for some salty and savoury foods too.  You can usually find a snack mix recipe of some kind on a Shreddies box, and that's probably where my Grandma found hers originally.  In fact, my Grandma had two different recipes.  The directions here are for the adaptation popular with my family.


4 cups Shreddies
2 cups Cheerios
2 cups straight pretzels, broken up a little into smaller pieces
OPTIONAL: 1 lb salted, unroasted peanuts

1/2 cup margarine or butter
1tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
salt to taste
OPTIONAL: 1 tsp Tobasco  (we like the kick this adds, but you can leave it out or use only 1/2 tsp depending on your family's tastes.  My husband likes it spicy, and would love me to add more!)

[The measurements of cereal are approximate, and you can play around with the proportions according to your family's tastes.  Growing up, we always added peanuts but in recent years I've left them out.  I usually make about a triple batch at one time, just tossing the cereals into the pans and then estimating whether I need to double or triple the sauce part.]

Mix the cereal, broken up pretzels and nuts (if desired) in a large, shallow baking pan. 

In a microwavable bowl, melt the margarine, add the spices, and mix well.  Drizzle over the cereal mixture and toss until evenly coated. 

Bake at 300F for 25 minutes, stirring several times until well toasted. Then cool and salt to taste.

If you're easily distracted in the kitchen (like me) you can also bake them at 250F, stirring every 15 minutes, but it will take longer (one to two hours) until they are all roasted.  I go back and forth between the two baking methods from one year to the next, depending on what else I have going on at the time. I've never burnt them at the lower temperature, but it does take a lot longer.

Cool and salt to taste.

Sadly, I have no pictures of the finished product yet, because it turns out I'm out of Worcestershire sauce, so we're stalled until at least after nap time.  I'll add pictures when I have some.

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