Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Grill Sergeant

Since childhood, I can recall my dad taking on cooking duty for a few select menu items.

He always wore the same brown apron--it read "Grill Sergeant" across the front--and he moved carefully and methodically through the kitchen, preparing food with a precision I rarely witnessed. (I was more accustomed to watching the cooking style demonstrated by my mom: a fast-moving combo of the Iron Chef and Rachael Ray. Don't mess with the Hungry Spoon Mama in her kitchen. She means business.)

The list of foods my dad has mastered is brief, albeit powerful in the man world:
  • Various meats prepared on the grill
  • French Toast
  • Bacon
  • the Thanksgiving turkey
  • Stovetop oatmeal
  • Chex Snack Mix
I assume that most men would gladly survive on these items alone if given the option.

Today, we'll focus on the Chex Snack Mix. Growing up, this treat was only prepared between the day after Thanksgiving and New Year's Day--it's a strictly holiday food in the Hungry Spoon's household-of-origin. And it's only prepared by my rockin' dad.

With his grill sergeant apron, and his meticulous nature, my dad single-handedly holds the power of signaling the beginning of the holiday season for my pan of Chex Mix at a time.

I stopped by my parents' house yesterday afternoon to take advantage of their fridge full of leftovers, and, much to my delight, a roasting pan full of Chex mix greeted me in the kitchen.

Ah, the holiday season has officially begun.

While there are endless variations to this basic recipe, the traditional version is simple and classic. Set a few bowl-fuls out at your holiday party, or package them up in recycled jars for holiday gifts. Warning: this stuff is addictive. Seriously.

What signals the beginning of the holiday season for you?

Dad's Holiday Chex Mix
(adapted from this Chex Mix recipe)

I placed small bowls of this snack mix throughout our house for our holiday party last year--there was barely a crumb left by the end of the evening.

  • 3 cups corn Chex
  • 3 cups rice Chex
  • 3 cups wheat Chex
  • 3 cups Cheerios
  • 1 - 2 cups pretzels
  • 1 cup peanuts
  • 6 TBSP butter
  • 2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 - 1/2 tsp. seasoning salt
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
1) Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

2) Combine cereals, pretzels, and nuts in a large roasting pan. In a saucepan, heat butter over medium-low heat until melted. Add in seasonings. Pour butter mixture over cereal and stir to coat evenly.

3) Bake snack mix for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

*Fun gift idea: I like to fill recycled nut butter and salsa jars with snack mix, personalize the lids, and add them to food gift baskets/boxes for neighbors and friends during the holidays.


  1. Yum, I LOVE Chex Mix and it's a sure sign of the holidays. I can't wait!

  2. I LOVE Chex Mix too! Corn chex are my favorite and I always pick them out of the bowl! ;)

  3. my grandmother makes the BEST chex mix on the planet (we call it snack mix, fancy, I know), and I eat it by the boat load during the holidays!

  4. Hee hee my dad makes a mean instant ramen noodle dish. Since his cooking expertise is few, every dish he makes is awesome.

    This mix sounds wonderful. I'd also love to see your dad in his grill sergeant apron! ;-)

  5. haha, I was confused by the title of this post and the photo until I got to the list of your dad's kitchen repertoire! Chex mix is awesome! Even though it's not food-related, watching Love Actually always puts me in the holiday spirit. :)

  6. Mmm yum! Love the sounds of this recipe--it'd be a delicious gift to give in decorative jars!

  7. Oh I love chex mix and have never been able to keep it around for more than a day!

  8. I love chex mix so much! your Dad's versions sounds great. Are there cheerios in it? Looks like there are in the picture but not in the recipe, just wondering.

  9. Holiday Chex Mix is just marvelous, really.

    I think what really kicks off Christmas for me is watching my cat, Spot play in and around the Christmas Tree. He's an 11/10 fan of the holiday.

    p.s. The only thing that Marcus has really mastered is the grill. In the man-world, I'd have to agree that it's the be-all and end-all.

  10. Thank you for catching my omission Anne Claire! There are indeed Cheerios in there, and I just added them to the printed recipe :)