For Christmas presents!
Every year since I've written this blog, I've tried to give you an idea or two for a Christmas gift. I think exactly ONE year (maybe two?) I gave a suggestion that wasn't food. That's me being "authentic," aka lazy aka predictable. I prefer giving gifts of food. Sometimes I'll make it a thing, like a casserole in a nice dish that also serves as the gift, but I really like giving food and kitchen-related gifts. I think this is because I like being right and know a lot about food and kitchen gear, or so I tell myself.
It's a personality flaw, but at least I'm aware of it? You decide.
This is also fully enabling my super duper strong nostalgia happening right now due to mah bebe turning one in four days. FOUR! She wore shoes this weekend for the first time and only screamed a little bit. She's practically in college.
Growing up my grandmother made gallons and gallons of Chex mix every year for the holidays, and now my dad does. He makes a super classic version that's heavy on peanut flavor and Worcestershire sauce, and we gobble it up by the fistful. I have nothing in the world against classic party mix and still secretly love it from a bag on car trips. Buttttt I also love fresh rosemary and it's just so perfect for this time of year. So, I made a nearly-classic-with-a-twist version of snack mix that you should 1. make asap and 2. give away in jars as gifts. Maybe with a bottle of fancy Worcestershire sauce or something cheesy like that.
The seasoning blend is extra super duper flavorful, but super easy to put together. It is! One stick of butter, parmesan cheese, hot paprika, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and onion powders, fresh oregano, and seasoned salt. See also: this should totally be rubbed on a big hunk of meat for Christmas day.
To "prep," take the rosemary leaves off the stem and chop them finely. Then, melt the butter in the microwave and add everything but the parmesan to the butter. Stir that together and if you taste a little bit you won't hear anything about it from me.
Then, gather up all the party mix components! A type or two of Chex (or similar cereal), a few handfuls of pretzels, some Cheez-Its (white cheddar flavor for this is SO good), sesame sticks (from Trader Joe's!) pepitas, and cashews. You can of course mix and match any of the dry ingredients here that you'd like, but I love this combination.
Throw everything into a bowl with the parmesan and drizzle it with the butter mixture.
Give it a big stir - take a few minutes here so you don't end up with any super salty clumps of seasoning.
Now, this will bake at 300F, so preheat the oven at some point for the baking portion of the party mix party. Heh. Then, spread everything on a large baking sheet. You can use 2 smaller pans too.
Bake the snack mix at 300F for 50 minutes to an hour, stirring every 15 minutes then spreading the mix back out so that it gets evenly crispy. Keep a close eye that the spices and cheese aren't burning - I definitely made a batch that was....delicious but totally bitter, in the most sad way.
Let the snack mix cool completely (yeah right) before eating it, jarring it, boxing it, sharing it, whatever!
Add some extra fresh rosemary to the top of things, you'll be pretty pleased if you do.
This fully tastes and feels like Christmas. It takes a little while to make but isn't hard at all, and you can be productive (or not, your call) between stirs.
Make, devour, gift, repeat. Enjoy!
Rosemary Parmesan Party Mix
- 1 stick butter melted
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 sprigs rosemary leaves stripped and chopped, plus extra for garnish
- ½ teaspoon hot paprika
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
- ¼ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- SNACK MIX
- 1 cup small pretzels
- 1 cup white cheddar Cheez-Its
- 1 cup sesame sticks I get mine in the snack aisle at Trader Joe's
- 2 cups whole wheat Chex cereal
- 2 cups plain Chex cereal
- ½ cup toasted pepitas
- ½ cup roasted cashews
- Preheat the oven to 300F. Combine the butter with all of the seasonings except for the parmesan cheese.
- In a large bowl, add all of the snack mix ingredients and sprinkle with the parmesan. Drizzle on all of the butter and seasonings. Stir the mixture well until everything is evenly coated, then spread on a large baking sheet.
- Bake the snack mix for 50-60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, until the mixture is browned and crispy but not burned.
- Let cool completely before serving. This also makes great gifts in pretty jars.